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Halcion Addiction Treatment

Halcion, like other benzodiazepines, has become a popular prescription medication in the US, where 12.5% of adults use benzos. Unfortunately, they can also have side effects and become addictive if people misuse them. Which begs the question: how potentially bad are they and what are the treatment options for addiction?

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What is Halcion?

Halcion is the brand name of triazolam, a benzodiazepine in the triazolobenzodiazepine class that works as a depressant on the central nervous system. It is primarily used as a sleeping aid. Triazolam was introduced in 1970 and first sold in the US in 1982. It is a Schedule IV drug, which can only be obtained through a doctor’s prescription. 

Why Do Doctors Prescribe Halcion?

Halcion is a fast-acting benzo with a short life. It is generally considered a safe medication for use as a sleeping aid and anxiolytic. Halcion passes through the body within a day with no ill effects on people who use the drug in moderation. Doctors prescribe Halcion for:

  • Sedation – Halcion helps users overcome insomnia caused by stress, depression and restlessness. For travelers struggling with circadian rhythm sleep disorders due to jet lag, Halcion can help users align their body clocks to the time and place. It can help users gain an extra 90 minutes of sleep and thereby avoid morning drowsiness caused by premature awakings. 
  • Anxiety relief – Halcion works as an anxiolytic that can help people overcome fear and stress. It’s effective as a muscle relaxant and an anticonvulsant medication. People who struggle with apprehension about tasks can take the medication for moderate relief. 
  • Anterograde amnesia – Halcion can help people forget events that occur immediately after the drug takes effect. This is why dentists often administer Halcion in advance of tooth operations. 

Halcion also works as a disinhibitor. Depending on external factors, this can either be helpful or detrimental to the user. People with prescriptions probably shouldn’t take Halcion in situations where drugs and loose behavior are commonplace.

Side Effects of Halcion

Halcion has strong effects when active and can last on a user into the next morning. In rare cases, the drug may have the following side effects:

  • Somnolence – Halcion can cause a strong desire for sleep, even when the user wouldn’t otherwise be tired. When a person takes Halcion in the daytime to treat anxiety (such as before a presentation or business meeting), it could have the undesired effect of causing fatigue.
  • Dizziness – Halcion can compromise a user’s coordination and cause bouts of clumsiness. This can make the drug dangerous in settings where the user needs optimal motor skills and hand-eye coordination, such as when operating a motor vehicle.
  • Euphoria – Halcion can trigger the brain’s reward center and cause euphoric sensations throughout the body and mind. This can make the user light-headed and complacent about his or her surroundings. In situations where danger is likely, this could put the unaware user in compromised situations. 
  • Arrhythmia – Depressant medications slow the heart rate and respiratory system. When people take Halcion with stimulants or caffeinated energy drinks, it can send mixed signals to the heart and cause irregular heartbeats. The depressing effects can also cause users of energy drugs (cocaine, speed) to overdose, thinking they haven’t had their “hit” yet due to the sedative effects of Halcion.
  • Confused states – Halcion can leave users feeling confused at random. This can be scary in situations where the user needs full cognition to operate something crucial, like a computer code or password prompt. This could also make Halcion a poor choice in a sedative or anti-anxiety medication on the eve of a crucial test at school.
  • Memory impairment – This goes with the dizziness and confusion that affects certain users on Halcion. When the drug is in full effect, the user could be so numb and euphoric that reciting information could be challenging, if not impossible.
  • Cramps/pain – Some users may experience physical stress in their upper or lower extremities. This can make it difficult to perform tasks once Halcion takes effect and leave the user with no other option but to sleep it off.
  • Depression – Halcion can cause depression in certain users. People who already struggle with mood disorders should consider alternative anti-anxiety meds or sedatives. Halcion is not a good medication for people currently in an emotionally difficult situation due to a bad breakup or seasonal depression.
  • Visual disturbances – Some users may have hallucinations while under the influence of Halcion. Though it’s not common, some users may see disturbing visuals that — in their intellectually compromised state — could be imagined as real.
  • Constipation – Some users might have digestive difficulties with Halcion. Regardless, people should always consume plenty of liquid while taking Halcion or other benzodiazepines.

These side effects are rare and generally pass after 24 hours of ingestion. If symptoms do persist, one should consult their doctor and consider an alternative medication.

Rare Effects of Halcion

Halcion can also cause more serious effects in rare cases. These affect less than 1% of users. Certain symptoms can be overcome with proper hydration. Others are more discomforting and serious. If symptoms persist once Halcion clears the body, seek medical help.

  • Taste alteration – Halcion is said to alter the taste of food for certain individuals.
  • Diarrhea – Some users may experience watery bowel movements while on Halcion.
  • Dry mouth – As with constipation and other hydration issues, Halcion can cause dry mouth. This makes it crucial to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water while on Halcion. 
  • Dermatitis/allergy – Some users experience skin irritation from Halcion. This could include dry skin, itchiness and rashes on the extremities.
  • Dreams/nightmares – 
  • Insomnia – Sometimes, benzodiazepines have the reverse of their intended effect on users. This may occur in hard cases where the user grows tolerant of Halcion at normal doses (possibly due to abuse) and the drug loses its effects on the body.
  • Paresthesia – The feeling of “pins and needles” in certain areas is sometimes caused by Halcion. Normally, paresthesia occurs when a person sits improperly on his/her lower extremities. The feeling, which usually passes after several minutes, is caused by stress on the peripheral nerves.
  • Tinnitus – Some users experience ringing sounds that aren’t caused by external noise. This is similar to the aural after-effects of a loud concert or venue. It doesn’t last beyond the effects of Halcion in the system.
  • Dysesthesia – Halcion may cause momentary dysesthesia, described as a burning or aching sensation in the extremities.
  • Weakness – As a depressant, Halcion reduces physical strength and performance. While the drug is in effect, users feel relaxed and sometimes fatigued. It’s not the type of medication to take just prior to activities that involve great levels of physical exertion, such as lifting, rock climbing, dancing and competitive sports. 
  • Congestion – Depressants slow the respiratory system. For some users, this can cause nasal problems like congestion. Users should cease their Halcion intake and consult a doctor if symptoms persist.

Halcion is not intended for long-term use. Its main benefits are for relief from insomnia and anxiety. When users exceed the prescribed dose, the body becomes tolerant and renders the drug ineffective. If taken at excessive levels, Halcion can be addictive and dangerous. People struggling with Halcion addiction are more likely to experience the rare, discomforting side effects.

Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms

Once the body grows accustomed to benzodiazepines like Halcion, it’s hard to break free. A user might resolve to quit cold turkey, only to suffer great physical and emotional stress once cravings take hold. The worst symptoms typically occur on days two and three as the body goes through the initial shock of withdrawal.

  • Rebound insomnia – When people who’ve struggled with insomnia stop using Halcion as a medication, the symptoms might come back worse than before, even after a short-term Halcion prescription.
  • Sweating – People often sweat when they go into withdrawal. This is often accompanied with shakes and cold shivers. This is part of the physical shock of going off an accustomed medication.
  • Increased heart rate – Halcion typically slows the heart rate. Once a person stops using the drug, the physical effects of withdrawal could increase the heart rate. This is a common symptom of people who use Halcon as an anti-anxiety med.
  • Fever – Halcion withdrawal can cause fever symptoms. The patient may experience increased body temperature and accompanying symptoms like dizziness, headaches and general discomfort.  
  • Muscle cramps – Some people suffer discomfort in the upper and lower extremities while undergoing detox for Halcion and other drugs. This is part of the anxiety that accompanies a patient’s separation from a drug of choice.
  • Uncontrollable shaking – People who’ve struggled with anxiety before Halcion typically have redoubled symptoms after quitting the medication cold turkey. The body grows accustomed to Halcion as a regulator, which makes detox physically jarring to the patient.
  • Nausea and vomiting – This occurs in more extreme cases of benzodiazepine. Nausea typically accompanies shakes, sweats and fevers. Some, but not all patients have difficulty holding down food when symptoms peak.
  • Depression – People often suffer depression when they undergo detox, which is physically and mentally anguishing to drug-dependant individuals. Addiction is, in part, a form of psychological dependence. When the drug is removed, it can make the user feel despondent.
  • Hallucinations – Users sometimes see and hear things that don’t exist while undergoing detox. It’s part of a general state of disturbance and disorientation that accompanies a patient’s separation anxiety from a drug of choice. 

Detox symptoms usually pass after three days, by which point the last traces of Halcion will have cleared the system. For best results, detox should always be done at a rehab center where nurses are on standby around the clock for any needs that may arise.

Halcion Overdose Symptoms

The worst symptoms occur after an overdose, where the user has far exceeded the prescribed dose of Halcion and now abuses the drug night and day. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Coma – An overdose of depressant medication can send the user into a prolonged state of unconsciousness. 
  • Hypoventilation – Respiratory depression robs the brain of oxygen. This can lead to brain damage, suffocation and death. Hypoventilation is a medical emergency that requires immediate care.
  • Somnolence – Extreme drowsiness should not persist in users, especially once a prior dose of Halcion has cleared the system.
  • Slurred speech – This could be a sign of intoxication. It can also be a warning sign of late-stage addiction that borders on emergency.
  • Seizures – A drug overdose can cause electrical disturbances in the brain. This is sometimes accompanied by convulsions (uncontrollable muscle contractions).

An overdose of triazolam can be fatal. However, fatalities are more likely when the user abuses Halcion in combination with alcohol and other drugs, both prescription and elicit, such as downers and stimulants. 

Halcion Treatment Programs

Throughout the US, treatment centers for drug addiction offer programs specifically designed for opioid and benzodiazepine addiction. Treatment for Halcion addiction follows the same protocol as other addiction types and goes as follows:

  • Detox – This begins the moment the patient stops using Halcion and enters the rehab center. The first 2–3 days are when cravings peak as Halcion clears the system. This time is spent under the watchful eye of nurses. Doctors may administer anti-addiction meds to help the patient overcome withdrawal symptoms.
  • Residential rehab – After detox, the patient spends 30-90 days in an inpatient rehab program. Rehab consists of individual counseling, group meetings, healthy meals, experiential therapy (equine therapy, art therapy), daily tasks, meditation and rest. Most rehab programs are based on the 12-step model. Some centers offer faith-based plans.
  • Outpatient rehab – For patients with sufficient domestic situations, rehab centers also offer outpatient programs, where the patient comes in the day for treatment. This covers the same ground as inpatient care. Outpatient programs range from full-time (partial hospitalization, or PHP) for high-need patients and part-time (intensive outpatient, or IOP) for low-need patients.
  • Aftercare – For patients who need further help landing and readjusting to society after drug and alcohol addiction, some centers offer ongoing support. Some rehab centers can help link patients with job-placement programs and openings at local sober-living houses.

People who take Halcion for anxiety and insomnia can learn better, healthier ways to manage both conditions in rehab treatment.

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call

Get Help for Halcion Addiction

When doctors prescribe Halcion and other benzodiazepines, the intent is to have them used at small doses for short periods. Unfortunately, many people overuse these medications and develop a tolerance that causes addiction.

If someone you know struggles with Halcion addiction, get that person the help he/she needs. Contact your local treatment centers and ask about their programs and financing options. Your call could bring someone back from the brink.

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