Temazepam (brand names Restoril and Normison) is part of the benzodiazepine class of hypnotic drugs. As with other benzodiazepines, it is a sedative and highly addictive. Used to treat insomnia, temazepam can be a highly effective short-term treatment. When used for long periods, however, temazepam can often lead to addiction, dependency, and, even, overdose.
Early detection of temazepam addiction is crucial in prevention, so it is important to know the signs. To first understand addiction and how to treat it, we must take a look at what temazepam actually is.
What is Temazepam?
Temazepam is primarily used to treat insomnia and is commonly used in the United States Air Force as a “no-go” pill. Aviators and special-duty personnel take temazepam before missions to get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
The United States Air Force’s use of the term “no-go” pill has seeped into the recreational uses of temazepam, so on the street, the drug is commonly referred to as a “no-go” (Zaleplon and Zolpidem also share this lingo). This is one of the only street names for temazepam, but benzodiazepines are generally referred to as:
- Nerve Pills
The names “blues,” “downers,” and “nerve pills” are all references to temazepam being a sedative, commonly used to reduce anxiety and lower energy levels. Although a benzodiazepine high is generally not enjoyable and still very dangerous, many people will still abuse temazepam and other similar drugs after developing a dependency.
Dangers of Temazepam
In the United States, temazepam abuse is not as widespread as other benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Valium. As a matter of fact, temazepam is the fifth-most prescribed benzo, as other medications for insomnia are more effective.
Despite this, temazepam is now becoming increasingly abused. It is one of the easiest benzodiazepines to obtain via “doctor shopping,” prescription forging, and/or purchasing it online from illicit sites. Because of its availability, people are becoming increasingly vulnerable to temazepam addiction, dependency, and even overdose.
Similar to all other benzodiazepines, there are many short-term and long-term effects that can negatively affect someone who takes temazepam. Learning how dangerous it is and being able to recognize the signs of temazepam addiction and abuse is an important factor in treating it.
Short-Term Side Effects
The side effects of temazepam abuse, as outlined by the Mayo Clinic, are relatively easy to spot but can be easily overlooked if you do not know what exactly you are looking for. Some common adverse short-term side effects of temazepam can include:
- Drunken-like behavior
- Slower reaction time
- Numbed emotions
The list above is meant to help most cases as they are the most reported and thus the most common side effects. However, we know that your case is more than likely different, so here are the less common side effects that may help in detecting temazepam abuse:
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating to cool overall body temperature)
- Increased appetite
- Abnormalities in sexual behavior or drive
- General aggression (restlessness, violence, easy agitation, etc.)
Please keep in mind that not all symptoms are listed. To ensure safety while taking temazepam, it is important to make sure that at least eight hours are allotted to sleep. Because it is used to treat insomnia, waking up before the eight hours may result in any of the above-listed side effects.
Tolerance and Dependence
As a short-term sedative-hypnotic benzodiazepine, chronic or excessive use of temazepam may result in the rapid development of tolerance. It is recommended that you do not take temazepam for more that one to two weeks, as most hypnotics lose their effectiveness from anywhere between three-to-14 days.
Temazepam tolerance is caused by the regular use or abuse of the drug over extended periods, and it can easily pave the way to dependence. Physical dependence can occur when your body perceives the drug as “normal” and adjusts in a way that makes it difficult to perform certain functions without the drug.
Whenever people with temazepam addiction and dependency stops using the drug, their bodies will react and struggle to function without it. This struggling is what causes withdrawal symptoms, and the severity of the symptoms correlates with both the amount of temazepam taken and the length of time that the user has been abusing temazepam.
Long-Term Effects and Signs of Addiction
Someone who is a longtime user of temazepam (or benzodiazepines in general) may exhibit strange behaviors that may or may not be noticeable. If you are close to someone who suffers from temazepam addiction, or you are unsure if they are addicted or not, look for the following symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing motivation for school/work
- “Doctor shopping” (visiting multiple doctors and physicians for extra prescriptions)
What is Involved in Temazepam Addiction Treatment?
Although it is relatively uncommon, temazepam addiction can be difficult to treat. For this reason, it is important to take the proper steps and precautions. At Arete Recovery, temazepam addiction is treated critically.
For the client, temazepam addiction treatment may be grueling and difficult. We understand entirely, and our staff is devoted to ensuring your treatment is a success. Our clients start with medical detoxification, then enter into either an inpatient program or a residential program, and ends with the finishing of their case management.
Medical detox is arguably the most important and most difficult step in temazepam addiction recovery. The process includes quickly lowering the use of temazepam and, instead, uses substitution and cross-acting drugs.
A common substitute drug for temazepam is diazepam (another benzodiazepine that’s usually in the form of Valium). This is due to its fast-acting, low-dosage liquid form and its longer half-life than temazepam. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes a drug concentration takes to be reduced to a half.
For example, temazepam’s half-life is eight-to-10 hours, which is significantly shorter than Valium’s half-life of up to 100 hours. The fact that Valium stays in your system longer makes the time between doses longer, which breaks down your body’s tolerance and possible dependency.
Detoxification usually lasts from between five-to-seven days, depending on the severity of your addiction.
Residential Treatment Programs
After the detoxification program, you may transition to a residential program. At this stage, you will live at the facility and enjoy the comfort and amenities it offers while participating in daily therapies and modalities. The goal in residential treatment is to use clinically based methods to discover the thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that fuel your addiction and to help you find ways to cope with negative feelings.
Residential programs usually run between 30 days to 90 days, after which you may want to switch to outpatient treatment, where you can continue on with the same therapies while living at home or in a sober living facility. Here, you will be equipped with the mental tools to prevent and fight against relapse triggers as they appear in your everyday life.
During your temazepam addiction treatment process, your case manager is given the task of making sure you are on track. This includes everything from any special needs you may have, to financial issues and even aftercare. Case managers will help you with possible housing after recovery, employment, and so much more.
Case managers will be your best friend on your journey to full recovery and they will be more than happy to answer your questions or concerns you may have. Your only job is to get to the treatment center—the case managers and other professionals will do the rest.
Helping a Loved One Through Recovery
Although recovery centers are the most effective course of action, helping a loved one can be much more than sending them away for treatment. You may ask yourself what you can do to help someone you know who is struggling with recovery and withdrawal. The worst feeling is the feeling of helplessness, so here are three things you can do to help a loved one finish their recovery:
- If the person in recovery is part of an inpatient or residential treatment program, pick up the phone and give them a call. Saying, “Hey, just checking in to see how you are doing” can be surprisingly effective and put a smile on both of your faces.
- If the person you know is part of an outpatient program, it is imperative that you provide a positive environment for them. Encouraging positive behaviors such as healthy eating and constant exercise not only makes you both happy, but it helps curb the withdrawal symptoms they may be experiencing.
- We found that use of personal pronouns like “I”, “we”, and “us” are exceptional at providing a positive environment. It helps whoever you are helping by strengthening their courage and reassuring them they are not alone in this challenge of overcoming addiction.
Temazepam Addiction Statistics
- Benzodiazepines are involved in more than 30% of opioid overdose cases, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- In 2015, roughly 446,000 people older than age 12 were current abusers of sedatives.
- The percentage of U.S. adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription per year [from 1996 to 2013] increased by about 30%, from 4.1% in 1996 to 5.6% in 2013.