Triazolam (Halcion) Addiction—Abuse And Treatment Options

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on April 23, 2020

Triazolam, sold under the brand name Halcion, is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat individuals who suffer from insomnia. While this drug can be very beneficial, it also has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Triazolam (Halcion) Addiction Treatment Options

Every year, doctors issue about 1.2 triazolam (brand name Halcion) prescriptions, mainly due to patients seeking treatment for their insomnia.

While Halcion can be effective at treating the symptoms of insomnia, it can be a dangerous drug. Like Ambien and Lunesta, Halcion is potentially addictive.

But what makes it so powerful? How does it turn someone struggling with insomnia into someone struggling with an addiction?

Read on to find out how you or your loved one can overcome the hurdle of Halcion addiction and find the road to recovery.

Triazolam (Halcion) And Sleep Disturbances

Halcion is classified as a benzodiazepine, much like Ativan and ProSom. These drugs are used to promote relaxation.

Halcion reduces anxiety, allows the muscles in the body to relax, and even lulls people into sleep states. For those with insomnia, Halcion might provide relief from their symptoms.

One in three people in America have a mild form of insomnia, and those people are prone to developing even poorer sleeping habits.

Those at risk for developing insomnia include:

  • women (possibly due to higher rates of depression and anxiety)
  • older individuals with health issues
  • third-shift workers

There are many factors that can contribute to insomnia. Everything from the loss of a loved one to caffeine consumption can cause people to develop insomnia symptoms. This lack of sleep can lead to profound mood and cognitive issues as well as excessive daytime sleepiness.

As is the case with other benzodiazepines, Halcion is typically recommended for short-term use. This is due to the fact that taking Halcion every night for an extended period of time can lead to addiction. And Halcion addiction can lead to even more problems.

How Halcion Works In The Brain And Body

Halcion works by binding to GABA receptors in the brain. These neurotransmitters travel through the circuit of nerve cells, relaying messages related to sleep and relaxation.

When Halcion binds with these receptors, it helps them promote the sleep message. Brain activity slows down, allowing the muscles to relax.

Additionally, Halcion affects mood, producing a sense of euphoria when taken in excess. This is why Halcion abuse (and the abuse of other benzodiazepines) is now so common. Not only do users get to sleep more at night, they also get to experience a high that makes them feel good.

Signs Of Triazolam (Halcion) Addiction

Halcion addiction isn’t always obvious. In fact, there is a difference between Halcion dependence and Halcion addiction. Halcion dependency is a physically-based condition which begins through an effort to avoid the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that can occur.

Halcion addiction is a chronic condition rooted in psychosocial, environmental, genetic, and neurobiological factors.

Signs of addiction to Halcion might not be evident to someone who has never used the drug.

However, there are some indicators that should be noted, including:

  • compulsive use of Halcion
  • uncontrolled cravings for Halcion
  • choosing to keep using Halcion despite knowing the negative consequences of extended use

Of course, behavioral symptoms can be easy for some people to hide. There are some physical symptoms that serve as indicators of addiction as well.

If you or your loved one take Halcion, these following physical signs should be duly noted:

  • unexpectedly falling asleep
  • muscles becoming weak
  • feeling drowsy
  • slurred speech
  • feeling dizzy
  • loss of balance and coordination

Can Halcion Abuse Cause Overdose?

Overdoses can happen after taking just a couple of Halcion tablets.

Signs of a Halcion overdose include:

  • slurred speech
  • double vision
  • extreme sleepiness
  • slow breathing
  • severe bodily imbalance
  • seizures

An overdose on Halcion can lead to a coma or, sadly, death. If you feel that you or your loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, get emergency help as quickly as possible.

What Makes Halcion So Powerful?

On its own, Halcion is pretty potent. When combined with substances like alcohol, illicit drugs, or other prescription drugs, it can become lethal. Doctors note that people with anxiety and depression in addition to insomnia are more likely than others to end up abusing Halcion.

Halcion has an extremely short half-life compared to other benzodiazepines. It only remains active in the body for one or two hours after consumption.

Other benzodiazepines can last up to 70 hours. Xanax lasts anywhere from six to 12 hours while Valium can work in the body for up to 100 hours.

Since Halcion has such a short half-life and is so potent, doctors usually prescribe it for only about 10 days. It tends to stop working as it is supposed to after about a week or so. This loss of effectiveness might prompt people to boost their dosages and extend their usage.

Some people might even combine Halcion with opioids or alcohol in order to achieve their desired effects.

When combined with opioids, Halcion can increase central nervous system depression to the point where a person will stop breathing and lose consciousness. And, of course, respiratory failure can lead to death when emergency help isn’t received.

Halcion Abuse And Addiction Treatment Options

The issue with stopping the use of Halcion and other benzodiazepines cold turkey is that this can lead to seizures and other potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms.

Fortunately, there are a number of Halcion treatment options available for those who need them. Inpatient treatment is helpful and highly effective for many people.

Addiction treatment centers have staff who are well-versed in addiction to Halcion (and other benzodiazepines). They can recognize serious withdrawal symptoms and provide emergency relief for their patients.

Halcion use should be slowly tapered, not stopped cold turkey. Staff at treatment centers will oversee the tapering and withdrawal process. They might also encourage participation in group or individual therapy to address the emotional, cognitive, and physical impact of addiction.

There is no shame in reaching out for help. If you or your loved one are struggling with an addiction to Halcion, contact a Halcion addiction treatment specialist.

They can help you or your loved one get started on the road to recovery. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and a treatment specialist can help you see it.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on April 23, 2020
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