Medically Reviewed

Restoril Addiction: Signs, Effects, and Treatment

2 min read · 5 sections

Restoril is a prescription benzodiazepine often used for the short-term treatment of insomnia.1 While effective for individuals with sleep problems, Restoril can be dangerous if it’s misused—taken in higher doses or in a manner different than prescribed or taken in combination with other substances, including alcohol or opioids.2

This article discusses Restoril and its intended uses, its side effects, addictive properties, signs of problematic use, and treatment if you or a loved one struggle with Restoril misuse.

What is Restoril?

Restoril, the brand name for temazepam, is a sedative-hypnotic prescription benzodiazepine that works as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Temazepam can be helpful—when taken as prescribed—as it calms an otherwise overexcited nervous system.1

What is Restoril Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved temazepam for the short-term treatment of insomnia.1 Generally, temazepam is intended to be taken for no more than 7 to 10 days and comes in oral capsules of varying colors and strengths.1

It can be very effective. However, like other benzodiazepines, temazepam carries the potential for misuse. Some individuals misuse benzodiazepines like temazepam, in combination with opioids and other drugs to enhance euphoric effects, reduce unwanted effects, and alleviate withdrawal symptoms of other substances.3,4

Restoril Effects

While temazepam is generally well tolerated, individuals may experience side effects, which vary from person to person. Though typically mild and temporary, individuals should report any side effects to their doctor for re-evaluation. Some common side effects may include:1

  • Drowsiness.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nervousness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.

More serious adverse effects tend to occur at higher doses and may include:1

  • Decreased inhibition.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Depersonalization.

Additionally, studies indicate that episodes of “sleep-driving”, “sleep-cooking”, and “sleep-phone calling” have been reported by individuals taking temazepam. While rare, these activities performed by individuals who are not fully awake and have no recollection of the event after, can occur for anyone taking sedative-hypnotic medications. The likelihood, however, increases with higher doses or with the concomitant use of alcohol or other CNS depressant drugs.1

Furthermore, using temazepam in combination with other CNS depressants—such as alcohol or opioids—increases the risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose.1,5

Is Restoril Addictive?

Classified as a Schedule IV substance under the Controlled Substances Act, temazepam has the potential for misuse, dependence, and addiction.6

The risk of physiological dependence increases with higher doses and a longer duration of use. Dependence occurs when the body adapts to having the substance present, meaning the body needs the substance to function normally. When an individual then stops or drastically reduces their dose of temazepam, withdrawal symptoms appear.1

Signs of Restoril Addiction

Addiction is characterized by the compulsive use of a substance despite the negative consequences it causes.7 Only a medical professional can diagnose a person with a substance use disorder, the clinical term for addiction. They use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to diagnose a sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder, the clinical term for Restoril addiction.8

According to the DSM-5, if an individual displays 2 or more of the following symptoms within a year, they meet the criteria for a sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder.8 Some of these criteria include:8

  • Taking a higher dose of temazepam or for a longer duration than was intended.
  • Having a desire to cut down or stop temazepam use but unable to do so.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from temazepam use.
  • Failing to fulfill responsibilities at home, work, and/or school because of temazepam use.
  • Continuing to use temazepam despite the recurring or exacerbated social or interpersonal problems it causes.
  • Giving up social, occupational, or recreational activities because of temazepam use.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when temazepam use stops or is drastically reduced.

Restoril Withdrawal

For individuals who have become physiologically dependent on temazepam, abruptly stopping or significantly reducing dosages generally leads to withdrawal symptoms, which vary in severity depending on a number of factors, including how much and for how long the temazepam was taken, an individual’s overall health, and any co-occurring mental health conditions.1.9,10

Like other benzodiazepines, the symptoms associated with temazepam withdrawal may include:1

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Muscle pain and stiffness.
  • Insomnia.
  • Tremors.
  • Depression.
  • Seizures.

Temazepam withdrawal symptoms can surface within 6-8 hours after the last dose, typically peak at day 2, and begin to improve significantly after 4-5 days.8 However, because suddenly stopping use or drastically cutting back use can be dangerous, it should not be attempted on your own. Instead, seek the supervision and guidance of a medical professional.1,10

Restoril Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one struggle with temazepam misuse or addiction, treatment can help. Treatment plans are personalized to your specific needs but may include:2

  • Medical detox. Medically supervised detox helps you rid your body of temazepam and other substances. Done under the supervision of a healthcare professional, this process typically includes medications to manage the withdrawal symptoms and keep you safe and as comfortable as possible. Detox is often the first step in a more comprehensive treatment plan, since it, alone, is not typically sufficient for long-term abstinence.
  • Behavioral therapies. Individual and group sessions help you understand the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that led to your addiction and teach you coping strategies to assist you in identifying triggers, managing stressors, and avoiding relapse.
  • Education.
  • Inpatient or outpatient treatment.
  • Treatment for co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Aftercare or ongoing counseling and therapies.

Treatment specialists can help you understand your insurance coverage and explain payment plans and other ways to pay as well.

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