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Temazepam (Restoril) Addiction

Temazepam (Restoril) can be useful when taken as prescribed by a doctor. However, all benzodiazepines, including temazepam, can expose users to the risks of misuse and addiction, which can lead to a range of negative consequences, including benzodiazepine overdose and death.1, 2

What Is Temazepam?

Temazepam is a short-acting benzodiazepine medication that doctors may prescribe to treat insomnia.1 Temazepam is intended for short-term use, generally around 7-10 days.1

Benzodiazepines like Restoril, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax have anxiolytic, or anti-anxiety, effects that can calm an otherwise overexcited central nervous system (CNS), leading to feelings of sedation and relaxation.3 The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists temazepam as a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning it has an accepted medical use but also has a known potential for misuse and dependence.1, 4

Is Temazepam Addictive?

Yes, temazepam can lead to the development of addiction.1

Taking temazepam, even as prescribed by a doctor, can put people at risk of misuse.1 People can misuse benzodiazepines in several ways, such as:2, 5

  • Taking medication in a way other than prescribed (e.g., taking a larger dose).
  • Taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a valid reason like pain.
  • Taking medication to get high or feel euphoria (either alone or to potentiate the high of other substances).
  • Taking medication to self-medicate the withdrawal effects of other substances (e.g., alcohol, cocaine).

Unfortunately, benzodiazepine misuse is common, with 83,000 people reporting misuse of temazepam according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).6

People who misuse temazepam typically take the medication in higher doses than prescribed and often misuse it in combination with other substances (e.g., polysubstance use), such as alcohol, other medications (e.g., opioids), or illicit substances (e.g., heroin).1, 3

While a person who misuses benzodiazepines like temazepam may not be addicted to the drug, benzodiazepine misuse increases the risk of addiction. Polysubstance use, especially benzodiazepines with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as opioids and alcohol, is more often associated with death vs. misuse of temazepam alone.1, 5 Addiction, diagnosed by doctors as a substance use disorder (SUD), is a complex health condition that involves the chronic, uncontrollable use of a substance despite experiencing negative health, occupational, and social consequences as a result.2, 7 Addiction can involve physiological adaptations such as tolerance and dependence as well as behaviors that can negatively impact several areas of a person’s life.2, 7

Temazepam Addiction Symptoms

Temazepam addiction is diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and is classified as a Sedative-, Hypnotic-, or Anxiolytic-Related Disorder. A diagnosis is based on the presence of 2 or more of the following signs, symptoms, and behavioral changes manifesting within a 12-month period:8

  • Using sedatives like temazepam in larger amounts or for longer periods than originally intended.
  • Having difficulty reducing or stopping sedative use despite a desire to do so.
  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of sedatives.
  • Feeling cravings, or strong urges to use sedatives like temazepam.
  • Being unable to fulfill major obligations at home, school, or work because of sedative use.
  • Continuing to use temazepam or other sedatives despite having interpersonal or social problems that are likely due to use.
  • Giving up important recreational, social, or work activities because of sedative use.
  • Using sedatives like temazepam in situations where it is dangerous to do so (e.g., driving).
  • Continuing to use temazepam or other sedatives despite persistent physical or psychological problems caused or worsened by temazepam use.
  • Developing a tolerance, meaning you need increasing or more frequent doses to experience previous effects. (The presence of tolerance does not count as meeting diagnostic criteria among people taking the drug as prescribed.)
  • Experiencing temazepam withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the drug. (The presence of withdrawal symptoms does not count as meeting diagnostic criteria among people taking the drug as prescribed.)

You may also observe certain signs of benzodiazepine misuse in a loved one, such as changes in behavior, poor decision-making skills, and seeking multiple prescriptions (e.g., doctor shopping), among others.4, 7 While these don’t necessarily indicate addiction, being aware of warning signs can alert you to the potential need for professional treatment intervention.

Effects of Temazepam Misuse and Addiction

Restoril misuse and Restoril addiction can have a range of negative consequences.1 According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people who misuse temazepam have experienced various adverse reactions, some of which include:1

  • Dizziness.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Depression.
  • Aggression.
  • Confusion.
  • Impaired concentration and memory.
  • Impaired muscle control.
  • Tremors.

Severe adverse reactions have also been reported, including:1

  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Delirium.
  • Suicidal behavior and ideation.
  • Seizures.

Severe adverse reactions can lead to death, the risk of which is increased with polysubstance use involving benzodiazepines in combination with alcohol, other benzodiazepines, or opioids.

The risk of dependence (and subsequently withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of temazepam) and addiction increases with longer durations of use and higher daily doses of temazepam.1 Temazepam withdrawal can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, as it may lead to life-threatening symptoms, such as seizures.1

Furthermore, people who misuse multiple substances are more likely to experience adverse consequences such as arrests, incarceration, financial trouble, severe psychiatric and medical problems, and suicide attempts, among others.9

The adverse consequences of addiction can be far-reaching. A person struggling with addiction is more likely to experience mental and physical health problems (e.g., depression, cancer, stroke), as well as financial trouble, motor vehicle accidents, and relationship difficulty.10

Temazepam Overdose

Benzodiazepine misuse and addiction can increase the risk of overdose, which can be fatal. As mentioned, the risk of temazepam overdose increases with higher doses of the medication and when used in combination with other substances, particularly opioids, alcohol, other benzodiazepines, or “Z-drugs like Ambien (zolpidem).1, 3

How to Get Help for Temazepam Addiction

If you or a loved one are struggling with temazepam addiction, treatment is available.

Because temazepam withdrawal can be dangerous, treatment often starts with detox to help patients stay as comfortable and safe as possible during withdrawal.11 Following detox, patients can work toward sustained recovery by transitioning to ongoing Restoril addiction treatment. Common treatment options include inpatient rehab, where patients live at a treatment facility and receive 24/7 support, and outpatient rehab, where patients receive similar support to inpatient rehab but attend treatment during the week and live at home.11

If your loved one is struggling with Restoril addiction, it can be difficult to know what to do next, but there are things you can do to get help, including:12, 13

  • Learning about addiction. This can help you understand what your loved one is going through.
  • Making a plan to talk. Set aside time in a private place when you’re both free of distractions.
  • Addressing your concerns with compassion and without judgment. Avoid stigmatizing terms, such as “addict” or “junkie.”
  • Offering to help. For example, you could help them schedule a doctor’s appointment for an evaluation.
  • Researching treatment options. You can find treatment centers with specific criteria (e.g., insurance coverage or type of treatment) by using online resources.

If you are struggling, you can ask your doctor for referrals or use our rehab directory to find treatment facilities near you. Want assistance now? American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help. Contact us by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or verify your insurance now and reach out for more information later. Our compassionate admissions navigators are here to answer your questions, discuss treatment options, and help you begin the admissions process once you’re ready.

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