The intention of sleep is to recharge your batteries and fuel your soul on a daily basis. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic, as individuals suffering from insomnia risk decreased performance at work and school, weakened immune systems, and other chronic diseases.
Over the past 30 years, insomnia and other sleep problems have risen dramatically. This epidemic has created the need for new solutions. Individuals that face chronic fatigue deal with problems such as learning disabilities, slow reaction times, lack of alertness, and short-term memory loss.
The increase in on-the-job accidents and car crashes has also been attributed to sleeplessness. In fact, a recent study was released that linked 20 percent of all serious motor vehicle crashes to tired drivers.
Z-drugs are often considered to be a safer alternative to benzodiazepines (or benzos). To immediately address this issue in the early 1900s, a class of drugs called barbiturates was introduced to help address sleeplessness.
At first, these drugs showed a lot of promise, but they actually caused a bigger problem: addiction. Benzos were then created as a less addictive alternative, but as time progresses, we’re learning more about the addictive qualities benzos as well.
So what’s the solution for individuals suffering from insomnia? This train of thought led to sedative-hypnotics or z-drugs such as Sonata. While many users view Sonata as a miracle drug, it still carries the risk for abuse and dependency.
Users who become dependent on sleeping pills for sleep can essentially forget how to fall asleep on their own. They’ll require more and more of the pill to achieve normal sleep functions. Sonata can also cause permanent damage to brain functions such as memory.
Sonata and benzos are similar in chemical structure, though they affect the brain in different ways. While benzos are related to the way they activate gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, Sonata works on specific receptors relating to sleep. GABA is a series of chemicals in the central nervous system (CNS) that inhibit nerve impulses, so it relieves feelings that create stress and anxiety.
Sonata applies itself to different GABA chemicals. After it slows these chemicals down, it allows the user to be placed in a sedative state. After Sonata takes effect, it can whisk the user into a relaxed state that allows them to sleep.
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Doctors will look at your medical history to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks. A growing drug addiction can often be hard to spot in the early stages, especially because Sonata is a prescription that’s used to treat a vital part of life.
However, a drug isn’t safe simply because it’s prescribed. Therefore, a doctor should monitor the use of Sonata. Otherwise, a substance use disorder could develop, even if the user has the most innocent intentions.
Sonata offers its own signs of abuse, which allow practitioners to identify a growing drug dependency. If you feel that you or your loved one is becoming dependent on Sonata, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of Sonata addiction.
If someone is experiencing any of these options, you should immediately contact a doctor about your options.
While Sonata is not a potent benzodiazepine, it has several of the same effects. Since the drug interacts with GABA, the body will become used to its presence. The brain will adapt to the availability of Sonata and will change how it functions. If you were to stop using the medication abruptly, it’s possible withdrawal symptoms can be experienced. Some of these symptoms can include:
In the most severe cases, withdrawal symptoms will consist of hallucinations, seizures, or delirium. Rebound symptoms may also occur. These are reemerging signs that Sonata was used to treat and appear much more severely. Insomnia may return much worse than before the user started using the medication.
Anyone that is going through withdrawal symptoms must undergo medical detox. If there are compounding factors, such as long-term Sonata addiction, mental health concerns, or polysubstance abuse, the safest and most efficient way to stop using Sonata will be in detox.
During this time, clinicians and doctors will place the client on a tapering schedule that slowly takes them off Sonata. By doing so, it reduces withdrawal symptoms and makes the process as comfortable as possible.
A tapering process will also allow the client a faster track to stabilization. Addiction specialists often achieve this by using medications that help reduce withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, in the case of Sonata withdrawal, there are no withdrawal medications to mitigate the symptoms. The specialists will work alongside the client to determine what is adequate during this time.
Z-drug addiction is not considered as serious as benzo addiction, but it shouldn’t cause users to think there’s no room for concern. Drugs that affect GABA carry the possibility of severe withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable and even fatal.
If the decision has been made to attend addiction treatment, the first portion will be the most intense and difficult. Therefore, addiction specialists generally recommend medical detoxification from drugs that affect GABA, which will allow you to properly rid your body of any related toxins. For three to seven days, a patient in detox has round-the-clock access to a knowledgeable staff that’s devoted to ensuring your safety and comfort.
The next course of action will be determined by your history and the staff’s decision about your treatment. It could involve inpatient or outpatient services. Since Sonata does have a lower impact on health, doctors could likely recommend an outpatient scenario, which will be solely dependent on the severity of the addiction. For instance, the staff could determine you must live onsite if you have a dual diagnosis.
In both inpatient and outpatient, you’ll have the same types of therapies, including individual therapy, group therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. While patients can commute to therapy in outpatient, they’ll be required to take regular drug tests. All of these therapies are designed to change your behaviors and determine the root of your addiction. The medical team will also help you devise a relapse prevention plan.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, & Center for Behavioral Health Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Postmarket Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers: Sleep Disorder (Sedative-Hypnotic) Drug Information. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm101557.htm
The State of SleepHealth in America. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/
Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). Overcoming insomnia. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/overcoming-insomnia
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification