Lunesta, generically known as eszopiclone, is a non-benzodiazepine prescription sleep medication that was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2004 for use in the treatment of certain sleep problems, such as insomnia. It belongs to a class of medications known as sedative-hypnotics, also referred to as z-drugs, which are used to induce and/ or maintain sleep. The average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of Lunesta about 6 hours long.
As a central nervous system depressant, Lunesta works by activating certain neurotransmitters in one’s brain, specifically the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA reduces the excitability of nerve cells (neurons) in the brain, which plays a role in the transmission of pain signals. Although Lunesta is categorized as a non-benzodiazepine sleep aid, it acts similarly to benzodiazepines as it is believed to bind to the GABA receptors. When Lunesta binds to GABA receptors it interacts with the neurons in one’s brain to suppress and slow down electrical excitement in one’s brain and central nervous system (CNS).
Signs and Symptoms
The specific signs and symptoms that present in an individual struggling with Lunesta abuse will vary from person to person, as everyone is different. Several common signs and/ or symptoms that may be exhibited by an individual struggling with an addiction to Lunesta may include any combination of the following examples:
- Mental confusion
- Constantly feeling drowsy during the day
- Unusual sleeping patterns or sleeping more than usual
- Sweating profusely
- Changes in blood pressure
- Hiccupping frequently
- Drastic weight fluctuation
- Severe irritability
- Isolation from friends and family
To experience the drug’s euphoric and hallucinogenic effects, people who abuse Lunesta will often actively fight the urge to sleep.
Lunesta is a potent sedative and when abused can cause serious physiological side effects, including but not limited to the following examples:
- Short-term side effects of Lunesta abuse may include:
- Coordination impairment
- Memory loss
- Long-term side effects of Lunesta abuse may include:
- Lasting cognitive problems
- Suicidal ideation
- Memory loss
- Muscle twitching
- Sensitivity to light
- Liver and kidney damage
Lunesta can cause unusual and sometimes dangerous side effects when abused, including an increased risk of overdose.
There is no universal treatment method that proves successful for everyone struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction, as everyone has nuanced needs when it comes to the recovery process. The first component of treatment will be for an individual to undergo detox. This is the process that rids one’s body of all foreign substances. Depending on the needs of the individual, continuing the recovery process by attending a formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program may be advantageous. These programs are conducted in either an inpatient setting or an outpatient setting. Outpatient treatment programs offer the ability to participate in the program for a previously specified number of hours, daily, while continuing to reside at home. Inpatient treatment programs are an entirely immersive experience as participants live at the treatment facility for the duration of the program.
In any formal substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program each participant will have a customized treatment plan that is expressly developed to ensure each person’s distinct needs are accommodated. Treatment plans may integrate a wide variety of therapeutic modalities, some of which could include any combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT), mindfulness-based therapy, expressive arts therapies, and more. Attending a substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program will afford an individual the opportunity to focus on self-development and cultivate useful coping mechanisms to successfully navigate the long-term recovery process.
Further Information and Support
Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process.
If left untreated, substance abuse, addiction, and/ or mental illness can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to help you or your loved one in the recovery process.