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Restoril (Temazepam) Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 13, 2019

Restoril is commonly prescribed to treat insomnia for short periods of time. Restoril can be habit-forming, and misusing Restoril increasing risks for dependence and addiction.

What Is Restoril?

Restoril is a brand name of the benzodiazepine, temazepam. Like other benzodiazepines, Restoril acts as a central nervous system depressant, has anti-anxiety properties, and muscle-relaxant features. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved Restoril to treat short-term insomnia, and only recommends temazepam for use for up to ten days.

Temazepam increases the amount of activity in the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters in the brain. The GABA neurotransmitter is inhibitory, meaning it slows other areas of the brain. Specifically, the areas that control anxiety, stress, alertness, and wakefulness.

Individuals who take Restoril appear relaxed, and in high enough doses, the person may experience mild levels of euphoria. The calm and euphoric feelings associated with Restoril contribute to the risk of abuse and potential for dependence.

Restoril has shown risk factors for addiction and significant cognitive effects with extended use. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies benzodiazepines like temazepam, as a Schedule IV drug, alongside other medications, such as Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam).

Restoril is available in 7.5 mg, 15 mg, 22.5 mg, and 30 mg capsules. This medication has many drug interactions, and should only be taken under the supervision of a medical professional who is completely aware of all other medications the person is taking, both prescription and over the counter.

Temazepam was the fifth most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine in 2016, and is equally available on the street for illicit purchase. Prescription medications that can be purchased illegally generally have a high probability for addiction.

Is Restoril Addictive?

Addiction can occur quickly when a person is misusing a medication like Restoril. Because temazepam is a mind-altering substance, it can quickly alter the wiring in the brain and create a pathway that is dependent on Restoril abuse.

Once the brain develops a tolerance to temazepam, the person may find themselves experiencing symptoms of abuse, dependence, and addiction.

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Restoril Abuse

Using Restoril in any way that is not prescribed is substance abuse. In 2019, the American Journal of Preventative Measures published a study that revealed over 46% of emergency room visits for nonmedical use of prescription medications involved benzodiazepines, higher than any other substance.

Abuse of Restoril includes crushing, snorting, smoking, or injecting temazepam, taking higher doses, purposely staying awake after taking Restoril, or taking Restoril with other substances of abuse. Over time, the body will become accustomed to the higher dose or mode of ingestion, and tolerance will develop. At that point, the person will need more Restoril to feel the same results.

Tolerance usually leads to dependence, meaning the body will feel as though it needs temazepam in order to function normally. The body will experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms if it goes without Restoril.

Effects Of Restoril Abuse

A person who is abusing Restoril may experience the following effects:

  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • low inhibitions
  • decreased anxiety
  • stumbling
  • coordination issues
  • impaired judgment

Restoril intoxication is very similar to alcohol intoxication. If a person taking temazepam appears to be ‘drunk’ and has not ingested any alcohol, it is likely they have taken too much Restoril and may be abusing it.

Because this medication is intended to initiate sleep in those struggling with insomnia, abusing Restoril can result in the individual engaging in behaviors while asleep, having no memory of doing so. Sleep-walking, sleep-eating, sleep-driving, sleep-talking, and even having sex while sleeping have occurred in people taking Restoril at normal doses. The possibility increases when a person abuses Restoril.

Restoril Addiction Signs

A person who is addicted to Restoril is likely to engage in behaviors that are outside the way they may normally behave. In general, a person who is addicted to Restoril will appear to be obsessed with the drug, and less concerned with most other areas of their life.

For example, a person struggling with temazepam addiction may:

  • steal prescriptions for Restoril
  • doctor shop to get multiple prescriptions for Restoril
  • lie about symptoms to get more Restoril
  • purchase Restoril illegally
  • be unable to stop taking Restoril or even lower dosage
  • neglect responsibilities (relationships, job, school, friends)
  • avoid situations or people that do not approve of Restoril abuse
  • continue to use Restoril despite negative consequences
  • experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms without Restoril
  • overdose on Restoril

Temazepam Overdose

People who misuse Restoril are at high risk for overdose. Benzodiazepine overdose can be fatal, so it is important to seek emergency medical services for anyone experiencing the following symptoms:

  • decreased breathing
  • muscle coordination problems
  • extreme confusion
  • disorientation
  • bluish lips or fingertips
  • trembling
  • coma
  • seizures

Abusing Restoril in addition to other substances, such as opioids, alcohol, cocaine, or other benzodiazepines increases the risk for overdose. Fatal overdoses are usually the result of mixing benzodiazepines with other substances.

Restoril Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person who is addicted to Restoril wants to stop taking temazepam, it is strongly recommended that they seek the assistance of a medically supervised detoxification program. As with other benzodiazepines, Restoril has been linked to severe withdrawal symptoms.

Physical symptoms of Restoril withdrawal typically emerge one to four days after a person stops taking temazepam. The intensity of these effects usually depends on the amount of Restoril usually ingested and length of time the person has been addicted to Restoril. These withdrawal effects often include:

  • abdominal pain
  • headaches
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • tachycardia
  • cramping
  • shaking
  • convulsions

Once the physical symptoms subside, the person will likely continue to experience equally uncomfortable psychological withdrawal symptoms. The cravings that seem to spearhead the psychological withdrawal symptoms have been reportedly so intense that relapse at this stage is not uncommon.

Some psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with Restoril abuse include:

  • panic attacks
  • irritability
  • severe anxiety
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • exhaustion
  • memory issues
  • hallucinations
  • seizures
  • psychosis
  • emergence of co-occurring disorders

Restoril Addiction Treatment

A substance abuse program that treats Restoril addiction usually begins with a thorough assessment of the person and what their specific needs are. A person struggling with a benzodiazepine addiction is typically referred to a medically supervised detox program in order to taper them off drugs like Restoril.

In detoxification clinics, medical professionals are able to supervise and provide alternative medications to ease withdrawal symptoms while slowly tapering down the dose of the substance of abuse. This is important with drugs like Restoril, because stopping Restoril cold turkey can result in seizures and other side effects.

After detox is complete, placement into a substance abuse program is strongly recommended. During treatment, a number of different interventions and counseling measures are used to explore the nature of addiction and help replace old patterns of behavior with new, more appropriate strategies.

There are a variety of services offered during treatment. Reach out to us today and let us help you find a location that is best suited for you or your loved one.

Food and Drug Administration - Temazepam

Medical Expenditure Panel Survey - Temazepam - Drug Use Statistics, 2006-2016

American Journal of Preventative Medicine - U.S. Emergency Department Visits Resulting From Nonmedical Use of Pharmaceuticals, 2016

The Internet Drug Index - Restoril

MedlinePlus - Temazepam

Global Information Network About Drugs - Temazepam

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