Sleep disorders are one of the most common health problems Americans face. Our nonstop lifestyles come at a price. And, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that price is that as much as a third of people in the nation don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Sleep disorders like insomnia can lead to various psychological, cognitive, and physical problems in one’s daily life. Even a lack of sleep is a risk factor for some serious diseases, including heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Since sleep disorders are such a significant and common problem, doctors and researchers have been looking for ways to treat it for more than a century.
Restoril is one such remedy. It’s a psychoactive medication in the benzodiazepine class of drugs that can help you relax and get to sleep. However, it can also cause tolerance, dependence, and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Learn more about Restoril withdrawal and how it can be treated safely.
Restoril is the brand name for a prescription drug called temazepam that’s in the benzodiazepine category of drugs. Like other benzodiazepines, Restoril is used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders.
As a benzodiazepine, Restoril is also in a category of drugs called central nervous system depressants. The drug works in the brain by suppressing the central nervous system by interacting with a chemical messenger in the brain called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA).
The chemical messenger is responsible for binding to its receptor and regulating excitability in your nervous system. People with sleep disorders, anxiety, and other problems that cause overactive nerves, GABA may not be as efficient as it should be or some other physical or psychological problem could cause nervous system overexcitability.
Restoril can bind to GABA receptors and increase the efficiency of GABA as it activates the nervous system depressing response. This can have potent results, causing hypnosis, sedations, and anti-anxiety. However, it can also cause intoxication and a euphoric high if the dose is high enough.
Because of these effects, some people use Restoril and other benzos as recreational drugs, which can be dangerous. Using Restoril in higher doses than what is recommended can cause you to become chemically dependent on the drug. This can cause a substance use disorder that can grow into an addiction.
Quitting Restoril, after developing chemical dependency can cause uncomfortable psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. When you become dependent on Restoril, your central nervous system will have adapted to the drug by altering your natural brain chemistry to balance around the drug. This can mean increasing excitatory chemicals to counteract Restoril.
When you stop taking the drug, the increased levels of stimulating chemicals will send your brain chemistry out of balance without Restoril in your system. This can cause your nervous system to become overstimulated, causing uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that can include:
Restoril withdrawal symptoms can range from uncomfortable to potentially life-threatening. The most dangerous symptoms are seizures and delirium tremens. If you believe that you’ve become dependent on a Restoril, speak to a doctor before quitting cold turkey.
As a benzodiazepine, Restoril can be potentially deadly during its withdrawal phase. Benzodiazepines can cause nervous system overexcitability during withdrawal, and that can lead to some potentially deadly symptoms like seizures and delirium tremens. Seizures can cause injuries and accidents when they come on suddenly.
Delirium tremens can cause extreme confusion, panic, terror, tremors, coma, and death if it isn’t treated quickly. Both of these severe symptoms can be treated or avoided in a medical detox program. Detox involves 24-hour medically managed care that may involve the use of medications to help avoid dangerous symptoms and to ease uncomfortable ones.
After you complete a medical detox program, you may need additional levels of care if you’ve developed a severe substance use disorder. According to NIDA, detox is an important part of treatment, but it may not be all you need to effectively address an addiction.
If you continue to have physical or psychological problems that need high levels of care, you may move on to an inpatient or residential program. Inpatient treatment involves 24-hour care as you start to address the underlying issues of addiction.
After that, you may move on to intensive outpatient treatment, which involves nine or more hours per week, or outpatient treatment, which involves fewer than nine hours of treatment per week.
Harvard Medical School. (2007, December 18). Sleep and Disease Risk. Retrieved from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/consequences/sleep-and-disease-risk
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification
RxList. (2017, July 26). Temazepam: Side Effects, Dosages, Treatment, Interactions, Warnings. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_temazepam_restoril/drugs-condition.htm
U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. Temazepam. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684003.html
WebMD. (n.d.). Gaba (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid): Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-464/gaba-gamma-aminobutyric-acid