As anyone afflicted with a sleep disorder knows, the inability to get quality shuteye at night is a major problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees, and even considers sleep deficiency to be a public health epidemic. Approximately 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. As CDC discusses, sleep deprivation presents numerous hazards to personal and public health, including:
- Contributing to car accidents, occupational errors (of doctor, pilots, etc.), and industrial disasters (such as involving machine operator accidents)
- Chronic lack of sufficient sleep is associated with diseases such as diabetes, depression, hypertension and obesity
- Decreased quality of life and productivity
- An overall increase in the likelihood of mortality
In view of the dangers associated with sleep disorders, it is not surprising that a CDC study found that nine million Americans use prescription sleeping pills to get help with dozing off. Restoril (the brand name for the active ingredient temazepam) is among those medications. Restoril, available by prescription only, is used primarily for the short-term treatment of insomnia. It is proven to be effective and fast-acting. Prescribed users take it on as-needed basis (i.e., use of Restoril does not have to follow a regimen to be effective). Restoril carries the warning that it should only be taken once a person is actually ready to sleep.
The following facts on Restoril help to provide an overview of this drug:
- Classified as a benzodiazepine hypnotic agent
- The active ingredient – temazepam – is a white crystalline substance that can be easily dissolved in water
- Available in capsule form in doses of 7.5 mg, 15 mg, 22.5 mg and 30 mg
- Can cause allergic reactions that may require medical attention
Although prescribed users who take the drug only as needed are not generally at risk of addiction, Restoril is federally controlled because it has a propensity for abuse. In other words, if a user has an intention to abuse this drug or recklessly abuses it, they can become physically and mentally dependent upon it. Part of the reason Restoril is susceptible to abuse relates to its form. Prescription drugs in capsule form that provide pleasurable sedative effects, like Restoril, provide illicit users with readily available powder. Once freed of its capsule, this powder can be snorted or mixed with water to create an injectable solution. Both snorting and intravenous use make it easy for a drug to quickly enter the blood stream and reach the brain. Drug manufactures, in response to reports of abuse, can sometimes change the drug formulation to make it abuse-resistance.
For instance, the manufacturer of OxyContin recently developed a formulation that turns gooey when the tablet is crushed and added to water. This goo is not easily injectable. Currently, there is no apparent research available to suggest the formulation of Restoril will be changed.
It is important to take Restoril as prescribed to avoid any negative drug interactions with other drugs currently in use. Restoril is often abused by those who don’t have a prescription
, which is a dangerous practice in light of the side effects of taking this sleep medication. Side effects
range from mild to serious. Less severe side effects include:
|· Drowsiness during non-sleeping hours
||·Muscle weakness or trouble balancing
|· Forgetfulness or amnesia
||·Nervousness, anxiety or irritability
|· Feeling numbness, tingling, pain or burning
||·Nausea, stomach troubles, or vomiting
|· Dry mouth or thirstiness
||·Blurred vision, headache or depression
Experiencing serious side effects will necessitate a call to the prescribing doctor or even medical emergency services. Serious side effects to watch for include, but are not limited to:
|· Shallow breathing
||· Fast, pounding heartbeat
|· Hallucinations, aggression or agitation
||· Thoughts of self-harm, including suicide
|· Slurred speech or confused mental state
||· Trouble urinating, dark urine or jaundice
|· Restless eyes, neck, tongue or jaw
||·Nausea, low fever or stomach pain
|· Fever, chills, aches or flu-like symptoms
||· Bruising easily, bleeding or pale skin
As an addiction-forming drug, ongoing use of Restoril will lead to physical dependence and possibly mental dependence. After physical dependence arises, stopping use of Restoril or reducing the regular dosage can trigger withdrawal symptoms, which may include:
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle cramps
- Unusual behavior
Similar to other prescription medications, Restoril abuse can invite unseen complications (such as serious side effects or overdose) because these drugs are designed to be used as part of a supervised treatment plan and only on an as-needed basis. An illicit user, unlike a prescribed user, will not have the benefit of medical advisement when taking this drug, making its use highly risky.
How to Help
When a drug effectively meets its intended purpose, such as Restoril treating insomnia, medical professionals are of course apt to keep prescribing the drug. However, an increase in legitimate prescriptions has the downstream effect of stocking the street. It is important to note that non-prescription users of benzodiazepines are not only sourcing these drugs from strangers on the illegal drug market; family, friends, colleagues, neighbors and other ordinary people share or sell these drugs. Of course, a total ban on prescription drugs may not be an efficient way to solve the abuse problem because it deprives lawful users of the drugs’ benefits.
The side effects of benzodiazepine abuse are signposts of a problem. However, a non-medically trained person around the substance abuser may not be able to identify benzodiazepine abuse from these physical signs alone. Often, individuals in the substance abuser’s environment will notice changes in his or her behaviors. The signs of mental dependence can trigger awareness of abuse. Such signs include the substance abuser engaging in the following activities:
- Appearing to have a different mood than normal or shifting moods
- Dedicating a disproportionate amount of resources, however limited, to pay for the drug of abuse
- Failing to meet work, school, social, personal and/or family obligations
- Exhibiting a change in appearance or looking unkempt
In short, drug dependence has an insidious way of becoming a user’s number one preoccupation. When a drug is a top priority in a person’s life, there are going to noticeable changes, and loved ones are apt to perceive them. The key is knowing how to help the substance abuser seek treatment. It is understood in the addiction treatment community that family, friends, and other concerned individuals most often play an instrumental role in guiding a substance abuser into treatment. However challenging the problem of drug abuse, and however discouraging fighting addiction can become, it is important for concerned individuals to know that they can guide a substance abuser to rehab, and they are often in the best position to do so.
We are here to connect you to the right treatment program today. Call us to learn more.