An estimated 50 to 70 million people have difficulty falling and staying asleep.  As this report from the Institute of Medicine Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research asserts, sleep disorders and sleep deprivation have become a public health problem.

The report concluded that “The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.”

Millions have turned to prescription medications like Sonata for relief. In 2017 alone, Americans paid about $1.4 billion for sleep aids, including prescription medications like Sonata, according to a report from

For some, that use has bloomed into dependency or worse, crippling addiction. The issue of Sonata dependency has become so pronounced that any attempts to cease will lead to debilitating withdrawal symptoms that require professional intervention.

Read on to learn more about Sonata withdrawal and available treatment options.

How Does Sonata Work?

Marketed under the brand name of Sonata, Zaleplon is classified as a “Z-drug” and a sedative-hypnotic medication.

It is prescribed to treat people who have trouble falling asleep (insomnia).

Sonata works like benzodiazepines, another central nervous system (CNS) depressant, by stimulating the gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter that works to inhibit or slow down CNS activity in the body. What differentiates Sonata from benzodiazepine medications is that it selectively binds to specific GABA receptors. Certain benzos bind to all of them.

When Sonata works in this fashion, it produces sedation, blocking feelings of anxiety and stress in the process.

Sonata Withdrawal Symptoms

Sonata is capable of producing intense and painful withdrawal symptoms when use is abruptly stopped. This is especially the case when Sonata is used longer than intended.

Doctors usually recommend that patients use this medication for a short time. When use goes on for a few weeks or more or if it is abused recreationally in high doses, the following symptoms can occur, according to WebMD:

  • Shakiness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Stomach or muscle cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating

Sonata Withdrawal Timeline

How Sonata withdrawal presents itself and the length of time it endures will depend on several factors, including the health, drug use history, and patient’s dose amount. When Sonata is used with other substances like alcohol or other depressants, that can also influence the length and severity of withdrawal.

Nevertheless, Sonata withdrawal typically occurs in early and long-term stages.

The Early Stage of Withdrawal Can Result in the Following Symptoms:

  • Heart palpitation
  • Feeling like you’re choking
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Changes in appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Fatigue

Long-term Sonata withdrawal, which can endure for months or even years, can include symptoms like:

  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Poor memory and mental ability
  • Muscle pain, twitching, and weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Confusion

Additional Sonata Dangers

While most people who take Sonata and other sleep medications will not have major issues, some may experience next-morning drowsiness, leading to car accidents and other dangers.

Users have sustained serious injuries and committed crimes while under the influence of sedative-hypnotic medications like Sonata, states this 2019 report from Time.

According to this 2012 study, the use of Sonata and other z-drugs such as Ambien  (zolpidem) and Lunesta (eszopiclone) have been linked to a higher risk of an earlier death, even for patients who have been prescribed fewer than 18 pills in a single year.

Why Detox is Necessary

Though not considered as deadly as benzodiazepines or barbiturates, z-drugs like Sonata can be extremely dangerous in withdrawal, especially without medical supervision. The withdrawal symptoms are harmful enough to drive you to resume your Sonata use, which can potentially lead to overdose.

The Threat of Overdose

According to, the overdose symptoms associated with this medication are coma, confusion, slow breathing, problems with coordination, drowsiness, and floppy muscles.

How a Medically-supervised Detox can Help you

A medically-supervised detox at a professional treatment facility will allow you a safe and comfortable withdrawal experience. A team of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel will provide 24/7 supervision to ensure that you safely navigate detox. They will also be on hand to treat those painful withdrawal symptoms.

Next Treatment Steps

After detox, clients are recommended for residential or outpatient treatment. If your case is considered severe, you may be approved for residential treatment. A residential program will allow you to live onsite at the treatment facility and receive comprehensive therapy and care on a full-time basis.

Evidence-based treatment approaches and alternative therapies will be offered to you in our residential program, including:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Life skills training
  • Motivational interviewing (MI)
  • Mindfulness

Milder cases of Sonata abuse may be recommended for outpatient treatment, where you can receive therapy and counseling on a part-time basis without placing your life on hold. Some of the programs available in outpatient are:

Milder Cases of Sonata Abuse may be Recommended for Outpatient Treatment, Where you can Receive Therapy and Counseling on a Part-Time Basis Without Placing Your Life on Hold. Some of the Programs Available in Outpatient are:

  • Detoxification treatment
  • Individual therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Stress management
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Education workshops
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