Restoril (Temazepam) Abuse and Addiction: The Sleep Med with Serious Side Effects
As benzodiazepines continue to surge in popularity, abuse of and addiction to Restoril, a benzo used to treat insomnia, is increasingly becoming a serious problem.
Largely overshadowed by the more pressing opioid epidemic ravaging the United States today, abuse of benzodiazepines like Restoril isn’t drawing nearly as much attention from the public.
However, these drugs can be deceptively deadly. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) 2014 DAWN Report show that almost one million (around 943,032) emergency room visits from 2005 to 2011 involved benzodiazepines.
Given that prescribing rates of this class of drug have soared within the past decade, it doesn’t show any signs of getting better.
Educating yourself on the ins and outs of Restoril abuse and addiction is one of the best ways to avoid the serious medical complications and physical dependencies of this drug. What’s more, learning how to spot the signs of an addiction can help you identify the problem early and get help before it turns into a life-crippling addiction.
What Is Restoril?
Temazepam, branded as Restoril, is a type of benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia. Like other benzodiazepines, Restoril works directly on the chemical processing of the brain by increasing the activity of the body’s chief inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (a.k.a. GABA).
As the potency of this neurotransmitter is increased, the brain is in a sense slowed down. Sedation, tranquility, and diminished anxiety are some of the main effects of taking these types of drugs. And with Restoril, the sedation is even more pronounced, making it perfect for treating insomnia and letting patients finally get some sleep.
Similar to other benzos though, temazepam can end up becoming a substance of abuse. At high enough doses, it can create a pleasurable level of sedation and even euphoria. And when it’s mixed with other substances, these effects are further intensified.
However, abusing Restoril can lead to a host of unwelcome side effects. And when it becomes a substance of addiction, it can cause one of the most unbearable withdrawal processes out of any drug known today (that includes even crack and heroin).
Benzodiazepine prescriptions are soaring.
Recent reports have found that from 1996 to 2013, the number of adults filing a prescription for benzodiazepines increased by a whopping 30%. Beyond that, the volume of the prescriptions themselves for these drugs actually doubled in the same amount of time.
And while these numbers are quite substantial, when used appropriately benzos like Restoril can be instrumental in treating crippling conditions like anxiety, epilepsy, and insomnia. However, as these drugs continue to grow in popularity among prescribing physicians, it’s becoming clear that they may not be as safe as we think.
As CNN points out, studies have shown that benzo-related overdose deaths are rising at an incredible rate. From 1999 to 2010, the number of fatal overdoses involving benzos more than quadrupled.
These trends should be of particular concern to women too. That’s because benzodiazepine addiction and prescription drug abuse in general affects women disproportionately compared to men.
According to SAMHSA, 19% of female treatment admissions cited prescription drugs as their primary substance of abuse. For men, it was only 12.2%.
It seems clear, then, that women need to be especially careful and knowledgeable when it comes to abusing Restoril and other benzodiazepines.
What Does a Temazepam Addiction Look Like?
Given just how dangerous an addiction to Restoril can be, it’s vital that you know how to spot the signs of a temazepam abuse problem in your friends or loved ones. But, simply asking them probably won’t do. That’s because denial and addiction often go hand in hand.
In fact, according to SAMHSA’s 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, of the 19.9 million people who needed specialized treatment for their addiction, 17.7 million did not receive specialized care. And of that 17.7 million, only about 4.5% (about 806,000) actually thought they had a problem.
That means almost 16.9 million addicts did not believe that they had a problem. As you can see, denial runs rampant in the addiction community.
And that means in order to spot the signs of a Restoril addiction in your friend or loved one, you’re going to need to take a closer look at their behaviors. Below are a few behaviors in particular that may point to a problem with temazepam.
- They tend to go missing a lot or have a lot of unaccounted time.
- Their work or schooling is suffering.
- You’ve noticed a lack of interest in their personal appearance or hygiene.
- There have been times when they’ve acted unusual, drunk, or high.
- They take Restoril at inappropriate times or places.
- They regularly operate a vehicle after taking the drug.
- You’ve noticed that they may be stealing from you to support their habit.
- You have a gut feeling that something just isn’t quite right with them.
If this sounds familiar, then your friend or loved one may be suffering from a Restoril addiction. As such, it could be time to confront them about their abuse or even hold an intervention so that they can finally get help.
It can be tough to convince a friend or loved one that they’re addicted to Restoril – but it’s even more difficult to convince yourself.
Sometimes it truly does take a concerned friend voicing their opinion before an addict even considers that they may have a problem. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to come to the conclusion by yourself. In the end, it just takes a willingness to look at your behaviors objectively.
And to do that, there are a number of tools at your disposal.
You can, for instance, take a quick online addiction quiz to help you assess how bad your abuse of Restoril has actually gotten. It doesn’t take long at all to complete and it could be the final push you need to determine once and for all that you need to seek help.
You can also use one of the numerous self-assessment tools from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). These tools range in complexity from taking just a few minutes to finish to significantly more in-depth dives into your addictive behaviors. It’s a great list that definitely has something for everyone.
Ultimately, taking the time to truly evaluate your addiction to temazepam is often the most important step in the recovery process. And once you’ve done that, you’re well on your way to sobriety.
Short- & Long-Term Side Effects of Restoril
Abuse of and addiction to temazepam and benzodiazepines in general can have some pretty nasty side effects on both the mind and body. What’s more, these effects can actually end up lasting for years down the line and may even be permanent.
Knowing just how much of a number this drug can do on your physical health, then, can often be one of the best deterrents to abuse available.
Below are the most common effects of rampant Restoril abuse according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR), both in the short-term and in the long-term.
- Impaired motor coordination
- Drowsiness, lethargy, fatigue
- Impaired thinking and memory
- Altered vision
- Slurred speech, stuttering
- Respiratory depression
- Nausea, constipation, dry mouth, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea
- Slowed reflexes
- Mood swings
- Hostile and erratic behavior
- Impaired thinking, memory, and judgment
- Slurred speech
- Muscle weakness, lack of coordination
Beyond these long-term effects pointed out by CESAR, benzodiazepine specialists have also pointed out additional effects observed in long-term benzo users such as:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Increased emotionality
- Visual disturbances
- Sleep disturbance
- Reduced alertness
- Headache and abnormal or uncharacteristic psychological reactions
- Emotional numbness
Restoril Overdose: Know the Symptoms
Just as with other benzodiazepines, overdosing on Restoril can be a serious problem. This goes double if you’ve mixed temazepam with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants like alcohol, opioids, or other benzos because the respiratory depression effects tend to overlap.
As a result, your breathing can reach dangerously low levels and can result in permanent brain damage within just a few minutes of overdosing.
It’s incredibly important, then, that you know how to spot the signs of a Restoril overdose so you can get the necessary medical help before it becomes too late.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common signs of temazepam overdose are:
- Blurred vision
- Change in consciousness
- Decreased or absent reflexes
- Difficult or troubled breathing
- Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- Irregular, fast, slow, or shallow breathing
- Loss of consciousness
- Pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- Shortness of breath
- Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
If you notice any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Treating Restoril Addiction: Detox
Detoxing from Restoril is often the first step down your road to recovery. This process involves letting your body naturally rid itself of the last traces of temazepam over time while also adjusting back to normal functioning without the drug’s constant presence.
This adjustment period can be marked by some pretty substantial side effects known as withdrawal symptoms. They occur as a result of the physical changes in your body that took place over the course of your addiction. The detox process can be thought of as your body physically changing back to the state you were in before you developed a dependency.
Oftentimes with detox, these withdrawals are not life threatening. They may be incredibly difficult to withstand, as in the case of opiate and opioid addiction, but usually, it just takes time to get through them.
However, that is not the case with benzodiazepines as their withdrawals can in fact be deadly. Detoxification from drugs like temazepam can result in the onset of life-threatening grand mal seizures if detoxing is not performed correctly.
That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you partner with a professional detox facility when you are trying to kick your Restoril addiction. They’ll have the knowledge and medical equipment necessary to make sure you’re not only comfortable during withdrawals, but also safe.
Temazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
Your withdrawal process from Restoril or other benzodiazepines is likely to be highly variable. Just as addiction affects everyone on a unique level, patients will likely have varying experiences throughout this process. Individual genetics, overlapping disorders, severity of abuse, and more will all come into play here.
What’s more, your particular withdrawal timeline will also likely be variable as well. In general, though, symptoms will likely begin around 24 to 78 hours after your last dose and persist for several weeks or even months.
It’s also worth noting that detoxing from benzos like Restoril is widely considered to be the most difficult withdrawal process of any drug – and that includes some of the most notorious ones like heroin, crack, and meth.
And when you see the long list of symptoms, it’s easy to see why:
- Poor memory and concentration
- Perceptual distortions
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Agoraphobia and social phobia
- Intrusive memories
- Urinary difficulties
- Appetite change
- Blurred or double vision
- Flu-like symptoms
- Muscle twitches, jerks, ticks, “electric shocks”
- Gastrointestinal difficulties
- Dry mouth
- Skin rashes
Treating Restoril Addiction: Rehab
While detox is an essential part of any Restoril recovery program, rehabilitation may actually be more important in ensuring long-term sobriety. That’s because while detox focuses on changing the body’s physical addiction to a substance, rehab aims to repair the mental side of addiction.
These programs often tackle drug-seeking behaviors from a couple of different angles.
First, they typically incorporate emotional counseling aspects in order to try and really get at the heart of your addiction. Why did you start using in the first place? Did you use your addiction to deal with difficult feelings or troubling emotions? Is there a past trauma you’re trying to cope with using substance abuse?
A rehab program will help you deal with these underlying feelings in healthier ways and show you how to forgive yourself of your past so you can go on to lead a sober life.
Rehab will also give you the tools you need to predict and effectively deal with triggers and overwhelming cravings. It could be cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindful meditation, developing a relapse prevention plan, or a variety of other techniques.
Ultimately though, you’ll leave your rehab feeling more empowered to take on your addiction than ever before. And with these tools and the confidence of knowing you can in fact recovery, you’ll be well on your way to reaping all the benefits a sober life has to offer.
Restoril Addiction: One Sleeping Med You Don’t Want to Mess Around With
Suffering from a Restoril addiction is no laughing matter. This drug can carry with it a host of devastating medical complications when used improperly and without professional treatment, it might actually end up costing a life.
That’s why nipping this dependency issue in the bud is crucial to long-term recovery. And in order to do that, you simply must get professional help.
And at Women’s Recovery, we have the medical expertise and addiction knowhow to help make your trip down the road to recovery as comfortable and successful as possible. We offer aftercare options catered specifically to a woman’s recovery experience as well as sober living communities to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.