Ambien and Lunesta Abuse and Addiction
Here are Pomarri, we safely treat Ambien and Lunesta abuse on an outpatient basis. Here are some key facts about abuse of these drugs—and its associated dangers.
WHAT ARE AMBIEN AND LUNESTA?
Ambien is a brand name for zolpidem, while Lunesta is a brand name for eszopiclone. They are both prescription medications that belong to a class of drugs called sedative hypnotics. These drugs were developed as an alternative to benzodiazepines for treating acute insomnia. They decrease brain activity to produce feelings of calmness and help you fall asleep. Because sedative hypnotics are such powerful drugs, they can be highly addictive. For this reason, they are intended for short term use only.
HOW DO AMBIEN AND LUNESTA WORK?
Sedative hypnotics work by targeting certain neurotransmitters in the brain and suppressing the central nervous system. They act on GABA A receptors in the brain, which are responsible for reducing fear and anxiety. Overall, they have a strong sedative effect on the body. They tend to become less and less effective when taken for longer than a couple of weeks, which is one reason why they carry a high risk of abuse and addiction.
DANGERS OF AMBIEN AND LUNESTA ABUSE AND ADDICTION
Ambien and Lunesta are powerful sedatives, and therefore they are carefully regulated when prescribed, restricted only to short-term use. Abuse of either of these drugs carries with it a myriad of negative consequences, both physical and psychological.
When taken at normal doses under the prescribed conditions, Ambien and Lunesta can effectively relieve symptoms of acute insomnia. When taken at higher doses or for longer than the prescribed period, however, these medications can produce significant withdrawal symptoms, including stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, shakiness, tremors, flushing, nervousness, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, and rebound insomnia. Chronic abuse of these drugs can lead to liver or kidney damage, uncontrollable eye movements, eye irritation, ringing in the ears, muscle twitching, muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and more.
Psychological effects of chronic abuse include memory loss, amnesia, and even hallucinations and paranoia. Ultimately, Ambien or Lunesta abuse can lead to chronic psychological symptoms, or amplify existing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
One of the most common behavioral effects of Ambien or Lunesta addiction has to do with memory loss. Individuals may forget events while they are on the drug, or have periods of time that they cannot recall. Those who chronically abuse these powerful drugs might also begin to see decreased performance in school or work, or they may begin to fall short of home responsibilities. Some may even resort to illegal behavior such as forging prescriptions or robbing pharmacies in order to obtain more medication. Ambien or Lunesta addiction, just like any addiction, can also lead to financial strain, homelessness, job loss, damaged relationships, or divorce.