Sonata Addiction

Sleep is the most restorative function in life. The quest to obtain a healthy dose of it eludes tens of millions every year. Sleep deprivation impacts people from every walk of life, from family members and friends to work colleagues and neighbors. They simply cannot fall or stay asleep.

What results is diminished productivity, burgeoning health complications, and a proneness to accident and injury. In effect, sleep deficiency, and the various disorders that provoke it, is a full-scale, public health crisis.

Consequently, millions have turned to prescription sleep aids like Sonata for relief. The popular prescription falls under a class of drugs thought to be safer than CNS depressant medicines like benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Americans are paying heavily for prescription medicines to help them sleep to the tune of $1.4 billion in 2017.

They are also paying for it in other ways by developing a dependency and addiction to them. They take prescription sleep medications for longer than necessary, at higher doses, or to recreationally experience their sedative effects. They even participate in polysubstance abuse by taking Sonata and other medicines with alcohol and painkillers.

The consequences from a lack of sleep often result in health complications such as having an increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. Yet, by misusing or abusing Sonata, people put themselves at risk for coma, organ damage, and even death.     



How Does Sonata Work?

Sonata is a brand name for zaleplon and is used to treat insomnia. It is a “Z-drug” that operates like benzodiazepines in that it activates the gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, the naturally occurring chemicals in the central nervous system that inhibit nerve impulses. By activating the GABA receptors, Sonata essentially blocks feelings of anxiety and stress and produces sedation in the user.   

Sonata does differ from benzos in that it specifically targets certain GABA receptors while benzos bind with all of them.

What Are the Signs of Sonata Addiction?

Because Sonata is prescribed by a doctor, it has the veneer of being a “safe” drug, even though it is habit-forming and carries a high potential for abuse. A Sonata addiction is insidious in how it blooms in a user.


Because people seek out the drug for a good night’s sleep, they may become dependent when they find that it works.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), dependence “occurs because the body naturally adapts to regular exposure to a substance.” So much so that when that substance is taken away, withdrawal symptoms begin to show. Those symptoms can include mild signs such as sweating, unpleasant feelings, stomach and muscle cramps. They can also present serious effects such as vomiting, sweating, shakiness, and rarely, seizures.

Someone will reuse Sonata to alleviate those symptoms and find themselves in a cycle of addiction. It becomes apparent that dependency morphs into addiction when a user abuses Sonata in the midst of adverse consequences.

Those warning signs of addiction include:

  • Displaying an increased tolerance
  • Consuming larger doses of Sonata than prescribed
  • Feeling unable to function without Sonata
  • Being unable to quit despite multiple tries
  • “Doctor shopping” to obtain more Sonata
  • Taking Sonata without a prescription
  • Stealing money, valuables to obtain Sonata
  • Rationalizing behavior to justify use
  • Neglecting family, work or school responsibilities
  • Lying about substance use

Long-term health complications that come with a Sonata addiction include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired coordination
  • Periods of confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Chronic exhaustion
  • Frequent headaches
  • Feelings of numbness or pins and needles

If you believe that you or a loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms or behaviors in regard to Sonata use, it is vital to consider professional addiction treatment. Identifying addictive signs and seeking treatment is the key to avoiding life-threatening circumstances.

What Is Involved in Sonata Addiction Treatment?

The risk of addiction with so-called “Z-drugs” is inherently low. Among those class of medications, Sonata falls even lower in the scope of drug abuse. Nevertheless, it can still be habit-forming and produce uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms a’la benzodiazepines.

That’s why it is important to seek professional addiction treatment. When you attempt to quit on your own, you could suffer deadly symptoms like hallucinations, suicidal behavior, convulsions, and rebound anxiety and insomnia.

The first step toward a successful recovery begins with medical detoxification. In detox, a team of experienced medical professionals will administer medications to ease your withdrawal symptoms. You will receive round-the-clock care to ensure your safety and comfort. Once you are tapered off Sonata, the next step is ongoing care in a recovery treatment program.

There are two types of recovery treatment programs, residential and outpatient treatment. In residential treatment, you will stay at a facility and receive therapy and counseling. In outpatient treatment, you can continue with your daily life while participating in a recovery program.

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The goal for both programs is to help you get to the root of your Sonata addiction while equipping you with strategies to maintain your sobriety.

Residential treatment is highly recommended in cases where Sonata is being used with another substance like alcohol or drugs, which is referred to as polysubstance abuse. Residential treatment typically lasts 30 to 90 days, but during your stay you can access the following treatment modalities:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Group and family therapy
  • Life skills training  

If it is determined that outpatient treatment is your best course toward recovery, you can take advantage of any one of three programs depending on how many hours a week you spend in therapy. Those include:

  • Partial hospitalization programs – 20 or more hours per week
  • Intensive outpatient programs – Nine or more hours per week
  • Outpatient programs – fewer than nine hours per week

The main thing is that our team will tailor a program to your specific needs while helping you chart out your aftercare and recovery once you have completed your treatment program.

How Dangerous Is Sonata?

Due to its extremely short half-life, Sonata does not stay in your body as long as other sleep medications. Therefore, it does not impair a user the next day as much other drugs. However, that attribute can cause someone to take Sonata in high doses, which ultimately leads to overdose.

When an overdose is not immediately treated, it can lead to organ damage, coma, or even death due to suffocation. If you witness someone overdosing on Sonata or any other substance, immediately call 9-1-1 to avoid severe long-term side effects.

Common overdose symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Tremors
  • An inability to remain awake
  • Unresponsiveness

People who have succumbed to the hypnotic properties of Sonata have participated in activities they could not remember the next morning such as:

  • Driving a car (“sleep-driving”)
  • Making and eating food
  • Talking on the phone
  • Having sex
  • Sleepwalking

The hypnotic effects are more pronounced when a user takes Sonata with alcohol or other drugs. Seniors are especially vulnerable to falls and bone fractures while under the influence of Sonata.

Sonata Abuse Statistics

  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 4% of adults in the United States — or 8.6 million — reported taking prescription sleeping aids.
  • According to this study, 31% of respondents used Z-drugs and benzodiazepines to get high.
  • An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder.
  • In this New York Times article, a doctor estimates that between 8% and 35% of people older than age 65 around the world take sleeping pills, including Sonata.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

You do not have to fight your Sonata addiction on your own. At Serenity at Summit, we offer a range of treatment options and resources to help you achieve sobriety and live a fulfilling, hope-filled life.

Call (844) 326-4514 anytime, day or evening, for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable addiction recovery specialists. They can help you locate the right treatment option. Call us at (844) 326-4514 or contact us online for more information.