At the end of a long day, our bodies are often exhausted from the rigorous days that we subjected ourselves to. The quality of sleep we get each night will set the tone for the following day when we repeat ourselves and until we once are in bed again. Rest is our bodies’ time of repair and recharge, and quality sleep can make or break your overall health.
A good night’s sleep is crucial to be able to function at the highest level. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with sleep disorders, and are unable to either get to sleep, stay asleep, or achieve restful sleep, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers is a public health problem.
For over a century, there have been medications designed to treat sleep disorders. Unfortunately, these medications known as barbiturates were highly addictive. Several years later, benzodiazepine drugs became a remedy for sleep disorders.
However, since they also have a high probability of causing dependence or adverse reactions, doctors and patients have been searching for less addictive alternatives. The popularity of non-benzodiazepines such as Lunesta, also known as eszopiclone, has skyrocketed in recent years and begun to overshadow benzodiazepine options.
Still, Lunesta and other non-benzo drugs known as Z-drugs have received their fair share of controversy. A study released in 2012 looked at the efficacy of Z-drugs for use as a hypnotic drug and found that it was found only slightly more effective than the placebo. Additionally, though the risk of developing a physical or emotional dependence on the drug is lower than with benzos, it can still cause addiction if abused.
Lunesta is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that falls into the same category as alcohol, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates. Depressants work by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is responsible for a reduction of stress and anxiety while promoting sleep. Individuals with sleep disorders potentially have an imbalance of this chemical, which is corrected by taking a medication such as Lunesta.
However, Lunesta and other depressants can be responsible for exaggerating GABA imbalances and making them worse. What it does is cause the brain to rely on the chemical to produce the tranquilizing neurotransmitter, which in essence, means you’ll need Lunesta to function normally.
Abrupt cessation of Lunesta may cause your brain to go into overdrive trying to correct the sudden lack of the GABA neurotransmitter. It can lead to various uncomfortable symptoms, most notably, an intense craving for the drug. Once you’ve become addicted to a drug, the reward center in your brain will learn to crave it, such as we crave life-sustaining supplies such as good.
Besides cravings, you can also feel several physical symptoms as your body attempts to deal with the missing chemical. These symptoms can include:
As your brain struggles to compensate for the lack of GABA, you will feel psychological symptoms like depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and memory issues. In some cases, depressants can create thoughts of suicide. If severe symptoms, physical or psychological occur, you must reach out to a physician immediately.
Lunesta withdrawal symptoms, timeline, and intensity will be affected by varying factors. For example, the length of time you’ve used Lunesta will impact your level of dependency on the drug. The longer you have used or abused the substance, the more your body will rely on it for normal functioning.
The dosage your body acclimates to will also affect the withdrawal timeline. Since Lunesta produces such mild effects, people may feel an urge to consume higher doses to increase effectiveness; however, high doses will lead to a stronger dependence. Lastly, the amount you took at your last dose will also affect the length of time it will take before you experience your first withdrawal symptoms.
Lunesta boasts a short half-life of six hours, and you may start feeling withdrawal symptoms much sooner than with its benzo counterparts. It will take 12 hours after your last dose before you will experience symptoms, and peak symptoms may occur after one week, which can take up to two weeks before they disappear.
If you’ve tried and failed to cut back or stop using Lunesta due to uncomfortable symptoms or powerful cravings, you may have developed a significant dependence. While Z-drugs like Lunesta are not as addictive and do not possess the same amount of side effects as benzodiazepines, they still may cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through these symptoms on your own. Medical detoxification is the perfect outlet to help you achieve detox in two distinct ways – first, by using cutting-edge clinical techniques to bypass pain and discomfort, also by providing the structure to avoid relapse.
One of the most common symptoms of withdrawal is powerful drug cravings, and attempting to detox on your own can make it incredibly hard to resist your urge to relapse and use Lunesta. Medical detox will hold you accountable and help you avoid using drugs and having to start over. The support is worth more than an individual can imagine until they have it.
Some of the effects of chemical and psychological addiction will not stop after you’ve managed to get the chemical out of your system. Addiction is a disease that has a strong hold on those who fall victim, and when your brain adjusts to a foreign chemical, you may continue to have periodic cravings. Relapse prevention is the most efficient method to safeguard your sobriety.
Through what is known as the continuum of care, you can ensure long-term recovery, even after detox is completed. After medical detoxification, clinicians will help you to find the best treatment option for you. They will conduct a thorough assessment of your current needs, and place you in a situation that they believe you will thrive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most successful treatment options will last 90 days or longer. The treatment program must take into account all individual needs rather than forcing a generic treatment program on you. You will often hear that treatment must be tailored to your needs.
Through evidence-based drug addiction treatment options, you will learn to cope with cravings and triggers that you may encounter in everyday life. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and other behavioral therapies, you can start to relearn how to live a sober life while pursuing goals you once thought were unattainable.
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Cognitive behavioral therapy. (2019, March 16). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/about/pac-20384610
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Huedo-Medina, T. B., Kirsch, I., Middlemass, J., Klonizakis, M., & Siriwardena, A. N. (2012, December 17). Effectiveness of non-benzodiazepine hypnotics in treatment of adult insomnia: Meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544552/
Commissioner, O. O. (n.d.). Taking Z-drugs for Insomnia? Know the Risks. Retrieved from U.S. Food and Drug Administration. from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/taking-z-drugs-insomnia-know-risks
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