Halcion (triazolam) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that produces a gentle, calming effect. This medication works to slow brain activity and at high doses can produce a euphoric effect.
Possible symptoms of Halcion abuse include:
- dilated pupils
- slowed breathing
- tingling skin
- slurred speech
- lack of coordination
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach cramps
- suicidal thoughts
It is possible for individuals to become addicted to Halcion without realizing it. Typically, people will take the drug in an effort to help them fall and stay asleep. As someone forms an addiction to Halcion, they may eventually feel that they need the drug in order to function normally.
While the formal diagnosis of a Halcion use disorder can only be made by a licensed mental health clinician, certain behaviors can indicate that an individual may be struggling with Halcion abuse.
These behaviors can include:
- excess of empty prescription bottles
- seeming constantly, mildly intoxicated
- repeatedly using Halcion
- continuing to use Halcion without a prescription
- attempting to get multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors
- issues controlling use of the drug, including: taking the drug repeatedly despite it causing issues
- at work, school, in personal relationships, and with physical and mental health
- using Halcion to deal with everyday situations
Some individuals have also reported experiencing hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real) after taking large amounts of the drug. Addiction affects every person differently, but if someone is displaying one or more behaviors related to Halcion abuse, they may need to seek further help and treatment.
What Is Halcion?
Halcion is the brand name for the benzodiazepine, triazolam. This medication is most commonly prescribed to treat insomnia. Halcion is a short-acting benzodiazepine that works to slow brain activity, making it easier to fall asleep.
Halcion targets neuroreceptors that regulate brain function, slowing hyperactive brain activity and promoting deeper sleep. The effects of Halcion are fast-acting and only last for an hour or two, while other benzodiazepines can last up to 70 hours.
It is rare for physicians to prescribe Halcion for more than a 10-day period, due to its high potential for abuse. Similar to other benzodiazepines, Halcion may be diverted and used illicitly by individuals seeking its euphoric effects.
How Addictive Is Halcion?
Addiction to Halcion can happen in as little as two weeks. Halcion addiction is more likely to occur with prolonged use of the drug, as this medication is meant to treat acute symptoms for a short time period.
Yet similar to other benzodiazepines, tolerance to Halcion develops quickly, and it may lose its effect if taken continuously for a week or more. Short-acting benzodiazepines, like Halcion, may lose some of their effectiveness the longer they are used, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Those addicted to Halcion may also feel helpless and unable to function without the drug.
Dangers Of Halcion Abuse
Abusing Halcion can be very dangerous. Someone abusing Halcion may experience complex behaviors, or actions performed while they are not fully conscious.
Some examples of these complex behaviors include:
- cooking and eating food
- making phone calls
- engaging in sex
The following morning, the individual will not have any memory of what they did during this time. It is possible for people taking Halcion as directed to experience complex behaviors as well, but chances of complex behaviors occurring increase with larger doses of the drug.
Misusing Halcion also increases the risks of experiencing negative psychological side effects including: aggression, depression, derealization (feeling detached from the body or mental process, like they are observing their life from outside themselves) and hallucinations.
Overdosing on Halcion is also a risk of abusing this medication. The risk of overdose increases the longer and more frequently someone abuses Halcion.
Possible symptoms of Halcion overdose include:
- extreme drowsiness
- problems with coordination
- slurred speech
- slowed or difficult breathing
- coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
As a class of drugs, benzodiazepines carry a high risk of physical dependence, especially in individuals who misuse them consistently for a few weeks or more.
Even though individuals may experience different levels of dependence on Halcion, once tolerance is developed the body has become normalized to the drug. If someone suddenly stops taking Halcion or cuts back on the amount they are taking, they will experience some form of withdrawal from the drug.
Halcion withdrawal can be very intense and uncomfortable. It is also possible for Halcion withdrawal symptoms to be fatal, so it is very important for those abusing the drug to slowly taper off their dose and not suddenly stop. The presence of withdrawal symptoms is a strong indicator of addiction.
Individuals breaking an addiction to Halcion may also experience rebound insomnia. If someone originally took Halcion to help them sleep better, their insomnia can come back even stronger when they stop taking the drug. Generally, rebound insomnia and other rebound effects will only last for a few days.
Halcion withdrawal symptoms can include:
- mild to severe anxiety
- panic attacks
- depressed mood
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach cramps
- loss of appetite
- jerky, uncontrollable movements
Mixing other substances with Halcion can also be very dangerous. When Halcion is mixed with another depressant, the combination may make it incredibly difficult to breathe and can potentially stop breathing all together.
When Halcion is mixed with a stimulant, like methamphetamine or cocaine, it can cause unstable and severe consequences, depending on how much of each substance is taken. Because of the potentially fatal withdrawal effects of Halcion, it may be a good idea to consider a medically-supervised Halcion detox program.
Medically-Supervised Halcion Detoxification
Detoxing from Halcion usually starts with slowly lowering the dose (tapering) until completely off the drug. The longer someone has been abusing Halcion, the more dangerous detoxing from it can be.
Medically-supervised Halcion detoxification programs can help individuals get through the difficult Halcion withdrawal process. Depending on the severity of the addiction, it is also possible a less potent benzodiazepine may be used to help curb uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and cravings for Halcion.
Medical detox programs can assist people with weaning off the drug in a safe and comfortable way, while allowing them to address their psychological health at the same time.
Treatment Options For Halcion Addiction
Detoxing from Halcion is the first step to addiction recovery. Depending on the severity of the addiction, treatment outcomes may be far more successful for people who enroll in an inpatient treatment facility. Others may find it helpful to participate in an outpatient treatment or support group.
During formal treatment, behavioral therapies coupled with medical-assisted treatments help addicted individuals address their issues in their own way. During the recovery process, it is best if the individual’s needs are addressed as a whole and not separately.
For more on signs and symptoms of Halcion addiction and treatment options, contact us.
U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus—Triazolam