What is Sonata Addiction?
Sonata is the brand name for the medication zaleplon, a hypnotic, non-benzodiazepine CNS depressant prescribed to treat insomnia. Sonata induces sleep by calming the central nervous system. It is also commonly abused by those wanting to experience a euphoric high, which will often lead to addiction.
The fact that Sonata is not a benzodiazepine leads many users to think it is safer and less likely to cause addiction, but there are still many individuals who misuse resulting in physical dependency. Sonata is meant to aid in the process of sleep, but those who abuse it do so by taking the drug and then fighting the urge to sleep brought on by the drug. This induces feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, and blackouts. Some users will break open Sonata capsules and snort the drug to more swiftly and intensely experience euphoria and hallucinations, and this increases the risk of amnesia and other adverse effects.
Risks of Sonata Addiction
In 2015, 6.1 million Americans misused prescription drugs like Sonata. The majority of these people were not trying to get high, but rather to relieve tension and relax (44.9%), or to self-medicate for insomnia (20.4%).
Unfortunately, the misuse of Sonata can cause many of the same issues that benzodiazepine misuse can, including severe withdrawal symptoms, deadly overdose, and addiction. It is essential never to misuse your Sonata prescription, as doing so will increase the chances of all of these issues occurring. If you need to take Sonata for insomnia for longer than a few weeks, your doctor should be looking into the causes of your persistent insomnia, rather than continuing to prescribe the medication.
Many individuals do not realize how Sonata is changing the way they think and act until it is too late, and they are unable to quit on their own. This is why it is so important to prevent Sonata abuse as early as possible.
Mixing Sonata with alcohol will cause a dangerous suppression in the central nervous system, potentially slowing down breathing to the point of respiratory failure and death. Even taking Sonata as prescribed can trigger blackout sleep behavior, where someone will walk, talk, have sex, eat, or drive in their sleep, having no memory of what they did the next day. This dangerous and frightening unconscious behavior becomes even more likely in users who fight the urge to sleep while taking Sonata, or who take larger than prescribed doses of the drug.
Side Effects of Sonata Addiction
Drowsiness is usually the most substantial effect associated with Sonata use, but there are also some side effects associated with the drug. These are all more likely to occur and to be more severe in those who abuse their medication. They include:
- Lack of coordination
- Numbness, burning or tingling in the hands and feet
- A headache
- Loss of appetite
- Vision problems
- Eye pain
- Sensitivity to noise
- Distorted sense of smell
- Painful menstrual periods
Signs of Sonata Addiction
When someone takes Sonata for a long period, even as prescribed, they will experience rebound insomnia when they attempt to quit. It is not unusual for people to be unable to sleep at all after they give up Sonata. This withdrawal symptom can seriously impair functioning and negatively impact the quality of life, and is the main reason that quitting Sonata without professional help is so difficult. If you or someone you love is taking more than the prescribed dose of Sonata, or using it in a different way than prescribed, such as breaking open the capsule and snorting the powder, then you need to seek professional addiction treatment.
Other signs of Sonata addiction include:
- Visiting multiple doctors or clinics to obtain Sonata prescriptions
- Feeling unwell if you miss a dose
- Hiding or lying about your Sonata use
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Numbness or tingling
- Becoming uninterested in hobbies, activities, that you used to enjoy
- Problems at school or work
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Frequent blackouts
- Mental confusion
What to do if Someone You Love is Abusing Sonata
If someone you love is misusing Sonata, it is crucial that they seek professional help as soon as possible. While not considered to be as dangerous as benzodiazepines, hypnotics like Sonata can create many of the same effects as these dangerous drugs.
Hypnotic drugs have a much higher chance of experiencing withdrawal and put users in danger of an overdose, which can cause coma and death. Overdose is far more likely when Sonata is used in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs.
If you observe someone who has collapsed, is struggling to breathe, cannot be woken up, or is having a seizure, they may be experiencing an overdose, and you should call emergency immediately. Other symptoms of Sonata overdose may include:
- Floppy muscles
- Loss of coordination
- Slowed or stopped breathing
- Snoring or choking sounds
- Loss of consciousness and coma
Treatment Options Available for Sonata Addiction
Patients must be slowly weaned off Sonata, or slowly tapered using a similar substance to avoid dangerous withdrawal effects. Even with a gradual taper, rebound insomnia is likely and is a particularly difficult withdrawal symptom to encounter. Vomiting and nausea are common as well as anxiety and severe insomnia. In some rare cases, individuals can also experience seizures
Getting inpatient treatment, where you live in the treatment environment 24/7, will provide you with access to medical and pharmaceutical treatments that will keep you more comfortable and allow you to rest. Inpatient treatment also gives you the security of being unable to give into temptation and start using Sonata again to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Any symptoms experienced within the inpatient environment will be milder, and you will be better able to cope with them due to the readily available resources around you.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective treatments used in addiction rehabilitation. Behavioral therapy can teach you better-coping skills for the future, as well as to understand the physical, psychological, and behavioral reasons behind your substance abuse. Therapy will also prepare you for the transition back into the community, giving you tools for avoiding relapse during recovery.
After inpatient treatment, most patients will progress to an outpatient program, where they live at home, but return to the facility for blocks of intensive treatment. In an outpatient program, you will usually work with treatment providers on an aftercare plan that spells out how you intend to support your abstinence and maintain recovery progress after you are discharged.