Having to contend with insomnia can really be difficult, especially if it persists. Sleepless nights make for sleepy and sometimes miserable days. Thankfully, there are prescription sedatives like Lunesta that treat insomnia fairly well. As a central nervous system depressant, Lunesta slows down the firing of neurotransmitters in the brain, which slows down the heart rate enough so that you can fall asleep faster.
Still, even though Lunesta benefits a lot of people, as a sedative-hypnotic, it is a drug that you can become addicted to, even if you’re taking it exactly as prescribed.
Those that are prescribed Lunesta should only stay on the drug short-term. This is usually around a week to ten days. Staying on the drug longer can result in dependence or addiction, which means the body will need the drug in order to fall asleep every night. As much as sleep is a necessity, understand that there are safer alternatives to getting that sleep rather than staying on drugs like Lunesta. This may require you to see a sleep disorder specialist.
If you’ve become addicted to Lunesta, you may experience various withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. Common symptoms include:
Lunesta’s half-life is about six hours, which means that you may begin to feel some slight withdrawal symptoms within 12-24 hours after the last dose. Regarding how fast you can get through the withdrawal timeline, it can vary from person to person depending on factors like:
A general Lunesta withdrawal timeline is as follows:
Within one or two days after your last dose of Lunesta, you may begin to experience slight withdrawal symptoms. The intensity will depend on the factors mentioned above, with those who have used the drug for longer periods of time having a tougher time. It’s likely that in this early stage, you’ll experience some anxiety and sleeplessness.
You’ll likely experience more symptoms the remainder of the first week, with some of them peaking. This means they’ll be at their strongest point, which may be uncomfortable. Having a solid support system, such as addiction specialists, during this time can prove quite valuable and help reduce the chances of relapse. Common symptoms during this phase include nausea, vomiting, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and tiredness.
Once you get past week one, you’ll likely be done with many or all of the physical withdrawal symptoms. Some report lingering symptoms like fatigue, cravings, mood swings, and disruptions with sleep.
A common complaint from many who stop taking Lunesta is what is called “rebound symptoms”. This means that they experience what they were first being treated for – namely, insomnia. When you’re going through detox, you may find that it’s even tougher for you to fall asleep or stay asleep than it was before you started taking Lunesta in the first place. However, over time, your body should re-adjust and you’ll likely get back into balance.
Detoxing gives your body time to re-adjust to life without the drug. As you’ve taken Lunesta, the body has built up a tolerance, so when you stop taking it, the body goes into a kind of shock as it begins missing the drug. It’s important to go through a medically-supervised detox process in order to get free from the addiction in the safest way possible. However, you should not try to stop taking Lunesta cold turkey, as this can make the withdrawal symptoms more severe and dangerous.
The best way to stop taking Lunesta is under the care of an addiction specialist who will provide a specific taper plan and safe environment for detox.
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If you’re addicted to Lunesta, detox is your first step toward freedom from that addiction. You may seek to go through a detox program that is part of a residential treatment center. Or, you may decide to attend a detox center and then transfer to a residential or outpatient treatment center once you’re done.
For those who have been using Lunesta long-term, attending residential treatment for a period of time is recommended.
This way, you’ll be able to live at the treatment center and receive around-the-clock care from substance abuse professionals.
Residential rehabs offer many benefits, including a higher recovery success rate, a chance to avoid outside distractions and solely focus on you and your recovery, and a safe and structured environment.
If you have a mild addiction to Lunesta, an outpatient treatment center may suffice. This type of treatment involves you commuting to a certain number of sessions per week at the facility – usually between three and five. You’ll learn a lot about addiction recovery, see a counselor, and perhaps attend support groups. Over time, you will be able to reduce the number of sessions per week, as you become stronger in your recovery.
There are also intensive outpatient programs (IOP), which provide a level of care between residential rehab and outpatient. You’ll be required to attend at least 12 hours per week, and you’ll receive much the same care as you would at the other treatment centers.
The type of treatment you decide upon will primarily depend on how severe your addiction is, as well as how prone you are to relapse. If you have a history of drug addiction or have relapsed a number of times, attending a residential treatment center is probably your best choice. There, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the recovery process with the help of a variety of professionals to help you succeed. You’ll also be able to create a comprehensive relapse prevention plan that will help you stay drug-free once you complete treatment.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. Eszopiclone: its use in the treatment of insomnia. Retrieved from from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2655082/
Healthline. Lunesta vs. Ambien: Two Short-term Treatments for Insomnia Retrieved from from https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/lunesta-vs-ambien
NY Times. A Quiet Drug Problem Among The Elderly. Retrieved from from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/health/elderly-drugs-addiction.html
Web MD. Lunesta Details. Retrieved from from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-92350/lunesta-oral/details