Josh Chandler | May 2, 2024

Halcion: Uses, Side Effects, and Addiction Treatment

Halcion is the brand name for triazolam, a prescription drug for insomnia. It works by slowing down the nervous system and calming the brain. Halcion has been formulated to help people fall asleep faster and get enough restful sleep while lessening the number of times they wake up at night. Doctors recommend taking it before bed on an empty stomach for the best results. 

Because it is in the benzodiazepine drug family, this medication is not meant to be used long-term, as it can cause a person to develop a physical dependence over time. Most prescriptions are for 7 to 10 days in total. If you have been prescribed Halcion, you should always use it as directed by your primary care physician. 

 

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The Uses of Halcion

Halcion is prescribed to people who are suffering from insomnia. This is a sleep disorder that causes a person to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or it can cause them to wake up too early in the morning. Insomnia can be a short-term issue for somebody or a long-lasting problem. Over time, this can cause problems like irritability, tiredness during the day, difficulty focusing, anxiety, depression, low energy, and an overall reduced quality of life. 

Benzodiazepine medications like Halcion act on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, producing a sedative effect and depressing the nervous system to cause drowsiness and sleepiness. They are very effective at treating sleep disorders, but due to their addictive nature, they can only be provided on a short-term basis, usually under 2 weeks. If insomnia persists longer than that, you can speak to your doctor about other treatment options and lifestyle changes. 

Understanding the Side Effects of Halcion

In the 1990s, Halcion was under scrutiny due to its side effects, leading countries, including Brazil, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Denmark, to remove it from the market. The U.S. and Canada upgraded the labeling and dosage recommendations accordingly. 

It is not recommended to take Halcion at any time other than bedtime, and you should be able to stay in bed for at least 7 or 8 hours, as it causes extreme drowsiness in most people. Other notable side effects include:

  • Memory loss, especially if you are not able to stay in bed long enough after taking this medication. This medication can cause blackouts in which a person engages in activities like bathing, eating, making phone calls, or driving a car without remembering.
  • Dizziness and difficulty with coordination.
  • Sleepiness during the day, especially if the dosage is too high.

Behavioral changes or mental health changes, including depression, thoughts of suicide, hallucinations, anxiety, or aggressive behavior, are rare, but if they occur, tell your doctor right away. If your doctor prescribes this medication, it is because they believe the benefits outweigh the risks, but if you find the side effects to be too much, you may wish to stop using Halcion. 

The Risk of Halcion Dependence

Halcion is a benzodiazepine medication. When used for longer than 2 weeks or in ways not prescribed by a doctor, it has the potential to cause a serious physical dependence that can lead to drug addiction. If you notice your Halcion prescription is not working as well as it once did, this is a sign that you may be developing a tolerance, and you should speak with your doctor about your options. 

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Identifying Halcion Addiction

Some signs of Halcion addiction may include:

  • Lying to doctors, “doctor shopping,” or seeing multiple physicians to obtain multiple prescriptions.
  • Purchasing halcion or other benzodiazepine drugs off the street.
  • Using other people’s medications.
  • Taking medication not as prescribed, like taking too many at once or taking them more often than they were prescribed.
  • Drowsiness, weakness, or blurred vision.
  • Poor performance at work or in school.
  • Losing social connections, isolating from loved ones, and missing important events due to drug use.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors like driving while on Halcion or using Halcion with other drugs or alcohol.
  • Worsening mental health issues like anxiety or depression.
  • Feeling obsessed with finding and using more Halcion, spending a lot of time planning how to get more.
  • Experiencing drug cravings when they don’t have access to Halcion.
  • Being unable to cut back or stop taking the medication, even when they want to.

Halcion Withdrawal Syndrome

If a person with a dependence on Halcion stops taking the medication or suddenly reduces their dosage, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These can range from mild to severe, depending on how much Halcion a person was using, how often they were taking it, how long they have been taking Halcion, and how suddenly they stopped. 

Some of the most common symptoms of Halcion withdrawal are:

  • Tremors
  • Changes in perception
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Dysphoria
  • Abdominal cramps and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Due to the dangerous risk of seizures, brain chemistry changes, and an overexcited central nervous system, it is not recommended to quit using any benzodiazepine drug “cold turkey.” It is always safest to stop use gradually, tapering down the dosage over time, under the watchful eye of a medical professional. 

Treatment Options for Halcion Addiction

Stopping Halcion use is safest when done within a medical detox facility or hospital, with full medical supervision and treatments available to you right away in case dangerous withdrawal symptoms present themselves.

At Muse Treatment, we offer safe inpatient medical detox programming that includes:

  • 24-hour doctor care and support
  • Helpful prescription and over-the-counter medications to keep you comfortable and safe
  • Delicious, healthy food and plenty of rest within a safe, clean treatment center
  • Counseling and holistic care is also available

Our team will create a customized detox and rehabilitation plan that includes a slow taper to ensure you don’t suffer the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. They will give your body time to adjust to the change before lowering the dosage again. This will allow you to begin the next phase of treatment without having to endure the pain, discomfort, anxiety, and cravings associated with withdrawal.

 

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Muse Treatment’s Approach to Halcion Addiction

At Muse Treatment, we use a holistic approach to addiction treatment because addiction is a complex, chronic disease that affects your body, your mind, and your spirit. Our treatment plans are customized to suit each patient best, incorporating physical health care, evidence-based therapy, dual diagnosis programs, behavioral health treatments, alternative treatments, group sessions, life skills programs, and relapse prevention plans. You may spend time in inpatient rehab or opt for the available outpatient options. The aim is to treat the underlying causes of addiction while giving you everything you need to continue living a healthy, sober life after treatment.

Recovery and Relapse Prevention

Addiction is a chronic (lifelong) condition that can be managed. Being in recovery means that you’ve stopped the harmful behaviors associated with addiction, but it doesn’t mean you’re “cured.” Days, weeks, or even years after treatment, you will find that there are times when sobriety is challenging. At Muse Treatment, we offer helpful relapse prevention programming that will give you tools to use during these difficult times. This may include:

  • Learning healthy daily routines with coping mechanisms that are good for you (exercise, sleeping well, meditation, keeping busy with hobbies, etc.).
  • Connecting you to local 12-step support groups and other sober meet-ups.
  • Learning how to communicate your needs to your support network.
  • Identifying potential triggers (people, places, events, holidays, etc.) and planning ahead.

Our aftercare outpatient programs connect you to helpful recovery resources and peer support, including medical care, psychiatric treatments, group therapy, and 12-step groups. We always encourage our alumni to check in with us, stop and say hi, or rejoin our programs if they need extra help. 

Getting Help: Steps to Overcome Halcion Addiction

At Muse Treatment, we provide the full continuum of care, which may include some or all of the following steps:

  • Assessment by licensed, experienced doctors, psychiatrists, and addiction specialists.
  • Medical detox, with full inpatient care, prescription medications, and holistic healing to help the body adjust to the lack of Halcion in the body.
  • Medication-assisted treatment for a slow tapering-off of the medication.
  • Short-term or long-term inpatient rehab, living inside the treatment center for 30-90 days, with structured treatment plans, healthy living programming, education, groups, stress reduction programs, and more.
  • A partial hospitalization program (PHP), with full days of programming 5 to 7 days a week as you live outside the treatment center, commuting each day.
  • An intensive outpatient program involves 9 or more hours of weekly treatment on a tailored schedule that can accommodate your daily life, such as work, child care, or school.

If you want to know more about quitting Halcion under expert guidance, call Muse Treatment at 800-426-1818 or message us online for a confidential talk about your options. We can help you achieve long-term recovery through a combination of strong support, evidence-based therapy, holistic healing practices, stress reduction, life skills programming, and medical care.

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Josh Chandler
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