Each night, 50 to 70 million individuals throughout the country are not getting the right amount of sleep, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC goes on to mention that “insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic,” which compromises our well-being and shortens the length of our lives. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that people turn to chemical aids to fall asleep at night.
While drugs like Sonata were created as “less addictive” alternatives to benzodiazepines, science has shown that these sleep medications can cause dependence and addiction. While some view sleep medications as a miracle drug, others warn of its dangers and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
Sonata works by increasing levels of GABA in our brain that cause sleepiness. It was designed to work similarly to other benzos; however, the main difference is that it works on specific receptors meant to induce drowsiness.
While sleeping withdrawal may result in some general discomfort, in some cases, it can adversely affect those going through it. As human beings, we all possess unique brain chemistry, which will cause each of us to respond differently to Sonata withdrawal.
For example, you may have minimal effects when stopping Sonata, while others who use the same dose could have severe symptoms. Many factors will determine these outcomes, which include how much you ingested last, how large your standard dose was, if mental health disorders are present, and how long you’ve used Sonata.
The most common side effects you should expect from Sonata withdrawal include:
Early signs of Sonata withdrawal may be similar to benzo withdrawal symptoms, and these include:
Once the symptoms dissipate, you could experience long-term side effects, such as:
4 Hours: The earliest stages of withdrawal usually begin around four hours after your last dose. You will notice an increase in shakiness, sweating, and have trouble falling asleep.
24-48 Hours: Your withdrawal symptoms will start to worsen at this point, and you will experience mood swings, nausea, irritability, and insomnia.
1-2 Weeks: You will continue struggling with insomnia at this point, and while you feel exhausted, it will be hard to establish a normal sleep cycle. You may also experience depression, anxiety, vomiting, and panic attacks.
2-3 Weeks: You’ll notice your symptoms starting to reside at this point. Those who entered into a detox program will find relief sooner due to the medications provided by clinicians. Those who abused the drug for extended periods may experience depression, anxiety, and insomnia months after they stop using.
When you reach a point and decide to stop taking medication after being on it for so long, you more than likely need professional help. The first step is to talk with someone to determine if medical detox is right for you. If you want to avoid the dangers of withdrawal, entering into a detox facility will allow you to be monitored for a period of three-to-seven days while the drug exits your system. You will also be provided medication to stave off the dangerous symptoms.
While some may be able to overcome a dependency on Sonata with just detox, others will need the continuum of care to learn about the root of their addiction. During detox, clinicians will ask questions to find out more about you, your history of drug or alcohol use, and if you’ve been in treatment before. You may enter into residential treatment or outpatient treatment center to attend therapy. Speak with a professional today to see what’s right for you.
The State of SleepHealth in America. (n.d.). from https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 8: Medical detoxification. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
Roehrs, T. A., Randall, S., Harris, E., Maan, R., & Roth, T. (2012, August). Twelve months of nightly zolpidem does not lead to rebound insomnia or withdrawal symptoms: a prospective placebo-controlled study. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3711112/
Sonata (Zaleplon): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses. (2019, September 3). from https://www.rxlist.com/sonata-drug.htm
Lie, J. D., Tu, K. N., Shen, D. D., & Wong, B. M. (2015, November). Pharmacological Treatment of Insomnia. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4634348/