Sleep disorders are often overlooked, but for many, falling asleep each night is a battle. While some may complain about feeling groggy on occasion, those with chronic sleep disorders can suffer real consequences from their lack of sleep. Poor sleep can create various issues in life that range from health problems to poor cognitive functioning.
Despite how important sleep can be for the body, millions suffer from disorders each year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a third of adults in the United States do not get the recommended amount of sleep every night. Insomnia is one of the most common sleep problems, and it keeps many from achieving a restful slumber. Others may experience medical issues that cause them to wake up frequently throughout the night.
No matter how you spin it, sleep is essential. With sleeplessness being so common, it’s easy to understand why we seek chemical relief to facilitate sleep. The United States has used various chemical compounds and medicines to achieve restful nights. There are a variety of different medications that can help you get to sleep fast and stay asleep longer. One such remedy is known as Zimovane, which is a prescription sleep aid used short-term to treat insomnia.
Unfortunately, sleep medications boast a long history of side effects, including dependence and addiction. As you read on, we will go over some of the risks and potential harm that Zimovane use can cause.
Zimovane is the brand name for the drug zopiclone, which is sold as a prescription insomnia medication. It is classified as a Schedule IV drug, meaning it is only legal to have with a prescription from a doctor. It falls into a broader category of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. It shares this classification with other hypnotic medications and alcohol.
As a depressant, it works to slow the nervous system by increasing the efficacy of the neurotransmitter GABA. The naturally occurring chemical binds to GABA receptors, which are responsible for controlling the excitability in our nervous system. When it is activated, it will cause feelings of relaxation, a reduction in anxiety, and promote sleep.
Zimovane is known as a Z-drug, which has a high affinity for binding to specific neurotransmitters that promote sleep. Z-drugs work similarly to benzodiazepines, but they have a different chemical structure. They were created to have a lower addiction potential than benzos, but studies have suggested they are equally as likely to cause addiction.
Individuals can still abuse Zimovane for its effects. The effects can be euphoric and similar to alcohol. In some cases, dependency can occur when used as prescribed. Dependency develops much faster in our older population.
While addiction may be difficult to discover in its earliest stages, especially when a prescription drug is involved, knowing the signs when it does develop can be critical. The first sign of a substance use disorder is a growing tolerance. It may feel as though the drug is getting weaker, and a standard dose becomes less effective.
It happens because your brain is becoming tolerant of Zimovane’s effects. As the GABA binds to the receptors, the brain will start producing excitatory chemicals to balance the chemistry in your brain. To achieve your desired effect, it may require stronger or more frequent doses.
Dependency follows tolerance, and according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependence is when the body adapts to a drug and requires more of it to achieve a certain effect.
In addition, it will include drug-specific mental or physical symptoms if drug use is stopped abruptly (withdrawal).
Withdrawal symptoms are a clear indicator that you’ve become dependent on the drug. The following symptoms can indicate you’ve developed a chemical dependency.
Addiction is a chronic disease and has no cure. Fortunately, however, it is treatable with evidence-based care and long-term commitment to the recovery process. Addiction treatment consists of several levels of care that gradually descends in its level of intensity. The process is known as the continuum of care, and it starts with detoxification. It is crucial to attend a medical detox for drugs like Zimovane.
Detox is the highest level of care, which involves 24-hour around the clock care. It is medically necessary to commit yourself to medical care when it comes to a depressant medication. The side effects can be tragic. During your stay, medical professionals will help you wean off the drug through a tapering process. They will monitor your symptoms and treat you in case of any complications.
If you’ve become addicted to Zimovane, it’s imperative that you follow through with the continuum of care. A stint in a residential treatment or outpatient center will prepare you for the rigors you will experience once you get back into the real world.
Effective addiction treatment will address your needs and get to the root of what pushed you to start using. Evidence-based therapies will help you develop tools to help you overcome triggers and address all underlying issues. The therapist and clinicians will help you develop a relapse prevention plan.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, February 22). Sleep and Sleep Disorders. from https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/index.html
American Society of Addiction Medicine. (n.d.). What is the ASAM Criteria? from https://www.asam.org/resources/the-asam-criteria/about
Cimolai, N. (2007, December). Zopiclone: Is it a pharmacologic agent for abuse? from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2231551/
(2018, October 19). Prescription drug abuse. from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/symptoms-causes/syc-20376813
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 6). Prescription CNS Depressants from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants