Lunesta Addiction and Abuse

Commonly prescribed to treat acute insomnia, Lunesta (eszopiclone) is a sleeping medication with a high potential for abuse. The drug is only intended for short-term use due to its addictive qualities.

Addiction to Lunesta

Understanding Lunesta (Eszopiclone)

Lunesta is the brand name of eszopiclone, a non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic prescribed to treat insomnia. It is a member of a group of popular sleep-inducing sedatives commonly known as “Z-drugs,” alongside Ambien and Sonata. Lunesta pills are circular in shape, white or blue in color, and come in 1 mg, 2 mg or 3 mg strengths. The drug is designed to be taken orally, but some people snort Lunesta to intensify its effects.

Because of the drug’s significant potential for abuse, Lunesta is highly regulated and intended for short-term use only. The drug cannot be bought over the counter, but addicted people may find ways to purchase it illegally.

A person who is addicted to Lunesta may:

  • Continue taking Lunesta after their prescription has expired
  • Isolate themselves from loved ones
  • Repeatedly put off quitting Lunesta
  • Increase their dosage without consulting their doctor
  • Feel as if their quality of life will decrease if they stop taking the drug
  • Use the drug to get high
  • Crave the drug
  • Mix Lunesta with other drugs to increase its sedative effects

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Lunesta Effects and Abuse

Many individuals use Lunesta as part of their nightly routine as a regular sleep aid. Any use of Lunesta outside of a prescribed dosage is considered abuse. Abusive behaviors include:

  • Using the drug for anything other than its intended purpose
  • Crushing the pills into a powder and snorting it
  • Taking more than the recommended dose
  • Using Lunesta without a prescription or for longer than prescribed

Lunesta offers several benefits that motivate people to abuse the drug. Namely, it provides uninterrupted, deep sleep, which can improve energy levels and cognitive function the following day. Others abuse Lunesta because they enjoy the calm feelings and drowsiness it causes.

The symptoms of a Lunesta overdose vary depending on several factors, including how much the person consumed and whether other drugs or alcohol were also taken. The following symptoms may indicate an overdose:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Passing out abruptly
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma

Signs of Lunesta Abuse

Many people who abuse Lunesta will fight the urge to sleep in order to experience the drug’s euphoric and hallucinogenic effects. Other signs of Lunesta abuse include:

  • Constantly feeling drowsy during the day
  • Unusual sleeping patterns or sleeping more than usual
  • Profusely sweating
  • Severe irritability
  • Mental confusion
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Hiccupping frequently
  • Drastic change in weight

The Dangers of Lunesta

As a potent sedative, Lunesta can cause unusual and sometimes dangerous side effects when abused. Negative side effects of Lunesta include:

  • severe amnesia
  • extreme cases of sleepwalking
  • lack of mental clarity
  • hypertension
  • impaired physical and cognitive functioning

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Recognizing a Lunesta Addiction

As with many substances, Lunesta addiction can be fatal if not recognized and treated properly. Typically, doctors will only prescribe one month’s supply of Lunesta and may restrict the patient from obtaining multiple refills within a specific time span.

When an addicted user surpasses their Lunesta refill limit, they may “doctor shop,” or visit multiple doctors to get more of the drug.

People addicted to Lunesta may even start stealing money, spending a lot, becoming increasingly irritable and isolating themselves from their family and friends. In some cases, those who are addicted to Lunesta can have difficulty regulating their behavior, which may lead to a dramatic shift in their personality.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Lunesta withdrawal symptoms vary between different users, but most endure moderate to severe sleep difficulties after they quit the drug. Other symptoms associated with Lunesta withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Unsettling dreams
  • Muscle spasms
  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue (can be due in part to anxiety and sleep deprivation)
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Seizures


Duration of Withdrawal

The withdrawal timeline is different for each Lunesta user. However, most people addicted to Lunesta experience symptoms of withdrawal shortly after discontinuing use. Symptoms typically present within the first two days after the user’s last dose. The first seven days without the drug are usually the hardest. The symptoms generally subside over the second and third week.

Lunesta Withdrawal Timeline

Days 1-2 Withdrawal begins within the first 48 hours after ending use of Lunesta. Intense insomnia and anxiety are often the first symptoms to show up.
Days 3-7 Symptoms peak during this time. The user’s rebound symptoms should begin to lessen after a few days. Sleeping troubles may still occur after rebound symptoms have gone away, but the problem will be much less intense. Users may also feel irritable, fatigued and nauseous.
Days 8-21 Over the next two weeks, symptoms will fade and become increasingly milder. Some users may continue having sleeping problems.
Days 22+ If any symptoms remain, they should be very mild. Some users experience PAWS after the acute phase of withdrawal has ended. These symptoms peak four to eight weeks after the last dose was taken.

Lunesta-specific Rehabs

An addiction to Lunesta can be difficult to overcome, but with the help of the right treatment center, sobriety is achievable. Finding a rehab that has experience treating addiction to sleeping pills will give Lunesta users their best chance at a successful recovery. The following rehabs offer treatment programs for Lunesta addiction:

Questions about treatment?

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Find Treatment Now

Searching for the right treatment program can be confusing, especially because there are so many options out there.

If you or your loved one are struggling with Lunesta addiction, do not hesitate to call us. Our helpline is open 24/7 and one of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right option. Please call us now.