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Halcion Withdrawal

Halcion, or the generic name, triazolam, is a prescription benzodiazepine medicine that is mainly prescribed to treat sleep disorders. Sometimes it is prescribed for anxiety disorders too.  Once taken, Halcion acts rather fast because it has a short half-life of between 1.5 and 5.5 hours, causing sleepiness. This is one reason it’s prescribed for insomnia so often.

Halcion is considered quite addictive, and even taking it for just a short time can cause someone to become dependent on it.  Physicians state that you should not take Halcion for more than three weeks due to it being highly habit-forming. Tolerance can build quickly, leaving you with needing more to get the same drowsiness effect. Tolerance does not necessarily mean you are addicted, but it may mean that you can experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking Halcion.

Side Effects of Halcion Abuse

A 2015 study released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) highlights that nearly 636,000 people in the United States are abusing Halcion. Prescription drug abuse and addiction have reached epidemic proportions in the country. The most recent reports from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control back up that statement, and in 2017, nearly 72,000 people died from a drug overdose. The number includes overdoses as a result of prescription drug abuse.

Abusing Halcion can lead to devastating side effects, both mental and physical. Short-term side effects may include:

  • Memory issues
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dizziness
  • Unstable walking

Long-term effects of Halcion abuse may include:

  • Depression
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Memory problems
  • Decline in mental and physical health
  • Impaired cognitive functioning

Addiction to benzodiazepines is common, and someone that abuses these drugs is likely to become tolerant of the substance. Once you have developed a tolerance for benzodiazepines, you will likely become dependent. 

Benzodiazepine dependence can cause withdrawal symptoms in those who abruptly stop using the medicine. If you believe you have become dependent on Halcion, you need to educate yourself about the withdrawal symptoms. Benzo withdrawal can be dangerous, and in some cases, fatal.

What Are Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms?

Once you’ve become dependent on or addicted to Halcion, you’re likely to experience a variety of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. Some people might experience mild symptoms, and others might experience more severe symptoms. The severity or timeframe may vary from person to person, depending on factors such as:

  • The dosage of the drug
  • Frequency taken
  • Whether or not it’s being abused
  • Severity of addiction
  • Overall health condition
  • Taper schedule
  • Age
  • Metabolism
  • Whether or not other drugs are being used or abused

As with any benzodiazepine, a gradual taper from the drug ought to be done, as this will help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It is dangerous to stop taking Halcion cold turkey, so be sure that you’re working with a medical professional regarding a taper schedule.

Common Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms include:

  • Body aches
  • Increased sweating
  • Fever
  •  Fast heart rate
  • Body shaking
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Seizures
  •  Hallucinations

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What Are the Stages of Halcion Withdrawal Timeline?

As mentioned before, the timeframe to get through Halcion withdrawal can vary depending on various factors.  It’s tough to know exactly who will experience what. On average, the general timeframe is as follows:

Because Halcion has a very short half-life, withdrawal symptoms can set in quickly.  You might find yourself experiencing withdrawal in as little as two hours, but generally within the first 12 hours, you’ll feel some early symptoms like anxiety or trouble sleeping.

The first couple of days may be the most intensive for you. Some withdrawal symptoms may peak during this time, including body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, increased anxiety, sweating, or shaking.

For mild to moderate users, symptoms may ease on days three and four. For heavy users, you may still feel some intense symptoms these days. It’s helpful to have a firm support network to rely on during this time.

For mild to moderate users, symptoms may ease on days three and four. For heavy users, you may still feel some intense symptoms these days. It’s helpful to have a firm support network to rely on during this time.

For those that are tapering at a slow pace, withdrawal symptoms may linger on for a while.  If you’re decreasing dosage at a faster pace, as directed by a medical professional, symptoms may begin subsiding after the first week. For some people, withdrawal symptoms can linger on for weeks or months depending on the taper schedule. It’s best to discuss the timeframe and your symptoms with a substance abuse professional.

Rebound Insomnia

Halcion is typically prescribed for the short-term relief of insomnia. Those who build a tolerance to Halcion will experience a resurgence of their insomnia, which is known as rebound symptoms when they stop using the drug. It is one of the most common withdrawal symptoms you can expect when stopping Halcion. Rebound insomnia typically lasts for two or three days after your last dose. 

Why Should I Detox?

If you become dependent on or addicted to a drug, it’s important to learn about detoxing so that you can keep yourself safe.  Detoxing means that as you stop taking the drug, or tapering off of it, your body gets rid of the toxins associated with that drug.  It “detoxes” them over time, and this can cause some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

It is always recommended to detox under the care of a medical professional. This could be an addiction specialist, residential rehab center, detox center, or physician.  When you reach out for professional help, you’ll be much more apt to have a safe withdrawal, as you’ll be under supervision.

Quitting any drug cold turkey is not recommended, because doing so can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepines should never be stopped cold turkey, so be sure that you consult with a medical professional to set up a taper schedule.

What is the Next Treatment Step?

Detox is the first step toward addiction treatment.  You can usually go through the detox phase at a residential treatment center or an outpatient treatment center.

Residential Treatment Center

When you enter a residential treatment center, you’ll commit to living at the center for the duration of your treatment. 

Many people opt to stay at least 28 days, but the length of stay could be upwards of six months to a year, depending on the severity of the addiction. 

While you’re in treatment, you’ll have access to a physician, addiction specialist, and compassionate and caring staff. 

You may be able to attend support groups as well. You’ll learn a great deal about addiction recovery and gain tools that you can use to help you as you return home. 

Man throwing up into a green bucket

The 24/7 monitoring and different surroundings can be valuable as you recover from Halcion addiction, especially if your addiction is severe.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is a good option for people who can’t be away from home overnight for any length of time. An outpatient treatment center provides much of the same type of treatment, but you’ll commute to the center as opposed to living there.  You’ll attend a certain number of sessions during the week and decrease the number as you become stronger in your recovery. This is a great choice for those who have work or family responsibilities to attend.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

For those who need more time than outpatient treatment, yet cannot commit to residential treatment, IOP is a great option. This is a bit more intensive than outpatient treatment, requiring you to attend more hours each week. Many people who finish residential treatment opt to attend IOP for a while to strengthen their recovery and then graduate to outpatient treatment.

Sources

National Institute for Drug Abuse. Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

Web MD. Halcion. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-6816/halcion-oral/details

Very Well Health. What is Triazolam (Halcion)? Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/triazolam

Peters, B. (2019, May 15). How Your Sleep Problems Can Worsen After Stopping Sleeping Pills. Retrieved from https://www.verywellhealth.com/rebound-insomnia-how-long-sleep-worsens-after-stopping-pills-3014747

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_2716/ShortReport-2716.html

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