Zopiclone is a prescription medication often used to treat insomnia. Though it is not a benzodiazepine, it is a sedative and a hypnotic that has shown similar effectiveness as benzos in treating insomnia. Use of this medication outside of its prescribed dosage can lead to a euphoric high that recreational users seek out. Because of this, Zopiclone has become another substance on the list of drugs that people abuse and become addicted to.
Symptoms of Zopiclone
When taken as prescribed, Zopiclone increases the activity of inhibitory GABA receptors in the brain. This causes a decrease in the time it takes a person to fall asleep and increases the total time that they are asleep, thus treating insomnia.
If abused, Zopiclone can cause significant cognitive impairment, intense feelings of euphoria, and a dreamlike state. Other symptoms of recreational abuse include:
- Dizziness or Drowsiness
- Falling asleep in the middle of a task, such as driving
- Broken Bones or Injuries
- Fatal Overdose
- Loss of Coordination
- Slurred Speech
- Cognitive Impairment
- Lack of Focus
Long-term complications of Zopiclone abuse include chest and heart problems, nightmares, amnesia, and increased bouts of depression. In some cases, abuse of this medication can lead to changes in brain chemistry that induce worsened insomnia and other mental health conditions as well.
Signs of Zopiclone Abuse
Because Zopiclone is a prescription medication, it can be somewhat difficult to tell if a person is abusing it or not. With that being said, there are some key signs of abuse that could indicate a problem. These signs include:
- Doctor Shopping – Users may switch doctors to try and receive a new supply of this medication. They may also claim that they need more of this medication despite the instructions given to them by their doctor.
- Stealing – When the person is no longer able to receive Zopiclone on their own, they may resort to stealing this medication from someone else who it is prescribed to. They may also see to buy Zopiclone from outside sources.
- Combining Zopiclone with alcohol or other drugs.
- Snorting or injecting the medication as opposed to taking it orally as recommended.
- Hiding their use of Zopiclone from friends and families.
- Being unable to stop taking the drug even if they want to.
- Participating in dangerous behaviors as a result of the increased Zopiclone use.
- Taking the medication outside of the bounds of what is normally recommended, meaning that instead of taking it at night they are taking multiple doses throughout the day.
In some cases, abuse of a substance can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms if that drug is not present in their system. Withdrawal can be painful or uncomfortable and is often what leads people to continue using a substance, even if they want to quit. People suffering from Zopiclone withdrawal may experience symptoms that are similar to those of benzodiazepines. People who abuse this drug may also experience sleep disturbances as Zopiclone often induces sleep.
Detoxing From Zopiclone
Because Zopiclone is so potent and has the ability to change a person’s brain chemistry, abusers may need to be detoxed from the substance in a controlled, medically-safe setting. This process differs for each person and depends on the specific amount taken and for how long. In general, the detoxification process for Zopiclone can last around two weeks, during which clients may experience symptoms such as:
- Increased Anxiety
- Mood Swings
- Depressed Mood
- Muscle Spasms
- Nausea or Vomiting
The best way to address these symptoms is to work with a medication-assisted treatment facility where doctors and other medical professionals will be able to prescribe the user with non-addictive medications that minimize these withdrawal symptoms. There are several FDA-approved medications that also address cravings which may be present as well.
Dangers of Zopiclone Abuse
The main concern for Zopiclone abusers is that they often take this drug during the day. Zopiclone is meant to be taken at night in order to induce sleeping for people who suffer from insomnia. If people are taking it during the day and then leaving the house to perform different activities such as driving or work, there is a very potential threat that they will fall asleep while in the midst of this activity. This is one reason why Zopiclone abusers are prone to injury.
Treating Zopiclone Addiction
In many cases, individuals who are addicted to Zopiclone will need to be detoxed before they can begin working with a treatment team. This is because of the often intense and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that may lead the person to take more of the substance in order to minimize their pain. With a medication-assisted treatment facility, users are able to stay under medical observation and take non-addictive medications in order to alleviate these symptoms. Clients are then better able to focus on their recovery journey having gotten through the withdrawal process as safely and quickly as possible.
One of the best treatment plans for Zopiclone abuse is to attend an inpatient rehab and work closely with a treatment team for a minimum of 30 days. Though there is no one way to get sober, and we would recommend staying in treatment for as long as you feel is right, this may not be the best financial option. Participating in a 30-day inpatient program can help to provide the client with the beginning steps of recovery that they can then apply to the outside world. Some of the more effective services include group therapy, CBT, and psychiatric medication.