Sonata is a nonbenzodiazepine sedative-hypnotic designed to treat insomnia. It is part of the class of prescription “z-drugs” – alongside zolpidem and eszopiclone developed in the 1990s as sleeping agents.
Zaleplon is the active ingredient in Sonata. Although advertised as safer than barbiturates or benzodiazepines, z-drugs have the potential for addiction. Sonata is much shorter-acting than Ambien or Lunesta, which means it helps people fall asleep within an hour, but not necessarily to stay asleep.
Zaleplon/Sonata Addiction Treatment
Sonata is a sleep aid typically prescribed on a short-term basis to help people struggling with insomnia. However, like many of the ‘Z’ drugs and sedatives available, this medication is also considered to have a potential for misuse. Sonata addiction can occur if the drug is used recreationally or outside of the recommended dose.
What is Sonata?
Zaleplon is a prescription medication, typically sold under the brand name Sonata. It’s a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic and is administered to treat insomnia. It’s popular as one of the prescription ‘Z’ drugs, which also include Ambien and Lunesta.
It works by activating the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which starts to slow mental processes, followed by blocking anxiety, stress and inducing a calming, sedative effect that tends to result in restful sleep.
Is Sonata Addictive?
Sonata is incredibly fast-acting and only remains in the body for around an hour, making it prone to recreational abuse and accidental to sustain its effects. Those who take Sonata recreationally may break or crush tablets and snort the contents, intensifying the ecstatic state that the drug may produce. When taken in high doses, Sonata may even cause the user to hallucinate, an effect that some people seek.
Sonata is not considered as addictive as similar sleep medicines, such as Lunesta. However, it’s more likely to produce withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using it after around 2 weeks of daily use.
The drug is a prime target for accidental and recreational abuse; people might overuse the drug as an immediate sleep aid
In one UK survey of people who had abused Z-drugs, including Sonata, about 31 per cent reported using them to get high.
What are the Side Effects of Abusing Sonata?
Abusing Sonata can cause a euphoric rush, albeit mild, alongside blackouts, hallucinations, and sporadic memory loss.
Other side effects can cause odd and erratic behaviours in users, including sleepwalking, eating, and driving all without the user’s recollection of undertaking these actions.
Forcing yourself to stay awake after taking Sonata, as many users do to try and experience a euphoric rush, can dramatically increase the risk of performing unconscious behaviours, such as eating and driving whilst asleep.
A danger often seen with Sonata abuse is suicide attempts, and the drug has been known to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts, ideation and behaviour.
Long-term Side Effects
Long term side effects of taking Sonata may cause psychological symptoms to emerge, alongside physical effects. These may include:
- Sustained fatigue
- A decline in cognitive function,
- Memory problems
- Cognitive impairment
Short-term Side Effects
Taking Sonata produces ranging short-term side effects, including:
- Mental confusion
- Numbness or tingling
- Impaired coordination
- Aggression and irritability
- Abdominal pain
- Mood swings
A concerning side effect that commonly occurs when taking Sonata is complex sleep behaviours, including sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and engaging in other activities while not fully awake. These behaviours may even occur following the first use of the drug and can lead to serious injury or even fatality.
Using Sonata can also impair motor function, particularly if someone takes the drug and doesn’t then have 7-8 hours of sleep. In these circumstances, the individual may experience drowsiness, a prolonged reaction time, dizziness, sleepiness, blurred vision, and reduced alertness.
Signs and Symptoms of Sonata Addiction
If you’re questioning whether you may be addicted to Sonata, then it’s likely that you may be. However, it can be hard to recognise whether we’re in the throes of addiction.
Addiction causes stark physiological and mental changes, which can be
hard to detect, particularly when a tolerance has been gradually developed towards a drug.
Signs and symptoms of Sonata may include:
- Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Sonata, such as: shaking, sweating and nausea
- Experiencing severe insomnia without the use of Sonata
Can you Overdose on Sonata?
Sonata overdose is possible and increases in likelihood when taking other drugs alongside Sonata.
When someone takes alcohol with Sonata, it can be a particularly dangerous – or even lethal – combination, due to both of their sedative qualities. This can depress respiratory function to the point of failure, and even result in death.
Sonata is also often abused alongside other stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines or depressants like alcohol and narcotics in order to help
Some Sonata users also take other depressants, and stimulants in unison, as their sleep patterns may be disturbed by taking such a concoction of drugs with varying properties. These drugs have significant differing effects on the body, which can culminate in an overdose.
An overdose is a medical emergency, and the emergency medical services should be consulted immediately if you think someone may be experiencing an overdose. Signs of overdose to look out for include:
- Severe drowsiness
- Loss of coordination
- Severe muscle weakness
- Weak or shallow breathing
Sonata Withdrawal and Detox
Sonata is a potent drug and can result in an array of mental and physical withdrawal symptoms if someone stops taking the drug altogether. Physical symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
These symptoms can be incredibly distressing for the individual, especially if they are also experiencing mental withdrawal symptoms, which range from:
- Suicidal ideation and even suicidal behaviour
Sonata Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline for withdrawal depends on the individual circumstances, such as the length of addiction, and intensity of dosage. Typically, withdrawal symptoms are most intense during the first week or two, with corresponding symptoms such as depression, panic attacks, vomiting and continuing insomnia. For most people, Sonata withdrawal symptoms will cease after a few weeks.
Withdrawal from Sonata should be done in a clinical environment, where the detox process can be supervised, and around the clock care can be given to the individual. Withdrawal is a distressing process, and it’s important to undertake it in an environment where you feel safe and as relaxed as possible. Castle Craig prides itself on the highest quality of care, with a team whose primary aim is to make sure the patient feels as cared for as possible. Our team works to establish trust and offers an entirely non-judgemental environment, to cultivate a positive recovery journey.
Sonata Addiction Treatment
An addiction heavily impacts the way a person thinks, feels, and acts. Treatment that works holistically in these areas is the most effective for implementing long-lasting recovery from drug abuse.
Treatment for Sonata addiction varies, but an inpatient facility is arguably the most effective form of treatment, as the patient is immersed in a safe environment, essential for a proper detox from Sonata. Following this, they are then equipped with lasting skills to build towards a sober life, and a range of psychological treatments to tackle surrounding issues that may be contributing to their addiction.
Rehab for Sonata Addiction
Rehab for Sonata addiction varies from clinic to clinic but tend to consist of a medically assisted withdrawal process and detox, where other medication may be used to help ease the zaleplon withdrawal symptoms.
This detox is followed by targeted therapies such as individual counselling, group therapy and mindfulness therapy. During rehab, patients are equipped with coping skills to assist them in dealing with the core issues that contributed to their addiction, to help prevent relapse in the future.
At Castle Craig, we complement these core treatments with Sonata specific therapies, including a strong focus on restoring healthy sleep patterns, which are significantly disturbed for an individual who is going through Sonata addiction.
Castle Craig offers a dual-diagnosis treatment programme, which looks into the mental disorders that often underpin addiction, such as depression, PTSD and unresolved trauma. We then act to treat your circumstances in duality, providing a holistic approach to recovery, that targets not only the addiction but the broader circumstances of those too.
Is Sonata addictive?
Sonata is a sedative and is widely abused due to its ability to make users feel drowsy. Tolerance following misuse can build quickly, causing physical and psychological dependence.
Can you get high on Sonata?
Sonata impacts the central nervous system by binding to GABA receptors which in turn slows down neurological function in order to promote sleep. The ‘high’ reported by most users is the drowsy feeling caused by taking a sedative hypnotic.
What happens if you take too much Sonata?
Taking more than the recommended dose of Sonata (>20mg) can result in an overdose. A Sonata overdose will rarely be fatal and can be treated with the correct medical care. However, there have been instances where death has occurred where other CNS depressant medications such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opioids, or alcohol were involved.
Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked January 14, 2022