Halcion (Triazolam) Addiction Abuse Symptoms and Warning Signs

This Page was last reviewed and changed on June 23rd 2021

Content Overview

Recognising the signs of Halcion abuse could help to prevent your life from spiralling down the path of addiction. It is also important in terms of preventing an overdose, which is a common problem for those who abuse benzodiazepine drugs. Knowing what the signs are and the consequences of allowing your use of Halcion to progress to abuse is vital.

Being prescribed Halcion to treat severe insomnia means that you should also be made aware of the risks involved with taking medication. Meant to be taken for a short period only, Halcion can end up being a habit-forming drug if care is not taken.

You might assume that only those who take Halcion for recreational purposes are in danger of developing a physical dependence and addiction. In reality though, physical dependence can occur even in those who use it exactly as prescribed, if it is taken for longer ten days.

Tolerance to Halcion can occur in a matter of days, which is why the drug has such a high potential for abuse. It is not uncommon for Halcion users to up the dosage when their medication becomes less effective. This is classed as abuse though and can raise the risk for addiction. It is therefore imperative that you are aware of the dangers of Halcion abuse and that you can spot the signs before an addiction takes hold.

How Does Halcion Work?

Halcion, a drug from the benzodiazepine group, works by stimulating the production of the brain’s natural calming neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid). An imbalance of chemicals within the brain can lead to overactivity of excitatory chemicals, which in turn tend to lead to conditions such as nervousness, restlessness, and anxiety. All these conditions can lead to insomnia. By enhancing production of GABA by stimulating the GABA receptors, Halcion can help to restore the balance. With enhanced production of GABA, activity is slowed down, which helps you to fall asleep. The medication is also used to help treat jet lag or as a way to help calm people down before a surgical procedure.

Halcion Abuse Warnings

Halcion is recommended for short-term use only as prolonged use means it is possible to build up tolerance. This means that more of the drug is required to achieve a certain level of relief or satisfaction. Taking more than the recommended dose is classed as abuse. If you believe that the medication is not as effective as it was when you first started taking it, you should consider quitting before being tempted to up the dosage.

Halcion abuse also presents in other ways, some of which are more obvious than others. For example, even though you might be aware that taking Halcion to get high is classed as abuse, did you know that taking Halcion that has been prescribed for another person is also abuse? Most people do not realise that this is considered prescription drug abuse and think nothing of taking pills given to them by someone they know.

It is important to be aware of what constitutes prescription drug abuse as this will make it easier for you to avoid it if at all possible.

Halcion Abuse Causes

Some people deliberately abuse Halcion because they are trying to get high or they like the sedative effects of the drug. Alternatively, they might be trying to escape a painful reality or memories of a past traumatic experience; when under the influence of Halcion, they are able to forget.

Others abuse Halcion without even realising what they are doing. As previously mentioned, a tolerance to the effects can develop very quickly, which often results in the dosage being increased. Most people do not understand the dangers of doing this. They believe that because the drug has been prescribed by a doctor, it cannot be anything other than completely safe.

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Halcion Warning Signs and Dangers

Halcion can be a dangerous drug when abused, although many users fail to spot the dangers when using this drug. The recommendation that it not be used for longer than ten days is due to its high potential for abuse and the fact that it can become habit forming. Yet many people fail to appreciate how dangerous it can be. Most do not see the harm in taking their medication at more frequent intervals or increasing their dosage just a little bit to make it more effective.

The trouble is that physical dependence occurs very quickly and crossing the line from therapeutic use to problem use often happens without you even noticing. It is only when you try to quit Halcion that you realise it is not that straightforward. You might find it impossible to function normally without the drug and you may experience withdrawal symptoms as you try to quit or cut back on your usage. If the only way to get relief from the withdrawal symptoms is with more of the drug, it is easy to get caught in a cycle of abuse and withdrawal.

The Signs of Halcion Dependence and Addiction

Most of those who develop an addiction to any mood-altering substance will find it hard to come to terms with the fact that their use has become a problem. Addiction comes with a lot of stigma and most people are not ready to see themselves as addicts; especially if they have only ever taken drugs prescribed by a doctor.

Nevertheless, spotting the signs of Halcion dependence and addiction are important because it is vital that you get treatment as soon as possible. Overcoming an addiction to Halcion can be a challenge and so early intervention is often the key.

  • Anxiety when trying to stop using
  • Headaches
  • Irritability when you don’t take the usual dose

If you are worried that your use of Halcion has spiralled out of control and you have been taking more of it than advised to by your doctor, then it is likely that you already have a problem. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking it, you almost certainly have a dependence.

Addiction tends to present as an overwhelming urge to have your medication even though it may be causing negative consequences in your life. If you continue to use Halcion despite knowing that it is going to cause harm to you and your loved ones, you are probably addicted to it at this stage and will need professional help to try to regain control of your life once more.

Signs of Chronic Long-Term Abuse of Halcion

If you are a chronic user of Halcion, then it is highly likely that you have developed an addiction to it. This is probably having a negative impact on your everyday life. You might be unable to function normally without the medication and you have adapted to its effects so that you are now taking it during the day as well as at night. Perhaps you are now abusing other substances at night so that you can enhance the effects of the medication?

Aside from addiction though, there are other signs of chronic long-term abuse of Halcion:

  • Insomnia
  • Feeling the effects wearing off faster
  • Anxiety episodes
  • Panic attacks

You will also be statistically more prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease with your long-term use of Halcion. In a study published by Harvard Health Publishing it was found that those who took medications such as Halcion for 3-6 months were 32 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The risk was 84 per cent higher in those using benzodiazepines for longer than six months. The risk was higher though for those taking longer-acting benzos than for shorter acting versions such as Halcion.

Signs of Short-Term Abuse of Halcion

Taking Halcion as directed will help to relieve conditions such as severe insomnia. However, when the drug is abused, there are various other side effects that can occur. These can include:

  • confusion
  • low blood pressure
  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • irritability
  • trembling
  • loss of coordination
  • dizziness
  • depression.

There is also the risk that you might engage in certain behaviours while ‘asleep’, such as eating, talking, having sex, or driving. While most are considered harmless, others (such as driving) could lead to potentially devastating consequences.

Halcion Overdose

Taking Halcion in higher doses than recommended by your doctor will increase the risk of overdose. You will also be at risk of overdose if you combine your Halcion use with taking other depressant substances such as opioids or alcohol.

Halcion Overdose Symptoms

It is important to be alert to the signs of a Halcion overdose so that you can get help as soon as possible. If you notice the following symptoms after taking too much Halcion or mixing it with another substance, you need to get medical help immediately:

If someone you care about has taken an overdose and experiences the above symptoms, it is vital that you get help at once. Although fatal overdose is quite rare when Halcion is taken by itself, combining it with other substances can lead to coma and even death.

Halcion Overdose Treatment

Seeking medical treatment for Halcion overdose will reduce the risk of fatal consequences. Depending on the severity of the overdose, various treatments will be needed to alleviate the situation. For example, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will need to be monitored and it may be necessary for you to be intubated with artificial ventilation. Doctors might also use intravenous fluids while in some cases, your stomach will be pumped, particularly if you have been drinking alcohol with Halcion.

How to Reverse Halcion Overdose

If your overdose is severe, flumazenil, which is a benzodiazepine receptor antagonist, might be administered. This will help reverse the sedative effects of Halcion and prevent re-sedation.

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Halcion Withdrawal

Once physical dependence to Halcion has developed, it will be almost impossible to break free without experiencing a range of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can run the gamut from mild to severe in intensity and their presence is often that which keeps people trapped in a cycle of abuse.

Knowing that the easiest way to deal with unpleasant symptoms is to take more Halcion can mean that many individuals quickly become addicted. Nonetheless, as there is a risk of severe symptoms, it is recommended that Halcion is withdrawn gradually rather than suddenly.

Symptoms of Withdrawal from Halcion

There is no way to know exactly what type of symptoms, if any, you will experience when you quit Halcion. Below are examples of those commonly associated with withdrawal of this medication:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations

While most will make you feel unwell until they pass, there is the risk of severe complications, especially if seizures occur. For that reason, withdrawal from Halcion should be effectively managed, preferably in a dedicated detox facility with medical staff in attendance.

Halcion Withdrawal and Detox

A detox facility is one of the safest and most comfortable places to withdraw from Halcion. In such a facility, you will be looked after by a team of professionals with experience of benzodiazepine withdrawal.

It may be possible for staff to prevent many of the worst symptoms from occurring by implementing a gradual reduction of your medication. Any symptoms that do occur can be treated effectively to minimise the impact.

Halcion Treatment and Rehab

You should be aware that overcoming a Halcion addiction requires more than just abstinence from your medication. The underlying issues that contributed to the development of the addiction must also be addressed. This will take place in a rehab facility, where you will take part in both individual and group therapy sessions.

A comprehensive recovery programme includes detox and rehabilitation but also aftercare. All three elements combined will give you the best chance of long-term success.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much Halcion causes addiction?

Halcion is an immensely powerful drug and even low doses can cause addiction if taken for a prolonged period. It is recommended that this drug is taken for no longer than ten days to minimise the risk of addiction.

How do I recognise Halcion abuse?

It can be tough to spot the signs of abuse in yourself, but if you have started to take higher doses of your medication to get the relief you desire, or if you are mixing it with other substances to enhance its effects, it may be time to take a step back and evaluate your use. If you continue like this, you could easily end up with a physical dependence, which could lead to addiction.

When to seek medical care?

It is vital that you seek medical care if you believe you may have taken too much Halcion. Just four times the maximum recommended dose can trigger an overdose, which could be fatal if severe and if left untreated.
Medical care is also necessary where an addiction has developed. If you are unable to quit or even cut down on Halcion, despite wanting to, it is important to seek medical advice about how to withdraw safely from this drug.

How do I get help for Halcion addiction?

If you believe that you have developed an addiction to Halcion, speak to your doctor about how and where to access help. NHS-run drug treatment services are available throughout the UK; you can be referred by your doctor or self-refer if you wish. You can also access help from local support groups, charities, and private clinics.

When do Halcion withdrawal symptoms start?

As Halcion is a short-acting benzodiazepine drug, symptoms tend to start quite quickly. You might even start noticing the first symptoms appearing within 6-24 hours after your last dose, although 1-3 days is more common.

How long does Halcion withdrawal last?

Withdrawal from Halcion typically lasts for around two weeks. However, the length of withdrawal can be longer if you are also suffering from mental health problems or if you have been abusing Halcion with other substances.

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