Halcion is the brand name for Triazolam, a sedative pharmaceutical used mainly for the treatment of severe insomnia. It may also be prescribed for treatment of aggression, anxiety, psychosis or Tourette’s syndrome. Banned in the UK, it is a hypnotic agent belonging to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It is considered the most addictive drug of its kind. Because of this, doctors will prescribe it for no more than 10 days.
Triazolam works by targeting neuroreceptors and depressing the central nervous system. It also slows heart beat and the respiratory system. These effects allow the brain to quiet down and induce a deep sleep. But it is a fast-acting drug that has a very short half-life compared to other benzodiazepine drugs.
A fast-acting drug is one that reaches its target right away, resulting in the user feeling the effects quickly. The half-life is the length of time a drug takes to leave the body and for effects to wear off. Halcion’s half-life is anywhere from one to five hours compared to the average half-life of other drugs in its class, which is two to seven days.
Fast acting drugs with shorter half-lives are more addictive because the high is intense but lasts only a short time. Halcion is particularly troublesome because when used as a sleeping aid, the short duration of the drug’s effects may cause the user to take extra throughout the night to maintain sleep, thereby raising risk for addiction.
Halcion may be illegally diverted during shipping or outright stolen and resold illegally as a street drug. It is also sold through illegal or unscrupulous online pharmacies. The pill is made of a white, crystalline powder that is most often taken orally, as a pill. Some users may feel the need for a more intense high as their tolerance increases so may crush and snort the powder.
What Does Halcion Do To You?
Halcion is fast-acting hypnotic drug with symptoms that include muscle relaxation, reduced anxiety and euphoria. It is these effects that make users seek it out for recreational use. Unfortunately, these effects do not last long. Hence, users take more than the recommended dose, or take repeated doses to maintain a high, or buzz.
When used as a recreational drug, Halcion works much like other benzodiazepine drugs. Some enjoy the induced muscle relaxation and the high obtained by it. Others take it to relieve tension or deal with negative feelings, emotional issues and stress. It is often compared to an alcohol buzz that dulls the response of the nervous system.
Because it is a mood altering chemical, Halcion affects the brain and can quickly create a craving for more. Use of more than 10 days can create a physical dependence as the brain becomes accustomed to increased levels of GABA, which is the neurotransmitter affected by Halcion. And to make matters worse, it loses its efficacy in as little as 3 weeks. This means your body simply does not respond the way it used to, often causing users to take it in higher doses.
Halcion addiction comes on easily and quickly compared to other benzodiazepines, and can quickly lead to overdose. Halcion overdose symptoms are extremely dangerous and may include: confusion, slurred speech, extreme fatigue, weak or shallow breathing, fainting, or coma. If left untreated, overdose can lead to death.
Signs of Halcion Use
Halcion, when prescribed, is mainly used as a sleeping aid. A person who takes this should take it one or two hours before bed. If a person is abusing Halcion or addicted, you may notice physical signs that are indicative of use during normal waking hours. Some of the more outstanding side effects may be slurred speech or staggering. It may appear the person is inebriated or drunk.
There is a high risk for addiction and abuse even when prescribed. Some signs can help you spot suspicious behavior, these are: finishing a prescription before the determined time, shopping around for prescriptions, doctor shopping for repeat prescriptions to feed an addiction. Expending a lot of energy to acquire a drug may be a sign of abuse. The user may also lie about taking it and why.
Other signs of Halcion use include:
- Dilated pupils
- Lack of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Slow breathing
- Legal issues
Sometimes Halcion is taken with other drugs to enhance the effect. This can lead to long term effects such as burning tongue, mania, muscles twitches, amnesia, confusion and changes in libido or menstrual irregularities.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in yourself or a loved one, communication may be a first step to successful intervention. Knowing common street names for Halcion can also help you take charge if you hear one or more used frequently by a loved one.
Street Names for Halcion
As Halcion becomes an addiction, users may buy from local drug dealers. When discussing the purchase, sale or use of a drug, street names are often used to conceal illicit drugs. Halcion is a brand name for Triazolam and the most common street name for this is Up Johns.
Because Halcion is in a class of some of the most abused drugs, it shares many street names with other benzodiazepines, and they may be used interchangeably. Some of these are:
- Sleep pills
Triazolam is the generic term for this drug while Halcion is the most popular brand name. But there are other brand names too, and they may be used by those abusing the drug. Brand names for Triazolam include:
Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms
Helcion withdrawal symptoms can be disruptive, uncomfortable and in extreme cases, lethal. Withdrawal symptoms may begin within 6 to 24 hours from the last dose and continue for as little as two weeks to over a year. Stopping the drug abruptly, or cold turkey, can be dangerous or life-threatening and lead to post-acute withdrawal syndrome also known as PAWS. Some PAWS’ symptoms include: extreme fatigue, panic, fear, hostility, and aggression.
Early stages of withdrawal include the most intense physical symptoms. These can include:
- Muscle spasms
- Increased heart rate
Psychological symptoms are common during the early stage and into the next stage of withdrawal. These can include anxiety, as the brain is not creating the amount of the neurotransmitter, GABA, as it did before the addiction took hold. Other symptoms include depression and insomnia as the body adjusts. More intense withdrawal symptoms to watch for include:
- Rebound insomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach cramps
These are more prominent if an addict was habitually using Halcion along with other drugs or alcohol.
Treatment for Halcion Addiction
Treatment for Halcion addiction begins with physical detoxification. Side effects can be severe so, medical intervention is recommended. Because of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures and coma, some pharmaceuticals may be used to aid in the detoxification process.
Medical detoxification may begin with a physician overseeing the use of Halcion in controlled doses and tapering off by using less each day until the drug is effectively out of the system. Some doctors may prefer to use another, less intense benzodiazepine to mimic effects of Halcion while detoxing.
A favored transition drug is trazodone, or Oleptro, which has similar effects to Halcion. It is generally considered safer and can be used in smaller doses to achieve desired results while detoxing. Replacing Halcion with the less strong drug can ease some of the more severe withdrawal symptoms.
Once physical detoxification is complete, follow up must be focused on to address the psychological addiction. As in recovery treatments for other drugs, the addict must come to terms with and learn how to manage substance abuse to avoid relapse.
Outpatient treatment is the most popular method with Halcion addiction, but inpatient may be required if the patient had a co-addiction or recurring addiction. Both are effective and the method will depend on the amount of drug(s) used and the length of time the addiction has been in control.
In either case therapy or counseling is used and may be individual or in a group setting. Both are often recommended as individual counseling can help uncover negative thought and behavioral patterns and learn new coping skills. Group therapy is helpful for addicts to interact with others who are recovering. They may be able to give guidance and share experiences, allowing the addict to see they are not alone.
No matter which method of treatment is used, individual plans tailored to the patient will increase the likelihood of success. If you or a loved one is addicted to Halcion, don’t wait. Contact an addiction treatment center and get help today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.