Sedative. Most benzos (including Ativan and Klonopin) are prescribed to treat a broad scope of anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, and epilepsy, but Halcion is explicitly used to treat insomnia.
However, having a more specific purpose doesn’t make Halcion users less susceptible to abuse and addiction. In fact, it’s even more dangerous than some benzos. In order to be an effective sleep aid, it’s stronger and faster-acting than many of its counterparts, which causes it to have a greater risk of overdose.
Therefore, Halcion is intended to be a short-term solution to insomnia. Generally, doctors only prescribe up to 10 days’ worth of medication, as users can become dependent on it within a matter of weeks.
Like other benzos, Halcion works by inhibiting activity in the central nervous system, which induces feelings of calmness and sedation. Unlike other benzos, Halcion’s main goal is to induce sleep, so it starts working much quicker.
This drug enters the brain by mimicking a naturally produced chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Halcion mimics this natural GABA flow, so it binds with receptors in the brain, activates them over and over, and creates an excess flood of GABA.
Probably the most common reason that many people don’t recognize the signs of Halcion addiction is that it’s a prescription medication. Therefore, it carries the false perception that it’s safe to misuse. Even someone engaging in Halcion abuse may not realize there’s a problem until things have escalated to addiction.
Here are some common side effects associated with regular Halcion abuse, which can be signs of a growing problem:
As someone’s dependence on Halcion progresses into full-blown addiction, it’s usually marked by a loss of control over their use. They’ll compulsively start using Halcion, despite the negative impact that doing so might have on their job, relationships, finances, and health.
Other signs of Halcion addiction include:
It’s highly recommended that treatment for addictive substances start with a supervised medical detox. This process is meant to treat acute intoxication and prevent the substances from causing further damage by flushing them out of the individual’s system.
Medical detox is definitely an important step in treating Halcion addiction. Benzos have the most dangerous and unpredictable withdrawal symptoms that someone in detox could experience.
Because of the life-threatening potential of a Halcion detox, it should never be attempted without some level of medical supervision. Common symptoms of Halcion withdrawal include panic attacks, suicidal behavior, hallucinations, seizures, and delirium.
Someone who’s been taking heavy amounts of Halcion within a short time span may also experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. This condition lengthens the withdrawal process, intensifies the symptoms, and produces atypical outcomes.
Choosing to detox in a safe, controlled environment means you’ll be carefully monitored by an experienced detox team who can handle potential complications and provide medications to ease withdrawal symptoms.
In order to increase the chances of long-term sobriety, the next step in Halcion addiction treatment should be ongoing care in either an inpatient or outpatient program. An inpatient program involves living onsite at a treatment facility. This option removes the patient from triggers and provides them with 24/7 access to medical and therapeutic care. Outpatient treatment also provides a more flexible recovery program, which involves commuting to treatment sessions.
Both forms of treatment involve developing a better understanding of addiction, especially the user’s root causes of their specific behavior. Clinicians will use different types of therapies and treatment modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, group counseling, holistic therapy, and relapse prevention planning. Therefore, they will learn to develop the necessary tools for managing their addiction in a more effective, positive manner.
Because Halcion works differently than other benzos and is used for different purposes, it comes with several dangerous side effects that other benzos don’t produce. Even when someone is using it exactly as prescribed, they still have a large risk of experiencing these common side effects while sleeping:
Upon waking, Halcion users will generally have no memory of doing these things. While talking in your sleep can be harmless, driving a car creates a significantly hazardous situation for yourself and others.
In addition, misusing and abusing Halcion can also lead to a rebound effect, which involves them taking Halcion much longer than intended. They’ve built up such a strong tolerance to the drug’s effects that they no longer work, and their original insomnia symptoms return, usually much worse than they were before they started using it.
Still, it’s possible to fatally overdose on just Halcion, which includes these symptoms:
There’s no such a thing as “safe” substance abuse, not even when a drug has been prescribed to you. With that in mind, is your loved one struggling with Halcion abuse or addiction? Are you? If so, it’s important for you to treat it with the seriousness it requires and get help before it’s too late.
Dodds, T. J. (2017, March 02). Prescribed Benzodiazepines and Suicide Risk. from http://www.psychiatrist.com/PCC/article/Pages/2017/v19n02/16r02037.aspx
Harvard Health Publishing. (2011, February). Overcoming Insomnia. from https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/overcoming-insomnia
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 15). Benzodiazepines and Opioids. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids