14 Minutes

Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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What is Zaleplon used to treat? Well, Sonata (Zaleplon) belongs to a class of drugs called the “Z drugs.” These are sleeping aids that are prescribed to patients with insomnia. Even though the packaging on Sonata will read “low risk of addiction,” it is not quite true. In fact, with more than 1.5 million people – in the U.S. only – reporting now and then to the emergency room with a case of Sonata abuse, there is no way in the world to believe that the drug poses no threat of Sonata dependence. Sonata, as a sleep drug, can definitely put your loved ones in the open arms of abuse, dependence, and sleepwalker pills addiction. 

Note: Sonata is known as a sleepwalking pill because it can cause parasomnia. Read ahead to find out more about it! 

Is the sleep aid Zaleplon safe? How likely is Sonata (Zaleplon) abuse to occur? What are the symptoms of Sonata withdrawal? Is Zaleplon overdose something to worry about? Let’s find out the answers to all the questions that have been racking your mind! 

Bunch of pills scattered with plates filled with pills.

To an insomniac, the thought of a peaceful night and the ability to embrace sleep under the effect of Sonata might seem like a dream. But, is the act as sensible as the thought? 

Fairly speaking, if a person uses Sonata sleeping pills within the recommended dosage limits and manages the frequency of intake, the drug will not pose a threat to their well-being. 

Unfortunately, the line between use and abuse tends to become invisible at the thought of a good night’s sleep. So, falling into the deep and dark pit of Sonata abuse is not so difficult. It’s effortless. 

So much so that most people do not even realize when they traverse the road of abuse, climb onto the rope of dependence, and embark on the deadly mountain of Sonata Use Disorder. 

But, the question is, “How does Sonata work? How does it create the high that every recreational and medicinal drug abuser seeks?”

You see, Sonata has agents that can stimulate the production of a neurotransmitter in the brain, called GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric Acid). 

The only thing that you should know about GABA, in simple terms, is that it inhibits your nervous system. By doing so, creates a soothing, peaceful, and most importantly, sedating effect. 

This sedating effect is perceived as a “high” by the people who abuse the Sonata sleep drug

Although the brand name of Zaleplon is Sonata, it is also known as Starnoc and Andante. 

Remember that Sonata addiction can only occur after the stages of abuse and dependence. Also, understand that Sonata dependence refers to a physical hunger for the drug, while Sonata addiction is a mental inability to quit the drug even when you can successfully acknowledge the disastrous effects of Zaleplon sleeping pills. 

Generally, Sonata is prescribed for effective use for 2 weeks. Yes, that’s it. If the use of Sonata exceeds the duration of two weeks, it falls into the category of Zaleplon abuse. 

Individuals who abuse Sonata display erratic and irrational behavior. Not only do these people display violence when they are unable to misuse Sonata; but they can also become averted towards people who care about them. 

Now, the huge question mark looming over our heads serves to ask “What is the root cause of abuse?”

To be honest, Sonata abuse is subjective. This implies that the cause of abuse depends on the person taking the sleep aid Zaleplon. 

There is one thing for sure: Whether it is for medicinal purposes, to get “high,” to satisfy your curiosity, or to ignore your problems with the assistance of Sonata sleeping pills, abuse of Zaleplon will only destroy your insides. 

There are multiple ways that Sonata can be abused. The top three ways, however, are:

  • Crushing the pills to snort them through the nose. 
  • Crushing the pills to inject them into the blood vessels. 
  • Consuming the Sonata sleeping pills with other CNS depressants. 

Firstly, crushing the pills to snort or inject them can cause a surge of the high that abusers tend to crave. 

You see, when consumed orally, Sonata is not completely absorbed into the bloodstream. Some part of it loses its potency in the process of assimilation. 

However, when snorted or injected, the route of administration does not decrease its potency. Therefore, this type of Sonata (Zaleplon) abuse results in a faster high. 

On the other hand, when consumed with other CNS depressants, Sonata can work at a better potential. In this case, the effects of Sonata are not only faster; but also stronger. 

Other drugs that Sonata is abused with include:

  • Alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines 
  • Antidepressants 
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Opioids 

When Sonata abuse is accompanied by the aforementioned drug abuse, the risk, and potential of overdose climb significantly. 

Not to mention that if you consume Sonata in higher-than-recommended doses multiple times a day, you have become a subject to Zaleplon abuse as well. 

Regardless of the way of abuse, the side effects of the sleep aid Zaleplon (Sonata) can unmask themselves in a myriad of ways. 

Sonata, at first, might seem like a remarkable drug that can put you into the deepest slumber. However, the side effects of Sonata are incredibly dangerous.

When abused with alcohol, opioids, and/or benzodiazepines, Sonata can cause you to develop confusion, delirium, and headaches. 

Additionally, abusing Zaleplon through snorting or injecting can also cause you to develop a condition called parasomnia. 

You see, sleepwalking, sleep-eating, sleep-talking, and sleep-driving, while you are under the effect of the drug is known as parasomnia. 

In fact, people who commit certain actions under the influence of Zaleplon (Sonata) do not even remember the details. This implies that parasomnia due to Zaleplon abuse also causes memory impairment. 

To put it differently, Zaleplon’s side effects should never be taken lightly. 

Note: Zaleplon and alcohol are the worst possible duo in the world. Do not fall for the appeal and provocativeness that the “high” consists of. 

Other than that, short-term adverse effects of Sonata fall along the lines of:

  1. Hallucinations
  2. Depersonalization 
  3. Poor coordination 
  4. Depleted motor functions
  5. Light-headedness
  6. Abdominal pain
  7. Dry mouth
  8. Diarrhea and nausea
  9. Loss of appetite
  10. Joint pain
  11. Heaviness in the limbs

As far as the long-term Sonata side effects are concerned, they mainly include:

  • Insomnia: When the GABA receptors in the Central Nervous System become over-stimulated because of extreme, intense, and prolonged exposure to Sonata (Zaleplon), normal circadian rhythms become interrupted. 

This will cause you to experience rebound insomnia as your body’s tolerance towards Zaleplon multiplies at the speed of light. 

  • Neurological deficits: Zaleplon side effects in the long-term can also appear in the form of cognitive deficits, memory impairment, bouts of amnesia, disorientation, and hallucinations. 
  • Muscle damage: Sonata, when used for a prolonged duration, can cause loss of motor control, muscle atrophy, fatigue, and muscle cramps. 
  • Anxiety and Paranoia: If you consume Sonata without giving your brain a little break, you can develop extreme restlessness, anxiety, and chronic paranoia. 

In several cases, depression, liver damage, kidney damage, joint inflammation, and altered breathing can also take place in the long term. 

Even though the short-term side effects of Zaleplon can sometimes be reversed, the long-term side effects like amnesia, paranoia, and motor deficits tend to remain stagnant. 

Despite the fact that Sonata addiction, in most cases, is the creation of insomnia, there are other causes that can lead to its addiction. 

Moreover, while Zaleplon abuse and dependence are stages of addiction to Zaleplon, they are also the reason as to why a user of Sonata develops tolerance. 

There are other causes of being addicted to Zaleplon. Even though they do not apply to every case, they are still true in most cases.

Firstly, genetics play a great role in addiction. So, if one of your family members has a pre-developed liability to develop drug addiction and you happen to consume Sonata, your genes might come into play and cause you to fall prey to addiction. 

Unfortunately, genetics are impossible to change. In such cases, prevention is the key. 

Secondly, if you grew up in an environment where popping prescription pills like candy was a part of the culture, you will become more inclined towards the idea of abusing drugs like Sonata. 

In fact, communities in the UK, the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc. believe that sleeping aids are “safer” than other drug categories like Benzodiazepines. And so, they abuse Sonata without understanding or acknowledging the consequences. 

Thirdly, at times, people who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, etc. can develop over-critical thinking, overwhelming thoughts, and overcharged brains. To turn their mind off, they might resort to combat their insomnia with the use of Sonata. 

Sadly, for people who are already in a battle against their mental health, abuse of Sonata can prove to be extremely dangerous. 

Now, there might be other reasons that can increase your vulnerability towards Sonata addiction. However, the three aforementioned causes are most likely to take charge of the domain of the sleepwalker pills addiction. 

Related: Inpatient Rehabs for Addiction and Mental Health

Like the causes, the symptoms of Sonata Use Disorder can differ greatly from person to person. But, primarily, the following signs and symptoms of Zaleplon addiction are mostly observed:

  • Lying about Sonata abuse.
  • Hiding a secret stash of Sonata for emergency use.
  • “Doctor shopping” to acquire the maximum number of prescriptions for Sonata.
  • Consuming the medication in higher-than-recommended doses and increased frequency per day. 
  • Letting your responsibilities become a subject of constant neglect.
  • Facing difficulties in maintaining relationships. 
  • Being unable to function in the absence of the drug. 
  • Trying to but not being able to quit Sonata. 

Note: The aforementioned warning signs, when accompanied by memory impairment and parasomnia are the classic symptoms of Sonata addiction. Look out for these signs if you suspect that a loved one might be head over heels for Sonata. 

Alright, when Sonata is used at higher-than-recommended doses because of addiction, your body can become habitual to being continually exposed to the drug. As a result, your brain adapts itself to work in the presence of Sonata and consequently, changes its functional capabilities. 

Now, if you happen to miss a dosage, your body and brain will team to retaliate against you in the form of withdrawal symptoms. 

People who are required to detox experience the withdrawal symptoms of Zaleplon. These, in the severe most situations, can include:

  • Muscle weakness and tremors
  • Profuse sweating
  • Restlessness and anxiety 
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations 
  • Seizures
  • Delirium

When undergoing withdrawal, people tend to experience even worse symptoms of insomnia than they experienced prior to beginning Zaleplon abuse. 

Sonata Withdrawal Time 

Among all the sleeping aids, Sonata has the shortest half-life. This implies that Zaleplon (Sonata) can be eliminated from the body faster than other prescription sleeping pills. 

Because Sonata is a fast-acting drug, there is a downside and an upside when the question revolves around Sonata withdrawal. 

The bad news is that the withdrawal symptoms of Sonata appear at an extremely rapid rate. They can rush through your body and mind, leaving you drained and depressed immediately after you stop the dosage.

Related: Ambien Addiction Inpatient Treatment

The good news is that Sonata sleeping pills can be eliminated from the body at a faster pace than other sleeping aids like Lunesta and Amytal. For this reason, the withdrawal symptoms can vanish within a few weeks. 

The first few symptoms of rebound insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness appear 4 hours after the last dose. They can last for 1-2 days. 

However, more severe symptoms like hallucinations, depression, panic attacks, and delirium are unmasked during the first and second weeks. 
After 4-5 weeks, the person can completely recover from addiction to Sonata. 

Managing Sonata Withdrawal by Weaning Off

Did you know that Sonata withdrawal can be managed if you follow certain directions as per the guidance of a qualified professional? 

Putting it in a different manner, you can safely detox from the sleep aid Zaleplon without undergoing extreme symptoms like hallucinations, delirium, or depression. 

But, the only way you can do so is by tapering the dosage of Sonata. 

If you are addicted to Sonata, your physician will guide you to decrease your everyday Sonata consumption. Then, your doses will be spaced apart until you do not crave the medication. 

In this way, you will only experience a handful of non-severe withdrawal symptoms of Zaleplon each time you cut down your dosage. 

Eventually, your body will adapt itself to work in the absence of Sonata. 

Note: Withdrawal by tapering off is considered the best possible method of detoxification from Sonata. This is because the abrupt cessation of abuse can magnify the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms of Zaleplon. 

Normally, the prescribed dosage of Sonata for nonelderly adults is 10 mg, while for adolescents and people with low body weight, 5 mg is considered to be enough.

The upper limit of consumption of Zaleplon is 20 mg per day for people who are immune to lower doses.

Because a 20 mg dose of Sonata for 2 weeks can pluck insomnia from its very root, consumption of Zaleplon beyond two weeks is considered abuse. 

Unfortunately, abuse is a one-way ticket to Zaleplon overdose. 

Overdose on Sonata can occur in two cases. First, if you consume more than 200 milligrams of Zaleplon in a short duration of time, and second, if you pop some Zaleplon and alcohol together. 

Note: Zaleplon is also abused with other drugs like benzos, besides alcohol. 

Signs of Sonata overdose are:

  • Dizziness
  • Depressed breathing
  • Seizures
  • Sluggishness
  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Delirium
  • Confusion

In extreme cases, if the blood pressure of the Sonata overdosed patient falls too low, the person might go into a coma. 

You must be wondering, “what can be worse than this?” Well, death. Yes, you heard it right. Zaleplon overdose, especially when it occurs because of polysubstance abuse, can lead to sudden death. 

The good news, however, is that many patients suffering from Sonata overdose can recover even after consuming more than 200 milligrams of the drug in 24 hours, given that they do not take Zaleplon alongside other CNS depressants. 

As far as the treatment of Zaleplon overdose is concerned, there are two main methods used. 

First, gastric lavage may be used. Second, if the patient is not displaying symptoms of seizures or convulsions, a medication, “Flumazenil,” may be given to counter the effects of Sonata. 

Note: A gastric lavage is a stomach pump that can only work if the overdose is a result of oral consumption of Sonata sleeping pills. If the pills were snorted or injected, a gastric lavage might not prove too useful. 

Now, the first thing that you should know about Sonata addiction is that it is fairly common. So, if you are worried that you are alone in a journey that you did not willingly choose, do not fret. There is always a way out. 

Secondly, remember that there are multiple ways of abusing Sonata. Even if you do not engage in the recreational ritual of crushing, snorting, injecting or combining the medication with alcohol, yet you still take a handful of Sonata sleeping pills every 2 hours, know that you are indulging in regular Zaleplon abuse. 

Thirdly, Zaleplon’s side effects can prove to be immensely dangerous if you do not discontinue abuse. Moreover, if you fall prey to cognitive impairment, memory impairment, or liver diseases, there will be no reverse gear for you. 

Remember, abuse can lead to Zaleplon overdose. 

Once you begin to climb the staircase of Sonata dependence, addiction, withdrawal, and overdose, your only way out will be therapeutic management and treatment. 

If you suspect that your loved ones are addicted to Sonata, reach out to them and help them understand the importance and necessity of seeking effective treatment. 

Prevent sleeping aid abuse and save your loved ones from a life of misery.

Gear up and take a leap of faith into sobriety. 



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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