Sleep disorders have been treated with medications designed to suppress your nervous system for decades. Insomnia and anxiety often contribute to sleeplessness; both disorders are among the most common in the United States. Restoril is a drug in the benzodiazepine class of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that cause hypnotic, sedative, and anti-anxiety effects. Benzodiazepines (benzos) are designated for short-term use, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned users to avoid taking the drug for longer than four weeks at a time. Overuse has a high likelihood of leading to chemical dependence and addiction.
Restoril addiction is a serious disease and the development of the disease comes with several warning signs. If you are using Restoril or another benzo, it’s important to learn to recognize the signs of abuse, dependence, and addiction. As with most diseases, the earlier you catch the symptoms, the more likely you are to avoid serious consequences like overdose and dangerous withdrawal.
Learn more about Restoril addiction, how the drug works, and what you can do if you find that you’ve become dependent or addicted.
Restoril is a benzodiazepine that is primarily used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders, but it also has anxiolytic (anxiety relief) and anticonvulsant effects. It is the brand name for a drug called temazepam, which was first synthesized in 1964, during an era in which benzodiazepine use was exploding in popularity. However, it didn’t reach public use in U.S. markets until 1981.
Restoril work in the brain in a way that’s similar to other benzodiazepines and CNS depressants. It primarily works on a specific protein and chemical receptor that’s designed to manage your nervous system’s excitability. The protein is called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), and when it binds to certain GABA receptors, it causes you to feel relaxed, eases anxiety, and facilitates sleep. In some cases, people with sleep or anxiety disorders have a deficiency of one or more brain chemicals that cause GABA to be less effective.
Restoril works by binding to the GABA receptor on a different binding site than the GABA chemical. Once the drug binds to the receptor, it increases the effectiveness of the protein. This results in sedation, a decrease in motor function, anti-anxiety, and muscle relaxation. It has a half-life between eight and 20 hours, which means it takes that much time for your body to reduce the concentration of Restoril in your bloodstream. Because it is relatively long lasting, it can be used to help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
Your brain adapts quickly to the presence of Restoril and will begin to develop tolerance and dependency to the drug after a few weeks of consistent use. If you become dependent, you may start to feel withdrawal symptoms. Depressants have a chance of causing dangerous symptoms if you quit quickly.
Addiction to Restoril and other benzodiazepines can cause a number of signs and symptoms that can reveal the nature of your substance abuse disorder. Prescription benzodiazepines can cause dependence after using them for therapeutic purposes, especially if you are older than 65. However, addiction is often initiated by abusing the drug.
Benzodiazepines like Restoril can cause intoxication that’s similar to alcohol when they are abused. For this reason, some benzos are used recreationally. In some cases, benzos are also mixed with alcohol, opioids, or other drugs which makes them even more dangerous. Abuse is using doses of the drug that are higher than prescribed, using drugs that are not your prescription, using them more frequently than directed, or mixing them with other substances. Friends and relatives may notice Restoril abuse when they observe the following symptoms:
After a period of regular use or abuse, you may notice a building tolerance that occurs as your body gets used to the presence of Restoril. As you continue using, your normal dose may start to have a diminishing effect. Your original effective dose may not help your symptoms or cause the same effects it used to. As your tolerance builds, your nervous system may start producing less of its natural nervous system inhibitors and begin relying on the foreign drug.
If you continue using after developing a chemical dependence, you may develop an addiction to Restoril. According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is defined as a “compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence.” For instance, if drug use causes you to lose your job and you continue to use, it could point to addiction.
Restoril addiction is a chronic illness and chemical dependence can come with some serious consequences, but there is treatment available for both. Since Restoril is a CNS depressant, treatment should start with detox. Because Restoril can cause potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms, the safest way to achieve sobriety is to go through the highest level of care in addiction treatment: medical detox.
Also called medically managed intensive inpatient services, detox is 24 hours of medically managed services every day for about a week. However, the length of time you spend at this level of care will depend on your specific needs. If your condition stabilizes after you go through detox, but you could still use round-the-clock monitoring, you may be transferred to a residential program. In detox, you will be given care and medication to ease your symptoms and avoid any dangerous complications like seizures.
In lower levels of care, like intensive outpatient or outpatient treatment, you will receive individualized treatment based on your treatment plan, which is a treatment roadmap you make with your therapist as soon as you enter a program. The treatment plan may have a variety of evidence-based therapies. Behavioral therapies are the most common and will help increase your readiness to change, address underlying issues that contribute to addiction, and create a plan to avoid relapse.
Though Restoril is a prescription drug, it can be dangerous when it’s abused, or when you experience withdrawal. Regular use can cause some fairly standard side effects, including:
Many of these symptoms can contribute to accidents and injuries. It’s not recommended for you to drive on Restoril and doing so could result in a serious accident.
Using the drug recreationally or mixing it with other drugs can also put you at risk for experiencing an overdose. Other CNS depressants, alcohol, and opioids can increase Restoril’s effects and lead to dangerous respiratory depression, which can cause slow or stopped breathing.”
If you become dependent on Restoril, stopping drug use suddenly can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms like seizures. It can also cause Delirium tremens, a condition marked by panic, confusion, seizures, and a catatonic state. This symptom can be fatal without medical help.
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction
Bachhuber, M. A., Hennessy, S., Cunningham, C. O., & Starrels, J. L. (2016, April). Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996–2013. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4816010/
McDonald, J. V., MD, Ayers, V., ASCJ, & Paquin, J. (2017, July). Practical Considerations for Prescribing Benzodiazepines … from http://www.rimed.org/rimedicaljournal/2017/07/2017-07-30-cont-mcdonald.pdf
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2017, September 15). Overdose Death Rates. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
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