Restoril Addiction: Causes, Effects and Recovery

Restoril is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia. While it is effective for short-term relief of sleep disorders, Restoril carries a significant risk of addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) report “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” approximately 5.4 million Americans aged 12 or older misused prescription benzodiazepines, including Restoril.

The causes of Restoril addiction stem from medical, psychological, and social factors. Medically, individuals develop tolerance, requiring higher doses for the same effect, leading to dependence. Psychologically, those with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues are more prone to addiction. Social factors, such as peer pressure and availability, also play a role in the misuse of Restoril.

The effects of Restoril addiction leads to severe physical, mental, and social consequences. Physically, it causes tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and seizures. Mentally, it exacerbates issues like anxiety and depression. Socially, it will damage relationships, cause job loss, and lead to legal issues due to drug-seeking behaviors.

Recovery from Restoril addiction involves medical detoxification and psychological support. Medically supervised detox helps manage withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) aid long-term recovery by addressing the root causes of addiction and providing peer support.

What Is Restoril?

What Is Restoril?

Restoril, known generically as temazepam, is a medication belonging to the benzodiazepine class. Temazepam functions as a positive allosteric modulator of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA-PAM), enhancing the inhibitory effects of GABA on neuronal excitability. Introduced in 1964 and gaining significant popularity in the 1980s, temazepam is commonly prescribed to manage insomnia and other sleep-related issues. It is particularly effective in reducing sleep latency and maintaining sleep, although its impact on the initial onset of sleep is modest. Typically prescribed for short-term use (7 to 10 days), temazepam helps patients who experience frequent awakenings during the night or early morning.

Restoril is indicated for the short-term management of insomnia, with over 2 million prescriptions filled annually in the United States since its approval in 1981. According to and article titled “Temazepam” written by Fluyau et al., 2024 published by the National Library of Medicine, it has a high potential for abuse, misuse, addiction, physical dependency, and withdrawal responses, similar to other benzodiazepines. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classify temazepam as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the United States.

Beyond its primary use, temazepam has several off-label applications. It helps address sleep disruptions due to jet lag, short-term shift work, and acute stress. Additionally, it is used to treat panic and anxiety disorders on a short-term basis. Temazepam’s anticonvulsant effects make it suitable for treating nocturnal myoclonus and as a premedication before minimally invasive surgery. It has also been found useful in mitigating symptoms of acute mountain sickness without affecting performance the following day.

Temazepam is known by various street names, including:

  • Eggs
  • Green Eggs
  • Jellies
  • Norries
  • Rugby Balls
  • Tems
  • Mozzies

What are the Causes of Restoril Addiction?

Restoril addiction results from various factors, including genetics, prescription practices, environmental influences, psychological issues and behaviors related to tolerance and self-medication. According to an article published by Healthline called “What Makes Benzos a Hard Drug to Quit?” April 2019, the sedative and relaxing effects of benzodiazepines, particularly Restoril, make them highly addictive and pose significant health risks for those who misuse them. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified these drugs as controlled substances, recommending their use be limited to 2-4 weeks to reduce the risk of physical dependence and addiction. 

Genetic Factors

Genetic predispositions significantly influence an individual’s susceptibility to addiction. A review in the “Mental Health Clinician 2016 issue, titled “Benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse: A review” highlights that problematic benzodiazepine use is linked to psychiatric conditions and a family history of substance use disorders. Young adults are particularly at risk, often obtaining drugs through peers or family.

Prescription Dosage

Prescription dosage and duration play a crucial role in the risk of addiction. When individuals exceed their prescribed dosage or duration, the likelihood of developing dependence increases. According to the 2019 “Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal,” misuse often involves taking higher doses than prescribed, sometimes driven by a history of illicit drug use.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, including high-stress situations, trauma, and lack of social support, can contribute to addiction. According to the Ohio Hospital for Psychiatry titled “Benzodiazepine addiction symptoms, signs & effects,” environmental stressors and exposure to drug abuse in one’s environment significantly increase the risk of benzodiazepine addiction.

Psychological Factors

Individuals with underlying psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression, become more prone to Restoril addiction. The calming effects of Restoril, which enhance GABA function, lead to reliance on the drug for emotional regulation, creating a cycle of dependence.


Tolerance development is a key contributor to addiction, where higher doses of Restoril are needed to achieve the same effects. According to the National Library Of Medicine on “RESTORIL- temazepam capsule,” updated in January 2023, prolonged benzodiazepine use results in significant physical dependence, leading to tolerance and the need for escalating doses.

Self Medication

Some individuals misuse Restoril as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms of insomnia or anxiety without consulting a healthcare professional. This behavior leads to addiction as individuals become reliant on the drug for coping.

Avoiding Withdrawal

Avoiding withdrawal symptoms will drive continued Restoril use. Benzodiazepine withdrawal is severe, involving symptoms like tremors, seizures, and intense depression. Gradual tapering under medical supervision is recommended to mitigate these effects and prevent addiction. To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms, the Medscape guide on “temazepam (Rx)” recommends using a personalized approach to gradually decrease the dosage when stopping therapy

How Does Restoril Addiction Affect the Body?

Restoril addiction profoundly impacts the body and mind, leading to severe physical and psychological consequences. Addiction to Restoril, or temazepam, causes dependency, tolerance, and a host of adverse health effects, complicating both treatment and recovery. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the “Compound Summary for CID 5391, Temazepam”, the addictive potential of Restoril is due to its impact on the central nervous system, where it enhances the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Given its widespread use and potent pharmacological effects, temazepam has a high potential for misuse. 

Effects of Restoril Addiction

What are the Physical Effects of Temazepam Addiction?

  • Sedation and Drowsiness: Restoril addiction often results in constant drowsiness and sedation, impairing daily functioning and increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Muscle Relaxation: Prolonged use can lead to persistent muscle relaxation, which might interfere with coordination and physical activities.
  • Tolerance and Dependence: Chronic use of Restoril builds tolerance, necessitating higher doses to achieve the same sedative effects. This can lead to physical dependence, where the body requires the drug to function normally.
  • Withdrawal Symptoms: Abrupt cessation can cause severe withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, seizures, sweating, nausea, and muscle pain. These symptoms reflect the body’s physical dependency on the drug.
  • Respiratory Depression: High doses or prolonged use can depress the respiratory system, leading to slow or shallow breathing, which can be life-threatening.

What are the Psychological Effects of Restoril Addiction?

  • Cognitive Impairment: Long-term Restoril use can impair cognitive functions, including memory, attention, and decision-making abilities.
  • Mood Swings: Addiction can cause significant mood fluctuations, from euphoria when taking the drug to irritability and depression when not using it.
  • Increased Anxiety: Although initially used to alleviate anxiety, Restoril addiction can paradoxically increase anxiety levels, especially between doses or during withdrawal.
  • Emotional Dependence: Users may become emotionally reliant on Restoril to manage stress or anxiety, leading to an inability to cope with life’s challenges without the drug.
  • Depression: Prolonged use and withdrawal can lead to or exacerbate depressive symptoms, contributing to a cycle of dependence and mental health deterioration.

How Is Restoril Addiction Treated?

There are a number of ways Restoril addiction is treated including detox, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy and after-care. These treatments are combined to create an individual rehabilitation plan for success. 

Detoxification Strategies

Detoxification is the first step in treating Restoril addiction and involves gradually tapering the dose under medical supervision to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This process can take weeks to months, depending on the severity of the addiction and the individual’s response to the tapering schedule. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) issue on “Tapering Patients Off of Benzodiazepines,” written by Ogbonna. C. and Lembke. A et al. 2017, safely tapering off benzodiazepines requires an individualized approach. This involves considering factors such as the patient’s lifestyle, personality, and available support systems.

How is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) used in Restoril addiction treatment?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. For benzodiazepine addiction, MAT includes the use of longer-acting benzodiazepines to ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. MAT aims to stabilize the patient’s condition while addressing the psychological aspects of addiction through therapy and counseling. 

The medication Flumazenil has been utilized in low-dose intravenous or subcutaneous infusions over four days to facilitate rapid withdrawal from benzodiazepines, either to a lower dose or complete abstinence, with a suggested mechanism involving the reversal of receptor desensitization and down-regulation. Additionally, a 2015 article by Brett J. and Murnion B., titled “Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence” and published in the Australian Prescriber, states that anticonvulsants, particularly carbamazepine and pregabalin, are effective in managing benzodiazepine withdrawal, provided the patient is not dependent on other substances.

How do I know if I need Inpatient vs. Outpatient Treatment for Restoril Addiction?

The type of treatment needed is based on the severity of the addiction. Restoril addiction is diagnosed by a medical professional using the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). According to a PsychDB article on “Sedative, Hypnotic, or Anxiolytic (Benzodiazepine) Use Disorder,” March 2021, meeting two or more specific DSM-5 criteria within a year indicates Restoril addiction. This diagnosis will help determine the necessary type of treatment, whether inpatient or outpatient, based on the specific needs of the individual to enhance and maintain long-term recovery.

AspectInpatient TreatmentOutpatient Treatment
SettingResidential facilities provide 24/7 care.Patients live at home and attend treatment sessions at a clinic.
SuitabilityIdeal for severe addiction, co-occurring disorders, or lack of support at home.Suitable for milder addiction or those who have completed inpatient treatment.
AdvantagesStructured environment, intensive support, reduced exposure to triggers.Flexibility to maintain work, school, and family responsibilities.
DisadvantagesHigher cost, time away from daily life.Less intensive support, potential for exposure to triggers.
Treatment DurationTypically 30-90 days, can be longer if necessary.Varies widely, from a few weeks to several months, based on individual needs.

What are the Long-Term Rehabilitation Options for Restoril Addiction Treatment?

Long-term rehabilitation options include extended inpatient care, sober living homes, and ongoing outpatient therapy. These programs provide continued support and help individuals maintain sobriety by offering a structured environment and access to counseling and support groups. Long-term rehab is crucial for those who have a high risk of relapse or need additional time to recover from severe addiction. Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide peer support and a sense of community, which are essential for long-term recovery.

Therapy and counseling are critical components of treating Restoril addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps individuals understand the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their addiction, develop coping strategies, and address underlying psychological issues. Other therapeutic approaches, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and contingency management, are also effective. 

What Are the Signs of Restoril Addiction?

Restoril addiction manifests through various behavioral and physical signs, indicating dependence and misuse. Recognizing these signs early will help reduce the severity of addiction and begin treatment early and effectively. 

What are the Behavioral Indicators of Temazepam Addiction?

  1. Increased Dosage and Duration: Taking higher doses of Restoril or using it for longer periods than prescribed.
  2. Preoccupation with Drug Use: Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of Restoril.
  3. Neglect of Responsibilities: Ignoring personal, professional, or social responsibilities due to drug use.
  4. Failed Attempts to Quit: Repeated unsuccessful efforts to reduce or stop using Restoril.
  5. Continued Use Despite Problems: Persisting in drug use despite awareness of social, interpersonal, or physical problems caused or exacerbated by the drug.
  6. Isolation: Withdrawing from family, friends, and activities that were once enjoyable.

What are the Physical Symptoms of Dependence?

  1. Tolerance: Needing increasingly higher doses of Restoril to achieve the same effects.
  2. Withdrawal Symptoms: Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, insomnia, nausea, and seizures when not using the drug.
  3. Physical Health Issues: Developing health problems such as respiratory depression, drowsiness, and coordination issues.
  4. Sedation: Constant drowsiness and lethargy, affecting daily functioning.
  5. Muscle Relaxation: Prolonged muscle relaxation, leading to physical weakness and impaired coordination.
  6. Cognitive Impairments: Difficulties with memory, concentration, and decision-making.

How Serious Are Restoril Withdrawal Symptoms?

Restoril (temazepam) withdrawal symptoms can be severe and varied, often mimicking the symptoms that the medication was initially prescribed to treat, such as insomnia and anxiety. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology written by Ashton et. al 2005, benzodiazepine withdrawal leads to significant morbidity, including severe anxiety, depression, and increased risk of seizures.

Restoril Withdrawal Symptoms

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • Anxiety: Heightened feelings of worry and nervousness.
  • Tremors: Shaking, often in the hands.
  • Seizures: In severe cases, withdrawal can trigger seizures.
  • Sweating: Excessive sweating, particularly at night.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Gastrointestinal distress.
  • Muscle Pain: Aches and cramps.
  • Psychological Symptoms: Mood swings, irritability, and depression.

Timeline and Management of Restoril Withdrawal

  1. Initial Phase (1-4 days): Withdrawal symptoms can begin within 24 hours after the last dose. Initial symptoms often include anxiety, insomnia, and sweating.
  2. Acute Phase (5-14 days): Symptoms peak during this period, with increased intensity of anxiety, tremors, nausea, and muscle pain. This phase can also see the occurrence of seizures.
  3. Post-Acute Phase (15 days to several weeks): Symptoms gradually decrease in intensity but may persist. Psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression can continue for several weeks or months.

According to a review titled “Effectiveness of current treatment approaches for benzodiazepine discontinuation: A meta-analysis.” published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment by Parr, J. M. 2016, approximately 10-25% of long-term benzodiazepine users experience protracted withdrawal symptoms lasting longer than a year.

What Are the Risks of Overdosing on Restoril?

Overdosing on Restoril (temazepam) is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. According to an article titled “Benzodiazepines and Opioids.” in 2020 published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), benzodiazepine overdoses, often involving other substances like opioids, have significantly increased, with benzodiazepines involved in 30% of opioid overdose deaths in 2017. Additionally, a study called “Increasing Benzodiazepine Prescriptions and Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1996–2013” written by Bachhuber, M.A et al 2016, published in the American Journal of Public Health highlighted that benzodiazepine-related overdose deaths quadrupled between 1996 and 2013. 

Symptoms of a Restoril overdose include:

  • Extreme Drowsiness: Unusually deep sedation or difficulty staying awake.
  • Confusion: Disorientation and difficulty thinking clearly.
  • Weakness: Severe muscle weakness or limpness.
  • Coordination Problems: Impaired motor skills and difficulty maintaining balance.
  • Slowed Breathing: Shallow or labored breathing, which can progress to respiratory arrest.
  • Unconsciousness: Loss of consciousness or coma.
  • Bluish Skin: Cyanosis, especially around the lips and fingertips, indicating poor oxygenation.

What to do if an overdose happens?

In the event of a suspected Restoril overdose, it is important to seek emergency medical assistance immediately. The following steps outline the emergency response and treatment options:

  • Call Emergency Services: Dial 911 or your local emergency number to get immediate help.
  • Provide Information: Inform the dispatcher about the individual’s condition, the suspected overdose, and any other relevant information.
  • Do Not Induce Vomiting: Avoid trying to make the person vomit unless instructed by a healthcare professional.
  • Monitor Breathing: Ensure the person’s airway is clear and monitor their breathing. If they stop breathing, begin CPR if you are trained to do so.
  • Administer Activated Charcoal: In a medical setting, activated charcoal may be administered to prevent further absorption of the drug in the stomach.
  • Use Flumazenil: In severe cases, flumazenil, a benzodiazepine receptor antagonist, will be administered by healthcare professionals to counteract the effects of temazepam.

How Does Restoril Addiction Impact Mental Health?

Restoril addiction significantly affects mental health by exacerbating existing conditions and contributing to cognitive impairment and disrupted sleep patterns. The addiction worsens anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, while the fear of withdrawal and the cycle of dependence add to psychological stress and emotional challenges. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2020 report, titled “Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness,” over 60 percent of adolescents in community-based substance use disorder treatment programs also meet the diagnostic criteria for another mental illness.

Is Restoril More Addictive Than Ambien?

Both Restoril (temazepam) and Ambien (zolpidem) carry risks of addiction, but their potential for addiction varies based on individual factors and usage patterns. Restoril has a higher potential for addiction due to its sedative and anxiolytic effects. Ambien, a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic, is also addictive, particularly with prolonged use, but has a slightly lower risk compared to benzodiazepines.

Is Temazepam 30 mg Addictive?

Yes, temazepam 30 mg will be addictive if not taken as prescribed. Temazepam, especially at higher doses like 30 mg, has a significant potential for addiction due to its sedative properties. Regular use leads to tolerance, physical dependence, and withdrawal symptoms if the medication is abruptly discontinued. It’s important to use temazepam only as prescribed by a healthcare professional and to follow their guidance to minimize the risk of addiction.

What Are Alternative and Holistic Options for Restoril Addiction?

Alternative and holistic therapies, such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), herbal remedies like valerian root, and acupuncture, are known to  effectively manage anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbances, reducing the need for Restoril. These non-pharmacological treatments address underlying issues and promote overall well-being. A study written by Platt et al. 2016 titled “Alternative Therapies for Anxiety and Sleep Disturbances.”  published in the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services supports the safety and efficacy of these natural non-chemical treatments.

How Can Family Support Someone with Restoril Addiction?

Family support is crucial for individuals struggling with Restoril addiction. According to the American Psychological Association, involving family members in therapy sessions and providing emotional support can significantly improve recovery outcomes. Encouraging open communication and understanding the challenges faced by the addicted individual helps build a supportive environment.

In addition, considering an aftercare facility can enhance long-term recovery by providing ongoing support and resources. Families can also educate themselves about Codeine addiction and other substance abuses to better understand the complexities of addiction and provide comprehensive support.

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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