Halcion Misuse, Effects, Addiction, & Treatment

CNS depressants like Halcion are widely prescribed medications that can be dangerous and addictive when misused.1

This article will focus on Halcion, Halcion misuse and addiction, and treatment for benzodiazepine use disorder.2

What Is Halcion (Triazolam)?

Halcion—or triazolam in its generic form—is a sedative-hypnotic medication in the benzodiazepine family of drugs.2

Benzodiazepines are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that slow brain activity.1 Their action on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors serves to calm an otherwise over-excited nervous system, making them effective in treating conditions like insomnia and anxiety disorders.1,3,4

Halcion is considered a short-acting benzodiazepine, meaning it has a quick onset and wears off quicker than its long-acting counterparts.2

What Is Halcion Used For?

Halcion is primarily used for short intervals to aid in cases of significant insomnia.2

The intended use of this drug is to treat insomnia only for short periods, usually 7 to 10 days, requiring that the patient be re-evaluated after 3 weeks of use.2 Halcion needs regulated use because of its potentially severe side effects and the significant levels of physiological dependence benzodiazepines may cause over time.2,4

Side Effects of Halcion

Common side effects of Halcion include:2

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Incoordination.

Some less common but more serious side effects include:2

  • Increased daytime anxiety.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Worsening of existing depression.
  • Suicidal ideation or actions.

Dangers of Halcion Misuse

Misuse of Halcion may include:1,2

  • Mixing Halcion with other substances.
  • Taking more Halcion than medically indicated
  • Taking Halcion without being prescribed the drug.
  • Taking Halcion in ways other than prescribed (e.g., crushing and snorting pills).

Misusing Halcion—especially simultaneous use of Halcion with other substances—can increase the likelihood and severity of dangerous adverse effects.2

Some of the dangers of misusing Halcion include:2

  • Poor concentration.
  • Movement or memory problems.
  • Complex behaviors like “sleep-driving,” where the patient participates in an activity such as driving, eating, or even having sex while not fully awake with little to no recognition of the behavior.
  • Slowed breathing.
  • Overdose.

Is it Possible to Overdose on Halcion?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on Halcion, which can range in severity from experiencing severe drowsiness to coma. Symptoms of Halcion-related overdose include:2

  • Extreme sedation.
  • Respiratory depression and apnea.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.

A Halcion overdose requires emergency medical attention.

Fatal overdoses on benzodiazepines alone are somewhat rare; however, benzos have a high potential for reactivity with other substances.5 Simultaneous use of Halcion with other medications that depress the CNS , particularly opioids or alcohol, significantly increases the likelihood of a fatal overdose.2 In 2021, 14% of all opioid overdose deaths also involved benzodiazepines.6 During January-June 2020. 92.7% of benzodiazepine deaths involved opioids.7

Despite the dangers, people who misuse benzodiazepines often engage in polydrug use to amplify another substance’s desired effects or mitigate the unwanted effects of other substances. Research shows that people who engage in this practice take higher doses of benzodiazepines than those that only misuse benzodiazepines.8

If opioids are thought to be involved in a benzodiazepine overdose, Narcan (naloxone) should be administered to counteract the respiratory depressing effects of the opioid.9

Is Halcion Addictive?

Yes, Halcion has addiction potential.1,2

Like most addictive drugs, Halcion use can increase dopamine activity in the brain and body.10 Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with reward and motivation, so it is theorized that the increased activity of this brain chemical can reinforce patterns of misuse that lead to addiction.11

Chronic Halcion use can also cause high levels of physiological dependence.1,2 This means that when someone has regularly used Halcion for an extended period, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to reduce their intake or quit using the drug.4

Benzodiazepines are often someone’s secondary substance of use.8 In addition to the immediate dangers of polydrug use, chronic concurrent use of benzos with other drugs can complicate the withdrawal process once someone tries to quit.12

Halcion Withdrawal & Detox

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be very dangerous—even fatal—without medical supervision. A standard course of action for doctors to take when helping a client withdraw from Halcion is a tapering method that lowers the risk of life-threatening complications.12

Possible symptoms of Halcion withdrawal include:4

  • Excessive sweating.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Hand tremor.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Transient visual, tactile, or auditory hallucinations (seeing, feeling, or hearing things that aren’t there).
  • Psychomotor agitation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Grand mal seizures.

The severity of Halcion withdrawal depends on several factors, including the dosage and frequency to which someone has been using the drug.13

After someone has taken their last dose of a short-acting benzo like Halcion, withdrawal effects typically:4

  1. Begin within 6-8 hours.
  2. Peak around the 2nd day.
  3. Start to resolve by the 4th or 5th day.

Some patients experience protracted withdrawal after quitting benzodiazepines. Symptoms of protracted withdrawal include:14

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Burning or prickling sensations.
  • Memory impairment.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Protracted withdrawal symptoms usually last 6-12 months but may continue up to 2 years after quitting. The symptoms often fluctuate, waxing and waning in severity over time. 14

Treatment for Halcion Addiction at Recovery First

Recovery from Halcion addiction is possible through evidence-based treatment.15

Treatment for Halcion addiction typically begins with medical detox to stabilize the patient during the acute withdrawal stage. While detox can be crucial for the patient’s safety, alone it is seldom enough treatment to help someone achieve long-term abstinence.12,13

Continued treatment is often beneficial as it addresses the psychological, behavioral, and social factors of their addiction. This is primarily performed through a combination of:15

Recovery First—our Hollywood, FL rehab center—boasts expert staff that can provide the above and more treatments in various settings depending on the patient’s unique needs. Types of addiction treatment offered at Recovery First include:

Admissions navigators are available to speak with you regarding treatment options, ways to pay for treatment, using insurance to cover treatment costs, and to help you start treatment today. You can also verify your insurance by using the confidential .

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