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Lunesta is a potentially addictive medication that’s used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. It’s similar to benzodiazepines, but it is in its own category of sleep aids called non-benzodiazepine sedative-hypnotics.
Though Lunesta causes many of the same effects and side effects as a typical benzodiazepine, it’s seen as milder and better tolerated. However, long-term use and high doses can cause serious side effects, including chemical dependence, addiction, and severe withdrawal symptoms.
Lunesta is a central nervous system depressant. It works in the brain by interacting with a chemical messenger called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) to regulate excitability. High doses can cause euphoria and an increase in chemicals like dopamine that are linked to reward and motivation. Addiction occurs when your brain’s reward system mistakes taking a drug like Lunesta with life-sustaining activities like eating or sleeping.
The signs and symptoms of Lunesta addiction that you experience might depend on how long you’ve taken the drug, your normal dose, and other factors. However, addiction is generally characterized by the compulsive use of a drug despite consequences.
For many people, addiction can take root before they realize there’s a problem. Others may realize they have a problem but feel powerless to stop it. Recognizing the signs of a Lunesta addiction can help you get the help you need as soon as possible. Signs and symptoms may include:
Lunesta addiction may be chronic and progressive, which means the disease may get worse if left unchecked. However, it’s treatable with the right services. Addiction treatment should be tailored to your individual needs, and it should address more than just substance abuse.
Effective treatment needs to offer interventions for medical, psychological, and social needs. These needs may be met through a medical service or a variety of psychotherapy options. Lunesta can be dangerous during withdrawal, and it may require medical detox. Detox involves 24-hour medically managed treatment that can include the use of medications. After detox, you may go through inpatient services, intensive outpatient treatment, or outpatient treatment.
Lunesta isn’t as potent as other depressants like barbiturates, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, but abuse can create severe side effects. Lunesta can also lead to a deadly overdose with high amounts of the drug are consumed or when it’s mixed with other depressants. An overdose may cause respiratory depression that can lead to oxygen deprivation, coma, or death. Substance use disorders often increase your risk of accidental overdose and other health problems.
Lunesta may also cause potentially dangerous symptoms during withdrawal.
Depressants can cause seizures and heart failure in some extreme cases of withdrawal.
These severe symptoms are more likely if you’ve gone through depressant withdrawal before.
A phenomenon called kindling can make lasting changes in your brain that can bring on more intense symptoms in subsequent withdrawal periods. Before quitting cold turkey, it’s important to speak to a medical professional.