This Page was last reviewed and changed on June 6th, 2022
To overcome a Halcion addiction, you will first need to break the cycle of abuse and stop using your medication completely. However, you should be aware that quitting benzodiazepine drugs such as Halcion suddenly is never recommended. You will almost certainly require a detox programme to help you overcome the physical addiction to Halcion, which means you are likely to experience various withdrawal symptoms. However, these symptoms can be effectively managed and treated in a supervised detox clinic.
Although Halcion is a prescription medication used to treat severe insomnia, it is highly addictive. Moreover, tolerance to it can quickly occur, which often leads to a physical dependence swiftly followed by addiction. If you are unlucky enough to have developed an addiction to Halcion, your first step on the road to recovery will be detox, which will look to break the physical cycle of abuse.
What you should be aware of is that Halcion withdrawal is a complicated process that needs to be effectively managed. Sudden cessation of the drug can result in a range of withdrawal symptoms, some of which can end up being life-threatening. It is therefore very important that you not try to quit Halcion by yourself.
If you do have an addiction, you may have already found that trying to quit, or even cut back on your use of Halcion, can lead to unpleasant symptoms. Know, though, that it is the presence of these symptoms that might be keeping you trapped in a cycle of abuse. The good news is that a safe withdrawal is entirely possible under the care and guidance of medical professionals with experience in benzodiazepine withdrawal. Read on to find out more about what detox and withdrawal from Halcion are like.
Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms
As mentioned above, physical dependence to Halcion can occur rapidly and when it does, it can be extremely difficult to quit. In fact, physical dependence to most benzodiazepine substance can occur in as little as two weeks, at which point you are likely to experience a range of withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using the medication. These symptoms may make you feel quite unwell and you might quickly discover that taking more Halcion will help make them subside. The symptoms associated with Halcion withdrawal include:
A cycle of abuse and withdrawal will leave you trapped in a situation that you will eventually find impossible to break out of. The answer to this is will be to undertake a detox programme, where withdrawal of Halcion is effectively managed by fully trained professionals.
Causes of Halcion Withdrawal
Halcion works by stimulating the brain’s production of its natural calming chemicals, which are known as GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid). The presence of these calming chemicals helps to relieve overactivity in the brain, which is thought to cause conditions such as anxiety, nervousness, and stress, all of which can lead to insomnia.
After prolonged use of Halcion though, the brain begins to depend on it for the production of GABA. However, because the effects of Halcion last for only around five to six hours, you might experience the opposite of sedation each time the effects wear off. Moreover, because your brain is relying on Halcion to produce GABA, you may experience a surge of activity that the brain cannot control when you quit the drug.
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How Long do Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
The symptoms of Halcion withdrawal usually start around one to three days after the last dose of the drug was taken. There is no way to tell exactly how long the symptoms will last though as it will depend on many individualistic factors such as how long you have been using Halcion and the amount of the drug that you were using.
Some of the other factors might be whether you have any underlying medical health problems, and whether you were using Halcion with any other type of mood-altering substance such as alcohol or another drug. As you can tell, each of these would be specific to the individual, hence the inability to put a timeframe on how long withdrawal will last.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms
Halcion withdrawal symptoms can be managed in a number of ways. Within a detox facility, it may be the case that medication is prescribed to you to help relieve any discomfort you are experiencing. Some treatment providers will administer medication or nutritional supplements before the onset of any withdrawal symptoms in the hope of preventing many of them from occurring.
If you suffer from mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, you might also be prescribed medication to help relieve the symptoms associated with these conditions. This will include beta-blockers or antidepressants.
In addition to medication though, withdrawal symptoms can be managed in other ways too. Some individuals will be helped to use meditation or mindfulness to help take their mind off the unpleasant symptoms. These methods can also help to reduce cravings and lessen feelings of anxiety and stress.
Contributing Factors to Halcion Withdrawal
While Halcion withdrawal symptoms occurs in those who develop a physical dependence to their medication, contrary to popular belief, dependence does not just happen to those who take high doses of the drug. In fact, it can occur when Halcion is taken at therapeutic doses but if it is taken over a prolonged period.
Nevertheless, although dependence on Halcion and subsequent withdrawal symptoms do occur at therapeutic doses, the severity of symptoms is usually influenced by the amount of the drug that was taken:
Using more than prescribed
Those abusing Halcion by taking it at higher-than-prescribed doses will be more likely to suffer severe symptoms that are longer lasting.
Combining with other depressants
Combining Halcion with other depressant substances such as opioid drugs, cannabis, or alcohol can also contribute to the extent of the withdrawal process.
Mental health problems
If you have underlying physical or mental health problems, withdrawal from the drug could also be exponentially more severe.
Psychological Withdrawal from Halcion
When you stop taking Halcion, your brain must re-adjust to the withdrawal of the medication that it has learned to rely on. It must learn how to start producing enough GABA to maintain a healthy balance; this does not happen instantaneously though. In fact, it is highly likely that you will experience a range of psychological symptoms as your brain struggles to cope with the overactivity of other chemicals. So some of the psychological symptoms associated with Halcion withdrawal are:
Physical Withdrawal from Halcion
Halcion is a drug that works by depressing the central nervous system. When you take it over a prolonged period then, your body will adapt to the chemicals and will then work with the drug to maintain a balance of these chemicals. After a while, your body will be unable to function normally without Halcion.
Therefore, when you try to quit the drug, your body will go into overdrive as it tries to address the imbalance of chemicals that it can no longer maintain by itself. This in turn will lead to a range of physical symptoms that can include:
loss of appetite
Substance Use Disorders and Detoxification
When you use a mood-altering chemical such as Halcion, your brain and body react by trying to counter the effects of the drug. After a while, the drug is less effective because your body and brain have adjusted to its presence. This means that the same amount of the drug that you first took is no longer having the desired effect.
When you build up a tolerance to any substance, you will need more of it to achieve the level of satisfaction or relief that you desire. The cycle will continue though and even if you up your dosage, over time that too will be ineffective at giving the relief you want. Additionally, with increased usage of a mood-altering chemical, particularly one as potent as Halcion, the risk of overdose increases.
When you develop a substance use disorder from excessive or prolonged use of a particular substance, it will become harder and harder for you to break free. You are likely to find that you suffer with withdrawal symptoms every time that you try to quit or cut down and that the only way to relieve these symptoms is with more of the drug. This is often when a cycle of abuse begins.
To break this cycle, you will need to complete a detoxification. Detox is a natural process and is your body’s way of healing itself when a certain chemical substance is removed.
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In the case of Halcion detox, it will begin when you stop taking Halcion or when you cut back on your usage. Although for most Halcion detox involves a gradual reduction of the medication, for others a rapid detoxification is the preferred option. This occurs when Halcion is ceased immediately and a benzodiazepine receptor antagonist such as flumazenil is administered to reverse the sedative effects of the drug and to prevent certain symptoms from occurring.
The type of Halcion detox that you have will depend on several factors such as your overall mental and physical health and whether you have also been abusing other substances. One thing is certain however, and it is something we touched upon above: to detox safely from this drug, it is advisable to do so in a dedicated facility where trained staff can monitor your progress at all times.
Within a detox facility, reduction of Halcion can take place over the course of a couple of weeks. This process usually takes much longer if you are withdrawing from the medication at home, for example. To help minimise the severity of the process, you might be advised to take a substitute benzodiazepine such as diazepam, which is a longer acting drug and which will help your brain and body adjust to the removal of Halcion.
How to Detox Safely?
As stated a couple of times already within this piece, a gradual reduction of Halcion is considered the safest way to withdraw from the drug. If you are trying to withdraw from Halcion at home, then it is never recommended that you suddenly stop taking your medication as to do so could result in the onset of severe withdrawal symptoms.
A gradual reduction of the medication at home is recommended only before addiction has developed. If you have already developed an addiction to Halcion, the safest place to detox is in the aforementioned dedicated facility where fully trained staff have the knowledge and experience of dealing with benzodiazepine detox and withdrawal.
In such a facility, your comfort and safety will be a priority and you will be at virtually no risk. Staff may be able to prevent the worst symptoms from occurring and should be able to reduce the severity of those that do.
Withdrawal Timeline and Length of Detoxification
Since Halcion is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, withdrawal symptoms usually occur very quickly and can be intense. However, this can also mean that the length of detoxification is shorter than with other benzodiazepine drugs.
Although detox duration tends to be shorter than with longer-acting benzodiazepines, it can be longer for those who have been using Halcion for a prolonged period. A longer withdrawal period is also associated with polydrug use.
Although there are several factors that can affect the length of a Halcion detox, the average withdrawal timeline would be as follows:
1 to 2 days – Most Halcion users notice the first symptoms of withdrawal after one to two days. Symptoms at this stage may include dizziness, muscle cramps, anxiety, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and shakiness.
3 to 4 days – After about three to four days, the main bulk of symptoms will begin to subside.
5 to 14 days – Towards the end of the second week, you may find that most of your withdrawal symptoms have gone. Some may linger slightly longer but at this stage, most will have disappeared.
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Halcion Detox Protocol
Implementing a detox protocol for Halcion withdrawal is very important. Doing this means that your safety and comfort are ensured. When you choose to detox in a supervised facility, it is likely that a team will be put in place to take care of you during the process.
You will be assessed both mentally and physically before plans are put in place regarding how the detox will proceed. If any medication is to be used, this will be included in the detox protocol. All staff members involved in your care should be familiar with the plan for your detox so that they know exactly what medications you have been prescribed.
Your medical history will be examined to make sure that appropriate measures are taken to ensure your safety throughout the procedure. There will also be procedures in place that will need to be followed in the event of complications arising during the detox. This will include information about pharmacological and psychological interventions that would be appropriate.
Medical Detox for Halcion Use
A medical detox from Halcion typically takes place within the dedicated detox facility. In most cases, the detox process for Halcion withdrawal will include a tapering of your medication rather than an abrupt cessation. However, there are some clinics who prefer rapid discontinuation of benzodiazepines.
A gradual reduction of the medication prevents a complete deprivation of GABA in the brain. Sudden cessation of Halcion could cause the brain to go into shock and then trigger a range of severe withdrawal symptoms. By reducing the dosage, the brain will learn to gradually adjust to the withdrawal of the drug and eventually start to produce the necessary GABA by itself.
If it is necessary to facilitate a quicker detox from Halcion, your doctor might suggest that a longer-acting benzodiazepine drug such as diazepam is administered. This will allow the brain’s GABA receptors to continue being stimulated while the Halcion is withdrawn at a more rapid rate.
Halcion Detox Medications
Doctors may utilise various medications to help facilitate a withdrawal from Halcion. For example, and as just mentioned, it may be necessary to administer a substitute benzo drug to help you withdraw from your medication faster than normal.
If an abrupt cessation of Halcion is the preferred detox method though, your doctor is likely to use flumazenil, which is effectively a benzodiazepine overdose antidote. It works by binding to the GABA receptors and preventing the onset of Halcion’s sedative effects. It is useful in terms of preventing many withdrawal symptoms associated with Halcion withdrawal from occurring.
Nevertheless, other medications may also be used during Halcion withdrawal. These include buspirone, which can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety, or specific antidepressants to relieve the symptoms of depression. Where seizures occur, anticonvulsants might be necessary.
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Gradual Dose Reduction Withdrawal
We have already mentioned the need for gradual dose reduction several times in this article. It is generally accepted that the most effective way to withdraw from a benzodiazepine drug is with a gradual reduction, or tapering schedule. As you have learned by reading this guide, the reason for this is that a sudden cessation of a drug that your body and brain have learned to rely on can trigger many physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms, some of which could even become life-threatening.
A gradual reduction, then, is a safe way to quit Halcion as it allows your body to get used to the lower doses of the substance. Dosage reduction can take place at home, typically if you are addressing a reliance on Halcion before an addiction has had time to develop. It also takes place within an inpatient detox facility where staff will monitor your progress as they attempt to implement a safe reduction schedule.
Reducing your dosage at home, although not typically recommended, may mean smaller reductions over a longer period to limit the risk of severe symptoms.
Psychological Interventions for Halcion Withdrawal
As well as medications that can help make the withdrawal process safer and more comfortable, there are a few psychological interventions that may be used as well. These interventions typically involve talking therapies designed to help you deal with the issues that are specific to your illness.
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Psychological interventions may be useful for dealing with some of the symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. It might be helpful for you to engage in talking therapies that will give you a greater understanding of your illness and why you have been affected.
As the withdrawal process progresses and your withdrawal symptoms begin to subside, you may take part in behavioural therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy. Both these methods aim to help you recognise the negative thoughts and feelings that drive your addictive behaviour.
By being able to identify these negative thought patterns, you will have the opportunity to challenge them and replace maladaptive behaviours with positive alternatives.
Pharmacological Interventions for Halcion Withdrawal
While various medications are commonly used during the Halcion withdrawal process, there may be occasions where medications are necessary to ensure your safety and the safety of others. For example, there is a risk that you may become violent or aggressive due to hallucinations. You might also begin self-harming due to suicidal thoughts. In such situations, a doctor may decide that sedation is appropriate to ensure that you do not put yourself or others in danger.
Other pharmaceutical interventions may also be necessary to make you more comfortable during the withdrawal process. If you are suffering severe depression or anxiety, medication will probably be administered to relieve these symptoms and to allow you to continue with the detox process safely.
In a detox facility, you will be monitored, and the use of pharmacological interventions will be considered only in the event of an emergency.
Possible Complications from Halcion Withdrawal
Withdrawal from Halcion is typically managed effectively in a dedicated detox facility and the risk of complications is very low. Nonetheless, as with all benzodiazepine drug withdrawals, the risk is there. The risk is higher in those who have been using high doses of the drug and those abusing Halcion with alcohol or other depressant substances.
If you try to withdraw from Halcion on your own, you may experience serious complications such as severe anxiety, suicidal thoughts and seizures. Without treatment, these complications could be life-threatening.
Rebound insomnia is also a common side effect of Halcion withdrawal, and it causes a return of the symptoms for which the drug was initially taken. Rebound insomnia can cause symptoms to be worse than they were before you began taking Halcion and they can linger for many months after you stop taking the medication.
Halcion Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Overcoming a Halcion addiction involves more than just withdrawing from the drug. While detox and withdrawal are important parts of the recovery process, you must also learn how to avoid a return to it in the future; for this you will need to complete a programme of rehabilitation.
While detox addresses the physical addiction, it does nothing to deal with the emotional and psychological issues that also come with it.
Treatment for Halcion addiction is a three-part process and rehabilitation is essential as part of this. It can take place in an inpatient or outpatient facility and aims to address the underlying causes of the addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know if I’m experiencing Halcion withdrawal?
When you have been taking Halcion for a prolonged period, you are likely to have a physical dependence. As such, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. If you notice that you are experiencing unpleasant symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, nausea, and mood swings when you try to quit or cut back on your use of Halcion, it is likely that you are going through withdrawal.
Can Halcion withdrawal kill you?
While fatal consequences from Halcion withdrawal are rare, there is a risk of life-threatening symptoms when suddenly stopping your medication. As your brain will have adapted to the presence of Halcion and has learned to rely on it for the production of its natural calming chemicals, a sudden cessation can potentially trigger symptoms such as seizures, which can be fatal if not managed correctly.
Can Halcion withdrawal cause seizures?
Seizures can be the result of an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Medications such as Halcion stimulate production of the brain’s natural calming chemical, thus helping to maintain the balance. With prolonged Halcion use, the brain is unable to produce the level of calming chemicals that it requires to maintain this balance by itself. When you stop taking your medication, the brain can go into shock, and a sudden overactivity of excitatory chemicals can trigger symptoms such as seizures.
Does Halcion withdrawal cause depression?
There are many symptoms associated with Halcion withdrawal, depression being one of them. Many people will suffer depression before taking Halcion, which tends to be related to their poor quality of life due to insomnia. Since Halcion withdrawal can cause rebound insomnia, it is not uncommon for a return of depressive symptoms at the same time.
What does Halcion withdrawal feel like?
As with a detox from any other mood-altering substance, Halcion withdrawal can feel very unpleasant. The symptoms you experience may make you feel unwell and these feelings can persist for a couple of weeks. The good news, however, is that compared to longer-acting benzodiazepines, Halcion withdrawal tends to be quite short and most of the symptoms will disappear within a few weeks.
What will help Halcion withdrawal?
Certain medications can help to minimise the severity of a Halcion withdrawal. You may also find that holistic therapies such as meditation, massage, and mindfulness can relieve some of the symptoms that you experience such as depression and anxiety. They may also help to prevent cravings for the drug by reducing levels of stress and improving overall wellbeing.
How to ease Halcion withdrawal?
The severity of Halcion withdrawal can be eased with a gradual reduction of the medication rather than an abrupt cessation. Your doctor may also prescribe medications that can prevent many of the symptoms from occurring or lessen the impact of those that do.
How to minimise Halcion withdrawal?
Halcion withdrawal is most severe when the drug is stopped suddenly. It is for this reason that most detox programmes involve a gradual tapering of the dose over a number of weeks. This helps to minimise the effects and will make you more comfortable.
Is Halcion withdrawal dangerous?
Halcion withdrawal is dangerous if it is not managed properly. It is never advisable to quit your medication suddenly or to attempt a gradual reduction without seeking medical advice first. It is important to speak to your doctor about the correct tapering procedure before attempting to cut back on Halcion.