Benzodiazepine drugs have been used for decades to treat sleep and anxiety disorders, and medications like Halcion have gained popularity for the anxiolytic effects it produces. Around the United States, nearly 70 million American’s struggle with an inability to fall asleep. Sleep disorders like insomnia are all too common. In a fast-paced world where we are attached to our technology, it’s hard to let go and get comfortable. Unfortunately, this translates to the skyrocketing cases of sleep disorders each year.
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You will be hard pressed to find someone over the age of 10 years old without a cell phone today. Our technology has become a significant part of our daily lives, and it’s difficult to put them down before bed. Our phones by our nightstand may not seem like a big deal, but technology is affecting us in ways we could never fathom. It’s a nasty cycle that is pushing us into using sleep-aids that can lead to potentially addictive behaviors.
Our phones suppress melatonin, keep our brain alert, and wake us up when we’re otherwise naturally sleepy. The blue light screens can restrain the production of melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm. A reduction in melatonin is going to make it difficult to fall asleep, and keeping your mind engaged can trick the brain into thinking it needs to stay awake. In addition to using the phone, keeping it in close proximity can also disturb your ability to sleep.
The ability to fall asleep is an essential function to a healthy life, and those who sacrifice their sleep to use technology, work, or struggle with a sleep disorder usually turn to drugs for help.
Unfortunately, this is not a sustainable means of living. Benzo drugs are seldom prescribed for longer than three weeks at a time because of the risk of dependence, which can translate to withdrawal symptoms. Benzodiazepine drugs, in particular, produce dangerous and sometimes deadly withdrawals.
What Is Halcion?
Halcion, which is also known as triazolam, is a fast-acting benzodiazepine used to treat sleep disorders. It shares similar characteristics to Xanax but is not used to treat anxiety due to the short half-life and sheer potency. Halcion is used in routine medical procedures under a doctor’s supervision and can be extremely useful when used this way.
Like other benzodiazepines, Halcion is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and it shares the classification with barbiturates, alcohol, and other sleep aids.
Depressants can cause several adverse side effects that can stretch from tolerance, addiction, and even death. For this reason, it is only designed to be used in the short-term.
What Are Halcion Withdrawal Symptoms?
As mentioned, benzos can cause severe physical dependence. Halcion is not exempt and does so in two specific ways. One is to develop a tolerance that requires more extreme doses to achieve the effects, and the other is to experience withdrawal symptoms once you reduce the dose or stop altogether.
Halcion is a short-acting drug, which means the half-life ranges anywhere from 1.5 to 5.5 hours. Withdrawal will occur due to changes that take place in brain chemistry, and tolerance usually develops in two weeks.
Common Halcion withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Delirium Tremens (DTs)
Halcion is a highly potent drug with a rapid absorption rate. This translates into withdrawal and can start in a few hours. If there is any positive that can be taken is that Halcion withdrawal will not last as long as other benzos. Halcion users have reported their symptoms last anywhere from five days to two weeks.
The intensity of the withdrawal will be influenced by:
- The amount of Halcion consumed
- Length of time Halcion has been used
- How frequently the person took Halcion
- The person’s mental health and medical history
- Whether Halcion was used with other drugs
Those who consume long-lasting benzos, in addition to Halcion, can experience more prolonged withdrawals than those who use the drug alone.
Stages of Halcion Withdrawal Timeline
- First 24 hours: Withdrawal symptoms can initiate within the first five hours after cessation; anxiety and rebound insomnia will be the early noted symptoms.
- Days 1-2: Withdrawal symptoms will peak within 24 to 48 hours after your last dose. Anxiety and insomnia will continue to get worse, and you may also experience nausea, shakiness, and muscle cramps.
- Days 3-4: At this point, the symptoms will gradually decrease in intensity, and you will start to feel better. A heavy Halcion user can still experience severe symptoms.
- Days 5 and beyond: At this point, the withdrawal symptoms should completely start to dissipate. Heavy users may experience Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), which can last weeks or months, but moderate users should begin to feel normal again.
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Should I Detox?
Benzodiazepine abuse warrants medically-supervised care because of the life-threatening side effects that can occur during withdrawal. Medical detoxification will help Halcion users navigate past the dangers and reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Anyone who attempts to stop using on their own places themselves in harm’s way for seizures, which can be fatal. Specialists all agree that you should never stop benzos in this manner.
Clinicians are available around the clock to offer their services and monitor the client. They are specially trained to respond to any emergency that can occur. The process will include a tapering schedule that will lessen the effects you can experience. Clinicians will determine what works best, as all cases are unique.
What Is The Next Treatment Step?
The severity of your addiction will indicate the difference between entering into a residential program or outpatient treatment. Many people find that detaching from reality is the best way on their path toward sobriety, while others take a less intensive approach to remain engaged in their education or job. It’s imperative that you enter into some form of treatment after the completion of detox. Either way, following in the continuum of care will teach you healthy habits as you transition into a newly founded sober lifestyle.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). (n.d.). Retrieved from from https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). 8: Definition of dependence. Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-drug-addiction/section-iii-action-heroin-morphine/8-definition-dependence
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Prescription CNS Depressants. Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants
How Technology Impacts Sleep Quality. (n.d.). Retrieved from from https://www.sleep.org/articles/ways-technology-affects-sleep/
Sleep Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11429-common-sleep-disorders