Halcion is a benzodiazepine drug that was made to treat sleep disorders that affect people in the United States and abroad. An estimated 70 million people in the U.S. struggle with sleep disorders and the most common of these is insomnia. While the disorder does not affect those all the time, chronic sufferers hardly get the sleep they need. Sleep is the fuel for life, and without the proper rest, we risk the chance of becoming ill or struggling to manage our lives. Medications like Halcion were thought to be essential in helping people sleep, but there are hidden dangers that don’t get the attention they need.
Sleep deprivation can cause you to feel sluggish throughout the day and experience symptoms such as sleepiness, trouble concentrating, and fatigue. There are other side effects such as a decreased libido which can ultimately affect someone’s sex life. Insomnia is viewed as unrefreshing sleep or waking up too early and not being unable to fall back asleep. On top of the physical symptoms, it can also cause car accidents or getting hurt on the job. Additionally, the disorder can occur on its own or because of a psychiatric condition but is not something that should be overlooked. It can come and go, and stress is typically the main culprit. The widespread nature of sleep disorders makes it necessary for sleep aids.
While it may seem like the magic potion that changed sleeping habits, continued use can cause an array of problems. Some of which include an inability to fall asleep on your own without the drug, dependence, addiction, and ultimately, withdrawal if you’re unable to obtain more of the substance. The problem with benzodiazepine drugs is that they may provide temporary relief, but eventually can exaggerate the issues that were being treated in something known as rebound symptoms. Rebound symptoms are when insomnia or anxiety come back amplified and much worse than when you were trying to manage them. It can make stopping Halcion extremely difficult.
The drug is rarely prescribed longer than three weeks at a time at the risk of developing an addiction. When someone attempts to stop using the drug on their own, they can experience intense, and sometimes fatal withdrawal symptoms. It may be difficult to stop using the drug because it provided a necessary function, but continued use will transition your body toward addiction. Unfortunately, benzos are the most prescribed medications in the world, and many people use them without knowing the warning signs and potential for addiction. Below we will explain how Halcion withdrawal requires immediate medical attention.
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Halcion, also known as triazolam, is a quick-acting benzodiazepine that is used to treat moderate-severe sleep disorders. The drug shares similar characteristics to Xanax, but it is not used to treat anxiety due to its short half-life and how powerful the drug is. It is commonly used to induce sleep prior to minor medical procedures under a doctor’s supervision. When used in this fashion, it is a beneficial drug.
Halcion is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and it shares this group with other substances like barbiturates, alcohol, and other sleep aids. Depressants can cause an array of adverse effects that range from tolerance to addiction, and that is why the medication is only used for a short period of time.
The drug works as you’d expect from benzos, and targets GABA receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter known as gamma-Aminobutyric acid, and it is a natural chemical produced in the brain that reduces neuron activity and blocks nerve impulses for anxiety, stress, or fear. Halcion increases the production of GABA within the brain and causes the user to feel sleepy, calm, and relaxed. These are all the ingredients to help someone fall right asleep. As mentioned above, it is a fast-acting drug that can produce effects in as little as 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, prolonged usage of Halcion can lead to devastating withdrawal effects.
Along with other benzos, Halcion can cause severe physical dependence in two ways. One is to develop a high tolerance requiring higher doses to feel the effects, and the other is to experience intense withdrawal symptoms upon cessation or a reduction in dosage.
Since Halcion is a short-acting drug. It has a half-life that ranges anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 hours. Withdrawal occurs because of changes in brain chemistry, and tolerance can develop in two weeks.
The potency of Halcion and rapid absorption function means withdrawal can start within hours. Fortunately, there is a silver lining when it comes to Halcion withdrawal; it does not last as long as other longer-acting benzos such as estazolam. Halcion users have reported their withdrawal symptoms lasting anywhere from five days to two weeks.
Those who use long-lasting benzos in addiction to Halcion will deal with longer withdrawal durations based on the other drugs leaving the body.
Withdrawal symptoms will initiate soon after the last dose; anxiety and rebound insomnia are the first symptoms
The withdrawal symptoms will peak within 24 to 48 hours after the last dose. Anxiety and insomnia will continue to worsen, and users may start to experience nausea, muscle cramps, and shakiness
By this point, the symptoms are going to decrease in intensity, and the person in question will start to sleep better. A heavy user of Halcion may still experience intense withdrawals
Most withdrawal symptoms at this stage will wind down, and some will only experience mild symptoms for another week
Those addicted to Halcion require medically-supervised detox due to the life-threatening possibilities during withdrawal. Medical detoxification helps Halcion users mitigate the dangers and reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Anyone who stops using the drug on their own, in what’s known as cold turkey, is at risk of seizures that can be fatal. Doctors strongly advise avoiding this method of cessation.
Clinicians are available 24-hours a day and will monitor the client ensuring they are weaned off slowly and safely. They are trained to manage an emergency in case you do not respond to treatment as anticipated. The process will include a tapering schedule that allows your transition to stability to be smooth. The detox process can range from three to seven days, but in the event of a heavy user, it can be longer. Clinicians will determine the course of action and make sure you are treated appropriately.
At California Highlands Addiction Treatment, we know how damaging substance addiction can be. As with any disease, early detection is vital to prolonged success.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Halcion abuse or addiction, it’s important for you to treat it before it’s too late.
For a free and confidential consultation with one of our specialists, call (855) 907-0156 now or contact us online. These professionals are available around the clock to help you navigate your treatment options, verify your insurance, and answer any questions you might have. Let us get you through to the other side safely.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 8: Definition of dependence. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-drug-addiction/section-iii-action-heroin-morphine/8-definition-dependence
Lydiard, R. B. (2003). The role of GABA in anxiety disorders. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12662130
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Prescription CNS Depressants. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants
Pétursson, H. (1994, November). The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7841856
Sleep Disorders. (n.d.). from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11429-common-sleep-disorders