Triazolam (Halcion) Abuse, Addiction, And Treatment Options
Addiction to triazolam (Halcion) can happen in as little as two weeks, and may cause severe, potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Treatment for Halcion addiction may involve medically-supervised detox.
What Is Triazolam (Halcion)?
Triazolam (Halcion) is a potent, short-acting benzodiazepine used to treat insomnia. Halcion is the brand name for triazolam, which is designed to help people who have trouble falling asleep.
Halcion slows brain activity, which can make it easier to fall asleep. Halcion has a short half-life, which means that its effects are felt quickly and it doesn’t stay in the body for very long. Effects from the drug can be felt 15 to 30 minutes after it is taken and only last between two to four hours.
Typically, Triazolam is taken for short periods of seven to 10 days. Individuals should not take triazolam for more than two weeks without first talking to their doctor. Halcion is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and is available by prescription.
Like other benzodiazepines, triazolam may be diverted and used illicitly by individuals seeking its depressant effects. Those buying and selling benzodiazepines on the street may use slang terms, like benzos, tranks, downers, or never pills.
Triazolam (Halcion) Abuse Vs. Addiction: What’s The Difference?
Although the terms “abuse” and “addiction” are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings. Drug abuse refers to the occasional misuse of drugs, obtained legally or illegally, in an effort to avoid or alter one’s reality.
Someone abusing triazolam may take more than the recommended dose, but does so only on occasion, and not in a chronic manner.
Drug addiction is the uncontrollable impulse to use drugs despite increased and obvious risks of self-harm or death. The complex and compulsive behaviors of addiction may develop in people who chronically misuse this medication.
Addiction to triazolam can result in the intense need to continue taking the medication. Once someone is addicted, they may:
- spend excess amounts of money on the drug
- forge prescriptions or steal the drug
- get into a car accident while under the influence of the drug
- experience extreme changes in mood and anxiety levels
- suffer from severe health consequences of overdose, including death
Continued misuse of triazolam can result in continued or worsening sleep problems, and increased daytime anxiety. It is common for people to feel increased wakefulness during the later part of the night as the medication wears off.
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Is Triazolam Addictive?
Addiction to triazolam is highly likely with prolonged use of the drug. This medication is only prescribed to treat acute symptoms for a short time. Like other benzodiazepines, prolonged use of Halcion results in the development of a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance to Halcion develops quickly, making the drug less effective after the first week, or so, of use.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), short-acting benzodiazepines like Triazolam may lose some of their effectiveness the longer they are used. It is important not to take more of this medication than prescribed because the time between waking and taking the pills to fall asleep is required for the body to eliminate it completely.
Signs And Symptoms Of Triazolam (Halcion) Abuse
There are several signs and symptoms that indicate triazolam abuse. Those abusing triazolam may experience side effects of the drug, which can include symptoms like:
- problems with coordination
- tingling of the skin
- nausea and vomiting
When someone begins to abuse Halcion, there are also certain behavioral signs that can indicate abuse.
Behavioral signs of abuse include:
- seeming mildly intoxicated
- doctor shopping
- repeatedly failing to fulfil major obligations
- becoming irritable or extremely sleepy
At higher doses, Halcion can produce a euphoric effect. Some people who have misused Halcion also reported having hallucinations from taking large doses of the drug.
Dangers Of Halcion Abuse
Halcion abuse can have dangerous side effects. In addition to the hallucinations that can occur, some individuals have also reported experiencing sleepwalking spells while under the influence of triazolam.
They engaged in activities like driving a car, making food, and having sex without actually being conscious during the behavior. After waking they had no recollection of what happened. These sleepwalking spells can cause confusion, as well as emotional trauma.
Another dangerous side effect of abusing triazolam is the increased risk of overdose. The longer and more frequently a person abuses Halcion, the greater the risk of overdose.
Symptoms of Halcion overdose can include:
- impaired coordination
- stomach cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- suicidal thoughts and tendencies
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that result in a significant risk of physical dependence in individuals who use them consistently for a few weeks or more.
Although not everyone will experience the same level of dependence on Halcion, many people who take the drug for a significant period of time can experience some level of tolerance, followed by withdrawal symptoms.
Physical addiction and dependence to triazolam can result in withdrawal symptoms. Another effect that can occur when abusing triazolam is the rebound effect. When someone discontinues or reduces the dosage of Halcion, symptoms that were absent or controlled by the medication may reappear.
Elderly people are more likely to experience rebound insomnia, or hangover-like effects after stopping Halcion. Individuals who abuse triazolam have a higher potential to experience more severe side effects.
Triazolam is designed to be used for a short period of time, but when someone abuses it for a long time their tolerance to the drug will continually increase until they no longer feel the effects of the medication.
Withdrawal symptoms of triazolam may include:
- mild to severe anxiety
- panic attacks
- depressed mood
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach cramps
- loss of appetite
It is also common for people to abuse Halcion with other substances, like alcohol and stimulants. Mixing triazolam with another CNS depressant like alcohol can cause dangerously reduced breathing rates, and can potentially cause stopped breathing.
Mixing benzodiazepines with stimulants can cause severe and unpredictable side effects, depending on how much of each medication is taken and how much time expires between their consumption.
Due to the high potential for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, it is safest to go through the withdrawal process in a medically-supervised setting.
Medically-Supervised Triazolam Detoxification
In a medically-supervised detox program, treating Halcion addiction usually requires tapering the dose over a series of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the addiction. This is the safest way to begin recovering from Halcion dependence and withdrawal, as it gives individuals a constant medical care and support, should any negative side effects appear.
Trying to detox from triazolam without help can be extremely dangerous, especially if a person has been taking the drug for 12 or more weeks at a time.
It is also possible for treatment specialists to replace Halcion with another, less potent benzodiazepine to help curb withdrawal symptoms while in a medically-supervised setting. Medical detox can help individuals wean off benzodiazepines in a safe and comfortable manner, allowing them to rest, restore health, receive care and support of medical personnel, and prepare for formal treatment.
Treatment Options For Triazolam Addiction
Medical detox is often the first step to recovering from benzodiazepine dependence, the physical addiction. The next step is to address the psychological addiction. During this phase of addiction treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapies have proven to be beneficial in addressing the psychology behind the behaviors that lead to addiction.
Individualized treatment plans increase the likelihood of a successful recovery, as they address each person’s individuals needs and circumstances.
To find out more about triazolam (Halcion) abuse, addiction, and treatment, contact us today.