14 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Did you know that 31 million prescriptions for Lunesta have been written in the past since the drug arrived on the market? Is it a wonder that Lunesta addiction and abuse are gripping a significant number of the world’s population by the neck? You see, Lunesta (Eszopiclone) is a depressant drug. This means that it inhibits the neurological wiring to put its users in a deep trance. 

By depressing the nervous system, Lunesta can rid people of insomnia. But, there is a catch. To counter insomnia, Lunesta must be used in recommended doses. However, is this always the case? Sadly, no. So, can Lunesta get you high? What are the side effects of Eszopiclone? How does Lunesta Use Disorder represent? How fast does Lunesta dependence occur? 

A bunch of white and black pills.

Lunesta, like Ambien, is a Schedule IV drug. This means that Lunesta dependence and addiction are more common than you can imagine. 

The worst part is that it does not take much effort for Lunesta dependence to develop. Before you know it, you will be popping 4 pills per day, even during the waking hours just so that your body can function normally. 

Related: Ambien(Zolpidem) Addiction and Abuse

But, the question is, “Is this the right thing to do?” Well, of course not. 

Being the addictive drug that Lunesta is, its medicinal and recreational abuse has become a routine for people. 

People often snort Lunesta as their life depends on it. Why? Because they simply cannot help it. 

Unfortunately, Lunesta addiction is a step-by-step process. 

In other words, it is impossible to venture into the world of Lunesta Use Disorder without abusing the drug. 

Once Lunesta abuse has become a part of your routine, your body will completely give up in the absence of it. That is when you will experience Lunesta dependence. Eventually, as you continue to abuse Eszopiclone, your addiction will magnify itself until it conquers your whole existence. 

Sadly, with Lunesta Use Disorder, arrives the fear of Eszopiclone overdose. 

Given that 10% of the U.S. population that is addicted to Lunesta overdoses once in a lifetime, it is fair if you expect overdosing to be a common situation. 

Nonetheless, just because it is common, does not imply that it should exist in the first place. 

Now, let’s take a look at the step-by-step development of Eszopiclone Use Disorder.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry provided an insight into the reasons that people were abusing Lunesta. 

Care to venture a guess as to how many people merely wanted to get high with Eszopiclone? 

Well, 33% of the respondents just needed to let go of their worries by abusing the drug recreationally, while almost 13% of the people abused Lunesta out of an inherent curiosity.

10.3% of the respondents believed that Eszopiclone was “safer” than illicit drugs like Heroin. 

66.4% of the participants reported that they were abusing Lunesta for medicinal purposes. 

Sadly, throughout the studies, the focus did not drift away from “abuse.” This depicts that people indulge in Lunesta abuse for a myriad of reasons. 

And while Lunesta use for medicinal reasons is justified, its abuse for any reason whatsoever is never justified! 

Moving on, although the reasons for abusing Lunesta might differ greatly, its ways of abuse are only a few. 

The two most common ways that people choose to abuse Eszopiclone are:

  1. Crushing the pills and snorting them 
  2. Combining Lunesta with alcohol, benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium, etc.), or opioids. 

When pills are crushed and snorted, the feeling of a rushing “high” is experienced faster. However, when combined with other CNS depressants, Lunesta’s effects tend to become much stronger. 

Combining Eszopiclone with other depressant drugs can also culminate in its overdose. 

Read Also: Sonata Addiction and Abuse

But, if you do not opt for all these fancy ways to enhance the effects of Lunesta and still intake higher-than-recommended doses of the drug with an increasing frequency, know that you are, too, abusing Lunesta. 

Given that, abuse of Lunesta tends to cause some disastrous side effects. Let’s dive straight in! 

Note: Lunesta belongs to the same group of drugs like Ambien, Amytal, and Sonata. 

Every medication has side effects, indeed. But, when the question is centered on medications that can be addictive like Lunesta, the side effects can engorge themselves. 

When abused with alcohol or benzos, Lunesta can result in the following side effects:

  • Headaches
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Memory impairment
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Death 

Yet another side effect of engaging in Lunesta abuse with other drugs is parasomnia – that is, people who use illicit drugs like Heroin alongside Eszopiclone can get out of the bed, out of the house, drive, eat, or even have a conversation with other people while they are under the influence of depressants and are asleep. 

This can prove to be excessively dangerous. For instance, driving while asleep can cause life-threatening accidents. 

Besides this, there are other short-term side effects of Eszopiclone:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness during the day
  • Headaches
  • Grogginess 
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Abnormal or obsessive thoughts
  • Memory loss
  • Parasomnia

In several situations, a much more serious side effect of Eszopiclone is hallucinations. Lunesta-triggered hallucinations are often found in people who abuse Lunesta recreationally. 

However, using high-than-recommended doses also causes hallucinations due to Lunesta. 

The long-term side effects of Eszopiclone are:

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Flushing
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Amnesia
  • Depressed cognitive function
  • Loss of coordination and motor control

Additional to this, some physical side effects include Nystagmus (Uncontrolled eye movements), Conjunctivitis (Infection of the conjunctiva of the eye), Tinnitus (A persistent ringing in the ears that continues to get worse). 

Inflammation of the joints, worsening asthma, decreased breathing capacity, liver damage, and kidney failure are, unfortunately, fairly common long-term side effects of abusing Lunesta. 

Can Eszopiclone Side Effects Be Reversed? 

The short-term side effects of Eszopiclone are fairly easy to reverse with Lunesta addiction treatment. 

Once you taper off Lunesta, the short-term side effects are the most likely to vanish and dissolve off on their own. However, the case of long-term side effects is not the same. 

You see, long-term side effects are hard – and, at times, impossible – to recover from. The reason? 

Well, if you experience bouts of amnesia, you might not get your memories back. Once your motor control is affected, you are most likely to face difficulty for the rest of your life. Similarly, if you suffer severe liver or kidney damage, the only way out will be a possible transplant surgery if you can qualify for it. 

Sadly, in most cases, the long-term side effects cannot be reversed. 

Despite the side effects that Lunesta is overwhelming you with if you fail to stop yourself from its consumption, know that Lunesta Use Disorder has found a safe haven within you.

Even though the signs and symptoms of Lunesta Use Disorder will differ as per the extent and severity of abuse, some behavioral signals are hard to miss when your loved ones display them. 

The symptoms of Lunesta dependence include:

  • Mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion 
  • Sleepwalking and parasomniac activities
  • Sinusitis 
  • Lunesta-triggered hallucinations
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon abruption in abuse

Because Lunesta dependence is an open door to its addiction, the signs of addiction to Eszopiclone can range to and from:

  1. Consumption of Lunesta in unusual ways (e.g. snorting or polysubstance abuse).
  2. Going “doctor shopping” or faking prescriptions for Lunesta.
  3. Indulging in Lunesta abuse even when you do not have a prescription.
  4. Keeping a secret stash of Lunesta.
  5. Lying about using Eszopiclone.
  6. Failing to stop Lunesta abuse.
  7. Taking larger doses of Lunesta. 
  8. Taking more doses in a day than a non-addict would take in a week.
  9. Having a lack of interest in things you used to love unless you consume Lunesta.
  10. Being unable to function normally without Eszopiclone. 

Note: If you happen to observe any of the aforementioned warning signs of addiction or symptoms of Lunesta dependence in your loved ones, opt for treatment at your first convenience. 

Remember: Finding different ways to acquire Lunesta and engaging in compulsive behavior to maintain a steady supply of Eszopiclone for abuse is a classic sign of an addict. 

In relation to that, becoming irritable at the thought of not being able to acquire Lunesta is yet another condition to look out for. 

Generally, therapists and physicians advise Lunesta addicts to not cease the use of the medication abruptly. Why? Well, the withdrawal symptoms of Lunesta can set your body and mind on fire if the medication abuse is halted. 

Even though the degree of pain and discomfort associated with Lunesta withdrawal will depend on the extent and severity of your addiction, some pivotal Eszopiclone withdrawal symptoms revolve around:

  • Anxiety
  • Unusual dreams
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Depression
  • Muscle ache
  • Extremely sensitive skin
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Shaking and sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neurosis

People, at times, might compare Lunesta withdrawal with Benzodiazepine withdrawal. However, when the symptoms are plotted against each other, benzos withdrawal comes out to be much more intense and painful than Lunesta. 

Note: The withdrawal timeline for each Lunesta addict can differ greatly given the extent and severity of Eszopiclone Use Disorder. 

So, if eradicating Lunesta sleeping pill abuse suddenly can magnify the withdrawal symptoms, what is one to do to minimize them? 

Your answer lies in one word: Taper-off. 

Tapering off Lunesta is a lengthy but easy process, during which the dose and frequency of sleeping pill Lunesta are gradually cut down as time passes. 

For instance, if you used to consume 4 Lunesta tablets in a day, your physician will ask you to cut the dose down to two tablets and then, one tablet per day. 

Eventually, under the guidance of your physician, you will be asked to only consume Lunesta on alternate days.

Note: This is an imaginary condition. Do not take this example as a guideline for tapering off Lunesta in reality.  

This process will be continued until your body begins to work without Lunesta. 

Now, weaning off the sleeping pill Lunesta in this manner does not guarantee that you will not experience any Eszopiclone withdrawal symptoms. 

But, even when you do undergo Lunesta withdrawal symptoms, they will not be as bothersome as cutting off the drug supply to your body all of a sudden. In fact, with the assistance of the tapering off mechanism, your chances of experiencing protracted withdrawal will be inhibited. 

Note: Protracted withdrawal is when a person experiences severe withdrawal symptoms after detoxing completely. It is a characteristic feature of abrupt Lunesta abuse cessation.  

So, what is the key takeaway here? Lunesta withdrawal symptoms can be terrible and disastrous if you fail to wean off Lunesta. 

What is the cause of the sleeping pill Lunesta overdose? 

You see, when combined with other drugs, the chances of Eszopiclone overdose climb a thousand-fold. People who have a polysubstance abuse problem are more likely to abuse Lunesta in this manner. 

Unfortunately, mixing different CNS depressants that cause the effects of Eszopiclone to skyrocket is extremely dangerous and, also, the primary cause of Eszopiclone overdose. 

Drugs that cause Eszopiclone overdose, when combined with Lunesta, include:

  1. Other Z-drugs (Ambien, Amytal) 
  2. Benzodiazepines
  3. Opioids
  4. Antidepressants
  5. Anticonvulsants
  6. Barbiturates

Other than this, when Lunesta is used in higher-than-recommended doses to experience intense effects, the risk of overdose multiplies. 

Generally, Eszopiclone (Lunesta) is available in three different doses: 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg. 12 tablets of 3 mg the sleeping pill Lunesta must be taken back to back for an overdose to occur. 

In other words, 36 mg of Eszopiclone, when taken within 24 hours, can easily cause an overdose. 

The symptoms of Eszopiclone overdose will be:

  • Headaches
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Coma

Overdosing on Eszopiclone alone is unlikely to result in death. However, if an overdose has occurred because of different drug combinations, Eszopiclone overdose can be a gateway to death. 

Note: Overdose on Eszopiclone can be accidental or an intentional suicide mission. Either way, detecting the signs at the right time and seeking medical attention in a timely manner is extremely crucial. It can practically save the life of your loved ones. 

Ambien and Lunesta both belong to the same group of drugs – CNS depressants. For this reason, they do not differ in the way that they work.

Note: Ambien, Lunesta, Amytal, and Sonata all work by releasing large amounts of an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, called GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid). This chemical causes all the brain mechanisms to be depressed, resulting in the perceivable “high.” 

Both of them are used to treat insomnia. At the same time, however, they are used recreationally, as well, because of the “high” they trigger. 

So, where is the boundary of differences? Let’s see. 

Firstly, Lunesta is mostly prescribed to people who have a problem with waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to drift off again. 

Ambien, on the other hand, is used to induce sleep, rather than causing you to stay asleep through the night.

Read Also: Sleeping Pills Addiction Inpatient Treatment and Rehab

Secondly, Lunesta is used as an immediate-release medication. Ambien is used as an immediate-release, as well as an extended-release medication. 

Thirdly, for Lunesta, the dosage is available in 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg. However, in the case of Ambien, the dosage is much higher. 

This is because even a small dose of Lunesta, with a half-life of 6 hours, can last for extended periods of time in the body. 

Ambien, however, has a half-life of 1.5 hours. So, it is easy for the body to discard Ambien rapidly, which calls for higher doses. 

Fourthly, because Lunesta lasts in the system for a longer duration, it can cause extreme lethargy, tiredness, and drowsiness even after 8-10 hours of sleep. 

Ambien, conversely, helps you to wake up fresh and chirpy in the morning. 

Lastly, Lunesta sleeping pills have a higher number of side effects than Ambien and although this might seem like a safe difference, it is not. 

Consumption of either of these drugs will result in abuse, dependence, and addiction. So, the differences between them cannot prove to which of these sleeping aids are “better” to consume. 

Eszopiclone dependence and abuse are highly prevalent because Lunesta is addictive. When a person engages in Lunesta abuse, GABA causes that person to experience a prominent “high.” 

For this reason, Lunesta is not only used for medicinal purposes; but has also become a recreational drug. 

To prevent the dangers of Lunesta from taking charge, make sure that you observe your loved ones for any warning signs and symptoms of Eszopiclone addiction. 

Abusing Lunesta by snorting the sleeping pills or by combining it with other CNS depressants can result in an overdose. 

Tapering off Lunesta will require time and effort investment. But, as appealing as it might sound to completely boycott Eszopiclone, it can cause you to develop protracted withdrawal. It can also endanger your life. 

Remember, timely detection of addiction and prevention of overdose can save the life of your loved ones. There are several rehab facilities that can treat Lunesta addiction. 

After detecting a potential addiction, make sure that you help the people you love through their journey of recovery. Let them understand that you have their back. 

Because people addicted to Lunesta can often display erratic and aggressive behaviors, do not confront them. Instead, collaborate with them and let them acknowledge how important it is to acquire the necessary treatment.

Your loved ones can escape and recover from Lunesta Use Disorder with the right treatment.



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