Halcion Addiction and Treatment

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Halcion is within the benzodiazepine class of drugs, and it is among the most addictive of the options. Halcion has a sedative-hypnotic effect that is commonly used to treat issues like anxiety, insomnia, and some alcohol withdrawal-related symptoms. It also has a relaxant effect on muscles. When taken as directed, Halcion provides users with relaxation and euphoria, making it particularly effective for anxiety and panic disorders. It also has a sedative effect, which may help patients sleep more soundly and fall asleep more easily.

Is Halcion addictive?

Yes, Halcion has a high addiction potential. In fact, Halcion is considered one of the most addictive forms of benzodiazepine available. Benzos addiction can develop in as little as two weeks, even if it used according to a physician’s prescription.

Effects After Taking Halcion

  • Relaxation and lessened muscle pain
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced alcohol withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduced symptoms of anxiety or panic

There are some negative effects this drug can have as well, even when taken as directed:

  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Confusion and lack of balance
  • Mental impairment
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Double vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing

Negative reactions can occur even when the drug is taken as directed. Doctors generally don’t prescribe Halcion for more than ten days at a time due to its high probability of becoming addictive. Even when used entirely as directed, patients may still become dependent on Halcion within a short period time – sometimes in as little as two weeks.

What are the Side Effects of Halcion?

The side effects of Halcion may include:

  • Sleepiness/drowsiness
  • Confusion and lack of balance
  • Mental impairment
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Double vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing

Despite its track record for being addictive, up to 1.2 million Americans are prescribed Halcion each year. Over sixty thousand sought treatment in 2008 for benzodiazepine drugs addiction.
Halcion abuse is defined as any use of the drug that isn’t approved by a medical professional. This includes taking it longer than prescribed, in higher doses, taking it without a prescription, and taking it alongside other drugs.
Many people who abuse Halcion are polydrug users, meaning they use several substances at once in order to intensify the high effect or offset the effects of another drug. Common drugs taken alongside Halcion include:

  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Prescription pain medications

When taken with alcohol, which is a nervous system depressant, the brain and central nervous system slow down to the point that users may stop breathing. Halcion may also be taken to avoid some of the more negative stimulant effects of Heroin and similar drugs. Most long-term addicts taking benzodiazepine drugs are also taking additional drugs or alcohol.

Risk Groups and Factors

Since Halcion is prescribed most often for insomnia and anxiety disorders, those who suffer from these disorders may be most likely to abuse the drug and become addicted.
Veterans and those who have co-occurring disorders often abuse anxiety drugs to self-medicate. Those who have been deployed are often more at risk due to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Insomnia is also common with those who have this disorder.
Professionals with high-stress careers are also more likely to abuse drugs, as they often suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness, and stress related to work.
Anyone who takes Halcion is at risk of becoming addicted. This drug is only used in extreme cases for this reason, as it is highly addictive even when taken as directed and in the short-term. Other risk factors for becoming addicted are:
Medical problems – Those with certain medical conditions, such as alcohol withdrawal or muscle pain, may be more likely to abuse sedative drugs in order to try and control their conditions.
Mental illness – Patients with anxiety and panic disorders may continue to take Halcion longer than directed, or in higher doses than recommended. As users become tolerant to benzodiazepine at the doctor recommended dose, they may need to take larger amounts in order to achieve the same results. This makes the risk of overdose exponentially more likely.
Drug use – Users of other drugs may also be more likely to abuse Halcion. They often either combine Halcion with similar depressant drugs in order to intensify the effects, or with stimulants to balance them out. Neither is a good idea in terms of health, as both can lead to overdose very quickly.
Family life – Those with immediate family members who suffer from addiction, either to benzodiazepine medications, alcohol, or illegal drugs should be especially careful. They may be more likely to become addicted themselves.

Warning Signs

It can be hard to determine the addiction and admit the problem.
One may be addicted to Halcion if:

  • One takes it every day
  • One thinks about it when not using it
  • One take it in higher doses, or more often than prescribed
  • The work or home life has suffered from its use
  • One suffers withdrawal symptoms if one has gone longer than usual without taking it
  • One has tried to stop using the drug, but it was unsuccessful

If one is dealing with a friend or family member who may be abusing the drug, the warning signs could be more apparent. Keep in mind, though, that some symptoms of drug abuse are also common among those with anxiety and depression.
Loved ones may be addicted if they:

  • Have lost interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • Have stopped caring about personal hygiene
  • Seem confused, disoriented, or drowsy much of the time
  • Appear “drunk” much of the time – staggering gait, slurred speech, and impaired balance
  • Are unusually tired more often
  • Display a sudden change in personality, or has frequent mood swings
  • Spend money rapidly with no good explanation on what it’s being spent on
  • Behave in a secretive manner, such as locking one out of their bedroom

If any of these behaviors are noticed, seek professional assistance immediately.

Halcion Abuse and Addiction Statistics

Doctors prescribe Halcion approximately 1.2 million times a year.
There were over 60 thousand people admitted to treatment in 2008, for benzodiazepines, such as Halcion.
Approximately 68% of users are female, and only 32% of users are male.

Treatment For Halcion Abuse

Unlike some other drugs in which the detoxification process is uncomfortable, but not always dangerous, getting off Halcion is a delicate process.
Users may suffer from severe health complications and some even die during the withdrawal stages.
Detoxification should only be done under direct supervision of medical personnel in an inpatient addiction treatment facility designed to handle severe withdrawal symptoms.
Users may suffer from severe health complications and some even die during the withdrawal stages.
Once the detox period has passed, counseling and peer support groups are also beneficial. Treatment facility often offers these services as well, and ongoing counseling is often recommended upon discharge.

Page Sources

  1. The US Food and Drug Administration. HALCION (TRIAZOLAM) Label. 2016. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2016/017892s049lbl.pdf.
  2. Medline Plus. Triazolam. 2019. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684004.html.

Published on: October 2nd, 2015

Updated on: December 18th, 2019

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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