Doral Addiction: Risks and Treatment Options

Doral (Quazepam) is a benzodiazepine medication primarily prescribed for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Despite its effectiveness in treating sleep disorders, Doral carries a significant risk of addiction and dependency, especially with prolonged use. According to an article titled “Pharmacological Treatment of Insomnia” published by the National Library of Medicine in 2015, an estimated 50 million to 70 million adults in the U.S. have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders. Insomnia is more common in women (25%) than in men (18%), and its prevalence increases with age, affecting approximately 50% of the elderly population. These statistics show the widespread need for effective sleep solutions, with Quazepam as a viable option for those struggling with insomnia.

​​The risks associated with Doral addiction are multifaceted. Prolonged use leads to tolerance, where higher doses are needed to achieve the same therapeutic effects, increasing the risk of overdose. Dependence will develop, characterized by withdrawal symptoms when the drug use is reduced or stopped abruptly. Additionally, the misuse of Doral will impair cognitive and motor functions, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Recovery from Doral addiction involves a comprehensive approach. Medical detoxification is often the first step followed by behavioral therapies. Support groups and aftercare programs also provide ongoing support. Successful treatment requires a tailored plan that considers the individual’s unique needs, ensuring a holistic and sustainable path to sobriety.

What is Doral?

Doral is a medication that is prescribed to help patients fall asleep faster, reduce the number of awakenings during the night, and increase the total duration of sleep. Its sedative effects are beneficial for patients who have difficulty sleeping due to anxiety or other factors that disrupt normal sleep patterns.

Doral was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985. It was developed during a period when benzodiazepines were becoming popular for their efficacy in treating anxiety and sleep disorders, despite concerns about their potential for dependence and abuse. Benzodiazepines enhance the effect of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at the GABA-A receptor, leading to sedative, hypnotic (sleep-inducing), anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties. 

Doral is the brand name for Quazepam. Other benzodiazepines with similar uses include diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and alprazolam (Xanax). Quazepam itself is distinct due to its specific chemical structure and pharmacokinetic properties, which influence its duration of action and side effects profile. The typical dosage for Doral is 7.5 mg to 15 mg taken once daily, just before bedtime.

What are The Risks of Doral Addiction?

Doral (Quazepam), like other benzodiazepines, has a high potential for physical dependence and addiction. Physical dependence develops even when Doral is taken as prescribed, leading to withdrawal symptoms when the medication is reduced or stopped abruptly. Addiction, a more severe form of substance use disorder, occurs when the medication is misused or taken in higher doses than prescribed, leading to compulsive use despite negative consequences.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 18% of adults in the United States reported using prescription sedatives or tranquilizers non-medically at some point in their lives (SAMHSA, 2020). Additionally, the National Institute of Drug Abuse stated that benzodiazepines, including Doral, were involved in nearly 30% of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, showing the dangerous interactions and high potential for abuse.

What are Factors Contributing to Doral Addiction?

Doral (quazepam) addiction is influenced by various factors, including the drug’s pharmacological properties, individual susceptibility, and patterns of use. Factors such as prolonged use, high dosages, and co-occurring mental health conditions like anxiety or depression can increase the risk of addiction. Additionally, genetic predispositions and environmental influences, such as stress or access to the drug, also play significant roles in the development of Doral addiction.

Prolonged Use:

  • Prolonged use of Doral can lead to tolerance, where the initial dosage becomes less effective over time, prompting the need for higher doses to achieve the same sedative effects. This escalation increases the risk of dependence and addiction. According to an article written by Balon, Richard in 2021 titled “Use of Benzodiazepines in Primary Care” published by the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines should ideally be prescribed for short-term use, typically not exceeding two to four weeks, to minimize the risk of dependence. 
  1. Dosage Escalation:
    • Dosage escalation occurs when patients increase their dose without medical guidance due to diminishing effects of the prescribed amount. This self-medication significantly heightens the risk of developing an addiction. An article from 2021 titled “Benzodiazepines and Opioids” by the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that taking larger doses than prescribed or using benzodiazepines for an extended period increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.

How to Identify Doral Addiction Symptoms?

The Signs of Doral Addiction

Recognizing Doral (Quazepam) addiction involves understanding the various signs and symptoms that can manifest physically, behaviorally, and psychologically. Early identification is crucial for timely intervention and treatment.

What are the Physical Symptoms of Doral Addiction?

  1. Tolerance: Needing higher doses of Doral to achieve the same sedative effects.
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia, muscle pain, tremors, sweating, and seizures when not taking the drug.
  3. Changes in Sleep Patterns: Despite its use for treating insomnia, addiction can lead to worsening sleep disturbances.
  4. Physical Dependence: The body becomes accustomed to the presence of Doral, and stopping suddenly can cause severe physical reactions.

What are Behavioral Changes Associated with Quazepam Addiction?

  1. Doctor Shopping: Visiting multiple doctors to obtain more prescriptions.
  2. Prescription Misuse: Taking larger doses than prescribed or taking the drug more frequently.
  3. Neglecting Responsibilities: Failing to meet work, school, or family obligations due to drug use.
  4. Social Withdrawal: Avoiding social activities and relationships that were once important.

What are the Psychological Signs of Doral Addiction?

  1. Cravings: Intense desire or compulsion to use Doral, despite knowing its harmful effects.
  2. Mood Swings: Experiencing drastic changes in mood, including heightened anxiety, depression, or irritability.
  3. Cognitive Impairment: Difficulties with concentration, memory, and decision-making.
  4. Denial and Rationalization: Denying the extent of the problem or justifying the need for continued use.

What is the Difference between Doral vs. Other Benzodiazepine Addictions?

Doral (Quazepam), Xanax (Alprazolam), and Ativan (Lorazepam) are all benzodiazepines, but they differ in their specific uses, duration of action, and addiction profiles.

AspectDoral (Quazepam)Xanax (Alprazolam)Ativan (Lorazepam)
Primary UseInsomniaAnxiety and panic disordersAnxiety, insomnia, premedication for anesthesia
Duration of ActionLong-acting (half-life: 25-41 hours)Short-acting (half-life: 11-15 hours)Intermediate-acting (half-life: 10-20 hours)
Addiction ProfileTolerance and dependence with prolonged use; slower onset of addictionHigh potential for addiction due to rapid onset and short durationModerate risk of addiction; significant withdrawal symptoms requiring medical supervision
Withdrawal SymptomsProlonged, can last weeks to months; includes anxiety, irritability, muscle pain, seizuresSevere, including seizures, anxiety, insomnia, irritability, muscle crampsRequires medical supervision; includes anxiety, irritability, insomnia, muscle pain
Potential for OverdoseModerate; risk increased when combined with other CNS depressants like alcohol or opioidsHigh; risk significantly increased with concomitant use of alcohol or opioidsModerate; overdose risk heightened with concurrent use of alcohol or other depressants
Other NamesQuazepamAlprazolamLorazepam

What are the Challenges of Treating Doral Addiction?

Doral specifically has unique challenges when treating addiction. Here is a list of 4 reasons why treating Quazepam addiction is particularly difficult:

  1. Prolonged Withdrawal Symptoms:
    • Due to its long half-life, withdrawal from Doral can be prolonged, sometimes lasting several weeks or even months. This requires a carefully managed tapering process to reduce the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and extreme anxiety.
  2. Hidden Dependence:
    • Because of its sedative effects, patients might not realize they have developed a dependence until they attempt to stop using the medication. This can lead to underreporting of addiction and a lack of early intervention.
  3. Cross-Dependence:
    • Patients using Doral for insomnia might be more likely to use other CNS depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, increasing the complexity of treatment due to the risk of cross-dependence and potentially fatal interactions.
  4. Behavioral Health Integration:
    • Effective treatment for Doral addiction often requires integrating behavioral health therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to address underlying issues like anxiety or sleep disorders that might have led to the initial prescription.

What are The Dangers of Doral Addiction?

The Dangers of Doral Addiction

Short-term Risks:

  • Impaired Cognitive and Motor Functions: Doral can cause significant drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination, raising the risk of accidents and injuries, particularly when driving or operating machinery.
  • Memory Impairment: Short-term use of Doral can affect memory, making it difficult to retain new information and impacting daily activities and productivity.
  • Behavioral Changes: The drug may lead to risky behaviors due to impaired judgment and reduced inhibitions, such as engaging in unsafe practices or substance misuse.

Long-term Risks:

  • Physical Dependence: Prolonged use of Doral results in physical dependence, characterized by tolerance (needing higher doses to achieve the same effect) and withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Severe withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and muscle pain, can occur when discontinuing Doral. These symptoms persist for weeks to months, making it challenging to stop without medical support.
  • Cognitive Decline: Long-term use of Doral can lead to persistent cognitive deficits, such as problems with memory, attention, and decision-making, which negatively impacts overall quality of life.

What Happens When Combining Doral with Other Substances?

Combining Doral (Quazepam) with other substances significantly increases the risk of severe side effects and potentially fatal overdose. Doral, a benzodiazepine used primarily for treating insomnia, is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. When combined with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol, opioids, or other benzodiazepines, the sedative effects are amplified, leading to dangerous levels of respiratory depression, profound sedation, and even death.

What is the Interaction Between Alcohol and Doral?

Mixing Doral with alcohol is particularly hazardous because both substances depress the CNS. This combination can lead to extreme drowsiness, impaired motor skills, and respiratory depression. The risk of overdose increases dramatically, as both substances can slow breathing to dangerously low levels, potentially causing coma or death.

What Happens When Combining Quazepam with Opioids?

The concurrent use of Doral and opioids is highly dangerous. Both drug classes can cause sedation and respiratory depression. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 14% of opioid overdose deaths in 2021 also involved benzodiazepines like Doral. This combination significantly raises the likelihood of fatal overdose because both opioids and benzodiazepines slow breathing and heart rate, leading to a high risk of respiratory failure.

What Are the Side Effects When Mixing Doral with Other Benzodiazepines?

Using Doral alongside other benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax, Ativan) can exacerbate the sedative effects, increasing the chances of overdose. This combination can cause severe drowsiness, confusion, impaired motor coordination, and respiratory depression. Long-term use of multiple benzodiazepines can also lead to increased tolerance and physical dependence, making withdrawal more challenging and dangerous.

How Easy is it to Overdose on Doral?

Overdosing on Doral (Quazepam) is relatively easy, particularly when it is used in combination with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as alcohol, opioids, or other benzodiazepines. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), nearly 14% of opioid overdose deaths in 2021 also involved benzodiazepines like Doral. This combination causes profound sedation, respiratory depression, and death due to the compounded effects on the respiratory system. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the co-use of benzodiazepines and opioids dramatically increases the likelihood of fatal overdose due to their synergistic effects on the central nervous system.

What are the Treatment Options for Doral Addiction?

Treatment for Doral (Quazepam) addiction involves a combination of medical and psychological interventions tailored to the individual’s needs. The primary goals are to manage withdrawal symptoms, address underlying psychological issues, and support long-term recovery.

1. Detoxification:

Detoxification is the first step in treating Doral addiction. This process involves safely managing withdrawal symptoms as the body eliminates the drug. Medical supervision is crucial because benzodiazepine withdrawal can be severe and potentially life-threatening, leading to symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hallucinations.

  • Medically Supervised Detox: A controlled environment where healthcare professionals can monitor and manage withdrawal symptoms, often using medications to ease the process.

2. Inpatient Treatment Programs:

Inpatient treatment programs provide intensive, structured care in a residential setting. These programs offer a comprehensive approach, combining medical care, psychological support, and addiction education.

  • 24/7 Medical Supervision: Continuous monitoring to manage withdrawal symptoms and any medical complications.
  • Therapeutic Interventions: Individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy to address psychological aspects of addiction.
  • Structured Environment: A supportive environment that removes the individual from potential triggers and stressors.

3. Outpatient Counseling:

Outpatient programs offer flexibility for individuals who do not require intensive residential care. These programs allow individuals to continue with their daily responsibilities while receiving treatment.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with addiction.
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI): Enhances motivation to change by resolving ambivalence about treatment.
  • Support Groups: Provides peer support and encouragement through groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or other local support groups.

4. Long-term Aftercare and Support:

Long-term recovery from Doral addiction often requires ongoing support and aftercare to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety.

  • Sober Living Homes: Transitional living environments that provide a structured, supportive setting for individuals in early recovery.
  • Continued Therapy: Ongoing individual or group therapy sessions to address any emerging issues and provide continuous support.
  • Relapse Prevention Programs: Strategies and tools to identify and manage triggers, cope with stress, and maintain long-term sobriety.

How Do I Find Resources and Support for Doral Addiction?

To find the right treatment for Doral (Quazepam) addiction, start with a comprehensive assessment by a healthcare professional. This evaluation will help determine the severity of the addiction and any co-occurring mental health issues. For severe cases or those with significant co-occurring disorders, inpatient treatment programs offer intensive, 24/7 care in a structured environment, including medical supervision and various therapies. For less severe cases, outpatient programs provide flexibility, allowing individuals to receive treatment while maintaining their daily responsibilities. 

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide peer support through regular meetings. Additionally, local health departments and community services can offer referrals and resources tailored to local needs. By researching and contacting these resources, individuals can find the necessary support and treatment for recovery.

Is Doral a Controlled Substance?

Yes, Doral (Quazepam) is classified as a controlled substance. In the United States, it is listed as a Schedule IV drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification indicates that Doral has a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule I, II, or III drugs, but it still carries a risk of dependence and abuse. As a Schedule IV drug, Doral is subject to strict regulations regarding its prescription, dispensing, and use to minimize the potential for misuse and addiction.

Does Doral Make You Groggy in the Morning?

Yes, Doral (Quazepam) can cause grogginess or drowsiness the following morning. As a long-acting benzodiazepine, its effects can last into the next day, potentially impairing your ability to function normally. It is important to ensure that you have a full night’s sleep (7-8 hours) after taking Doral to minimize morning drowsiness.

How Effective is Doral for Treating Insomnia?

Doral is considered effective for treating insomnia, particularly in helping individuals fall asleep and stay asleep. Its long-acting properties help maintain sleep throughout the night. However, it is typically prescribed for short-term use (7-10 days) due to the risk of dependence and other side effects associated with long-term use.

Can You Overcome Doral Addiction on Your Own?

Overcoming Doral addiction without professional help is challenging and not recommended due to the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms, which include anxiety, seizures, and hallucinations. Professional treatment programs offer medical supervision during detoxification, as well as therapeutic support to address the psychological aspects of addiction. 

How Long Does it Take to Detox From Doral?

Detoxing from Doral can take several weeks, depending on the duration and dosage of use. Withdrawal symptoms can start within a few hours and peak in the first few days. According to the American Psychological Association, long-acting benzodiazepines like Doral may result in prolonged withdrawal periods.

Medical supervision during detox is crucial to manage severe symptoms like seizures. Programs such as dual diagnosis help address both addiction and any co-occurring mental health issues, facilitating a safer and more comprehensive detox process.

Can Doral Addiction Cause Long-Term Health Issues?

Yes, Doral addiction can lead to long-term health issues, including cognitive impairments and chronic insomnia. Prolonged use affects memory, attention, and decision-making abilities. According to the American Psychological Association, these effects can persist even after stopping the drug.

Additionally, untreated addiction increases the risk of mental health disorders. Integrated treatment approaches, such as those used in Etizolam addiction, help manage both the addiction and its long-term health impacts, promoting overall recovery and well-being.

What are the Benefits of Behavioral Therapy in Treating Doral Addiction?

Behavioral therapy is highly effective in treating Doral addiction, helping individuals understand the root causes of their addiction and develop coping strategies. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are particularly beneficial.

In cases where individuals have multiple addictions, such as Etizolam addiction, behavioral therapy can be part of a dual diagnosis treatment plan. This approach ensures comprehensive care, addressing both the addiction and any co-occurring mental health issues.

The Grove Editorial Team is a dynamic group of professionals at The Grove, a leading addiction treatment center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Comprising experienced therapists, medical experts, and dedicated support staff, this team brings a wealth of knowledge and compassionate insight into the complexities of addiction and recovery. Their collective expertise shines through in each article, offering readers valuable guidance, the latest in addiction science, and inspiring stories of healing and transformation. The Grove Editorial Team is committed to educating, supporting, and empowering individuals and families on their journey toward a healthier, substance-free life.

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