Halcion is the brand name for triazolam, a prescription sedative, and benzodiazepine (or benzo). Benzos include the more well-known medications Ativan or Xanax, which are used to treat insomnia and an array of anxiety disorders.
While it may not be as widely known as other benzos, over a million prescriptions are written for Halcion in the U.S. each year. It can be even more dangerous than other benzos, since its medicinal use requires it to be much stronger and faster-acting, which gives it an extremely high risk of addiction and overdose.
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Generally, Halcion is only prescribed in the short term (about 7 to 10 days), as someone can develop a tolerance to it within two weeks.
How Does Halcion Work?
While Halcion inhibits activity in the central nervous system like other benzos, it’s primarily used to treat sleep disorders, so it works differently.
For one thing, it kicks in much faster, as it exerts its effects on the nervous system through the overproduction of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is produced by the brain to help manage feelings of stress and anxiety. It accomplishes this task by slowing down the central nervous system to keep nerve impulses carrying these feelings from reaching the brain.
Halcion mimics GABA in order to enter the brain and bind with GABA receptors. But unlike benzos such as Klonopin and Xanax, Halcion specifically targets the receptors responsible for brain function and activity and rapidly induces sleep by creating an excess of GABA.
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What Are the Signs of Halcion Addiction?
Users may often fail to recognize the signs of Halcion abuse and addiction, especially if it’s still in the early stages. Since Halcion is a prescription medication, it carries the perception of being “safe.”
Nonetheless, there are some common mental and physical side effects associated with long-term Halcion abuse.
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Frequent stomach cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chronic drowsiness
- Impaired coordination
- Difficulty concentrating
As a user’s dependence on Halcion progresses to addiction, they will become compulsively driven to find and use Halcion. At this point, they will start exhibiting behaviors that show that Halcion has become the highest priority in their life. This behavior has negative consequences, which include:
- Taking Halcion outside of the prescribed dosage
- Taking Halcion in unintended ways, such as crushing and snorting it
- Increasingly tolerating Halcion’s effects
- Experiencing cravings and withdrawal when not using it
- Taking Halcion without a prescription
- Attempting to forge or obtain multiple prescriptions
- Hiding Halcion use from others
- Not being able to feel “normal” without using Halcion
- Becoming socially isolated and withdrawn
- Experiencing financial issues or legal problems
- Not being able to stop using Halcion, even after numerous attempts
Whether you’ve recognized the signs of Halcion addiction in your own life or observed them in the behavior of someone you care about, you shouldn’t waste time getting help from an addiction treatment center. Then you can avoid any further mental or physical damage and the risk of overdose.
What’s Involved in Halcion Addiction Treatment?
Generally, medical detoxification is an important first step in any addiction treatment, and Halcion is no exception. Detox is meant to treat acute intoxication, achieve stability, and stem any further damage by flushing all toxins from the user’s system.
Because it’s a benzodiazepine, Halcion detox should never be attempted alone, and it should have some level of supervision from an experienced medical detox team. The reason is that the withdrawal symptoms associated with detoxing from benzos are more dangerous and life-threatening than detoxing from most other drugs.
Some symptoms of Halcion withdrawal include hallucinations, delirium, seizures, suicidal behavior, panic attacks, and psychosis. There’s also the possibility that you’ll experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which both intensifies present symptoms and causes atypical ones to appear.
By having medical professionals on-hand to help with any potential complications and provide medication to ease withdrawal symptoms, your detox will go as smoothly, safely, and comfortably as possible.
After detox is complete, the next step in effective Halcion addiction treatment is ongoing care in either an inpatient or outpatient program. In the long term, it’s vital to follow up detox with continued recovery care.
Inpatient treatment involves living onsite at a recovery facility with 24/7 access to medical staff members. It removes the user from their regular life, so they can avoid triggers and fully focus on their recovery. However, outpatient treatment involves regularly commuting to a treatment center for therapy sessions and medical appointments while still living at home.
The decision to pursue inpatient or outpatient treatment depends on a variety of specific factors, including the severity of the addiction, the presence of a co-occurring disorder, the quality of the current support network, and the safety of the home environment.
Either option entails learning to understand the underlying issues at the heart of the client’s addictive behaviors and addressing their addiction from medical, psychological, social, and physical standpoints. Through the use of different therapies and treatment modalities (such as cognitive behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, holistic therapy, and relapse prevention planning), a client will develop the tools they need to more effectively manage their addiction and maintain their sobriety.
How Dangerous Is Halcion?
While sleepwalking is a commonly experienced side effect of Halcion, users have also been observed having sex, cooking, eating food, leaving the house, and driving while asleep. They typically have no memory of doing any of these activities.
Using Halcion for longer than prescribed can also cause a rebound effect. This impact occurs when the user has built up a strong enough tolerance to its effects that their original insomnia symptoms return, often much worse than they were prior to using.
Another reason Halcion is so dangerous is due to its extreme potency, which is used to help someone fall asleep faster.
- Dangerously shallow and slow breathing
- Blurred vision
- Impaired coordination
As a central nervous system depressant, Halcion can also cause dangerous and even life-threatening symptoms during withdrawal. If you become chemically dependent on the drug and then quit abruptly, you might experience symptoms like seizures and delirium tremens. Seizures can cause serious injuries, especially if you go through them while you are standing, walking, or driving.
Seizures can also come on without warning, which makes them unpredictable. Delirium tremens is a condition that’s characterized by the sudden onset of extreme confusion, panic, tremors, chest pains, hypertension, coma, and sometimes death. Delirium tremens is also more likely if you’ve gone through depressant withdrawal before.
If you’ve experienced the withdrawal period after quitting a benzodiazepine or alcohol, it can cause a phenomenon called kindling. Kindling is a neurological change that’s caused by depressant withdrawal that makes subsequent withdrawal periods more severe. People with previous experience with withdrawal might expect more severe symptoms.
Because Halcion withdrawal symptoms can be deadly, it’s important to seek medical help if you feel like you might have developed a chemical dependence on the drug. Before you decide to quit cold turkey, speak to a medical professional about safe detox.
Halcion Abuse Statistics
- In 2016, Halcion and other benzos were reportedly involved in nearly 11,000 overdose deaths in the U.S.
- Almost 70 percent of Halcion users are over 60 years old.
- A survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that between 11 to 15 percent of people have at least one bottle of benzos in their medicine cabinets.
Why Seek Halcion Addiction Treatment?
If you’ve been using Halcion for therapeutic purposes or recreationally, it’s important to recognize the signs that you might have a problem. If you aren’t able to stop or cut back, if you are using more than you intend, or if you are using just to feel normal, you might be developing a chemical dependency or an addiction.
Substance use disorders are chronic and progressive. If you ignore them or fail to address them, they usually get worse. Mild SUDs can grow into severe ones over time. But with treatment, you can stop the progression of the disease and learn to manage cravings and triggers without using.
Seeking addiction as early as possible may mean avoiding some of the worst consequences of addiction, including health problems, financial instability, and strained relationships.
No matter where you are in the disease of addiction, there are treatment options available. Learn more about Halcion addiction to take your first steps toward recovery today.
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National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, August 09). Overdose Death Rates. Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
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