Halcion (generic name triazolam) is a central nervous system depressant some doctors use to treat patients with insomnia and other conditions that disturb sleep, such as jet lag.

Millions of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night, so, understandably, chronic conditions that make it hard to relax would make some turn to their doctor to ask for professional help with getting a good night’s rest.

While Halcion helps people get the rest they need, it is intended for only short-term use, which is usually two weeks or less. According to RxList, “Use of Halcion for more than three weeks requires evaluation of the patient for a primary psychiatric or medical condition.” 

This means that use that runs longer than two weeks is advised to happen under a doctor’s care in certain situations. Using the medication for longer than prescribed could make the drug ineffective. In other cases, people could find themselves increasingly dependent on it. It is a potent medication that can be habit-forming. 

Once dependence sets in, which can happen in two weeks, users can find themselves struggling to stop using it. In many cases, this leads to bigger problems, such as an addiction that can threaten a person’s life.

What is Halcion?

Halcion is a short-acting central nervous depressant. It is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines (benzos for short), which include the prescription medications alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium), among others. Benzodiazepines attach to gamma–Aminobutyric-acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which bring about calm or relaxed feelings when they are used.

Halcion comes in a tablet form that users take by mouth so that they can either fall asleep faster or stay asleep for a longer time. It achieves this by slowing down activity in the brain so it can enter a state of rest and induce sleep more easily. Besides, feeling sleepy and relaxed, some Halcion users might feel euphoria, a sensation that leads some to misuse it.

Its half-life, the time it takes for the drug to reduce by one-half its concentration in the blood,  is 1.5 to 5.5 hours, according to Drugs.com. The drug’s sedative effects can wear off after about two hours.  

Halcion Addiction: What are the Signs?

People who take the medication under prescription can misuse Halcion, but the benzo is also circulated in some recreational drug circles, which might refer to it as a “chill pill,” a “downer,” or “french fries.”

As mentioned earlier, the drug is powerful and addictive, which is why it is usually prescribed for use in a short window. Chronic use usually leads to dependency and addiction. Signs of addiction include:

  • Higher tolerance level for Halcion
  • Preoccupied thoughts of using Halcion
  • Feeling an increased need for Halcion in order to  sleep or function
  • Feeling unable to stop using Halcion despite attempts to quit
  • Taking more Halcion than prescribed; taking it longer than prescribed
  • Hiding Halcion use from loved ones about Halcion use
  • Experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms when not using Halcion or its effects wear off

Some Withdrawal Symptoms that Emerge When Halcion Use Stops Include:

  • Abdominal and muscle cramps
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Rebound insomnia (returning insomnia that is worse than the initial condition)
  • Sweating
  • Unease, dissatisfaction (dysphoria)

If you are experiencing any of these, or you have experienced these, your next step is to assess whether you need professional addiction treatment to help you end your Halcion use. Treatment at a facility can help you wean off Halcion safely so that you won’t relapse and get you back on track with abstaining from it and learning why you used it in the manner that you did.

A sure sign that someone is struggling with Halcion addiction is recreational use that could lead to an overdose or death.

Some people who want to enhance the high they get with Halcion could use alcohol to do it, a popular choice. Alcohol’s easy access and widespread use make it easy to engage in polydrug use, but it is highly dangerous to do so.

Unlike Valium and Xanax, Halcion induces sleep faster. Using it with alcohol or opioid pain relievers, such as heroin, can have severe consequences for the user. Ignoring these consequences to continue misuse and polydrug use is an indication that a person is battling a severe substance use disorder or addiction. 

Among the dangers of taking Halcion for far longer than prescribed or taking it outside a prescription with other dangerous drugs is a person could either develop or worsen psychological symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. 

People who have a history of alcoholism, substance abuse, or a mental health disorder are at increased risk of Halcion addiction. If you or your loved one is being considered for Halcion, tell a doctor about your medical and substance use history.

Getting Help for Halcion Addiction

If you want to stop using Halcion and address your dependence or addiction with professional help, you might want to consider seeking help at a facility that treats substance use disorders.

Doing so helps ensure that you end your use safely and address the underlying issues of why you misused Halcion in the first place. Depending on the severity of your condition, you could start with medical detox. This procedure involves removing Halcion and other drugs and toxins from the body and managing discomfort that often accompanies drug withdrawal. Addiction care professionals monitor patients in detox 24-hours a day to ensure they are safe and receive help should unexpected situations occur during the withdrawal period.

Doctor and patient discussing PTSD TreatmentThis procedure also helps recovering users avoid relapse or a return to using the drug they are trying to quit. Stopping a drug “cold turkey” after chronic or extensive use is dangerous. Suddenly ending use can be harmful to the body and cause serious health problems.

After medical detox is completed, the next step is to find the proper treatment program. Recommendations are based on several factors, including how far along a person is in their dependence, their medical history, and much more. This placement is usually a collaboration between the patient and the professionals to make sure the program meets the patient’s unique needs.

The placement could be in a residential setting, which requires at least a 30-day stay on-site at a facility. The National Institute on Drug Abuse highlights research that says 90 days of treatment is ideal for recovery. This program means patients will have to commit to a longer program. During that time, they address Halcion addiction and learn how to maintain full-time sobriety. They will participate in therapies and counseling and have a set schedule in a monitored environment focused on recovery.

There are other placements along the continuum of care, as explained by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  If your Halcion dependence is mild or in the early stages, you might be able to enroll in an outpatient program that allows you to receive a set number of hours of treatment weekly at a facility while you still live at home. 

This arrangement is more affordable than on-site treatment for many, and flexible hours allow participants to fit treatment into a schedule that helps them keep up with personal obligations, such as work or school.

There are thousands of treatment centers in the United States. Before choosing a program, do your research and be sure to ask questions. If you are not sure which questions to ask or how to start looking for a program, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration offers guidance for finding quality treatment. 

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