Lunesta Symptoms and Warning Signs

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

Last updated on July 22nd, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Insomnia is a sleep disorder affecting about 35% of the population. Many people struggle with sleeplessness at times throughout their lives. But insomnia is a more severe disorder. 

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

A person with chronic insomnia has a hard time with concentration and focus. Poor memory, mood disturbances, and daytime sleepiness are symptoms of insomnia. 

Many people turn to sleep aids for help with insomnia. Lunesta is one such aid. But sleep aids are sometimes misused and even abused. And Lunesta can be addictive. 

Read on to learn about Lunesta symptoms and warning signs of addiction. 

Symptoms of Addiction to Lunesta

Lunesta is the brand name for eszopiclone. It’s a central nervous system (CNS) depressant used in the treatment of severe insomnia.

Lunesta is a potent sedative-hypnotic not intended for long-term use. Most doctors won’t prescribe it for long periods due to its addictive nature. The drug comes in 1, 2, and 3-mg tablets.

When taken for long periods of time, the patient can develop a tolerance to the drug. When that happens, he’ll need a higher dose of Lunesta for the same effect. 

There are also potential side effects with the drug. Some of these are: 

  • Dizziness
  • Feeling “hungover” the next day
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Day-time drowsiness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Nervousness
  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Skin rash

Prolonged insomnia leads to physical and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. It also causes daytime fatigue. Fear of lack of sleep can lead some people into abuse of Lunesta. 

Some people abuse Lunesta by fighting the urge to sleep after taking the drug. This produces a euphoric and hallucinogenic effect. 

Symptoms of Lunesta addiction include:

  • Increasing dosage without consulting the doctor
  • Fear for the quality of life without the drug
  • Putting off stopping the drug
  • Mixing Lunesta with other drugs for a more potent sedative effect
  • Taking the drug after the prescription expires
  • Drug cravings
  • Using the drug for euphoric effects

The fear of insomnia is so strong, it makes recovery from Lunesta addiction difficult. But professional detox centers can help. 

Warning Signs a Loved One May Be Abusing Lunesta

Lunesta abuse is dangerous. Some signs of abuse include using the pill for a purpose other than treating insomnia. 

If someone takes more than the doctor-recommended dose, that’s a sign of Lunesta abuse. Some people crush the pills into a powder so they can snort it. That’s a sure sign of drug abuse.

Others find Lunesta on the Internet where they can sometimes buy it without a prescription. 

All these signs mean your loved one needs help. Abuse of Lunesta can lead to an overdose and even death. It’s especially harmful if someone is mixing alcohol with Lunesta.

Abuse of Lunesta is different from physical dependence and increased tolerance. If a loved one is abusing the drug, they’re using it for something other than its intended purpose. 

Addiction is a disease with underlying psychosocial, environmental, and genetic factors. Behaviors include the inability to control drug use. With addiction, a person uses despite the harm he’s inflicting on his body.

Is my child using Lunesta?

Lunesta is not FDA-approved for children under 18. Some doctors prescribe it for children. This is “off-label” use of the drug. If your pediatrician prescribes Lunesta for your child, understand all the risks. 

Some signs of Lunesta abuse in your child:

  • Secretive behavior and lying
  • Mood changes and disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Unexplained confusion
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you suspect your child is abusing Lunesta, get professional help. Don’t force your child off the drug. If your child is using Lunesta, he’ll need a doctor’s supervision when coming off the drug. 

Is my parent using Lunesta?

Do you have an elderly parent you suspect of abusing Lunesta? Many older people experience insomnia as they age. It’s not unusual for a doctor to prescribe Lunesta for an adult with insomnia. 

Some people are afraid that without the drug they won’t sleep. But most doctors only prescribe the drug for short periods of time. After the prescription runs out, some patients take matters into their own hands.

If you suspect Lunesta abuse in a parent, look for the following signs:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Different sleeping patterns
  • Confusion
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • High blood pressure
  • Drastic weight changes
  • Intervention for Lunesta Abuse

If packages are coming from India or Canada, a parent might be ordering Lunesta from an online pharmacy. These pharmacies are sometimes lax about requiring prescriptions. 

Adults and children need physician supervision when detoxing from Lunesta. A person should not give up the drug in one day. Going off the drug “cold turkey” is dangerous. 

Intervention for Lunesta Abuse 

Are you concerned about a loved one? Have you seen Lunesta symptoms and warning signs of abuse or addiction?  If it’s time to intervene, do it the right way. 

Gather friends, family, and an intervention specialist. This should only include family and friends on good terms with the addict.

Each person presents examples of your loved one’s worrisome or destructive behavior. The intervention is only about convincing the addict that he needs help.

Meet with everyone involved first. This is a scripted gathering. Everyone should know their part. The intervention specialist is someone who doesn’t know the addict well. He’s a specialist who’s objective, and he’ll run the intervention. 

Rehearse the intervention a couple of times before confronting the addict. An intervention is an emotional event. But keep your emotions in check. Don’t deviate from the script. 

If possible, confront the Lunesta addict after a dangerous event, such as extreme sleepwalking while on the drug. 

Your loved one may deny everything or he may get angry and even violent. Be ready for almost anything. Don’t lose your temper. Stay calm no matter what gets said. 

You’ll offer your loved one a specific plan for dealing with the addiction. It may take several interventions before your loved one agrees to the plan. 

The best time for a Lunesta intervention is when the drug has worn off. This might be mid-morning. 

If all goes well, the addict will agree to the treatment plan. If not, you’ll need another intervention. 

Do you need help with a loved one’s Lunesta addiction? Let our intervention specialists help you.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.