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Sonata Addiction And The Best Rehab Centers For Treatment

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 13, 2019

Sonata is a non-benzodiazepine sleep aid prescribed for the treatment of individuals with insomnia. This medication is intended for short-term use only and when taken long-term exposes the user to the risk of abuse and addiction.

Sonata is a brand of zaleplon, a drug developed in the early 1990s as a treatment for insomnia. A non-benzodiazepine hypnotic drug, sonata works similarly in treating sleep disorders for short durations (under two weeks). According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), somewhere on the average of nine million people will take a prescription drug like sonata to help them sleep each month. Use of sleep aids appears highest among Caucasian women.

Sonata is prescribed in capsule form, but those who abuse the drug may pulverize and inhale it. Street names for this z-drug (corresponding to the first letter in a class of drugs used to treat sleep disorders), include “zimmers,” “zimmies,” and “zim-zims.” In addition to sonata, zaleplon is sold under the brand names starnoc and andante.

How Sonata Works

Z-drugs like sonata function as central nervous depressants, affecting the benzodiazepine gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor sites within the brain and along the central nervous system. The hypnotic effect produced when someone takes sonata stems from activation of these receptor sites and the subsequent flood of GABA neurotransmitters which serve to reduce neuronal excitability.

Normally, when the body experiences stress, it releases adrenaline. As adrenaline rises, GABA neurotransmitters flood the neural pathways in response, to settle things down. When using a drug like sonata, adrenaline is circumvented and the result is an effective state of relaxation or sedation for the user.

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Is Sonata Addictive?

When using the drug as prescribed for short durations, sonata is fairly safe. However, when someone begins taking sonata for longer than prescribed periods or in higher doses, tolerance can develop and more of the drug will be needed for the same effect, leading to a physical dependence on sonata.

When taking sonata, a person may experience a sense of euphoria associated with the subsequent dopamine release following the initial flood of GABA neurotransmitters from taking corresponding with the use of a z-drug. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls our brain’s reward centers. When these reward centers are activated, it positively associates the behavior (like taking sonata) with the dopamine release, and after some time, the body will begin craving the drug.

Dopamine increases occur when we eat good food, engage in healthy physical activity, and the following sex. Whether intentional or not, someone using sonata as a sleep aid, who chases this euphoria will be at greater risk of sonata addiction.

Other risk factors that facilitate addiction to sonata include a history of physical and sexual abuse, childhood exposure to illicit drug use, and a physical predisposition to addictive behaviors.

Withdrawal Symptoms Of Sonata

Another driver in sonata addiction is withdrawal. When someone abuses a drug like sonata, it increases the severity of subsequent withdrawal symptoms, which often resemble bad flu, perpetuating the use of the drug.

Sonata withdrawal symptoms include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • gastrointestinal upset
  • excessive sweating
  • shakiness
  • convulsions

Adverse Health Effects Of Sonata

Normal side effects include memory loss (if sleep minimums aren’t met) and drowsiness. Occasionally, these results have generated some potentially dangerous behaviors including driving while partially asleep, sleepwalking, eating, and having sex. Other serious side effects include changes in mood, agitation, and hallucinations.

Someone taking sonata may also experience the sensation of pins and needles associated with a limb falling asleep, as well as troubles with coordination, listlessness, and dizziness. Sonata is a central nervous system depressant, so respiratory depression may also occur.

Generally, people who use prescription sleep aids suffer a risk of death higher than those who do not use sleep aids, though these deaths may not relate directly to use of any one specific drug.

Side effects of Sonata may include:

  • memory loss
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • changes in mood
  • agitation
  • poor coordination
  • engaging in activities while still partially asleep

Signs Of Sonata Overdose

Someone abusing sonata is at particular risk of overdose, especially if using the drug in conjunction with other central nervous system depressants. Abuse of central nervous system depressants can result in slowing of breaths and heart rate to life-threatening levels, leading to asphyxiation.

Signs of sonata overdose include severe drowsiness, confusion, hypotension, and coma. Rarely does overdose on sonata alone lead to death. Deaths from people abusing sonata in conjunction with other central nervous system depressants are more common.

Find Treatment For Sonata Addiction

Due to the discomforts of withdrawals associated with sonata dependency, treatment centers offer detoxification programs designed to help people get free from the physical addiction to the drug, before working on the psychological dependency. A comprehensive treatment program will also identify underlying issues relating to addiction.

If you or someone you love is in need of help to get free from dependency on sonata, can connect you with the resources and treatment options available in your area. Contact about which options might work best to meet your individual needs and begin a life free from sonata dependency today.

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