As a prescription medication, the dangers of Zopiclone are often overlooked and underestimated. While it can help with insomnia and anxiety, it has been found that nearly 8% of the population has abused Z-drugs like Zopiclone. Misuse of this drug has the potential to lead to dependence and addiction – something that is very difficult to overcome without professional help.
Struggling with a Zopiclone addiction can be overwhelming, with constant cravings ruling over your life. If this is the case for you or someone you know, we can support you.
What makes Zopiclone addictive?
Zopiclone is a sedative-hypnotic medication that works by enhancing the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA is a chemical messenger that helps to regulate brain activity and plays a key role in promoting relaxation and sleep.
Zopiclone binds to GABA receptors in the brain, producing a sedative effect. This can help individuals who struggle with insomnia or anxiety-related disorders to fall asleep and feel more relaxed.
However, this same mechanism can also contribute to Zopiclone’s addictive potential. Continued use of the drug can lead to changes in the brain’s chemistry, including a decrease in its natural production of GABA. This can lead to physical and psychological dependence on the drug, meaning that you will need it just to function normally.
Tolerance can develop over time, meaning that you may need to take higher doses of Zopiclone to achieve the same effect. This can further increase the risk of Zopiclone addiction and overdose.
The path to Zopiclone addiction
There are two ways in which Zopiclone addiction usually develops: through prescription or recreational use.
Zopiclone addiction can begin innocently enough, with the majority having been prescribed Zopiclone by their doctor. Zopiclone addiction can develop if you take more of the drug than prescribed, more frequently than prescribed or for longer than prescribed.
Zopiclone is typically used for the short-term management of sleep disturbances and anxiety. It is not recommended to take Zopiclone for more than four weeks due to the onset of tolerance and dependency.
Taking Zopiclone recreationally, for the purpose of getting “high” or to ease the symptoms of a comedown, can also lead to Zopiclone addiction. Zopiclone’s relaxing and sedative effects can be appealing to many, but using the drug in this way can be incredibly risky, especially if you are taking it alongside other substances.
Zopiclone addiction: who is at risk?
While anyone can become addicted to Zopiclone, certain factors may increase your chances of developing an addiction. Some key factors to consider include:
- Genetic predisposition: if addiction runs in your family, you are more likely to develop an addiction to Zopiclone.
- Mental health issues: if you suffer from mental health issues, you may take Zopiclone as a way to self-medicate.
- Past trauma: if you have experienced traumatic events, you may take Zopiclone as a way to forget your past.
- Inability to cope with stress: you may develop Zopiclone addiction after using it to cope with any negative emotions.
- Using substances from an early age: using drugs or alcohol from an early age can increase your chances of developing an addiction later on.
Even if you fall into one of these categories, it is possible to take steps to prevent Zopiclone addiction from taking hold. If you are concerned about Zopiclone addiction, talk to your doctor or give our friendly team a call.
Am I addicted to Zopiclone?
It is very easy to hide Zopiclone addiction under the ruse of a medical need, making this type of addiction very difficult to spot. There are, however, some questions that you should ask yourself which may help to determine if your drug use has gotten out of control.
Take a moment to consider the following questions:
- Have I tried to stop taking Zopiclone, but found that I cannot?
- Do I take more Zopiclone than prescribed?
- Do I feel like my Zopiclone use is affecting my personal or professional life?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop taking Zopiclone?
- Do I continue to take Zopiclone despite experiencing negative consequences or side effects?
- Do I experience cravings or obsessive thoughts about Zopiclone?
- Do I attend multiple doctor appointments to try and get a prescription?
- Do I buy Zopiclone illegally, for example, purchasing online or from the streets?
- Have I engaged in dangerous or risky behaviour while under the influence of Zopiclone?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is likely that you are struggling with a Zopiclone addiction. If this is the case, it is important to seek professional help – Zopiclone addiction is a serious condition that requires treatment and support.
The impact of Zopiclone addiction
The misuse of Zopiclone can have a number of short and long-term implications to your health and well-being.
Some of the short-term side effects of Zopiclone include:
- Drowsiness and sedation
- Decreased cognitive function
- Increased risk of accidental injury
Some of the long-term side effects of Zopiclone include:
- Problems with memory
- Abdominal cramps
- Chronic flu-like symptoms
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pains
- Respiratory problems
- Damage to internal organs, including the liver
It is also common to experience “rebound” insomnia and anxiety as Zopiclone’s effectiveness begins to wear off. It is possible that the initial symptoms you were trying to treat will come back tenfold.
Spotting Zopiclone addiction in a loved one
Recognising Zopiclone addiction in a loved one can be incredibly tricky, especially if their Zopiclone use started out via a prescription. There are some signs that you can look out for, however, and these include:
- Changes in behaviour: your family member may become more withdrawn or isolated, or neglect their responsibilities in favour of using Zopiclone.
- Physical symptoms: Zopiclone addiction can cause physical symptoms such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech and impaired coordination.
- Mood changes: Addiction to Zopiclone can also lead to mood changes, such as increased irritability, anxiety or depression.
- Changes in sleep patterns: You may notice your loved one exhibit changes in their sleep patterns, such as sleeping for extended periods of time.
- Multiple doctor appointments: If your family member “doctor shops” or complains that they are unable to get a prescription for Zopiclone, it is possible that they have an addiction to the drug.
If you do suspect that someone you know has an addiction to Zopiclone, it is important to approach them with kindness and understanding, letting them know you will be there for them if and when they need support.
Is there treatment available for Zopiclone addiction?
Zopiclone addiction does not have to consume your whole life – Zopiclone rehab is available for anyone who feels like their drug use has taken over. Recovery Lighthouse offers a three-stage process that includes Zopiclone detox, therapy and aftercare.
Zopiclone detox focuses on physical healing as your body eliminates traces of the drug from its system. It is possible that you will experience some withdrawal symptoms during this initial stage of recovery, but our medical staff can help to make you comfortable.
Next, therapy addresses the psychological and emotional healing that needs to take place in order for you to fully recover. Our highly skilled therapist will help you to pinpoint the reasons for your Zopiclone addiction and find healthier coping strategies to take forward into your daily life.
Once you leave our facility, you will continue to receive support through our comprehensive aftercare programme. Weekly group therapy sessions will help you to stay on track and provide you with guidance and reassurance, even on difficult days.
If you are ready to leave Zopiclone addiction behind and say hello to a healthier and more productive life, get in contact with our admissions team today.