What is Lunesta?
Lunesta is the brand name for the drug eszopiclone, which is a prescription sedative and non-benzodiazepine hypnotic that is prescribed to treat insomnia. Unlike other sleep-aid drugs that are benzodiazepines, Lunesta contains zopiclone, which is a hypnotic agent. The DEA classifies Lunesta as a Schedule IV controlled substance because it has the potential for abuse and addiction.
Lunesta is one of the most popular prescription sleep aid medications in the U.S. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how it changes the function of the brain, it is believed that Lunesta works by interacting with GABA receptors to promote restful and more regulated sleep.
What Is Lunesta Detox and Withdrawal?
Lunesta, also known as Eszopiclone, is a medication used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Due to its potential for abuse and addiction, Lunesta is typically prescribed for no more than 2-4 weeks at a time. When Lunesta is abused in high doses for a long time, the user will likely experience withdrawal symptoms if they discontinue use—especially if they do so abruptly. Depending on the duration and frequency of their drug use, the user may experience moderate to severe physical and psychological side effects. That is why a medically assisted Lunesta detox is so important.
Withdrawal symptoms occur because the user becomes mentally and physically dependent on Lunesta. When they stop using it, their body slowly rids itself of the drug and must find ways to remain functional without it.
This process can be very painful and dangerous, sometimes leading to further medical problems if not monitored by a doctor. The withdrawal process often leaves people feeling very restless, irritable, and anxious, and also causes sweating and abnormal dreams, as a result of being without the drug. For this reason, medical Lunesta detox is always recommended over quitting alone.
Symptoms Of Withdrawal and Lunesta Detox
Lunesta withdrawal symptoms vary between different users, but most endure moderate to severe sleep difficulties after they quit the drug. What withdrawal symptoms appear and how severe they depend on several factors, including how long the individual has been using Lunesta, how frequently they took Lunesta, how much Lunesta they took each time, whether they mixed Lunesta with other drugs and alcohol, and their mental health and medical history. Symptoms associated with Lunesta withdrawal include:
- Fatigue (can be due in part to anxiety and sleep deprivation)
- Short-term memory impairment
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Depression-like symptoms
- Stomach cramps
- Panic Attacks
- Abnormal dreams
- Muscle spasms
- Nausea and vomiting
It is important to note that there is a significant difference in the type and severity of withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual quits cold turkey (abruptly and entirely) on their own and when they are tapered off safely by a physician or attend a medically-supervised Lunesta detox.
In some extreme cases, users have experienced anxiety attacks and seizures. This is most common in individuals who use Lunesta long-term at high doses and then quit cold turkey. These situations require immediate medical attention and must be treated under a doctor’s care. Luckily, they do not commonly occur when a patient is in a medically-supervised Lunesta detox setting.
In one sense, the withdrawal syndrome with [sleeping pills] can be worse than withdrawal from heroin, because while the heroin addict experiences withdrawal as a terrible anguish, it is rare that addicts do not survive even the most severe heroin withdrawal. Severe withdrawal of sleeping pills can produce death.Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Emax Health, 2015
People addicted to Lunesta who stop taking it commonly experience rebound symptoms. Typically, former users experience insomnia to an even greater degree than they did before taking the medication. This insomnia is often accompanied by anxiety, which is often quite severe and may even produce panic attacks. Although rebound insomnia and anxiety can be very intense, they usually only last a few days.
Lunesta Detox: 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. If the user stops cold turkey, symptoms often appear in as little as 12 hours after the user’s last dose. In a medically-supervised setting, symptoms typically present within 48 hours after the user’s last dose.
The first seven days without the drug are usually the hardest to battle and symptoms fade over the second and third week.
Those with more severe addictions to Lunesta may experience withdrawal for several months. Some users also experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) after the initial withdrawal period. Symptoms of PAWS tend to be mostly psychological, including mood swings, depression, anxiety, and drug cravings. These symptoms can last for months and tend to come and go in varying levels of severity.
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.
Because the symptoms and severity of Lunesta withdrawal vary and can be unpredictable, users are urged to consult a doctor before quitting use—especially those with moderate to severe Lunesta addictions. A medical Lunesta detox program is the best option for managing withdrawal from this medication. These programs are supervised by medical professionals, making them the safest and most effective way to eliminate Lunesta from the user’s system.
During Lunesta detox, doctors typically taper off the user’s dosage of Lunesta. This process can take several weeks to months, but is much less intense than quitting “cold turkey.” Those with a long history of Lunesta abuse and those who take high doses of the drug should never abruptly stop using. Doing so will likely result in very severe withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to other health complications.
Medical Lunesta detox usually offers specific medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of withdrawal. There is not one specific medication used during Lunesta detox, however, a team of medical professionals will evaluate the individual to determine which medications are the best suited to help keep them safe and comfortable. The goal of Lunesta detox is to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, manage vitals, and successfully remove the drug from the individuals’ body. Treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions may also be evaluated during the Lunesta detox phase.
Many factors play a role in how the user’s body handles Lunesta detox, including the length and severity of their addiction. Generally, an inpatient treatment center with a medical Lunesta detox program can offer the best environment and support network for users to successfully overcome their addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Lunesta Addiction
If a person is addicted to Lunesta, he or she may display the following symptoms:
- Using Lunesta for longer than originally prescribed
- Isolating themselves from friends and loved ones
- Taking larger or more frequent doses of Lunesta than prescribed
- Mixing Lunesta with other drugs
- Feeling as though they can’t stop taking Lunesta
- Having cravings for Lunesta
- Crushing and snorting Lunesta pills
Lunesta is only meant to be taken on a short-term basis, so long-term use of the drug may result in physical dependence or addiction. A person who is addicted to Lunesta may need professional treatment to overcome their addiction.
Long-Term Rehab for Lunesta Addiction
After Lunesta detox, many people may choose to continue their treatment with a rehab program. Although Lunesta detox addresses the physical aspects of addiction, Lunesta detox alone is not a cure for addiction to the drug. It does not help clients work through the behavioral problems associated with addiction, nor get to the root causes of their addictive behaviors. This is what rehab is for.
The primary purpose of Lunesta rehab is to:
- Address the underlying causes of the addiction
- Provide behavioral therapy for addictive behaviors
- Work through family issues that have contributed to the addiction
- Teach clients how to recognize and deal with high-risk situations, triggers, and stressors in everyday life
- Provide relapse prevention techniques and strategies
There are many different types of Lunesta rehab centers and programs, but research shows treatment of 90 days or longer provides the best opportunity for lasting sobriety. Although 30-day programs are popular for their convenience, they may not always be as effective as a long-term 90-day program.
Additionally, someone seeking addiction treatment for Lunesta addiction may choose to enroll in either inpatient or outpatient drug rehab. There are several differences between the two types of Lunesta treatment programs.
During inpatient Lunesta rehab, the client:
- Attends 12-step meetings
- Participates in alternative therapies such as music therapy or art therapy
- May be awarded passes to leave campus for the day or overnight
Ongoing Addiction Treatment Options for Lunesta Addiction
Because addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, ongoing sobriety is something that requires continuous effort, long after formal Lunesta treatment is over. Treatment to overcome Lunesta addiction may last for several months or years, depending on the severity of the addiction. However, sober living programs and aftercare programs are both designed to help men and women in addiction recovery achieve their sobriety goals.
Sober Living Programs
Sober living houses are referred to by many different names: transitional houses, halfway houses, and ¾ houses. All these terms are used interchangeably to describe recovery residences, or group homes, that are designed to help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety while they learn how to live independently.
After rehab, clients may choose to enroll in a sober living program, where they will receive recovery support services, such as:
- Random drug testing
- Personal monitoring programs
- Recovery programs
- Employment/volunteer/education assistance
- Peer support
These recovery support services are designed to help people in recovery make a smooth transition into a life of sobriety. Although the cost of sober living homes and programs varies greatly, they are typically much more affordable than an apartment or mortgage.
Aftercare programs are perfect for rehab alumni who need continued support as they transition into an independent lifestyle of sobriety. Aftercare consists of a series of weekly group meetings where clients meet with peers in recovery, discuss the challenges of early sobriety, and offer personal advice and wisdom. This type of program can also be used as a weekly check-in for people who have several months or years of sobriety under their belt.
Reclaim Your Life With Lunesta Detox
Lunesta addiction is a condition that can cause major health, social and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from addiction with professional and safe Lunesta detox. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 Inoue Y, Takaesu Y, Koebis M. Prevalence of and factors associated with acute withdrawal symptoms after 24 weeks of eszopiclone treatment in patients with chronic insomnia: a prospective, interventional study. BMC Psychiatry. 2021 Apr 14;21(1):193.