Prescription medications can be a useful remedy against chronic sleeplessness. Doral, which is the most familiar brand name for the medication quazepam, is highly effective against insomnia and brings fewer risks than some other options. But this medication is still addictive if abused, and those who’ve become dependent on Doral should seek treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab facility as quickly as possible. Treatment can bring long-lasting recovery and should work well in most instances.
What Is Doral Addiction?
Doral is the brand name for the medication quazepam, a benzodiazepine derivative prescribed for sleeplessness. It can help those who have trouble falling asleep, or have a difficult time remaining asleep overnight.
Quazepam is relatively mild in comparison to conventional benzodiazepines. Doral targets receptors in the brain responsible for causing a person to go to sleep, but does not produce the same global effects as other drugs in the benzodiazepine class.
But the benign reputation of Doral hides a darker reality. Because it is so effective, people with insomnia often take it for indefinite periods, against their doctor’s recommendation, allowing tolerance to build up and drug dependency to form.
Any sleeping medication can be habit-forming if the person using it becomes physically and psychologically dependent on its effects. There are also dangers for those who make the mistake of using these medications recreationally, especially if they mix them with other substances that alter neural activity.
Facts and Statistics
Even though it is considered less potent than other benzodiazepines, Doral is still recommended for short-term use (seven-to-10 days) only. The drug is categorized as a GABA agonist: it enhances the activity of this important neurotransmitter, which promotes peaceful sleep by slowing activity in the central nervous system.
The need for drugs like Doral is acute. According to some estimates, as many as 50-70 million Americans suffer from some type of sleeping disorder. In total, about four percent of adults carry a prescription for a sleep-inducing medication, with quazepam as the most chosen alternative in the benzodiazepine category.
But the risk is just as acute as the need. In 2016, 618,000 Americans age 12 and over had a tranquilizer abuse disorder, and this includes those who abused Doral and other medications containing quazepam.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of Doral Addiction
People who’ve been misusing Doral will demonstrate symptoms that indicate a developing addiction.
These symptoms may include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Memory lapses
- Loss of appetite
- Slurred speech
- Vision difficulties
- Poor coordination
- Rapid heartbeat
- Jaundiced (yellowed) skin and eyes
- Respiratory distress
Untreated quazepam addiction will only worsen over time, as tolerance for the drug leads to ever-increasing consumption. Eventually, the drug will no longer work against insomnia, but the person addicted to Doral will continue to take it anyway.
Diagnosing Doral Addiction
For dependency to be established, two or more of the following symptoms must be reported to physicians or addiction specialists responsible for making a diagnosis:
- Tolerance for the drug has grown to an advanced level
- Strong cravings are experienced when regular Doral use is interrupted
- Doral use often escalates beyond plans and expectations
- Attempts to stop using Doral have always ended in failure
- Drug use is associated with hazardous or impulsive behaviors (driving under the influence, getting involved in fights, etc.)
- Using, acquiring, or recovering from the effects of Doral now require a significant investment of time
- Home, work, personal, and family responsibilities have been increasingly neglected as drug use has accelerated
- Doral use has led to interpersonal conflicts or social problems (but without leading to sobriety)
- Favorite hobbies and activities are neglected because of drug consumption
- Doral use has continued despite its role in the development (or worsening) of serious mental or physical health conditions
- Withdrawal symptoms are experienced if attempts to stop using Doral extend beyond the initial stage
If six or more of these symptoms are reported, a severe drug addiction will be diagnosed and immediate treatment will be recommended.
Doral Addiction Causes and Risk Factors
Chronic insomnia is the primary cause of Doral addiction. The drug is highly effective and that is both its advantage and disadvantage, since it is so easy to get trapped in a cycle of misuse and abuse with medications that deliver results to people who are desperate for help.
There are multiple risk factors that can predispose a person to become addicted to pharmaceutical medications. They include:
- Genetics and family history. Researchers estimate that 40-60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to substance abuse is based on genetic factors. Poor family role modeling can also contribute to substance use problems later in life.
- High neuroticism. This personality trait predisposes a person to a variety of negative and possibly debilitating emotional reactions, including fearfulness, anxiety, guilt, envy, insecurity, frustration, worry, and depression. High neuroticism is often connected to introversion and a stress-prone lifestyle, two other related risk factors for Doral dependency.
- Exposure to childhood abuse, trauma, and neglect. A person who experiences serious and emotionally devastating trauma at a young age will almost inevitably develop mental and behavioral health disorders later in life.
- Previous history of mental health problems. One large-scale study found that 32 percent of people with mood disorders had a co-occurring substance use disorder. Meanwhile, another comprehensive survey revealed that 18 percent of people addicted to drug or alcohol also had an anxiety disorder, and that 46 percent of people with PTSD would have substance abuse issues at some point in their lives.
Overall, approximately 40 percent of people with a drug or alcohol use disorder will have at least one comorbid mental health condition.
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The Dangers of Doral Overdose
More than 10,000 deaths related to benzodiazepine overdose were recorded in 2017, and many of these unfortunate men and women were using Doral for sleep problems, or for recreational purposes. Some users mix Doral with opioids or alcohol to boost the drug’s effects, and this behavior can raise the risk of an overdose dramatically.
People who’ve overdosed on quazepam will suffer from extreme drowsiness, to the point where they become unresponsive or barely conscious. Their thought and speech will be confused and illogical, and their heart rate may plunge. They will likely demonstrate severe respiratory distress, and these symptoms may be even more acute (and dangerous) if they’ve been using other drugs in addition to Doral.
Whenever an overdose is suspected, companions should call 911 and ask for emergency assistance. Even a moment’s delay could lead to a tragic result.
Withdrawal and Detox
As a benzodiazepine derivative, Doral can cause harrowing side effects if use suddenly stops.
The symptoms of Doral withdrawal may include:
- Sleep disturbances (the return of insomnia)
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Heavy sweating
- Mental confusion and memory problems
- Heart palpitations
- Headaches and muscle pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Hallucinations and other signs of psychosis
These symptoms are dangerous, but they can be avoided if the person taking Doral gradually reduces consumption instead of quitting cold turkey.
To assure manageable withdrawal, people overcoming quazepam addiction should begin their recovery under the supervision of medical professionals in a licensed detox facility. In this setting all physical, psychological, and emotional problems will be scrutinized and treated as necessary, including any excessive or stressful symptoms of withdrawal that may develop as detoxification procedures continue.
Antidepressants and antipsychotics are sometimes prescribed for withdrawal symptom relief. But medication use will be moderate and carefully monitored.
Detox is not actually treatment for addiction in the conventional sense. But a one-to-two-week detox period is essential for people with substance abuse issues of any type, since withdrawal symptoms have the potential to undermine sobriety and must be brought under control before addiction therapy can commence.
Insomnia is the primary risk factor for addiction to quazepam. Not surprisingly, mental health conditions that provoke bouts of insomnia are commonly diagnosed in people who develop addiction to sedatives or tranquilizing medications like Doral.
As multiple studies have shown, there is an undeniable association between insomnia and certain mental and behavioral health conditions:
- Depression. Between 65 and 90 percent of people with depression will struggle with sleeplessness.
- Anxiety disorders. Sleeping problems are especially prevalent among people with generalized anxiety disorder (more than 50 percent experience insomnia) and PTSD (more than 70 percent have problems falling asleep or staying asleep at night).
- Bipolar disorder. During manic episodes, between 69 and 95 percent of men and women with bipolar disorder will develop insomnia.
- Substance use disorders. In one study of people with alcohol or drug use disorders, 56 percent reported moderate-to-severe insomnia. Physicians wouldn’t knowingly prescribe sleep medications to people who are abusing drugs and alcohol, since the chances of a bad reaction are high and the odds of a double addiction developing are strong.
A dual diagnosis for Doral addiction and a mental health condition (or for multiple addictions) will require specialized treatment in a facility that is prepared to handle these cases.
Treatment and Prognosis for Doral Addiction
Following the successful completion of detox, a patient addicted to quazepam will require more comprehensive treatment for drug dependency, preferably at a residential rehab facility where inpatient and intensive outpatient programs can be customized to meet the individual needs of men and women in recovery. This is even more vital if a person has a dual diagnosis for a comorbid mental health condition.
Daily sessions of individual, group, and family therapy will form the core of the rehab program. Working closely together, patients, therapists, peers, and loved ones will explore the deeper issues that can make someone prone to substance abuse, and every effort will be made to repair broken relationships and boost the patient’s self-esteem and self-confidence, which are often lacking in people who have troublesome histories with substance use.
In addition to therapy, people addicted to quazepam may be given other medications, such as antidepressants, to help them cope with continuing withdrawal symptoms. These medications will be administered carefully, since anyone with a substance use disorder must proceed with caution when taking other drugs, even under a doctor’s orders.
To further complement the recovery process, patients will be encouraged to stretch their boundaries by trying various holistic healing techniques, such as biofeedback, meditation, yoga, art and music therapy, and other mind-body healing practices that can reduce stress and restore emotional equilibrium.
Life skills, coping skills, and insomnia prevention classes can add yet another constructive element to a Doral addiction recovery program. Once treatment ends, rehabilitation should continue in aftercare programs that offer protection against relapse during a time when sobriety is still new.
With time and a strong effort to change, people addicted to Doral can overcome their conditions. The struggle is not easy but it is winnable, and a lifetime of sobriety will await those who remember the lessons they learned in rehab and continue to apply them to every stressful or problematic life situation.