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How Rohypnol Affects Your Sleep

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is an essential component of good health.1 Plus, it just makes you feel better, sharper, not to mention a whole lot more pleasant to be around. But for those who find the proverbial eight hours a little more elusive, it can be tempting to take a sleep aid.

And while many prescriptions meant to help with sleep are administered under the care of a trusted physician in limited amounts, some, like Rohypnol, which is banned in the United States for medical use, aren’t safe in moderate, let alone large, doses.

Some countries outside of the United States still prescribe Rohypnol for alleviating insomnia, but one of the main problems is that Rohypnol’s effects change over time, become unmanageable and ultimately cause more problems than it solves.

How Rohypnol Works

Rohypnol is popularly known as a date-rape drug, or a tool that assailants use to enable sexual assault. Some of the slang terms for it, such as the “forget pill” and “forget me drug” are a nod to the memory loss that the drug produces, which sexual criminals exploit.

What draws people to Rohypnol, in particular, is the specific high it produces. People who abuse cocaine use it to balance out the stimulant’s effects, and opiate users take Rohypnol to amplify those drugs’ sedative effects. Its popularity as a recreational drug is similar to cocaine and heroin.

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How Rohypnol Affects Sleep

So what exactly makes Rohypnol appealing to people who struggle to sleep well? It works by empowering certain neurotransmitters, so the result is general relaxation that makes it easier to sleep. As a sleep aid, it is intended only for occasional use, no more than two to four weeks at the most. Doctors must limit Rohypnol doses to the smallest possible level. However, when people abuse this drug, they tend to take doses that exceed medical guidelines, and they do so far beyond the medical recommendation.

The damage to sleep appears quickly, which can include the following problems:

  • Lower quality of sleep. Rohypnol shortens the periods of sleep called slow wave and rapid eye movement sleep. These phases have restorative properties that shallower phases cannot achieve.
  • Insomnia. While limited use can help someone get to sleep, prolonged use can quickly have the opposite effect. This change can devastate regular Rohypnol users if they take the drug to counter cocaine’s stimulating effects.
  • Drug interactions. When people abuse Rohypnol in combination with other drugs, the effects on sleep can magnify. For instance, many people take Rohypnol while they drink alcohol. The sedation created by the two drugs can be difficult to control, and quite possibly, fatal.

People may enjoy the sedative effects of Rohypnol, but it can quickly cause additional problems.

How Rohypnol Withdrawal Symptoms Affect Sleep

illustration of alarm clock with jumping sheepPeople may enjoy the sedative effects of Rohypnol, but it can quickly cause additional problems.

The effects of Rohypnol can linger and complicate recovery. Over time, the body adapts to drug, which means the body will experience strong withdrawal symptoms when Rohypnol use stops. This can affect sleep by causing insomnia, the very thing it was intended to eliminate, and nightmares.

Rohypnol Recovery Help

If you or a loved one is addicted to Rohypnol, the sleep it formerly delivered may have been replaced by restlessness and nightmares. Call our 24-hour helpline to learn about available help. Let this toll-free call at 760.548.4032 begin your escape from Rohypnol and help you regain restful sleep without the horrible side effects.

By Christa Banister, Contributing Writer


1 Sparacino, Alyssa. “11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep.” Health Magazine, March 4, 2018.