Doral belongs to the benzodiazepine class of medications (“benzos”), but it has unique properties compared to other benzos. It binds to brain receptors that are specific to inducing sleep. This selectivity may make it less addictive than other benzos and may also reduce some side effects. It is also considered a long-acting benzodiazepine, which also lowers the risk of addiction and physical dependence.
However, there is an unfortunate misconception that since it has fewer side effects than other benzos, it’s entirely without risks. This is not the case: Doral use can still lead to dependence and be addictive.
Article at a Glance:
- Doral is a benzodiazepine with the potential for abuse, addiction, and withdrawal.
- Doral is hard to stop using because it causes uncomfortable (and sometimes life-threatening) withdrawal symptoms.
- Common side effects include drowsiness, headache, fatigue, dizziness and dry mouth.
- Stopping Doral use alone is generally not recommended. Help is available for people to detox under medical supervision.
Table of Contents
Like all benzos, Doral carries the risk of addiction. It is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance in the U.S. under the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Doral addiction can require professional treatment.
It is meant to be used as a short-term medication and shouldn’t be used longer than a few weeks. Anyone who uses the drug recreationally or for extended periods of time is more likely to become addicted to or dependent on it.
The risk of becoming addicted may be higher in people with a history of substance use disorders. Other risk factors for addiction include combining it with other substances or using it in ways other than prescribed by a doctor.
What is Doral?
Doral is a prescription drug that is also sold under the generic name quazepam. It is classified as a benzodiazepine. This class of drugs is often used to treat insomnia and for conditions such as anxiety and panic disorder; however, Doral is a unique benzodiazepine because it is only indicated to treat insomnia.
Benzos like quazepam have therapeutic benefits, but only for short-term use and with a valid prescription.
Signs, Symptoms & Side Effects of Abuse
Quazepam binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. They slow down neuron activity and, as a result, the person feels more relaxed or sedated. Common side effects with normal usage can include:
- Feeling very tired in the daytime
- Dry mouth
- Upset stomach
Someone who abuses quazepam or other benzos is more likely to become addicted than someone who uses it as directed by their doctor. The higher doses a person takes of Doral, or the longer they use it, the higher the risk for addiction.
Sometimes a person’s behavior changes when they are developing an addiction. Behavioral symptoms may include:
- Combining Doral with other substances (e.g., alcohol)
- Continuing to take the drug for longer than a doctor directs
- Taking Doral without a prescription
- Taking more Doral than has been prescribed
Signs of a benzodiazepine overdose include extreme drowsiness, confusion and coma. Other symptoms can include lethargy, impaired balance and slurred speech. The risk of a Doral overdose is low, especially when the medicine is used on its own and as prescribed.
However, the risk of an overdose increases dramatically if the drug is mixed with another substance. If someone combines Doral and alcohol, for example, that person is much more likely to experience an overdose and stop breathing.
Doral is a central nervous system depressant. It can cause an overdose because it slows essential bodily functions like breathing and heart rate. When someone’s breathing drops to a dangerously low level, oxygen may no longer reach their brain. The result can be coma, brain damage or death.
Doral should never be combined with any other drug or substance that depresses the central nervous system, including alcohol and opioids. It should only be used as instructed.
In the event of an emergency, or if you believe you are witnessing an opioid overdose, call 911 immediately.
Doral and Alcohol
Doral should not be mixed with alcohol. Doing so increases the risk of serious motor and cognitive impairment. Since Doral is a long-acting benzo, it accumulates in the body, which can increase these risks. There is also a risk of respiratory depression and overdose when mixing the two substances.
Long-term benzodiazepine abuse can cause serious withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Impaired attention and concentration
- Impaired memory
- Problems experiencing or expressing emotion
With benzodiazepines, many people quickly develop a tolerance, even within a few weeks of regularly taking the drug. Physical dependence occurs when someone’s body and brain have adjusted to the presence of a substance. The body and brain then view that substance as “normal.” When someone attempts to stop using the substance, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can be physical and psychological.
People can also experience rebound symptoms when the condition that the drug was initially supposed to treat comes back, sometimes worse. As an example, Doral is often prescribed for insomnia. Rebound withdrawal symptoms would mean a person has a hard time getting to sleep again without Doral.
The most common withdrawal symptoms include
- Sleep problems
- Anxiety, tension or panic attacks
- Concentration problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Changes in perception
- Drug cravings
Benzodiazepine withdrawal can also be severe. Serious complications can include seizures, psychosis and suicidal thoughts or tendencies. Over the long term, prolonged withdrawal symptoms can include hallucinations, psychosis, seizures and an increased risk of suicide.
Doral Addiction Treatment & Detox
These risks demonstrate why it’s essential to find an addiction treatment and rehab center that deals first with the symptoms of withdrawal and then with the deeper issues of addiction. The most successful Doral addiction treatment program would include a medical detox.
During medical detox, a patient goes through withdrawal under the supervision of medical professionals. They can manage symptoms and make the patient safer and more comfortable.
Following detox, a Doral addiction treatment and rehab program should include therapy. Most benzodiazepine addiction treatment programs will focus on cognitive behavioral therapy. There may be a combination of group and individual therapy. A program should look at any polysubstance abuse issues and co-occurring mental health conditions a person may have.
Benzodiazepine treatment programs may be completed in an inpatient facility, an outpatient program or a combination of both.
Choosing a Doral Rehab Center
Choosing a rehab center for addiction is an important decision between the person needing treatment and the treatment team.
The options often include inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment.
Inpatient treatment is more suitable to people who are currently abusing Doral, have been through outpatient treatment, and failed or are having trouble stopping on their own. It also tends to be well-suited to people who need a distraction-free environment. Inpatient facilities are highly structured with several medical professionals on staff to meet the needs of the patient. Withdrawal symptoms can be caught and managed more safely in a facility.
For people with less severe addiction or who have finished an inpatient program, an outpatient facility may be appropriate. Outpatient treatment can happen while the person continues living their life as normal. Typically, they will attend one or more group therapy sessions per week while still fulfilling their other responsibilities.
FAQs & Related
- How does Doral work?
Benzodiazepines like Doral work by activating GABA receptors (calming neurotransmitters in the brain). People with conditions like anxiety, panic disorder and insomnia often have low GABA levels. This deficiency results in overactivity in the brain. These drugs can calm this overactivity, reducing anxiety and helping users fall asleep.
Quazepam is also unique in that it only targets specific GABA receptors that are responsible for sleep. Quazepam doesn’t have muscle-relaxant properties, which is unique among other drugs in the benzo class.
- How long does Doral stay in your system?
Doral stays in a person’s system for about five half-lives or 200 hours. One of the major metabolites of quazepam, N-desalkyl-2-oxoDORAL, stays in the body for up to 400 hours. Doral has a half-life of 39 hours. After taking a dose, half of it remains in the body almost two days later.
The benefit of a long half-life is that when the drug is used properly, people generally have fewer cravings for the drug. However, there are downsides as well. For example, people are more likely to experience cognitive impairment during waking hours when taking long-acting drugs like Doral. It is also more likely to interact with medications taken days later, since some may still be in the body.
- Can you take Doral while pregnant?
There have not been significant human studies conducted on the effects of taking the drug during pregnancy. However, benzodiazepines do cross the placenta in general, so they should be avoided in pregnancy unless necessary.
If you are taking Doral and are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, set up an appointment with your doctor to discuss alternative treatment options. Your provider will be able to determine whether the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
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