Restoril Abuse: A Guide to the Dangers & Treatment Options

Her father is convinced Emma tried everything to break free from her addiction. But, nothing – psychiatric wards, detoxes, rehabs, and sober houses – seemed to give his daughter the lasting help she needed. As he looks back on Emma’s short life, Jim wonders whether the disease was too dominant or the help provided was too weak.

“If only” is a phrase that will haunt Jim for more than he wants as he continues to grieve over the loss of his 24-year-old daughter who was found in a dirty bathroom in a Boston restaurant with fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and sedatives in her blood.

Deaths from overdose of prescription sedatives — known as benzodiazepines — are on the rise, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Studies show that this hidden epidemic has led to as many as 9,000 overdose deaths in one year.

Benzodiazepines treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and acute alcohol withdrawal by influencing chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters to calm and relax nerves. When the generic name of a drug ends with “pam” or “lam,” that indicates the medication is a benzodiazepine. For sleep problems, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved benzodiazepines, such as flurazepam, quazepam, and temazepam.

Temazepam is the generic name for the brand Restoril. Millions of Americans who have difficulty sleeping at night are tempted to look beyond over-the-counter drugs to prescription medications like Restoril for help. Taking Restoril to treat a sleeping disorder is intended for short-term use, usually no more than 10 days. The problem is, sedatives like Restoril are creating long-term habits. Taking any benzodiazepine over a long period is problematic. Moreover, prescription sedatives including Restoril are addictive and dangerous when abused.

Individuals who take Restoril in large doses are at risk to side effects including headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion and even hallucinations. When combined with alcohol and opioids, such as codeine and hydrocodone, and other depressants including antihistamines, hay fever medications, and muscle relaxants, Restoril abuse can lead to loss of consciousness, respiratory failure and death.

One review of the health records of some 30,000 patients who took common sedative-hypnotics, such as Restoril, Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta, every two to three days increased their risk for cancer by 35 percent and had a five-times jump in death compared to those who did not take these drugs. Even so, physicians keep writing and refilling prescriptions for Restoril, especially for their older patients.

Restoril is considered a short- to intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. That means the medication begins to work in 10 to 20 minutes after a dose is taken, with levels peaking at about one-and-a-half hours later. Restoril has a half-life – the time needed for half the drug to be metabolized by the liver and excreted in urine – of about nine hours. Exactly how long Restoril remains in the body depends on an individual’s metabolism, weight, amount of body fat, hydration, and duration and amount of use.

What Are Restoril Side Effects?

Because of the sedating effects of Restoril, the medication should only be taken when a patient can stay in bed for seven to eight hours. Even though temazepam is taken at bedtime, it may cause some people to feel drowsy or less alert in the morning. Besides the medicinal purposes, other common side effects of Restoril include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea

Restoril should not be taken under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. A combination of Restoril and these substances will increase the possibility of life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma. Restoril should also not be taken with any opioids including codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, Demerol, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, or tramadol. Adverse reactions to Restoril may occur with:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Digoxin
  • Anxiety medications
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antiepileptics for seizures
  • Pain relievers
  • Other sleeping pills and sedatives
  • Tranquilizers

Severe allergic reactions to temazepam may include:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Swelling of face
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

What Are the Symptoms for Restoril Overdose

Restoril in increased dosages or for longer periods than prescribed can lead to overdose. Signs of an overdose include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty breathing

Recognizing Restoril Abuse

Sleep, for some older people, is a major concern. Many want to sleep more than 12 hours each night, but, because of their changing sleep patterns, it’s not always possible. Sleeping six to seven hours and waking up once or twice during the night is more than adequate. That said, most Restoril prescriptions for elderly adults are for short-term use — if any — three months tops. Studies have found that seniors who took Restoril for periods longer than 10 days doubled their risk of long-term use over the next year.

Sedatives linger longer in the bloodstream, usually into the next day for elderly adults. That amplifies the risks of Restoril for older adults who will be increasingly prone to memory lapse, motor vehicle accidents, and injuries from falls while sedated. Early signs that Restoril is becoming a problem may include:

  • Repeating the same question twice in a short amount of time
  • Forgetting the current date by a day or two and confusing times
  • Forgetting where the car is parked, or misplacing keys
  • Driving and passing the intended street
  • Difficulty standing up from a chair

What is Restoril Withdrawal?

When taken orally, Restoril triggers a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which slows down messages within the central nervous system to create the drowsiness leading up to sleep. As use continues, tolerance increases, which means the nervous system begins to get accustomed to the enhanced GABA activity. When this level of tolerance is no longer maintained, withdrawal begins.

Like other benzodiazepines, Restoril withdrawal is difficult to predict. To safeguard against unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, dosages of the Restoril should be lowered gradually before completely stopping use.

What Are Restoril Withdrawal Symptoms?

Once the body has become dependent on Restoril, abruptly eliminating use of the drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms, usually beginning anywhere from one to four days after the last dose. Restoril withdrawal symptoms may include intense anxiety and panic, or the same effects that the medication was at first intended to treat. These withdrawal symptoms, which may extend for up to two weeks, include:

  • Headaches
  • Convulsions
  • Trembling
  • Muscle cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis

Why Should I Detox?

The search for a good night’s sleep has turned into a nightmare instead. You can no longer function without Restoril, let alone treat your insomnia. Confronting your dependence is not easy and should not be taken lightly. Your best choice for safe withdrawal from Restoril should be under the care of a trained medical professional. This type of help is best found at a residential treatment facility, which specializes in detoxification from chemical dependency. Here, a doctor can prescribe medications to alleviate the pain and suffering associated with Restoril withdrawal and medical staff can monitor progress and respond to any complications in a timely manner.

Ready to take the first step on the road to recovery? Request a call today!

Ready to take the first step on the road to recovery? Request a call today!

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

Chances are your dependence goes beyond Restoril and includes alcohol and illicit drugs. Detoxification is only the first step toward reversing your Restoril dependence and achieving complete sustained sobriety from these unhealthy substances. When you choose to extend your stay at a residential treatment center, you will be given a personalized recovery plan customized to meet your issues and unique circumstances.

To strengthen your resistance to relapse and to start feeling good about yourself, you will also be exposed to cognitive behavioral therapy in a group or one-on-one setting, counseling, educational lectures and workshops as part of your recovery program.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

People who abuse sleeping pills do recover. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to Restoril and other escape mechanisms and you recognize the need for help, you are in the right place. You will find the assistance that you have been searching for at California Highlands Vistas.

Beginning with detox and on through our post-treatment alumni program, our highly trained medical professionals and substance abuse counselors are ready to help you remove Restoril dependency from your life. Call (951) 402-2075 now to speak with one of our addiction specialists for more information.