Halcion (triazolam) is a benzodiazepine that can be dangerous when abused. Abusing Halcion with alcohol and opioids increases the risk of experiencing life-threatening symptoms.
Halcion Abuse & Addiction
Halcion is a sedating medication, and misuse may lead to complex behaviors, anxiousness, and amnesia. Prescribed for short-term use only, using Halcion for long periods of time is likely to cause tolerance and dependence, and may lead to addiction when abused. As a DEA controlled substance (schedule IV), Halcion has the potential for abuse.
What Is Halcion?
Halcion is the brand name for the substance triazolam, a powerful sedative-hypnotic. As a benzodiazepine, Halcion works by slowing activity in the brain and producing effects of drowsiness and calm. Because of the sedating effects, Halcion is prescribed to treat insomnia, or difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Halcion is only prescribed on a short-term basis because of its addictive properties. Taking Halcion for long periods of time is likely to lead to tolerance, or having to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Once a person builds tolerance, they’re are likely close to developing physical or psychological dependence, which may lead to addiction.
The medication is prescribed sparingly and for short-term use only. Halcion comes in tablet form and is directed to be taken orally by mouth, right before bedtime. Due to the potency of Halcion, it’s recommended a person stay in bed for at least 7-8 hours after taking the medication.
When prescribed, a person shouldn’t take Halcion for longer than 7-10 days. Taking the medication for any longer increases the risk of addiction. When a person takes Halcion for long periods of time, they’ll likely show various signs and symptoms of Halcion abuse.
Signs And Symptoms Of Halcion Abuse
Halcion should always be taken as directed, right before bedtime. Even when taken as directed, Halcion may cause a person to feel more anxiety throughout the day. Feelings of daytime anxiety are likely to increase when a person abuses Halcion, and they may appear nervous, fidgety, and worried.
Due to the abuse potential of Halcion, a person may begin to show signs of drug-seeking behavior. They may continuously crave Halcion, compulsively use it, and continue to use it despite harm to themselves or others. A person may show a lack of judgment when it comes to Halcion and may begin to neglect personal hygiene and other responsibilities like work or school.
Halcion produces sedating effects, and some side effects may include:
- coordination problems
- a headache
Abusing Halcion may also increase the risk of experiencing more severe side effects, including rash, difficulty breathing or swallowing, and swelling of the face. The person’s voice may appear scratchy or hoarse, and taking too much Halcion may worsen insomnia and lead to abnormal behavior.
Halcion abuse can be especially dangerous because of how it interacts with other substances. Mixing Halcion with substances like alcohol or opioids can be life-threatening, adding to the many dangers of Halcion abuse and addiction.
The Dangers Of Halcion Abuse And Addiction
Using Halcion with any opioid medication (Vicodin, Demerol, etc.) may increase the risk of severe health problems, like difficulty breathing, extreme sedation, or coma. Mixing Halcion with opioids may cause unusual dizziness, excessive sleepiness, and unresponsiveness.
Taking Halcion with alcohol or any other substances will also increase the risk a person experiences these potentially life-threatening side effects. Combining Halcion with other substances may also increase the risk of overdose.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- breathing problems
- coordination problems
- extreme drowsiness
- loss of consciousness
- slurred speech
Any signs of an overdose should be treated as a medical emergency, and 9-1-1 should be contacted immediately. If left untreated, overdose may lead to death.
A condition known as “sleep-driving” is another inherent danger of Halcion addiction. “Sleep-driving” refers to driving a vehicle when a person isn’t fully awake and suffers from amnesia or no recollection of the event. Mixing Halcion with alcohol further increases the risk of amnesia for other events like making phone calls, preparing or eating food, and having sex.
A person suffering from Halcion addiction may also see an increase in abnormal thinking and behavior. Complex behaviors may arise after a period of misuse and may include a lack of inhibition (disregard for social boundaries), unusual aggression, and extreme extroversion (outgoingness).
Other dangers of Halcion abuse and addiction include suicidal ideation, worsening depression, and seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. People suffering from other mental illness are more at risk of experiencing depression and thinking of killing themselves.
Although there are many dangers of abusing Halcion, stopping use can be difficult for a person to do on their own. Because they have likely developed a physical or psychological dependence to Halcion, they may experience uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal when they stop use.
Halcion Withdrawal And Detox
Withdrawal symptoms may occur when a person stops using Halcion. Symptoms of withdrawal are likely because a person’s body needs time to adjust and recover after becoming used to having Halcion in their system. This period of adjustment is expected to cause a person to feel sick, restless, and unsatisfied.
Other symptoms of Halcion withdrawal may include:
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- involuntary shaking of body parts
- mood changes
- muscle pain
- stomach cramps
The length and severity of withdrawal symptoms likely depend on how much and how often a person took Halcion. Symptoms may be so uncomfortable they may lead a person back to using Halcion or other drugs to alleviate symptoms. When symptoms are severe, and to avoid further drug use, a medically supervised detoxification, or detox, might be the best course of action.
A medically supervised detox takes place in a hospital or inpatient setting and provides a safe and comfortable environment for the worst of withdrawal. Staff will likely have access to medications and may administer them when necessary. A medically supervised detox ensures a person can make it past the initial hurdle of addiction treatment by providing support and care during the often painful and uncomfortable process of withdrawal.
The point of a medically supervised detox is to get a person drug-free and prepared for further treatment. A medically supervised detox is not a cure for addiction and should be followed by more extensive treatment during recovery.
Treatment Options For Halcion Addiction
Treating addiction usually involves the combination of medication and behavioral therapy. Currently, there are no government-approved medications to treat Halcion addiction, but a method known as tapering may be effective.
Tapering is the process of gradually decreasing dosage of Halcion, or another benzodiazepine, over time to lessen dependence and avoid symptoms of withdrawal. While this may be useful in the early stages of treatment, further behavioral therapy should follow or be used in conjunction with tapering.
Behavioral therapy is the most common form of addiction treatment and works towards changing a person’s thinking and attitudes towards drugs. Therapy may include one on one sessions, group sessions, or other more intensive therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) to teach healthy lifestyles and the skills needed to remain sober after treatment.
Inpatient rehab, or residential treatment, is likely a good option for many people suffering from addiction because it provides all the essential components of effective treatment: detoxification and withdrawal support, medications, behavioral therapy, treatment for other physical or mental conditions, and peer support. By providing around the clock, 24-hour care, a supportive environment, and a community focused on healing, inpatient treatment is structured to include maximum safety and comfort during recovery.
Call now for more information on treating Halcion abuse and addiction.
National Institute on Drug Abuse—Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction
U.S. Food and Drug Administration—Halcion (Triazolam) Label