Rozerem Addiction and Abuse
An increasing number of Brits are looking for a quick-fix for anxiety and insomnia. Quality sleep is essential for happiness, optimum workplace performance, and improved mental and physical wellbeing. For those who aren’t getting sufficient sleep, they often turn to hypnotic medicine like rozerem to help them sleep better at night. The problem is that sleeping pills are meant for short-term use. Hence, self-medicating is abuse.
According to the NHS, you have insomnia if you find it hard to sleep, wake up frequently during the night, wake up early and can’t get back to sleep, feel tired when you wake up, and find it difficult to concentrate during the day because you didn’t get sufficient sleep.
An adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep a day and children need 9-13 hours. Insomnia is often a side-effect of most types of substance abuse, working night shifts, and mental health disorders such as depression and stress. Sleeping aids are short-term solutions to the underlying problem which can be uncovered by a therapist. A UK-wide study revealed that stress is the primary cause of insomnia and is most appropriately treated with psychotherapy.
What is Rozerem?
Rozerem is a brand name for Ramelteon, a hypnotic sleeping agent that binds to MT1 and MT2 receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain. This is what sets rozerem apart from other sleeping agents that bind to GABA neurotransmitters, such as Ambien. Rozerem is a recent innovation from Takeda Pharmaceuticals, who promise that the medicine can fight insomnia with a lower risk of addiction and overdose.
Rozerem improves sleep by working with your regular sleep schedule to regulate your body’s internal clock. When compared with other sleeping agents, it reduced the time between when you took the drug and started to sleep. A study of older adults found that rozerem also doesn’t impact mobility in the middle of the night, balance or memory, and it isn’t habit-forming if you follow your doctor’s prescription when taking it.
Before taking ramelteon, inform your prescribing doctor of any allergies or if you have severe liver disease. If you have a history of sleep apnea, bronchitis, or other breathing problems, inform your doctor of this also. When taking any sleeping agent, do not drink alcohol or smoke marijuana. These substances make you drowsy and might interact negatively with rozerem or worsen insomnia. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also be careful with this medicine.
Rozerem and Other Prescription Sleeping Pills
Sleeping aids, such as nonbenzodiazepines and benzodiazepines, target GABA receptors in the brain to increase sleep chemicals. Rozerem works by stimulating increased melatonin production in the brain, to get your biological clock ticking.
Usually, the circadian rhythm works along a 24-hour cycle to increase and decrease melatonin production in the brain. Disrupted sleep schedules equal disrupted melatonin production.
Most adults have a sleep-wake cycle that starts at 9 pm because this is the period when melatonin production increases and your eyes register that the day is over. For individuals battling insomnia, melatonin production is delayed, which elongates sleep latency and sleeping time. Rozerem stimulates your sleep cycle to work closer to the natural cycle of melatonin production.
Rozerem Interactions with Other Drugs
Drug interactions change how this medicine works, and increases the risk of overdose and dangerous side effects. Do not alter your original dose, or start or stop taking the medicine without informing your doctor. The most common interaction is with fluvoxamine, a medicine used to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Other medicines such as ketoconazole, rifampin and fluconazole affect the removal of rozerem from your body. Inform your doctor if you’re using any of these medicines:
- Antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin and Ofloxacin
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What is Rozerem Used For?
Rozerem is an FDA-approved medication for adults suffering from insomnia, especially a delayed onset of sleep. It doesn’t increase the amount of sleep you get or the onset of sleep but stabilizes your sleep-wake cycle. Sleep is important to your health, as lack of sleep leads to heart disease, depression, and accidents during the day. When you get sufficient sleep at night, your mind and body can repair itself better, and you have the energy to complete tasks during the day.
Causes of Rozerem Addiction
Most people who abuse prescription medication start out with a legitimate prescription from their doctor. Sleeping aids usually carry a lower risk of addiction, yet millions of people are addicted today to habit-forming medicines. Addiction starts when you build a tolerance to rozerem or continue to take it after your doctor has instructed you to quit the medicine.
Stress-related insomnia was blamed for the increase in prescriptions for sleeping aids, and the NHS spends £50 million annually on sleeping aids. Studies found that one-third of UK adults suffer insomnia and feel tired when they wake. Most of the stress stems from unemployment, depression, debt, anxiety, and worrying about the future.
You may have grown to enjoy the hypnotic effect of the pill and use it as a way to escape your problems. You might not realise you have an addiction until you experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit the substance.
Genetics: If you have a parent who abused substances, or struggled with alcohol use disorder, it increases your risk of abusing medication. You receive 46 chromosomes that contain thousands of genes from your parents and addiction may be one of those genes.
Mental Health Issues: Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and panic disorders might lead you to self-medicate with sleeping aids. It is important that you disclose all mental health issues to your doctor before receiving a prescription for rozerem.
Environmental Factors: Growing up in an environment where substance abuse was common increases your risk of turning to substance abuse when faced with difficult situations.
How addictive is Rozerem?
Clinical studies of rozerem didn’t find any evidence of tolerance and abuse when tested in patients who had a history of substance use disorder. Because of this, it is currently the only prescription medication that is not classified as a controlled substance by the DEA.
This might sound encouraging for those looking for a long-term sleeping aid but, in reality, all hypnotic-sedatives have a small addictive potential when taken as prescribed. Rozerem has a high affinity for MT1 and MT2 melatonin receptors and selectivity over MT3 receptors.
It is the activity in MT1 and MT2 that are involved in the circadian rhythm and promote regular sleep cycles. Rozerem’s major metabolite is M-II, that binds to both melatonin receptors, without affecting the activity of endogenous enzymes in the brain.
Methods of Using Rozerem
Rozerem is a synthetic substitute for melatonin, working to regulate your circadian rhythm. It is taken orally, 30 minutes before bedtime, according to your doctor’s prescription. Avoid fatty meals when taking rozerem and do not break the tablet.
When prescribed by a doctor, rozerem tablets are taken orally, with or without food, before bed. Recreational users abuse rozerem by taking higher doses, increasing frequency of use, chewing, or crushing the pill to snort or smoke. You also abuse prescription medication by combining it with alcohol, depressants, and addictive substances
Spotting Rozerem Abuse
Most substances share the same warning signs of addiction. For sleeping pills, they include;
- Slurred speech
- Unsteady gait
- Inability to focus
- Uncoordinated movement
- Dry mouth
- Temporary memory loss
- Daytime drowsiness
- Needle marks and bruising on the arms and other parts of the body if you inject the substance
- Drifting in and out of sleep
- Feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and irritability when the effect of the substance wear off
- Hiding substance abuse
- Finding pill bottles around the home or office
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Rozerem Abuse Signs and Symptoms
It can be dangerous to abuse sleeping aids as these as substances can create emotional, social, physical and behavioural problems. When abuse develops to the stage of addiction, you lose control over your drug habits and increase the risk of overdose. As rozerem has a low potential for abuse, the symptoms will be the same with general warning signs of substance abuse. They include:
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to quit the drug
- Experiencing financial woes because you’re financing your drug habits with all your savings. You might even be tempted to steal from your workplace, friends or family
- Poor judgment when you’re under the influence of drugs. This includes risky behaviour, getting into fights, lying, sharing needles, and engaging in unsafe sex
- Refusing to spend time with loved ones in favour of staying home to use drugs
- Isolating yourself and spending all your time indoors
- Displaying violent behaviour, mood swings, and becoming angry or irritable when you can’t access drugs
- Building new friendships with your drug dealer and other recreational users
- Developing physical dependence to rozerem as you grow accustomed to the presence of it in your body
- Cravings for drugs as the addiction worsens
- Building tolerance when you take the drug longer than originally prescribed
Health Risks from Rozerem Addiction
You might take rozerem to feel a buzz or to regulate your sleep cycle, but over time it could become addictive if you take it for longer periods or abuse the drug in any way. Sleeping pills slow the central nervous system that controls all bodily functions. If you mix rozerem with alcohol, it could stop your breathing.
Scientists haven’t fully studied the effect of rozerem on unborn babies or pregnant mothers, but sleeping pills might affect the foetus or put the baby’s life at risk. Some babies are born with a cleft palate, heart abnormalities, and spinal cord deformities because of mothers who abused prescription pills.
One of the greatest risks is in mixing rozerem with alcohol. It may lead to cardiac arrest, memory impairment, laboured breathing, sleepwalking, and impaired motor functions. Both substances are CNS depressants that rapidly reduce breathing rates to unhealthily low levels.
Medication is not the answer to insomnia. Even sleeping pills with the lowest risk of abuse are habit forming and could have an adverse effect on your health. For rozerem, these include, allergic reactions (swelling of tongue and throat), worsening symptoms of suicidal ideation, depression, lower testosterone levels, and higher prolactin levels. Behavioural therapies should be the first line of action in treating insomnia.
Short-Term Effects of Rozerem Abuse
Currently, rozerem remains fairly safe and the only sleeping aid not listed as a controlled substance. The short-term effects might include:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Memory problems
- Mood changes
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of the throat and tongue
- Loss of interest in sexual activity
- Fertility problems
- Milky discharge from nipples
Long-term Effect of Rozerem
The long-term effect has not been properly studied due to the novelty of the drug on the market. However, do not use this medication for long periods because of desensitivity concerns. Your body adapts to the synthetic activation of melatonin by rozerem, which leads to a decreased production in natural melatonin, reducing the receptors that the melatonin agonists bind to in the brain.
The most comprehensive study of the long-term effect of nonbenzodiazepine use revealed that they are safe to use up to 12 months without any visible signs of rebound insomnia or tolerance. In one case, serious side effects included disorientation, delirium, psychosis, depression, anxiety and obsessive ideas. The effect of long-term abuse is most likely to occur if you have a history of substance use disorder, alcoholism, and/or mental health issues.
Abusing sleeping aids leads to liver damage. Rozerem is metabolized by the liver and abnormal liver function is an infrequent side effect of most nonbenzodiazepines. This mostly happens when you combine rozerem with alcohol.
Acute insomnia can sometimes last for months and even years when left untreated. Millions of British people battle insomnia, and the money the NHS spends to subsidise sleeping pill medications is proof of the severity of the problem. If you have chronic insomnia, it increases the risk of experiencing heart disease, depression and accidental injury. Hypnotics slow functions in the central nervous system to help you sleep, but they could also cause problems if you use them for too long.
A common occurrence is to self-medicate insomnia with alcohol, or combine rozerem with other insomnia medications. Alcohol makes you think that you sleep better under its influence, but it actually disrupts natural sleep patterns. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that alcohol interferes with the phase where your body gets restorative sleep and contributes to the risk of experiencing a dual diagnosis of alcohol use disorder and insomnia disorder.
Alcohol is also the common sleeping aid of choice among alcoholic insomniacs. So, the disrupted sleep patterns could lead to a relapse during recovery when you find it difficult to sleep.
Who is at Risk for Rozerem Addiction?
Insomnia is a symptom of a deep underlying problem that has been left untreated. It might be a psychiatric problem such as chronic stress, anxiety, panic disorder, a medical illness or a reaction to a medicine you’re taking.
Risk factors include anything that increases the chances of developing dependence or addiction to a substance. Individuals who are at risk for rozerem addiction include:
Recovering Addicts: Rozerem is commonly prescribed for recovering addicts because of the low potential for abuse. While it’s not habit-forming, its classification as a sleeping aid shows that the drug could lead to dependence if abused.
Alcoholics: If you’ve abused alcohol in the past, you have an increased potential to abuse sleeping agents.
Individuals with Mental Conditions: If you have a mental condition like ADHD, depression and/or anxiety, you have a higher risk of becoming addicted to sleeping pills.
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Teen Rozerem Abuse and Addiction
A teenager requires more sleep than an adult because their brains are still developing. Teens who have a prescription for sleeping aids are 12 times more likely to abuse them than when they don’t have a prescription. A study at the University of Michigan School of Nursing found that almost 9% of participants in a study had received sleeping pills or anxiety medication at least once in their life.
Causes of teen insomnia include sleep disorders, stress, anxiety, poor habits, lack of guidance, changes associated with moving, and assertion of independence. It is important that treatment addresses all symptoms that might have caused insomnia, to properly treat the underlying problem.
The first line of treatment is usually sleeping hygiene. This includes a no-caffeine or sugar diet, maintaining regular bedtimes, no TV, computer games or eating before bed, regular exercise, and a specific diet. For most teenagers, applying a sleep hygiene regime suffices, but, if there are deeply rooted issues such as trauma or chronic stress, aggressive therapy techniques will also need to be incorporated.
Cost of Rozerem Addiction
Substance abuse is a dangerous and expensive habit to maintain. In the United States, it costs Americans roughly $48 billion per year and roughly £21 billion in the UK. The most personal financial strain is the individual cost of addiction that includes mental, spiritual, physical and emotional cost. The cost extends to affecting loved ones and the workplace. As your addiction worsens, you become unable to control your expenses or drug habit.
The long-term cost of your physical and mental health is also devastating. Rozerem addiction is more severe when combined with alcohol and other substances. Over time, you may become reckless and risk lung disease, liver damage, cancer, and transmittable diseases.
Treatment costs money, but it’s the best investment you’ll ever make because it helps to reverse the harm caused by addiction. Every £1 spent on treatment is £5 saved in the cost of health services. You’ll learn to live an abstinent life, repair broken relationships, and learn natural ways of relieving stress.
The Effects of Rozerem Abuse on the Brain and Body
Rozerem binds to MT1 and MT2 receptors in the brain. Other sleeping agents bind to MT3 receptors to induce sleep. It is the activities in the melatonin receptors that allows rozerem to regulate the sleep cycle. By tapping into the biological clock of your brain, Rozerem quickly induces restfulness. A study of individuals who have a history of substance use disorder found that rozerem is not habit forming and it’s more effective than placebo.
However, it carries the risk of increased prolactin production in women. This stems from psychological issues such as loss of libido, difficulties while having sex and unexpected lactation. Men experience lower testosterone levels, linked to erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Sleeping aids that exhibit habit-forming behaviour usually have a schedule IV classification but rozerem is one of the few hypnotic medications without a classification. This has been credited to its low potential for abuse.
Rozerem Overdose Explained
Due to the low potential for abuse, overdose is highly unlikely, except if you’re mixing the medicine with other substances or alcohol. The effect varies across individuals depending on the dose taken and the substances abused.
Clinical studies prior to rozerem’s approval showed that there was no serious side effect when doses of 160 mg were administered. Few cases of overdose have been reported but, if it occurs, there are medications for treating the patient. Alternatively, healthcare officials can pump your stomach to remove rozerem from your body.
What to Do If You Need Help Quitting
Deciding to quit substance abuse is a difficult decision to make. Admitting that you need help is the first step in treatment. Getting sober is a process that takes time and you might struggle with triggers and relapse during your recovery journey. There are rehab centres that will help you detox from rozerem, identify potential triggers and treat all issues that might impact your treatment outcome.
These programmes also provide aftercare services, such as maintenance medication, therapy, relapse prevention planning and support groups. As a recovering addict, you need structure to help you maintain abstinence, and this is what you’ll get from an inpatient program. There are free addiction helplines in the UK that provide online support. Drug counsellors will advise you on the right treatment and help you find a support group where you’ll get help for your addiction.
A slow tapering is recommended as the best option for rozerem withdrawal. Doctors gradually reduce your regular intake of rozerem until the drug has completely left your system. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sore mouth
- Suicidal ideation
- Heavy limbs
- Blurred vision
- Panic attacks
- Increased sensitivity to light
Withdrawal symptoms for most short-acting non-benzodiazepines usually take 3-5 days. For individuals who abused other substances, or have a history of mental health issues, detox might extend up to two weeks.
Rozerem Addiction Treatment
Options for treatment include inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment. Residential treatment programmes are more structured and highly regimented. You’re required to live in an inpatient facility where you’ll stay for the duration of treatment.
Outpatient treatment is recommended for highly-functioning addicts who have a strong support system. Treatment includes education, support groups, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, relapse prevention planning, and aftercare.
Therapy for Rozerem Addiction
The most effective therapy for treating insomnia is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It is an effective therapy technique for treating sleep disorders and stress-induced insomnia. During the sessions, your therapist helps you identify all negative thought patterns that lead to insomnia and change them for positive thoughts and emotions. Your therapist might ask you to keep a sleep diary for a few weeks to track your sleeping habits and access efficacy of treatment.
Rozerem Addiction Statistics
- 21% of individuals who abuse sleeping pills have thought of taking their own lives.
- Roughly nine million Americans require sleeping pills to sleep at night.
- Rozerem is the only sleeping pill that doesn’t have a classification by the DEA.
- Rozerem is more expensive than other sleeping agents.
- It is, so far, the most effective sleeping agent, and has the least abuse potential.
What is Rozerem Dependence?
Dependence to any substance occurs when you’ve built a tolerance for the drug and your body can only function with the drug coursing through it. For sleeping agents, dependence takes a long time to happen because of the low risk of abuse and habit-forming potential.
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