Is Zopiclone Addictive?

Is Zopiclone Addictive?

The subject of sleeping pills has frequently surfaced in recent news, consistently highlighting one particular type – and that’s a medication called Zopiclone.

Whether you’re currently using Zoplicone or are considering the medication, this article will tell you everything you need to know about this sleep medication, including what it is, the benefits, the risks, and whether there is the potential to develop Zopiclone addiction.


What Is Zopiclone?

Zopiclone is a type of sleeping pill tablet that’s commonly prescribed to treat insomnia. It’s a class C controlled substance here in the UK, which means that it’s not an offence in itself to have them in your possession for personal use, but an intent to distribute could mean an unlimited fine and/or being sentenced to time in prison.

This type of medication is a central nervous system depressant, and it belongs to a class of medications known as non-benzodiazepine hypnotics – typically offering a short-term solution for sleep problems.

Zopiclone can help people relax and sleep better. It is different from other sleep medicines because it’s less likely to cause addiction or side effects, which makes it a popular option for both doctors and patients.

However, it’s worth noting that substance abuse and Zopiclone addiction are still a risk with this type of medication. For this reason, it’s usually suggested to use it for a short time (typically just a few weeks) to avoid the risk of becoming addicted, experiencing withdrawal symptoms or other problems.


How Does Zopiclone Work?

Zopiclone’s primary use is for the treatment of insomnia, including difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early.

This medicine essentially increases the effectiveness of a specific chemical in the brain, known as gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA.

This chemical regulates brain activity by suppressing certain brain signals, which helps to calm the nervous system. By enhancing the action of GABA, Zopiclone can also reduce feelings of anxiety, making it easier for individuals to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

So, in other words – it shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and keeps you asleep for longer, which provides significant relief for individuals suffering from sleep disorders.

For some people, Zopiclone has been described to also help with an improved sense of well-being, day-to-day functioning, and disturbed sleep patterns (e.g. someone who doesn’t have a problem with falling asleep but experiences waking up numerous times throughout the night).


Is Zopiclone Addictive?

It can be, yes. That’s why Zopiclone is designed for short-term use to minimise the risk of addiction.

For an addiction to form, it often involves a combination of psychological and physical factors, and Zopiclone, like other sleep medicines, can lead to dependency if used inappropriately.

The risk of addiction increases with prolonged use. Higher prescriptions and individuals with a history of substance abuse or addictive behaviours are also more at risk.


What Makes Zopiclone Addictive?

See below for the main reasons why Zopiclone can be addictive:

  • Brain Dependency: Your brain can start to rely on Zopiclone to relax and sleep. This can feel like it’s impossible to fall asleep naturally anymore. This would be a key indicator that a physical dependency has developed.
  • Overall Tolerance: Your body can get used to the effects of Zopiclone quickly, meaning you might need to take more of it to get the same effect. This need for increased usage can lead to addiction.
  • Zopiclone Withdrawal Symptoms: If someone who has been prescribed Zopiclone just stops using it, there’s a high chance that they can experience typical Zopiclone withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, or difficulty sleeping. This discomfort can make a person want to start taking the medication again.
  • Psychological Dependence: As well as physical dependence, people can also develop a psychological dependence on Zopiclone. This is when they truly believe they need the medication to sleep, which increases the risk of an addiction developing.


How Does Zopiclone Addiction Develop?

Zopiclone addiction can develop when the medication is taken frequently and over the recommended duration, at higher doses – or for purposes other than prescribed.

At the start, the body can develop a simple tolerance to the medication, meaning that the person may require a higher dose to achieve the same sedative effects. The problem is that, over time, this can evolve into a full physical dependence, where the body experiences withdrawal symptoms without any more Zopiclone.

As highlighted earlier in this article, it’s also possible for a psychological dependence to occur. This is characterised by the belief that one cannot sleep without taking Zopiclone beforehand.

Research indicates that Zopiclone can also induce feelings of euphoria. This euphoric sensation is typically experienced when a person resists the medication’s primary effect, which is to encourage deep sleep. Chasing this sense of pure elation can also lead someone to become addicted to Zopiclone.

Common signs of addiction include (but are not limited to) a preoccupation with obtaining and using the drug, neglect of responsibilities, and continued use despite the negative consequences.


How to Use Zopiclone Safely

To use Zopiclone safely, individuals need to adhere strictly to the prescribed dosage and duration. It’s designed for short-term treatment of severe insomnia only, usually not longer than 2-4 weeks.

Incorporating good sleep practices, such as trying to maintain a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bedtime, and creating a comfortable sleep environment, is also a worthwhile practice to consider.

Additionally, never increase the dose without medical advice, and gradually coming off the medication under professional guidance can help prevent withdrawal symptoms from happening and rebound insomnia.

If you have any concerns about the possibility of developing a prescription drug addiction whatsoever, speak to your GP before agreeing to the prescription.


What Does Zopiclone Addiction Treatment Involve?

If someone has developed a physical and psychological dependence on Zopiclone and is struggling to cope, a comprehensive approach is often seen as the most beneficial route to take.

Treatment for Zopiclone addiction typically starts with gradually decreasing the dosage of the medication to minimise withdrawal symptoms. A GP may also recommend alternative treatments for insomnia, including cognitive-behavioural therapy, which has proven effective in addressing the underlying causes of sleep disorders without medication.

It’s also really important to talk about what’s going on. This can mean attending support groups (or group therapy sessions) which are designed to help people talk through their experiences with others who have shared similar experiences.

If none of the above helps and they are still unable to stop using Zopiclone, getting help in a place where they can stay and focus on getting better can be a good choice. The key to recovery is a personalised treatment plan that addresses both the serious physical symptoms and psychological aspects of addiction, with ongoing support to prevent relapse.


Find Help for Zopiclone Addiction Today

Zopiclone is a valuable tool for treating insomnia, but like any medication, it comes with risks. If you or a loved one has become addicted to zopiclone, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

Through a guided Zopiclone detox and comprehensive, personalised treatment programme, we can help you overcome this dependency and achieve lasting recovery. Call us today on 0800 001 4070 for more information on how we can help.