Sleep–how many of us get the desired amount? If you answered “not me,” you probably fall in line with the 70 million others experiencing the same issues.
If you follow the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, you’ll know that adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for the best health and wellbeing.
Short sleep duration is defined as less than seven hours of sleep per 24-hour period. In addition to poor sleep, 1,550 fatalities are reported each year as a result of sleeplessness, and another 40,000 occur annually in the United States.
According to the American Sleep Association, 100,000 deaths occur each year in U.S. hospitals as a result of medical error due to sleep deprivation. What’s startling about this statistic is the rigorous number of hours medical professionals are expected to work. Starting in residency, they often work several full days in a row without sleep. This dangerous combination can only contribute to the significant number of deaths.
Over the course of a century, medications have been designed to treat these ailments. While it may not pertain entirely to exhausted doctors, there is a large section of society that is unable to fall asleep.
Many reasons factor into this. Medicines known as barbiturates were the original sleep medicines, but they were too addictive to continue administering to patients. Scientists moved into a new era and began using benzodiazepines, but these also have stirred controversy.
Due to the high probability of dependence and adverse reactions, we have searched for less addictive options. The popularity of non-benzodiazepines, such as Lunesta, have saturated the market. Those with sleep problems have been flocking to these medications to alleviate their symptoms of sleeplessness. Unfortunately, these non-benzodiazepine alternatives still cause their share of issues.
Lunesta, which is known as a Z-drug, has been causing controversy in its own right. A study released in 2012 viewed the efficacy of Z-drugs for use as a hypnotic drug, and their results yielded they are slightly more effective than placebo. In addition to this, while the risk of developing a dependence on the drug is significantly lower than benzos, it can still be addictive if abused.
Lunesta is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which shares that ranking with benzos, barbiturates, and alcohol. Depressant drugs work by increasing the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for reducing stress, anxiety, and helping the body transition into a restful state of sleep. Those with sleep disorders typically have an imbalance of the chemical, and that is corrected by taking a medication such as Lunesta.
Lunesta and other drugs can also be responsible for exaggerating GABA imbalances and making them worse. The brain begins to rely too heavily on production from the pill, and you’ll soon need Lunesta to function normally or fall asleep.
Stopping the drug suddenly can result in your brain to go into overdrive to fix the lack of GABA. While this can be dangerous, it can lead to a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms that include an intense craving for Lunesta.
Once you become addicted to a substance, the reward center in your brain will learn to crave it.
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Lunesta withdrawal symptoms will vary due to several factors, one of which is the length of time someone has used the drug. The reason for this is because it impacts your level of dependence, and the longer you have abused the drug, the more the body relies on it for normal functioning.
The dosage your body adjusts to will also affect this timeline. Lunesta produces mild effects, and many people will feel the urge to consume higher doses to increase its effectiveness. Unfortunately, higher doses lead to a stronger dependence. Lastly, the amount you took in your final dose will also affect the length of time before withdrawal symptoms will appear.
Lunesta has a short half-life of six hours, and withdrawal symptoms can appear sooner than benzo drugs. It will take around 12 hours after the last dose before any symptoms can show up, and these can last up to two weeks.
If you’ve attempted to stop using Lunesta on your own but failed due to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, you may have developed a dependence. Z-drugs are not as addictive and do not boast the same side effects as benzos, but they can still contribute to an uncomfortable withdrawal period.
You don’t have to go through these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms on your own.
Medical detoxification is a beneficial channel to get off Lunesta safely. The method in which it works is by using techniques to alleviate pain and discomfort, and by providing structure to avoid relapse.
One of the common withdrawal symptoms is a drug craving, and stopping on your own makes it even more challenging to fight that off. Medical detox holds you accountable and helps you avoid using drugs to start over.
Detox is just a lone portion in the continuum of care, and those who are addicted to a drug must learn how to live life again once the drug has left the system. While the brain is adjusting to its new state, it’s common to have continued cravings. Relapse prevention is the safest method to protect your sobriety.
After detox, clinicians will assist you in finding the best treatment option. They will thoroughly assess your needs and situation and place you in a position where you will succeed. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most successful treatment option will last 90 days or longer. The treatment must take into account all individual needs rather than being placed in a generic treatment program. Treatment must be tailored to your needs.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). How long does drug addiction treatment usually last? Retrieved from from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-long-does-drug-addiction-treatment
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 from from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544552/
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Commissioner, O. O. (n.d.). Taking Z-drugs for Insomnia? Know the Risks. Retrieved from from from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/taking-z-drugs-insomnia-know-risks
Sleep Statistics – Data About Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from from from https://www.sleepassociation.org/about-sleep/sleep-statistics/
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data and Statistics – Sleep and Sleep Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from from from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html