Halcion Addiction and Abuse

Halcion is a potent benzodiazepine that is medically prescribed to treat psychological disorders such as insomnia. It’s potential to create tolerance within a short period makes Halcion highly addictive.

Triazolam - Addiction | Table of Contents

Understanding Halcion (Triazolam)

Halcion is the brand name for Triazolam. They are consumed orally through tablet form. Halcion is generally prescribed to treat insomnia and other mental disorders. Some medical professionals may also prescribe Halcion for anxiety just before performing any minor medical procedures. Halcion is only intended for short term consumption of no more than seven to ten days.

Also known by its street name, “Up Johns,” Halcion targets neuroreceptors that control brain function. This phenomenon decreases the activities of a hyperactive brain, resulting in a calmer and deeper sleep. Halcion is a fast-acting drug with a short half-life compared to other benzos. Halcion’s half-life (the time it takes for the concentration of the drug in the body to reduce by half its starting dose) is only 1.5 to 5.5 hours, while the half-lives of other benzodiazepines can last up to 7 hours or more.

FAQ

What is the drug Halcion used for?

This medication is primarily employed to treat certain sleep difficulties such as insomnia. It may help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and reduce the number of times you wake up during the night so that you can get a better night’s rest.

Is Halcion still prescribed?

Once regarded as the most popular drug for treating insomnia, an average of 1.2 million Halcion were prescribed per year. Although Halcion is now replaced by Ambien and Lunesta, Halcion is still purchased and sold illicitly on the streets, usually as a benzo.

How long does Halcion take to wear off?

Halcion’s effects onset within 15-30 minutes and peak between 1-2 hours. Afterward, the effects start to wear off gradually, and most people tend to feel normal after 6-8 hours.

Is Halcion Addictive?

Halcion is a controlled substance that is highly abused for its euphoric sensation, greatly similar to that of alcohol intoxication. Since this drug is only prescribed to treat acute symptoms for a short period, the consumption of Halcion for an extended period leads to the development of tolerance and addiction towards the drug.

Doctors rarely prescribe Halcion for more than ten days due to the potency and addictive nature of the drug. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), short-acting benzos like Halcion may lose their impact when they are consumed for an extended period: the longer it is consumed, the less effective it will be. After the first week, most users have reported that the drug doesn’t help them sleep like it used to. Thus, it is crucial not to consume more of this drug than the prescribed amount, as the time between sleep is essential for the body to eradicate the drug.

FAQ

Does Halcion get you high?

While Halcion is relatively safe for patients who follow their prescription, triazolam is classed as a Schedule IV controlled drug in the United States since it poses a risk of abuse and dependence. When consumed in large doses, Halcion may induce a “high” that is similar to illegal recreational drugs.

What are the side effects of Halcion?

Some of the common side effects of Halcion use are: dizziness, tiredness, drowsiness, loss of coordination, headache, depression, memory problems, numbness or tingly feeling.

What is the Difference Between Halcion Abuse, Dependency, and Addiction?

When Halcion is consumed in any manner other than that prescribed, it is considered abuse. Halcion dependence, on the other hand, is a physical state that is caused by the consumption of Halcion for an extended period. Halcion dependence leads to withdrawal symptoms when the user reduces or stops his/her consumption of the drug.

Halcion addiction is primarily categorized as a chronic, neurobiological disease, generally associated with behavioral traits such as:

  • Continuing to use Halcion despite negative consequences
  • A considerable amount of time spent recovering from the effects of Halcion
  • Craving for the drug
  • Ignoring important responsibilities and obligations
  • Requiring more Halcion over time to feel the desired effects
  • Frequently seeming confused or detached from reality
  • Refusing to go anywhere without their pills
  • Going to extreme lengths to get more Halcion
  • Empty prescription bottles are hidden among belongings
  • Being mildly intoxicated more often than not
  • Repeated and frequent consumption of Halcion
  • Consuming Halcion without a prescription
  • Consuming Halcion in a manner contrary to a doctor’s prescription
  • Doctor shopping; attempting to get numerous Halcion prescriptions from different doctors
  • Consuming Halcion in situations where it is dangerous to do so
  • Becoming irritable or anxious when unable to consume Halcion

Addiction professionals usually use these and other criteria mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose a Halcion addiction.

Users of Halcion can quickly develop an addiction and physical dependency on the drug, with some users forming an addiction in as little as two weeks.

The emergence of withdrawal symptoms when quitting the consumption of Halcion is a significant indicator of an underlying addiction. Individuals who are addicted to Halcion feel helpless and find it difficult to function without the substance.

Signs of Halcion Abuse

Most individuals abuse Halcion without being aware of the addictive qualities of the drug. Generally, these users only consume Halcion to help them fall asleep. However, if an individual starts to form a dependence on this drug, he/she will eventually start to require it to function on a day-to-day basis.

There are several signs and symptoms that signify Halcion Abuse. Mentioned below are some of the signs that indicate Halcion abuse:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slow breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Vomiting
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety

At higher doses, Halcion can produce a euphoric effect. Some users who have misused the drug have claimed to have hallucinations from consuming large doses of Halcion.

Dangers of Halcion Abuse

Halcion abuse can bring about many dangerous side effects with it. In addition to the hallucinations that can take place, users have also reported having episodes of sleepwalking while under the influence of Halcion. Users have engaged in activities like making food and driving a car without actually being conscious and present, leaving users with no recollection of what had happened. These sleepwalking episodes can generate feelings of confusion and emotional trauma.

Another dangerous side effect of Halcion abuse is its high risk of overdose. When the period of Halcion consumption is longer and more frequent, the individual has a higher chance of experiencing an overdose. A Halcion overdose can result in coma or respiratory failure.

Benzodiazepines are a category of drugs that run a high risk of physical dependence in users who consume these drugs consistently for an extended period. Although not everyone will form the same level of dependence on Halcion, most individuals who consume the drug for an extended period can develop some level of tolerance to it, which will then be followed by the emergence of withdrawal symptoms.

Countries like Great Britain and Germany have removed Halcion off the market as a precautionary move due to its dangerous side effects.

“Triazolam is associated with a much higher frequency of psychiatric side effects, particularly loss of memory and depression.”

British Ministry of Health (Statement issued in 1991)

In the U.S, the advocacy group Public Citizen petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the years 1991 and 1992 to remove Halcion off the market. Though the FDA never did that, they did decrease the acceptable dose to protect and safeguard consumers.

It is also generally common for individuals to abuse Halcion with other substances like alcohol and stimulants. Combining Halcion with another central nervous system depressant can result in dangerously low breathing rates, and can even potentially stop breathing altogether. Whereas, combining benzodiazepines with other stimulants can generate severe and unpredictable side effects, depending on how much of each drug is consumed and how much time expired between their consumption.

FAQ

How much Halcion is OK for a root canal?

For a short-acting benzodiazepine such as Halcion, a starting dose of 0.125-0.25 mg administered one hour before the dental appointment may be effective.

Why is triazolam banned?

The British government has formally banned the sales of Halcion, which is regarded as the most widely prescribed sleeping pill in the world. Halcion and other drugs laced with triazolam have been proven to impose psychological side effects, particularly memory loss and depression, according to an announcement from the Department of Health.

Halcion Withdrawal

The development of physical addiction and dependence on Halcion can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Halcion withdrawal occurs because the user’s brain has adapted itself to function under the constant influence of Halcion. Once the user stops the consumption of Halcion, his/her brain will become naturally unbalanced. During this time, the individual’s brain will try to restore and readjust the production of natural chemicals in the brain that regulates one’s mood and nausea. The symptoms felt during this period are referred to as withdrawal.

Mentioned below are some of the withdrawal symptoms of Halcion:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever
  • Muscle cramps
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Headache

Due to the dangers of Halcion withdrawal, it is strongly advised that users do not try to undergo detox by themselves or even stop the consumption of Halcion abruptly. Halcion withdrawal symptoms are generally severe and intense due to the effectiveness and fast-acting features of Halcion. The below-mentioned factors generally influence the overall impact of Halcion withdrawal:

  • The length of time Halcion has been consumed
  • The amount of Halcion consumed
  • The frequency of Halcion consumption
  • Consumption of other drugs along with Halcion (polydrug abuse)
  • The user’s mental health and medical history

Rebound Insomnia

Rebound insomnia is also a common symptom of Halcion withdrawal. Users who have developed a tolerance towards Halcion generally start experiencing the return of their insomnia when they cease consumption. However, rebound insomnia generally only lasts for around two to three days after the last dose of Halcion.

Duration of Withdrawal

Due to the effectiveness and rapid absorptive characteristics of the drug, Halcion withdrawal starts within hours. However, the advantage is that withdrawal symptoms from Halcion generally do not last as long as other forms of long-acting benzodiazepines. Former Halcion users have stated that their withdrawal symptoms lasted around five days to two weeks.

The frequency and period of Halcion consumption contribute to the duration of the withdrawal symptoms. Individuals who consume higher doses of Halcion (above 0.5 mg per day) for an extended period take longer to detox from the drug. Some individuals may even experience withdrawal symptoms after consuming the drug for as little as two weeks.

Users who consumed long-acting benzodiazepines, in addition to the consumption of Halcion, will go through a longer withdrawal as it takes an extended period for those substances to leave the body.

Halcion Withdrawal Timeline

First 2- 4 hours

Withdrawal symptoms start a few hours after the last dose. Anxiety and rebound insomnia are often the first symptoms.

Days 1-2

The withdrawal symptoms typically peak in 24 to 48 hours after the last dose of Halcion. Anxiety and insomnia may worsen, and users may start experiencing nausea, muscle cramps, and shakiness.

Days 3 - 4

After a few days, symptoms may feel less severe, and the user generally starts sleeping better. A heavy Halcion user’s withdrawal symptoms may still be intense.

Days 5+

Most withdrawal symptoms wind down after day five. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms for another week.

Treatment for Halcion Addiction

The treatment for substance abuse and addiction is a serious and complicated task. This is due to the health issues that generally arise from the abuse of Halcion, especially when the drug has been abused along with other substances (also known as polydrug abuse). This addiction recovery process can get even more complicated if there are any co-occurring psychological disorders present as well.

To make sure that the right addiction treatment is being provided to identify and treat all aspects of an individual’s addiction, it is important that a thorough diagnosis and comprehensive evaluation of the individual is carried out before starting treatment. With proper evaluation, a personalized treatment strategy can be formulated to address every facet of the individual’s Halcion addiction. Treatment will also handle the management of withdrawal symptoms during the detox stage.

A full assessment of the individual struggling with a Halcion addiction will be the initial step in providing the right treatment. The results of the assessment will also unearth the presence of any co-occurring disorders (if any such disorders are present) and guide the overall treatment plan, which will be personalized to the individual’s specific requirements. After the assessment is completed, supervised medical detox is strongly recommended.

Halcion Detox

Individuals who are addicted to benzodiazepines like Halcion are in critical need of medically supervised detox because of the dangerous consequences of withdrawal. Medical detox helps individuals struggling with Halcion addiction to remove the drug from their body and reduce the impact of their withdrawal symptoms while being under the supervision of a medical professional. The presence of a medical professional during detox is beneficial just in case complications arise during the process. The vitals and overall health of the individual will also be constantly monitored by them

Depending on the severity of the individual’s Halcion addiction, doctors may treat them by providing a less effective benzodiazepine. Some users who detox from Halcion switch to longer-acting benzos like Valium or Klonopin.

Longer-acting benzodiazepines remain in the body of the user for an extended period, resulting in users requiring less frequent doses. Over time, the user’s dosage is gradually reduced until they no longer need the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

Halcion Detox Protocol

Implementing a detox protocol for Halcion withdrawal is essential. This will ensure comfort and safety for those undergoing the process. The individual will be assessed both mentally and physically before plans are made regarding how the detox stage should proceed. If any medication is to be used in this process, this will also be included in the detox protocol. All staff members involved in the treatment should be familiar and aware of the plan assigned to each individuals detox, so they know what medications have been prescribed for each individual.

The medical history of the patient will also be examined to confirm that the correct measures are taken to ensure the safety of the individual throughout the detox process. There will also be procedures in place that will need to be followed if any complications arise during the detox. These procedures will include information about psychological and pharmacological interventions that would be appropriate and needed in the event of a complication.

Psychological Interventions for Halcion Withdrawal

Along with medications that can help make the withdrawal process safer and more convenient, there are a few psychological interventions that can be used as well. These interventions usually involve psychiatric therapies created to help one deal with the underlying issues that are specific to one’s addiction.

Psychological interventions may be beneficial in dealing with some of the symptoms of Halcion withdrawal, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Getting involved in such therapy can help a patient get a better understanding of his/her underlying issues and how it has contributed to their Halcion addiction.

As the withdrawal process continues and the individual’s withdrawal symptoms begin to cease, they can take part in behavioral therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Both these methods focus on helping the individual to identify the negative feelings and thoughts that trigger his/her addiction.

By being able to identify these negative thought patterns, one can have the opportunity to face them and replace them with the right thoughts and positive alternatives.

Pharmacological Interventions for Halcion Withdrawal

While various medications are generally used during the Halcion withdrawal process, there may be instances where medication becomes necessary to ensure the safety of the patient and the safety of others around him/her. For example, there is a risk of the user becoming violent and aggressive due to hallucinations, or they may also begin to self-harm due to suicidal thoughts. In such instances, a doctor may decide that sedation is the best option to make sure that the individual does not put himself /herself or others in danger.

Other pharmaceutical interventions may also be needed to make the individual struggling with addiction feel more comfortable during the withdrawal stage. If one is suffering from conditions like anxiety or severe depression, medication will most probably be given to reduce these symptoms and to allow the individual to continue with their detox process safely.

In a medical detox facility, the use of pharmacological interventions will be considered only during an emergency.

Halcion-Specific Treatment Centres

Most treatment centers are capable of treating individuals with Halcion addiction. However, not all rehabs are suitable for everyone with an addiction to Halcion.

Individuals struggling with Halcion addiction should consider other facets of their addiction, such as co-occurring disorders and dependence on other substances, before deciding on a rehab. It is crucial to decide on a treatment center that meets and treats all of the individual’s personal needs and issues as only then will an individual benefit a full recovery.

Mentioned below are some of the different levels of care for individuals struggling with a Halcion addiction.

Inpatient rehab for Halcion addiction

Inpatient rehab provides a safe environment to help patients stay free of distractions and triggers. The rehab’s day-to-day operations generally follow a tight schedule in terms of meals, counseling, treatment sessions, and other activities. Family and friends are allowed to visit occasionally, depending on the rehab center.

Individuals struggling with a strong Halcion addiction or polydrug addiction will find inpatient treatment centers more beneficial for their recovery. Generally, individuals who are addicted to more than one substance find inpatient treatment centers advantageous as they require treatment for each drug that is being abused.

Inpatient treatment generally lasts between 28 to 90 days. However, some treatment centers may provide more extended treatment programs for individuals with a stronger addiction to Halcion.

A good Halcion inpatient rehab center consists of physical therapists, counselors, and other medical staff that can handle both the physical and psychological aspects of patients’ addiction.

Outpatient Rehab for Halcion Addiction

For some individuals struggling with an addiction to Halcion, outpatient treatment may be a better option than inpatient treatment. In outpatient rehab, users with a mild addiction generally attend therapy sessions and group support during the day or night, after which they are allowed to go home to their daily responsibilities. Outpatient treatment is also an ideal option for those who just completed inpatient treatment. This could help them maintain their sobriety in the outside world while also acquiring the necessary therapy they need.

However, it is essential for individuals considering rehab to initially contact their treatment specialists to receive proper substance abuse and mental health evaluation to identify the most suitable program for them.

Maintaining Sobriety

Once a patient with a Halcion addiction reaches sobriety, on-going treatment is vital to help maintain sobriety in the long run. Continuous therapy and support groups provide a sense of family and community, which is why these methods are considered to be some of the best solutions to avoid a relapse. Some former Halcion addicts have also reported that sober living homes (places where recovering individuals live together under common rules) are very helpful in maintaining sobriety.

Mentioned below are some useful relapse prevention tips for former Halcion users:

Managing sleep

Most individuals form an addiction to Halcion, mainly because they rely on it to induce sleep. Thus, once these individuals have reached sobriety, it is crucial to establish a consistent, healthy sleep routine to avoid stress and any possible cravings. Regular exercise is vital in helping these individuals fall asleep easier.

Continuing to see a good counselor

Therapy or counseling is a great way to learn to handle anxiety and stress. Counselors teach techniques and strategies to manage cravings and also help individuals in creating a detailed plan on how best to implement these skills in their day to day lives.

Learning to cope with triggers

Former Halcion addicts must put themselves in a healthy and safe environment. Certain people, places, and things can trigger the temptation to return to Halcion consumption. Thus, former addicts must try to identify what triggers their cravings and learn to manage or avoid it as much as possible.

Finding a hobby

Individuals recovering from a Halcion addiction are highly likely to complain of boredom. They may have consumed Halcion in the past as a way to escape this feeling. Therefore, they should put effort into finding new hobbies to overcome boredom and keep cravings at bay.

Joining a support group

Support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs consist of individuals with very similar drug addiction experiences. Joining these programs or groups can help individuals receive advice and guidance during difficult times.

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