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Restoril Addiction

Restoril is a common medication used to treat sleep disorders and, sometimes, anxiety. Anxiety and sleep problems represent are among the most common ailments Americans face on a daily basis, and medical professionals have been seeking effective remedies for decades. In the late 1800s, barbituric acid was first discovered, and this discovery would eventually lead to the use of barbiturates around the turn of the century. By the 1960s, benzodiazepines such as Restoril were synthesized and marketed. In the 1970s, benzodiazepines would become the most widely used prescription drug in the world.

However, these prescription sleep aids and anti-anxiety medications do have some potentially serious side effects including addiction, withdrawal, and overdose. Learn more about Restoril addiction and how it can be safely and effectively treated. 

What Is Restoril?

Restoril is the brand name for a prescription drug called temazepam. It’s in the benzodiazepine class of psychoactive substances that are commonly used to treat insomnia and anxiety disorders. Restoril also can be used to treat muscle spasms and disorders that cause seizures like epilepsy. It’s also in the larger category of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that also include barbiturates and alcohol.

Restoril, like most depressants, is GABAergic, which means it works in the brain by affecting neurotransmitters called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is one of the main chemicals in your body that’s responsible for regulating your nervous system’s excitability. It’s a key component in maintaining balanced brain chemistry and making sure you can calm down and relax when it’s time to rest. However, people with sleep disorders and anxiety may have problems related to this chemical balance or psychological factors that produce an overly excitable nervous system. Drugs like Restoril can help GABA to be more effective in these cases.

Benzos like Restoril bind to a site on the GABA receptor that’s different than GABA’s own binding site. When GABA binds to a receptor along with Restoril, the drug increases the efficiency of the neurochemical, producing hypnotic and anxiety-relieving effects. 

Restoril was first synthesized in the wave of benzodiazepines that were created and marketed in the 1960s. The growing popularity of these medications could be explained by heavy and controversial marketing and the perception that benzodiazepines were safer alternatives to barbiturates. In the mid-20th century, anti-anxiety medications were aggressively advertised to women, especially stay-at-home-moms. 

Ads claimed that the stresses and fatigue of daily life would melt away with the use of certain medications like benzodiazepines and barbiturates. However, the tactic would be controversial when people realized these potent prescription drugs were being marketed to otherwise healthy women, especially considering the potential for side effects like chemical dependence and addiction. 

Like other depressants, Restoril has the potential to cause intoxicating side effects like dizziness, fatigue, headache, lethargy, and drunkenness similar to alcohol. Euphoria is rare with the standard use of the drug, but it can be produced if Restoril is abused or mixed with other substances. However, this increases your risk of dependence, addiction, dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and overdose. 

Restoril is a helpful and effective medication, but if it’s not used carefully, it can cause some serious consequences. If you feel your prescription is causing a substance use disorder, you may want to speak with your doctor about cutting back or finding alternatives. Avoid quitting cold turkey before speaking to a professional since withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous.

What Are the Signs of Restoril Addiction?

If you have been prescribed Restoril, and you’re worried about a potential substance use disorder, there are warning signs and symptoms. If you are worried about a friend or family member, you may be able to notice some behavioral signs as well. Learning to recognize the signs of addiction can help you get the help you need as soon as possible. 

The first sign of Restoril addiction is often the feeling that you are becoming more tolerant of your usual dose. If you feel like the medication is becoming less effective, it’s because your brain and body are getting used to it. If this happens, you may want to talk to your doctor about safely cutting back or changing medications, rather than increasing the dose to counteract the tolerance. If you continue to use, you may develop a chemical dependency.

Dependence is when your brain and body will start to rely on the drug for you to feel normal. It may stop producing its own nervous system depressing chemicals and may even counteract the drug with excitatory chemicals. As the drug holds back these efforts to balance out your brain chemistry, you run the risk of experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop. If you are thinking about stopping Restoril use, consult with a doctor before quitting cold turkey, and ask about safe detox.

If you are worried about a family member’s use, there are a few signs of Restoril abuse that can help you identify a problem. Active abuse can often have effects similar to alcohol intoxication like loss of motor control, a release of inhibitions, drowsiness, lethargy, and loss of balance. Ongoing abuse can also have behavioral signs like:

  • Isolation
  • Lying about drug use
  • Hiding drugs around the house
  • Doctor shopping to get multiple sources
  • Strange sleep patterns
  • Poor judgment
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in normal activities

Ultimately, addiction is characterized by compulsive use of a drug despite the consequences. If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder that may be turning into an addiction, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible

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What Is Involved in Restoril Addiction Treatment?

Treatment is a complex process that should be tailored to your specific needs. When you first enter treatment, you will go through an intake and assessment process designed to get to the root of your needs. Addiction comes with a variety of underlying factors and consequences that need to be addressed for treatment to be successful. Needs may include medical problems, mental health issues, social issues, legal problems, and financial struggles. Each person may have a different need in each of these categories, so treatment is personalized. 

Restoril’s potential for dangerous withdrawal symptoms makes it so that medical needs are a significant concern. People entering addiction treatment for substance abuse problems involving benzodiazepines often start with medical detoxification. Detox typically lasts for a week and involves 24-hour care from medical professionals. 

After detox, you will be placed in a level of care that is best suited to help you through your treatment plan effectively. The level of care you need is partially determined by a set of criteria outlined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The levels may include inpatient/residential services, partial-hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, or outpatient services

How Dangerous Is Restoril?

Restoril is a central nervous system depressant. Although it isn’t as toxic as its barbiturate predecessors, it does come with serious risks if not used properly. Restoril can cause side effects that are similar to alcohol intoxication. Effects like loss of motor control and drowsiness can lead to accidents and injury, especially if you get behind the wheel of a car. The negative side effects may be more pronounced in older people because benzodiazepines can be more difficult to process as we age. Studies have found that older adults are at greater risk of injuries from falls and cognitive impairment. 

Restoril can also lead to a potentially life-threatening overdose when it’s abused or mixed with other substances. It’s rare for normal use, or even moderately high doses of Restoril to lead to an overdose. However, extremely high doses can be deadly. The risk of an overdose is even higher when the drug is mixed with other benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opioids, or alcohol. These drug combinations can mix to cause dangerous nervous system suppression. This can lead to life-threatening respiratory depression, which can cause brain damage, coma, or death.

Restoril can also cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms, especially if you stop using it abruptly after developing a chemical dependency. Withdrawal can cause anxiety, panic, irritability, nausea, tremors, seizures, and a condition called delirium tremens (DTs), which can be fatal without medical help. 


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RxList. Restoril Restoril Side Effects Center. (August 23, 2019) RxList med ed-Cunha, J. DO, FACOEP from

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