Halcion (Triazolam) Abuse & Addiction Help

This Page was last reviewed and changed on May 21st 2022

Content Overview

As a benzodiazepine drug, Halcion is extremely addictive and should only be used for a short period of time. When Halcion is abused or when taken for a prolonged period, tolerance can occur, which is typically followed by physical dependence.

Once physical dependence develops, an addiction often follows as users tend to get caught in a cycle of abuse and withdrawal, which can be almost impossible to break free from without help.

As a benzodiazepine drug used primarily to treat insomnia, Halcion has a sedative and hypnotic-type effect; these are among the primary reasons it is regularly abused by those looking to achieve a “high”. Abuse of Halcion can quickly lead to a physical dependence though, which can then progress to a crippling addiction in short order.

However, while those who do abuse the drug are at a high risk, even the ones who use it for medical purposes can build up a tolerance to it. This can lead to unintentional abuse, followed by a dependence and addiction.

Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in the UK, and with most people being unaware of what abuse constitutes, the issue is only getting worse. Fortunately, treatment is available from various sources across the country, so if you find yourself with a problem with Halcion, you can get professional help to get your life back on track once more.

What Is Halcion?

Halcion is in that part of the benzodiazepine family of drugs that have a short half-life. The half-life of a drug is the measurement of the length of time that it takes for half the concentration of the substance to leave the body. Due to it having a short half-life, the effects of Halcion wear off quite quickly. For this reason, it is not recommended as a treatment for those who frequently wake during the night or who tend to wake quite early in the morning. It is used as a preferable treatment in those with severe insomnia.

In general, Halcion is used for treating acute insomnia caused by jet lag or in the treatment of other circadian rhythm sleep disorders that affect the timing of sleep. Halcion is a fast-acting benzodiazepine that works quickly, but as already mentioned, the short-half-life means the effects wear off quickly. It is this that makes it ideal as a drug to help individuals to sleep for short periods of time.

As well as being useful in treating certain sleep disorders, it can be used to help relax those requiring anaesthesia before surgery or for those suffering anxieties before other medical procedures, such as an MRI or dental work.

How Does Halcion Work?

It is thought that it is an overactivity of chemicals in the brain that leads to anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines such as Halcion work by slowing down this activity in the brain by enhancing production of the brain’s natural calming chemical, GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid).

Halcion Abuse Causes

As everyone knows, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep but being unable to sleep can take its toll on both physical and mental health. Most people find that they are unable to function properly without enough sleep, and it can lead to the aforementioned conditions of anxiety and depression.

As the effects of Halcion diminish though, there is often a temptation to take higher doses to maintain its perceived effectiveness, but this is classed as abuse. Nonetheless, there are those who do not consider this as such as they believe the drug to be completely safe. Unfortunately, taking higher doses of Halcion will quickly lead to physical dependence, and it is entirely possible for dependence and addiction to develop in a matter of weeks.

Of course, there are those who abuse Halcion intentionally.


If you suffer from insomnia and are prescribed a medication that can help you to sleep, it is natural to keep using it. Nevertheless, Halcion is designed for short-term use only and the drug tends to lose its effectiveness quite quickly as the brain and body adapt to it.

Intentional Abuse

As it is a drug that can produce feelings of sleepiness and relaxation, many take it to help them forget about life for a while.

Irrespective of this though, due to the high potential for abuse with Halcion, it is recommended to not take it for longer than ten days.

Halcion Dependence

Due to Halcion’s potency and what we have described above, you have probably gathered by now that prolonged use is not recommended. After just one week of use, you may notice that Halcion is not working as it did when you first began taking it. This is because your body and brain have adjusted to it and will no longer be producing the same amount of GABA as before.

If you increase the dosage, you run the risk of your body becoming dependent on the drug to the point of you feeling as though you cannot function without it. When you try to quit or cut back on your usage of Halcion at this stage, you might notice that you experience withdrawal symptoms; the only way to relieve these symptoms is with more of the drug. A cycle of abuse and withdrawal often begins at this point.

It is important to remember that dependence on Halcion is not always the result of abuse. It can occur even among those who are taking the drug exactly as prescribed by their doctor.

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Short-Term Effects of Halcion

The whole point of a Halcion prescription is for it to help you sleep; as you can probably imagine then, its effects can include drowsiness and sedation. However, there are other short-term effects of Halcion as well, including:

  • unsteadiness
  • shakiness
  • problems with muscle control
  • lightheadedness
  • headache
  • depression
  • blurred vision
  • memory problems
  • numbness
  • nervousness
  • irritability
  • excitability

Long-Term Effects of Halcion

Perhaps the most common side effect of long-term Halcion use is an addiction. After a couple of weeks, Halcion becomes less effective, yet many people continue to take it in the hope that it will provide the relief they are looking for. But long-term use of Halcion can also cause the following issues:

  • hallucinations
  • amnesia
  • aggression
  • hostility
  • depression
  • confusion
  • rage
  • anxiety
  • insomnia

The long-term effects of Halcion can lead to  dependence and possibly to co-occurring disorders. Overall, long-term use is not recommended unless it is advised so by a medical specialist.

Halcion substitution

Trying to quit Halcion can be a major challenge due to the onset of withdrawal symptoms, which can be very unpleasant; some of these could even end up being life-threatening if not managed correctly. It is therefore highly recommended that the drug is tapered gradually to minimise the effects.

In some instances, you will be prescribed a substitute benzodiazepine drug to reduce the impact of the withdrawal process. Diazepam is commonly used as a Halcion substitution as it has a longer half-life. It works on the same receptors as Halcion does, thus helping to prevent the onset of dangerous withdrawal symptoms. So while you reduce your dose of Halcion, you can replace it with diazepam.

When you have discontinued Halcion altogether, you can start to gradually reduce your use of diazepam.

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The Dangers of Halcion

As we have explained, Halcion is an extremely dangerous drug due to its potency and high potential for abuse. Prolonged use of it can quickly lead to a crippling addiction that can be almost impossible to break without professional treatment. Once an addiction has developed, you might feel as though you cannot be normal without your medication.

You might start taking it in higher doses, but this will increase your risk for overdose. As the drug becomes less effective over time, you might feel the need to mix it with other substances such as alcohol or other drugs in a bid to enhance the effects. Nevertheless, mixing Halcion with other substances makes it even more dangerous, potentially leading to life-threatening consequences.

There have also been incidences where individuals under the influence of Halcion have done things that they could not remember afterwards. There have been documented cases of people getting up and making food or talking to others but having absolutely no recollection later. Others have even driven their car in this state, which as you can imagine could have disastrous consequences.

It is important to be aware that Halcion is a prescription-only drug for a reason; it is highly addictive and carries a number of risks. Doctors must take many factors into consideration before prescribing it as it can also have an interaction with many other medications. It can also be dangerous when certain underlying medical conditions exist. Consequently, taking Halcion when it has not been prescribed for you can end up being extremely dangerous.

The Cost of Halcion Addiction

If you use Halcion, whether for medical or non-medical purposes, your risk of addiction will be high. If you do develop an addiction, it will affect almost every aspect of your life. You should know that addiction is a progressive illness and it will continue to get worse without treatment. So as your need for Halcion grows, you will more than likely lose interest in other things in your life.

This will include the people you love and the activities that you once enjoyed.

Personal hygiene and grooming might also drop by the wayside, and you may start to neglect your responsibilities at home and at work.

If you are stuck in a cycle of abuse and withdrawal, you will spend increasingly more time under the influence of Halcion, which will likely render you incapable of living a normal life. But the pull of the drug will be so irresistible that you will continue to use it, even though it is having such a negative impact on every part of your life.

As you continue to use Halcion to the detriment of your quality of life, your relationships with others will be affected. Your family members and friends might not understand your need for the drug and they will find it impossible to understand why you continue to abuse it when it is causing such harm.

Your mental and physical health will be affected by Halcion as well. As you continue to abuse this drug, you could suffer various side effects that will put your wellbeing at risk. Yet, you will have no control over your need for it and even when it is making you feel unwell, you will continue to use it.

Overall, the cost of Halcion addiction to you and your family members will be high; yet the cost does not stop with your own family. There is also a cost to society and the economy.

Halcion-related illnesses and injuries require NHS treatment. Then there is also the cost needed for addiction treatment services. In a health-related sense, addiction costs the UK economy billions of pounds annually; however, it is not just the health service that is affected. Crime is also closely linked to addiction, with many people who commit petty crimes doing so in a bid to get money to fund their addiction.

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Halcion Brand & Street Names

Halcion is a brand name for Triazolam. Other brand and street names are:

  • Apo-Triazo
  • Hypam
  • Trilam
  • Chloroxanax
  • Chlorotriazolam
  • 2-chloroxanax
  • Triclazolam
  • Up Johns

Management of Halcion Misuse and Dependence

It is difficult for most people to see when their use of a particular drug has crossed a line to misuse, especially when that drug is one that has been prescribed by a doctor. As you can imagine from everything you have read thus far, Halcion misuse often occurs without the individual realising. Part of this reason is that most people just do not understand what is meant by prescription drug abuse.

There is a common misconception that all prescription drugs must be safe to take. Countless individuals find it incredulous that a medication prescribed by a doctor could be harmful or addictive, so they end up not appreciating the risks.

It is important to be aware of the dangers of taking medications such as Halcion due to the speed at which addiction can occur. For example, if you notice that your medication is not having the same effect that it did when you first started taking it, yet you continue to take it or you increase your dosage, you are taking a big risk.

Misuse of Halcion requires immediate action before it develops into a physical dependence or addiction. If you develop a physical dependence to this drug, you will quickly get caught in a cycle of abuse that is difficult to break. You might then find that when you try to quit or cut back on your use of the drug, you experience withdrawal symptoms.

To avoid a full-blown addiction, it is vital that Halcion misuse and dependence is tackled immediately. You should speak to your doctor about how you can reduce your dosage of Halcion safely. A gradual reduction with a goal of complete discontinuation may take several weeks or months but could prevent you from developing a devastating addiction.

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Halcion and Other Substances

As we stated above a few times, the effectiveness of Halcion tends to quickly diminish. In fact, you may find that after just a couple of weeks that your medication is not working as effectively as it did when you first began taking it. This may lead to you taking it in higher doses, but after time even these higher doses may not be effective.

If you are desperate for your medication, you might begin mixing it with other substances. The risk of overdose increases dramatically when Halcion is mixed with other substances, and there is a substantial risk of respiratory problems, coma, and death.

Alcohol or opioid drugs

Halcion is commonly taken with alcohol or opioid drugs to enhance the effects. But as all these substances are central nervous system depressants, the consequences can be deadly.

Halcion Overdose

In the above paragraph, we mentioned that overdose is a risk when Halcion is taken in doses that are higher than those recommended for therapeutic use. The risk increases when combined with other substances. Although a fatal overdose of Halcion by itself is rare, when combined with other central nervous system depressants, the risk of fatal consequences is exponentially higher. For your information, the symptoms of a potential Halcion overdose include:

  • breathing problems
  • slurred speech
  • memory loss
  • poor coordination
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • coma

If someone around you has any of these symptoms, it is vital that you seek medical care urgently. If you cannot get them into a car and drive to the nearest emergency room, or you are afraid moving them will cause more harm than help, call the emergency services right away.

Overdose Risks

Just four times the recommended therapeutic dose of Halcion can result in an overdose, due in no small part to the potency of the drug. Taking higher doses of Halcion, then, significantly increases the risk of overdose, as does mixing it with the above-mentioned other substances that depress the central nervous system.

Co-Occurring Disorders of Halcion Abuse

Co-occurring disorders often exist among those who abuse substances such as Halcion. Substance abuse and mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand, and many people with conditions such as anxiety and depression turn to mood-altering substances for perceived relief.

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Those who abuse medications such as Halcion deliberately often do so due to struggling with deep issues that potentially require complex treatments to overcome. However, substance abuse can also be a contributing factor for certain co-occurring disorders developing. Some examples are:

  • anxiety disorder
  • depressive disorders
  • social phobia
  • panic disorder

It can often be difficult to tell which came first, and it can be hard to distinguish which symptoms are associated with which disorder. Treating co-occurring disorders along with Halcion abuse and addiction requires expert knowledge of dual diagnoses and how these are treated. It is necessary for both conditions to be treated at the same time to reduce the chances of either recurring at a later date.

Halcion Abuse Treatment Self-Care at Home

The treatment of Halcion abuse at home usually involves a tapering of the medication over a period of weeks or months. If you want to break free from Halcion before an addiction develops, you should talk to your doctor for advice on the best course of action for tapering your dose with minimum impact.

Your doctor might suggest that you reduce your dose by around 10-15 per cent every couple of weeks, as this will help reduce the risk of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occurring. It is important that you do not try to quit Halcion suddenly by yourself as doing so could result in severe side effects that could possibly end up being fatal without treatment.

Healing at home is hard, especially if you experience co-occurring disorders and conditions, as they can influence the body and mind during detox and rehab.

When to Seek Medical Care?

If you believe that you have taken too much Halcion, or you notice the symptoms of an overdose after mixing your medication with another depressant substance such as alcohol, it is important that you seek medical care immediately.

Nevertheless, you should also seek medical care if you wish to quit Halcion. As already mentioned, trying to quit Halcion by yourself can result in serious medical complications. If you have developed an addiction to your medication, you will need to complete a comprehensive recovery programme that incorporates detox in the first instance followed by a programme of rehabilitation and aftercare.

Quitting any benzodiazepine drug comes with risks, which is why medical care is essential for ensuring your safety.

Halcion Addiction and Possible Treatments

Treatment for Halcion addiction typically involves a three-step approach. Detox is the first step in getting you well again, and this is designed to tackle the physical side of the illness only. You will need to also consider a rehab programme to deal with the emotional aspect of the addiction. After detox and rehab, a programme of aftercare will be needed to help with the continued maintenance of your sobriety.

During recovery from a Halcion addiction, you can expect counsellors and therapists to create a tailored plan of care for you. This will include various treatments that are expected to be most effective for you and your individual circumstances.

Treatment for Halcion addiction usually involves a combination of medication, behaviour modification therapies, and holistic alternatives. As mentioned, detox is the first part of the process, and this is safest when carried out in a dedicated detox facility.

The aim of a detox is to help you quit Halcion but because it being a complicated process with the risk of withdrawal symptoms, it is necessary to be supervised at all times.

Once you have managed to quit Halcion, work will begin on helping you learn how to avoid a return to it going forward. The use of behavioural therapies can address any underlying issues that may have led to the development of your addiction in the first place. Cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy are commonly used as they work on helping you to identify the negative thoughts that have been driving your behaviour as well as providing you with the skills required to avoid such behaviour in the future.

Other possible treatments might be:

  • 12-step therapy
  • motivational interviewing
  • psychodynamic therapy
  • contingency management
  • hypnotherapy
  • motivational enhancement therapy

During rehab for Halcion addiction, your treatment will take place on either a one-on-one basis with your counsellor or within a group setting with other patients.

As well as the traditional therapies mentioned above, you may also be treated with holistic or complementary therapies. Such treatments have proven very effective at helping with addiction recovery. The use of treatments such as meditation, yoga, and art therapy can all help reduce cravings, relieve symptoms of anxiety, and improve overall mental and physical wellbeing.

Halcion Detox

To quickly recap, detox is just the first part of the recovery process and is needed to break the physical cycle of abuse. If you are addicted to Halcion and are struggling to break free, you will need to complete a detox to help you get clean and sober. It is essential that your mind and body is free from Halcion before you can tackle the psychological element of your addiction in more depth.

Detox is the natural process that occurs when you stop taking any mood-altering substance. It occurs when the body and brain begin healing themselves. But withdrawing from Halcion brings numerous risks.

The effect that benzodiazepine drugs such as Halcion can have on the brain can be quite profound, and it may begin to rely on it to function normally. With prolonged use of such a drug, your brain may be unable to produce its natural calming chemicals. Essentially, this means that it depends on the drug to help maintain its balance of chemicals.

When you stop taking Halcion, a sudden imbalance occurs, and it is this that triggers the feelings of nervousness and anxiety that could make you feel jittery and uneasy. Other withdrawal symptoms can also occur, such as potentially life-threatening seizures.

As you can probably surmise from all the information we have given you, it is vital that Halcion detox is managed properly. It is generally recommended that to detox in the safest possible way, you should consider detoxing in a dedicated clinic where fully trained staff with experience of benzodiazepine withdrawal can take care of you.

It is likely that your dose of Halcion will be gradually reduced over the course of a couple of weeks to minimise the severity of any withdrawal symptoms that you experience. In some detox clinics, rapid discontinuation is utilised; with this approach, an infusion of flumazenil is required. Flumazenil is a selective benzodiazepine receptor antagonist that is primarily used to treat benzodiazepine overdose. However, it is also used during rapid detoxification as it can help prevent withdrawal symptoms and assist in removing the benzodiazepine drug from the system.

What about Withdrawal

When Halcion is stopped suddenly, it can lead to the onset of various withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be serious. This is the main reason we keep mentioning that it is never advisable to quit your medication abruptly. If you want to quit Halcion, you need to seek medical advice first. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with Halcion include:

  • rapid heartbeat
  • fever
  • sweating
  • anxiety
  • hallucinations
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • tremors
  • muscle cramps
  • headaches
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Do You Need to Go into Rehab?

If you want to fully recover from a Halcion addiction, you will need to first complete a detox, as mentioned above, and then follow on with a programme of rehabilitation. Many people assume that all they need to do to get better is quit the substance to which they are addicted, but there is more to addiction recovery than that.

To recover fully, you must address not only the physical addiction but also the psychological. To do this, you will need to complete both detox and rehabilitation.

Halcion Addiction Statistics

  • Since it was approved for treatment of insomnia in 1982, it is estimated that there have been 11 billion prescriptions for Halcion filled around the world.
  • Halcion has been banned in the UK, Brazil, Norway, Argentina, and Denmark since 1991.
  • Halcion causes a greater degree of sedation and impairment of cognitive functioning in healthy elderly people than it does in younger patients. This means that a fifty per cent reduction in dosage is necessary for older patients.
  • In 1991, when Halcion was banned by various countries, it was the most widely prescribed hypnotic agent in the US.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Halcion addictive?

Halcion is one of the most addictive types of benzodiazepine drugs, with a high potential for abuse. A physical dependence can occur within weeks, so it is recommended that this medication is not taken for longer than ten days.

How is Halcion addiction treated?

Halcion addiction is typically treated with a three-pronged approach that includes detoxification, rehabilitation, and aftercare. All three elements of the recovery process are necessary to ensure the best chance of long-term success. Detox is required to treat the physical addiction while rehabilitation deals with the emotional and psychological element of the illness. Aftercare is needed to help with ongoing sobriety maintenance.

How bad is Halcion addiction?

If left untreated, Halcion addiction can have devastating consequences in terms of your quality of life. You are likely to suffer poor health, relationship problems, and financial troubles. Furthermore, as your need for your medication grows, you are likely to take more unnecessary risks to achieve the level of satisfaction you desire. This may mean that you will take higher doses of Halcion, or mix it with other substances, thus risking an overdose and putting your life at risk.

How to cure Halcion addiction?

A Halcion addiction cannot be cured as there is no cure for addiction. However, it can be treated and managed long-term so that you do not suffer a return to addictive behaviour in the future. To ensure you have the best chance of long-term sobriety, it will be necessary for you to commit fully to a programme of detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare.

Where else can I find help?

Help for Halcion addiction is available from many sources. You can speak to your doctor in the first instance for advice about treatment programmes that may be available through the NHS. Your doctor can refer you to your local drug treatment service, or you can self-refer if you prefer.

Information is also available online via treatment information databases. Programmes are provided by the NHS, charities, local support groups, local counsellors, and private clinics. For information about inpatient treatment for Halcion addiction, you can call us here at UKAT today.

How does Halcion addiction start?

Halcion addiction begins with an increased tolerance to the drug in most cases. If you are taking Halcion, you may quickly find that the effects of the drug begin to diminish. As it becomes less and less effective, your natural response may be to increase the dosage, but this can then lead to a physical dependence which, for most, can be the precursor for addiction.

Who gets addicted to Halcion?

Many people believe that they will never get addicted to Halcion because addiction is something that happens to those who have no willpower or who are weak. The reality is that anyone who uses a mood-altering drug can develop an addiction.

You should be aware that there is no set type of person who gets addicted to Halcion, or any other chemical substance for that matter. Addiction does not discriminate and regardless of age, colour, race, religion, wealth, or background, you can be affected if you allow your use to spiral out of control.

What should I do about Halcion addiction?

If you are unable to quit or cut back on your Halcion use without suffering from withdrawal symptoms, it is likely that you have a physical dependence. If you find that your use of the medication is beginning to interfere with your ability to live a normal life but you continue to use it anyway, then it is highly likely that an addiction has developed.

In this case, it will be necessary for you to seek help. Addiction will not go away if you ignore it. It will more than likely get worse instead. To regain control of your life, you will need to get help. You can speak to your doctor about what the next steps are in terms of overcoming your addiction, or you can call us at UKAT for advice.

How to help someone who is addicted to Halcion?

If someone you love is struggling to control his or her use of Halcion, you might be feeling helpless. You probably already know that there is not much you can do to force this person to seek help. Many individuals who struggle with addiction are not ready to admit to having a problem, especially in the early days. This forces loved ones to watch on, knowing that there is nothing they can do.

Nevertheless, if you love someone who appears to be addicted to a drug such as Halcion, it is important to broach the subject. You may be hoping that it will pass and resolve itself, but this is very unlikely. The addicted person will need professional help.

Try to speak to him or her in a calm manner and assure them that you are ready and willing to support him or her through the process of detox and rehabilitation. If you would like advice about how to approach an addicted loved one, please talk to us here at UKAT.

Is Halcion addictive in low doses?

Halcion is a potent drug that is typically administered in low doses. Although high doses of the drug can increase the risk for addiction, even therapeutic doses can result in a physical dependence.

How can I spot Halcion dependence?

Halcion dependence occurs quite quickly. If you are physically dependent on Halcion, you are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or cut back on your use. These symptoms could include headaches, sweating and shaking whenever the effects of your medication wear off.

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