Lunesta is a medication that is usually prescribed to treat insomnia symptoms. It is considered a safer alternative than benzodiazepines, but it can be misused to get high. Learn about what Lunesta addiction is, if you need rehab, and when to seek treatment.
What Is Lunesta?
Lunesta is the brand name for eszopiclone, a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic agent. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow sleep. It is most often prescribed to treat insomnia. However, it can also be used off-label to treat anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or schizophrenia. The drug is for short-term use only. It comes in different strengths of 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg and is usually sold as white or blue pills.
Eszopiclone, the generic form of Lunesta, is sold under these brand names:
- Zopimin S – This drug contains eszopiclone.
- Zopipure – This drug also contains eszopiclone.
- Zopiclone – Another name for eszopiclone or Lunesta
Street names for sleeping pills:
- Bars, blues, candy, chill pills, downers, planks, zanies, Z-bars, to name a few
- For Lunesta and drugs like it: A- and zombies.
While eszopiclone was listed as a federally controlled substance, it is no longer on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of controlled substances. Zopiclone is the only drug with eszopiclone that is on the DEA Schedule IV list, meaning it has a low potential for abuse. None of its other brand names are on it.
How Lunesta Works
It works as an agonist for the brain’s GABA receptor (gamma-Aminobutyric acid), meaning it binds to GABA, making more of this chemical available to your brain. The increase in GABA makes you feel sleepy. The non-benzodiazepine hypnotic Lunesta works extremely fast. You take one right before you go to bed. It ensures the time it takes you to fall asleep is shortened and that you stay asleep for a full seven to eight hours. Normally, this is the amount of sleep you need to wake up and feel refreshed.
Effects of Taking Lunesta
It might be useful to know that after you stop taking eszopiclone or Lunesta, you may have more trouble falling asleep and staying asleep than you did before you took the drug. This is considered normal and usually gets better without treatment after one or two nights.
Lunesta can cause you to do things while asleep or not fully awake that you might not remember the next morning. People who have taken the medication report sleepwalking, sleep-driving, calling or texting people while asleep, or making and eating food while still asleep.
If Lunesta is taken for a very long time, the drug may cause hallucinations and paranoia. Long-term abuse of it can also result in a loss of coordination and motor control.
Abusing Lunesta for recreational purposes can result in chemical dependence and addiction.
What Are the Signs of Lunesta Addiction?
While not considered as addictive as benzos or barbiturates, Lunesta abuse may also cause you to become addicted to it. You should know what the signs and symptoms are for this, which include:
- Increasing the dose without consulting with your doctor
- Taking your prescription after it has expired
- Taking someone else’s supply of the drug
- Stealing money to pay for the drug
- Crushing and snorting the powder
- Using Lunesta with other drugs or alcohol
- Drastic change in body weight
- Isolating from family and friends
- Excessive sweating
- Severe irritability
- Consistent daytime drowsiness
- Unusual sleep patterns
- Mental confusion
The longer you take or abuse this medication, the more likely you will feel withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly. When this happens, it is called dependence. You may feel like you need to take the drug again when you experience these distressing symptoms.
- Mood swings, irritability
- Stomach cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Rebound insomnia
Rebound symptoms can be more intense than the original symptoms for which this medicine was prescribed. Rebound insomnia could possibly lead to anxiety or panic attacks and even drowsiness and fatigue.
If you recognize these signs or symptoms in yourself or others, you should consider Lunesta addiction treatment. Many people believe they can end Lunesta abuse at home, but it is not safe to do so. This medicine is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and abruptly stopping its use of it can result in adverse effects that are not safe to deal with at home.
What Is Involved in LunestaAddiction Treatment?
Addiction treatment for Lunesta begins with a comprehensive assessment of your most urgent needs. Once you are admitted into our facility, our caring medical and substance use disorder professionals will assess what you need and what your history and level of addiction are. This helps us determine what will work best for you.
If it is found that you need to detox, you will be admitted.
Medical detox is an essential step and usually the first step in addiction treatment. When your body is working to eliminate Lunesta and all other toxins, you will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be very uncomfortable to dangerous. In detox, you are observed for your entire length of stay, and the licensed medical team is immediately available should you have any emergency.
We are here to ensure you are in stable condition and as comfortable as possible. This may include giving your other medication to ease some of the worst symptoms you feel and providing psychological care when those symptoms arise. Often, the combination of medical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can send an individual back to using the drug again, and sometimes with fatal results. Detox is necessary for Lunesta addiction treatment to prevent that.
Addiction is a complex and chronic disease that affects people differently. Not everyone who comes to our center will need inpatient or residential treatment. If it is determined that you do, we will work with our inpatient treatment sister facilities to get you admitted and transport you there.
This treatment level consists of several types of therapies focusing on every aspect of addiction. While under inpatient treatment, you should expect to participate in group, family, and individual therapy. At Summit Behavioral Health, we practice evidence-based and proven therapeutic modalities that are known to be effective in substance use disorder treatment. These are:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing thinking patterns and behavioral patterns, as noted by the Mayo Clinic.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which focuses on learning new skills to deal with painful emotions and lessen conflicts in relationships
Motivational interviewing (MI), which helps you find the internal motivation needed to change your behavior that led to Lunesta abuse.
If it is found that you have a mental health disorder, like depression and a substance use disorder, dual diagnosis treatment is recommended. This type of therapy treats both disorders at the same time because they are intertwined.
Inpatient and residential treatment programs will usually last from 30 to 90 days, as this is the recommended time for treatment to be effective.
Intensive outpatient (IOP) is a form of outpatient addiction treatment. It is best for you if you have gone through detox and an inpatient program. Summit Behavioral Health provides intensive outpatient treatment. Our group sessions are smaller than other group sessions giving you more personalized care from the clinicians. It also allows you to reside at home, attend work or school, and still participate in therapy sessions addressing your substance use.
Our outpatient treatment program (OP) is best suited for you if you need transitional support from IOP to aftercare. Outpatient clients can live at home and attend to personal responsibilities while still participating in therapy sessions. You will continue to learn and utilize the new skills and strategies gained in other treatment programs.
How Dangerous Is Lunesta and Lunesta Overdose?
Lunesta abuse can be dangerous and even potentially deadly. It is a CNS depressant, and when taken with another depressant, such as alcohol, it can decrease your respiration rate to a hazardous low. When it is abused for recreational purposes, such as crushing and snorting it to feel euphoria, some people will fight to stay awake to experience that effect. Doing so could jeopardize your life and that of others if you insist on driving a vehicle.
Abusing this medication can also cause an overdose. The Mayo Clinic underlines that these are the signs or symptoms of Lunesta overdose:
- Change of loss of consciousness
- Trouble breathing
- Shallow, fast or slow, shallow breathing
- Pale blue lips, skin, or fingernails
- Unusual sleepiness
If you or someone you know is taking or abusing Lunesta and you notice they/you are overly drowsy or have lost consciousness, it is best to contact emergency services immediately.
Most overdoses from Lunesta involved taking it with other depressants or alcohol or taking the drug in doses way above the recommended dosage amount.
Lunesta Abuse Statistics
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2020 report on Drug Use and Health found that 6.2 million people misused tranquilizers or sedatives in the past year. It also indicates that 1.2 million people had a prescription tranquilizer use disorder or sedative use disorder in the past year.
A medical study found that the eszopiclone use mortality risk was almost comparable to that of cigarette smoking and much higher than that of violent death, such as murder.