While about 10-18 percent of the overall American population deals with sleep disorders, 50-80 percent of those with psychiatric disorders struggle with sleep each night, according to Harvard Medical School.
While those with sleep disorders might feel physically exhausted, they might be unable to drift off to dreamland when their heads hit their pillows. They might spend all night tossing and turning and wishing for sleep, and when the morning comes, they might be even more exhausted than they were the night before. Even so, when the sky darkens and it’s time for sleep once more, these same people might find it hard to drift away. Each night, they seem to get yet more exhausted.
Breaking this cycle of sleep disruption is absolutely vital, experts say, as those who can’t get enough sleep often don’t have the energy to handle the tasks that are vital in controlling a mental illness. People like this might nod off in therapy sessions, or they might forget that they even have appointments in the first place.
Often, the best way to break a cycle of poor sleep involves medications. Specific pharmaceutical solutions can change the chemistry of the cells in the brain, making it easier for people to both fall asleep and stay asleep.
However, those who use Restoril (generic name: temazepam) to help with a sleep problem may have a different problem to deal with. That’s because this drug’s chemical reactions might also spark addictive changes. When that happens, it might become all too easy to abuse this drug, and it might seem hard to make that abuse stop.
Restoril is a benzodiazepine medication that’s been proven to slow down specific types of electrical activity inside cells of the brain. That means people who take this medication often feel profoundly sleepy just moments later, and that change in electrical impulse allows them to finally float away into the sleep they’ve been hoping for.
However, this medication has also been associated with strange sleep behaviors, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. People who take this drug have been known to do all sorts of things while they believe that they’re sleeping, including:
- Making calls
- Having sex
If you go through an episode like this, you might have no memory of anything that’s happened. Others might explain the situation to you, or you might find evidence of the episode when you do wake up.
The thought of doing things you won’t remember might not be pleasant at all, but Restoril can do other things that might be even more serious. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people who abuse benzodiazepines like Restoril can develop serious health problems, including low blood pressure and labored breathing, during an intoxicated episode. You might feel as though you’re just relaxed or a little sedated, but that feeling could expand and expand. And sometimes, it leads to a medical emergency that can only be treated at a hospital.
How to Spot a Restoril Addiction
It’s possible that you might already know if you’re struggling with compulsive Restoril use. You might be aware of the fact that you’re spending a huge amount of time each day getting or taking the drug, and you might know that you feel a little guilty about the amount of pills you’re taking. But if you’re not quite sure if an addiction is in play, looking for a few warning signs may help.
According to guidelines published by Medscape, Restoril for insomnia is often prescribed in doses that are between 15-30mg every night. If you’re abusing your medication, you might be taking far more than this on a regular basis. Your prescription may always be on the verge of running out, and you might find that you need to call your doctor for more on a regular basis.
Also, Medline suggests that Restoril should improve sleep within 7-10 days. At that point, writers say, you’ll work with your doctor on any ongoing sleep concerns, and get therapy for the issues that linger.
If you find that you’re unwilling to stop your medication use after 10 days even if you’re sleeping well, you might also be dealing with an underlying issue that a doctor should help with. It might even be addiction.
People with a Restoril addiction may also find that they feel a craving for the medication in situations that aren’t associated with sleep. You might feel an urge for a pill when you’re asked to:
- Give a speech
- Meet someone new
- Enter a crowded situation
- Confront someone you don’t like
- Handle a loss
You might also find that you want to take Restoril when you’re happy, just so you can make that feeling last a little longer. Or, most tellingly, you might be tempted to take the medication when you’re under the influence of another drug in an attempt to prolong the effects.
Seeing one or all of these signs isn’t a symptom of failure. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a criminal. It just makes you aware of the fact that you’re dealing with a problem that you will need help with in order to solve. Recovering from a benzodiazepine addiction isn’t something you can do alone.
Restoril Addiction Recovery
Since Restoril addiction causes chemical changes inside the brain, it makes sense that people feel a bit ill when they try to stop taking the medication. The damage is present, and it can cause big problems.
According to a review published in the journal Epilepsy and Behavior, an abrupt withdrawal from benzodiazepines like Restoril is associated with seizures. That’s why medical professionals are so careful when they try to help people to recover. Sometimes they prescribe medications that can prevent seizures, and sometimes they taper the benzo dose very slowly, so people never go into seizures in the first place.
After you’re sober, the therapy portion of your recovery will kick in. Here, you’ll learn more about what you can do to fend off a craving for Restoril, and you’ll develop an entirely new set of skills you can bring to bear in the fight against addiction. Your therapist might also help you to bring an underlying mental health condition under control, so you’ll be less likely to self-medicate with drugs.
If the idea of going into a rehab program fills you with concern, it’s important to remember that these programs are designed to make your life better. There’s no punishment and misery involved. Everyone is working to help make your life better, to help you feel connected, and to give you the tools you’ll need to turn your whole life around. Rehab could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
If you’d like to learn more about the rehab process, and how addiction recovery might fit in with the therapies you’re already getting for a mental health concern, please call. Our admissions coordinators are available around the clock to help get you the answers you need.
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David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.