Restoril is the tradename for the generic drug temazepam. This prescription medication is categorized as a benzodiazepine and used for the management of insomnia on a short-term basis. Insomnia includes both trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
Restoril, like other benzos used for sleep disorders, works by kicking up the action of GABA in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is involved in reducing anxiety and calming down the body, which can lead to sleep. Though Restoril was first used in 1969 to treat insomnia, in 1981, it received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose. However, as the drug began to be distributed for its therapeutic benefit, by the late 1980s, it became a commonly abused drug. Restoril is abused for its sedative effect and the high users may experience.
Physical Dependence and Addiction to Restoril
From a clinical standpoint, the terms physical dependence and addiction have been replaced by the term substance use disorder (or more specifically, sedative use disorder in the case of Restoril abuse). In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association published the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Per the DSM-5, substance addiction is a diagnosable health disorder that can feature up to 11 symptoms (also referred to as criteria or indicators). Physical dependence and psychological addiction are included among the 11 possible symptoms. To help ensure that a diagnosis is accurate and not over-inclusive, the DSM-5 requires that a person have at least two symptoms within the same 12-month period before being considered to have a substance use disorder. Once this threshold requirement is met, the person is given a grade of mild, moderate, or severe in terms of the substance use disorder based on the total number of criteria present. For purposes of illuminating the side effects of Restoril, consideration is given here to the difference between physical dependence and psychological addiction.
As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, a person may be physically dependent on a drug and not become addicted, though anyone who is addicted to a drug is physically dependent on it. Restoril is a prescription medication that has therapeutic value but also carries addiction potential. Cognizant of this fact, doctors who prescribe this medication to patients should (and usually do) exercise caution and instruct patients not to take more than the prescribed amount and only at the recommended time intervals within a 24-hour period. Due to the addiction potential of Restoril, a patient who uses this drug over time (though, again, it is usually a short-term treatment) may develop a physical dependence on it. Physical dependence is a natural biological process; it is the body’s way of habituating to the presence of a foreign substance – in this case, the drug.
There are two main hallmarks of physical dependence: tolerance and withdrawal. These two features are interconnected. The longer a person takes Restoril, an increasing amount will need to be consumed to ensure that the desired effects are achieved. When the person stops taking Restoril, or significantly reduces the familiar dosage, the body will go into withdrawal.
During withdrawal, a host of different symptoms can emerge, including cravings for the drug. This is the body’s natural way of trying to return to a state of balance; the body has become used to the Restoril, or another addiction-forming drug, and is now signaling that it wants the familiar dosage. It is necessary to point out that when a person has a legitimate prescription for Restoril and follows their doctor’s orders, it is unlikely addiction will set in, though physical dependence may.
As Mayo Clinic discusses, addiction to Restoril or any habit-forming drug, involves the display of numerous behavioral signs. Stated simply, individuals who experience addiction will have a psychological preoccupation with abusing the drug. From that central point, different behaviors will radiate out, including but not limited to (adapted to Restoril abuse here):
- Doctor shopping: To ensure an adequate supply is always available, a person may go to different doctors and lie in order to get two or more prescriptions for Restoril.
- Pharmacy hopping: To avoid detection of the doctor shopping, a person would have to fill overlapping prescriptions for Restoril at different pharmacies and may even travel significant distances to do so.
- Draining financial resources: For example, doctor shopping and pharmacy hopping will involve out-of-pocket expenses, as insurance will, of course, not cover the additional prescriptions.
- Not meeting obligations: Due to the Restoril abuse, the individual doesn’t meet important work, school, or familial duties.
- Lack of interest in social activities: Restoril abuse can cause a person to withdraw socially as well as stop participating in social activities and hobbies that were once of great interest.
- Uncharacteristic actions: A person may steal money or repeatedly lie to cover up their abuse when they have no prior history of these behaviors.
- Engaging in risky behaviors: As a result of Restoril abuse, the person takes dangerous risks, such as driving under the influence of Restoril.
Often, when the public thinks about the dangers associated with drug abuse, they do not think of the most obvious consequence — the onset of addiction itself. It is well established, and advertised, that recreational drug use starts a person down a slippery slope. It may not be as well known, however, that taking a high volume of Restoril shortens the path to addiction.
Symptoms of Restoril Abuse
Individuals who abuse Restoril will typically experience a host of symptoms. One way to understand symptoms is to look at reported side effects (usually documented during clinical trials) and consider the possibility that Restoril abuse could cause a more severe presentation of them. The following are side effects of Restoral, from most common to less common:
- Hangover-like feelings
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
The following are less common side effects, but a high volume of Restoril may cause these symptoms to emerge:
- Loss of balance
- Increase in dreaming
- Burning eyes
As Mayo Clinic notes, the following are signs of recent abuse of a benzo, such as Restoril:
- Slurred speech
- Trouble concentrating
- Problems thinking
- Lack of coordination
- Memory problems
- Eyes move involuntarily
- Feeling of exaggerated wellbeing
- Lowered inhibitions
- Slowed breathing
- Decreased blood pressure
In addition to experiencing or observing these side effects, it is important to keep in mind the behavioral symptoms discussed above. It also bears noting that concerned loved ones may have a sense that drug abuse is occurring but may not know that the drug of abuse is Restoril. If a person is concerned about a loved one’s abuse of Restoril, one tipoff may be the presence of prescription bottles for this drug. It can also help to know what Restoril looks like. Based on information presented by Drugs.com, Restoril comes in a capsule format, in 7.5 mg, 15 mg, 22.5 mg, and 30 mg doses. These capsules come in different color combinations and bear an imprint that says Restoril, for sleep.The milligram dosage is often printed on the capsule.
How to Find Treatment for Restoril Abuse
There is extensive guidance available for finding a suitable drug treatment center. In some instances, it comes in the form of working with a professional, such as a doctor, addiction specialist, or social worker/counselor. In other instances, an individual may rely on written material. Whether a person consults a professional, conducts self-guided research, or both, there are some key points to grasp. Painting the addiction treatment landscape in broad strokes, it is useful to understand the main types of treatment programs at rehab centers:
- Inpatient (or residential) medical detox
- Outpatient medical detox
- Partial hospitalization
- Residential treatment (also referred as inpatient treatment)
- Outpatient treatment
During the intake or admissions process, a trained addiction specialist will ask extensive and in-depth questions to determine a person’s needed level of care in a treatment program. Typically, the process starts with medical detox. After the detox phase is complete (usually 5-7 days, but can be longer depending on volume and frequency of abuse), the recovering person will receive primary addiction treatment services. These services are composed of various types of therapy.
In addition, supportive services, such as group recovery meetings, should be offered to complement the primary addiction treatment. Depending on the rehab center, additional therapeutic services may be offered, such as expressive arts therapy (e.g., music, painting, crafting, etc.) and holistic health offerings, such as massage, yoga, chiropractic care, or acupuncture, may be available. When a person is looking for a drug treatment program, it is important that the minimum services of medical detox, primary care treatment for the addiction, and recovery group meetings are available.
Another important consideration is the status of the rehab center. The rehab center should be accredited by the state (accreditation requirements vary state to state). Usually, a rehab center’s literature will clearly state that all required legal formalities have been met, and it is approved to provide recovery services to clients. A rehab staff member should also be able to provide information of this nature to prospective clients and their loved ones.
There is, of course, no requirement to research rehab programs before reaching out to one, though if the situation and time permit, it is a recommended practice. To narrow down the possibilities, one initial filter is to think about geography. Once a state or city of interest is identified, there are numerous ways to find a rehab center, including:
- Asking for a referral/help from a family doctor
- If the person/family has insurance, inquiring with the insurance company to learn about covered providers or even those who are out of network (if wanting to pay out of pocket)
- Inquiring with one’s job or school to learn if there is any sort of referral support available
- Conducting simple research to learn about rehab programs
At this point in the discussion, a person may wonder how to find a rehab center that expressly treats Restoril abuse. It is helpful to understand that most rehab centers do not advertise a specialization in the treatment of a particular drug of abuse (but the rehab facility’s staff may have extensive experience treating addiction to specific drugs/class of drugs). In the field of recovery treatment, the drug of abuse is always relevant, but it doesn’t necessarily drive the course of treatment. Rehab services do not target individual drugs of abuse as much as they address the environmental, physiological, psychological, and behavioral aspects of substance abuse.
Drug addiction is a complex disease. While a person who needs recovery services may have a preferred drug, such as Restoril, or a preferred drug class, such as benzodiazepines, the more fundamental issue relates to the thought processes underlying the drug abuse. A rehab center, through a detox program, will address the biological aspects of substance abuse. Once the body is detoxed, it is critical to address how the addiction happened so as to avoid it happening again in the future (i.e., relapse). Rehab, however, is not simply a relapse prevention program. In addition to helping a recovering person to develop strategies to avoid relapse, a program will teach the skills necessary to build a drug-free life. In this way, individuals are not just protecting themselves against a relapse, but rather developing a new blueprint for life that is conducive to abstinence maintenance.
Due to dangers inherent in the withdrawal process from Restoril or other benzodiazepines, there is a general advisement that a person undergo medical detox at a qualified rehab center. During the intake process, the attending admissions counselor will explain the many reasons why this course of treatment is not only advisable but often necessary. The transparency of the recovery process is part of its healing power. As individuals in recovery learn about the consequences of addiction, they can gain valuable insight into why abstinence maintenance is not only possible but also satisfying. Irrespective of the many losses a person, and concerned loved ones, have experienced as a result of Restoril abuse, it is important to keep in mind that recovery is possible, and the future holds much hope.