Sleep, did you get some last night? Or are you reading this right now because you’re unable to sleep? Either way, rest is one of the most healing and beneficial natural experiences we encounter as human beings. What happens when we can’t sleep or don’t get enough of it? We experience a wide range of symptoms that can compromise our wellbeing and shorten our time on this planet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 50 to 70 million people in the United States don’t get the sleep they need. “Insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic,” says the CDC, and those who are unable to take part in this basic human requirement pay the price.
What can a lack of sleep lead to in the future? A compromised immune system is one problem that can occur as a result of sleeplessness, and when you don’t get the right amount of rest each night, your body can have trouble fighting off disease, cause car accidents, and even make you lose your sex drive. By the middle of the 21st century, this statistic is set to rise to 100 million people that deal with problems created from an inability to sleep. Due to the importance of a good night snooze, scientists were desperate to find substances that could restore your life and give you the shut-eye required.
In the 1900s drugs called barbiturates were introduced to the American public as a means to treat anxiety, insomnia, and conditions related to epilepsy. The prescription drug filled an area that was in need for years, but the outcome was not one they anticipated. In earlier times, addiction was not studied or thought of in-depth like it is today, unfortunately, and the result was not one they predicted. Barbiturate drugs were not suitable for long-term use due to their addictive qualities.
As years passed and more rounds of testing were completed, there was a new drug introduced to the market. After being found by mistake, researchers were excited to bring the new product to the market and begin treating complications of sleep and anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines were the answer to the question, but shortly after being introduced, it was found to be just as addictive as barbiturates. The solution to this problem? Sedative-hypnotics like Sonata. Sonata is explicitly designed to treat sleep disorders and give relief to those dealing with an inability to sleep. While Sonata itself isn’t on the same level of benzos or barbiturates, it still runs the risk of being addictive when abused. Sonata can also cause permanent damage to brain functions like memory.
Sonata works similarly to benzodiazepines when it interacts with our brain, but the drug is different.
Both medications are related to how they activate gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is comprised of chemicals in our central nervous system (CNS) that inhibit nerve impulses. So how does GABA work? It blocks feelings that create stress and anxiety. The purpose of GABA is to achieve calmness.
Sonata operates similarly to naturally occuring GABA and blocks the stress signals. It is used to slow the chemicals down and creates feelings of sedation that assists in getting you to sleep. The difference, though, between benzos and sedative-hypnotics is the receptors they affect. Sonata only binds to receptors that are responsible for inducing sleep.
Drug addiction is not easy to detect in some cases in the early stages. When it comes to prescription drugs, this becomes even more difficult. There is a common misconception when drugs are prescribed by doctors that they are much safer than illicit drugs, but this is not true. Sonata, like other prescription drugs, runs the risk of being dangerous. With careful monitoring, however, it can be a temporary solution for people dealing with sleep disorders.
It is even more difficult to pinpoint an addiction to Sonata is how important sleep is to live. When someone finds a solution to the problem, it becomes difficult to decipher when you’ve crossed the line between relief and addiction. The inability to recognize this problem poses a real threat to someone who only uses the drug with good intentions and develops a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, this is a lot more common than you’d think.
Sonata abuse comes with clear signs that someone is becoming addicted. If you believe you or someone you know is becoming dependent on the drug, it is necessary to learn the symptoms of addiction. The long-term effects of Sonata can include:
The symptoms listed above can indicate a pending disaster for your long-term health. There are abnormal behaviors associated with dependence on Sonata. The actions of the person in question will be centered on getting more of the drug which is a clear indicator of addiction. Other warning signs to look out for include:
When ranking addiction, Z-drugs will end up a lot lower on the totem pole than heroin or Xanax, but that doesn’t mean an addiction won’t occur. Each drug runs the risk of addiction with Sonata being no exception to that. Sonata affects a sensitive part of our brain where GABA is produced which means nasty withdrawal symptoms can occur. In some cases, these withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. If your actions have led you to believe that you need help for your Sonata addiction, you must begin treatment in a medical detoxification facility.
Detox is intended to give you a safe experience while transitioning into a sober mind frame. During this time, your body will be clearing itself of any and all drugs. You will have the support of the staff for 24-hours a day for as many days as they deem necessary. You will begin to balance your mental and physical state as the drugs leave your system. Safety is the primary concern during this period. The staff will do whatever is necessary to ensure that your needs are met.
Once the drugs have officially left your body and the staff signs off on your stable state, you will move into the next phase of treatment. Depending on the severity of your addiction, this could either mean you will move into residential or outpatient treatment. Your placement is dictated by a variety of factors that include how long you were using Sonata, if you have a safe living environment, and if you cannot take time away from work or school.
No matter the level of care the team places you into, you will still attend a variety of therapies that are geared toward teaching you about addiction and how the choices in life brought you to where you are. Cognitive-behavioral therapy will allow you to alter your behaviors and set you up for when you leave treatment. The team will also create a relapse prevention plan you will be able to rely on in weak moments after leaving treatment.
The State of SleepHealth in America. (n.d.). from https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, & Center for Behavioral Health Statistics. (n.d.). from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR2-2015/NSDUH-FFR2-2015.htm