Prescription drug abuse and addiction are massive problems in the U.S. right now. There is hardly a day that goes by where the prescription drug epidemic isn’t mentioned in the media. It affects people from all communities and walks of life. Prescription drug abuse coverage often focuses on opioids, but there are other drug classes of concern as well. Benzodiazepines are one of these. Benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants, and they’re among the most commonly prescribed medicines in the country. Some of the more well-known benzos include Xanax and Klonopin, but there are many others.
One benzodiazepine is called Halcion. The generic name of Halcion is triazolam. Halcion is different from some other benzos because it’s very fast-acting. It also has a short half-life. The half-life of Halcion is just two to four hours, while the half-life of Xanax is 12 to 15 hours, as an example. The Valium half-life is even longer at 20 to 70 hours. Halcion is usually prescribed to treat insomnia. It’s not necessarily useful for people who struggle with staying asleep since it is so fast-acting. Instead, it’s better for people who need help falling asleep. Halcion can also be used to help people who struggle with sleep cycle disorders because of jet lag. Sometimes it’s given to patients who are going to undergo certain procedures like an MRI. This potent benzodiazepine doesn’t typically keep people asleep for any more than two hours.
While the half-life is shorter, the effects of Halcion are similar to other drugs in its class. It targets GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is a naturally-occurring neurotransmitter responsible for slowing hyperactivity in the brain. When the brain is too active, it can cause conditions like insomnia, as well as anxiety and panic disorders. Halcion improves the effects of GABA, allowing a person to feel calm enough to fall asleep. When any drug affects the brain and neurotransmitters, there is a potential for addiction. This addiction risk is why Halcion should only be used as a short-term medication. It’s usually only prescribed for up to 10 days.
Halcion abuse can be difficult to distinguish, even in one’s self. The reason is that people may think since they’re taking a prescription medication, it’s safe. However, not following prescription instructions can create serious risks including addiction, dependence and negative health effects. Halcion abuse isn’t the same as addiction, but abusing this medication is one of the primary risk factors for developing an addiction. Signs of Halcion abuse can include:
- Drowsiness, confusion and concentration problems
- Unsteady walking
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Slow breathing
- Taking higher doses than what’s instructed by a doctor
- Taking Halcion more often than prescribed
- Using Halcion for an extended period of time
- Using it without a prescription
- Combining Halcion with other substances, such as alcohol
Because Halcion affects brain chemistry, it can change pathways and cause compulsive drug use and cravings, which are known as addiction. Addiction is a disease, and it is treatable, but it requires professional help for many people. Signs of Halcion addiction include:
- Continuing to take Halcion, even when bad things happen
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Feeling out of control of drug use
- Obsessively focusing on Halcion and how to obtain and take more
- Ignoring responsibilities at school or work
- Doctor shopping or trying to get multiple prescriptions
- Stealing Halcion
- Trying to stop using Halcion unsuccessfully
- Physical dependence
With benzodiazepines, many people who misuse and are addicted to these drugs are using more than one drug. This means that Halcion might not be the only addiction someone suffers from. Benzo addictions often occur alongside alcohol and opioid addictions. People also use benzos to come down from stimulants like cocaine.
Long-term benzodiazepine abuse and addiction can lead to wide-ranging symptoms. Halcion abuse and addiction can cause impairment of cognitive function and declines in mental and physical health. People may have reduced cognitive ability, mood swings and memory issues. Concentration problems, sexual dysfunction and depression can occur. While these longer-term symptoms of Halcion can take some time to go away after a person stops using, most people do return to their baseline state within about six months.
For people struggling with Halcion, another substance or a polydrug addiction, call The Recovery Village. There’s no reason to suffer alone when recovery from the disease of addiction is possible.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.