According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disturbances. Included in that figure are the estimated 10 percent of Americans who suffer from diagnosable insomnia. Whether you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, sleep disorders can affect your whole life, even outside of the bedroom. Those wishing to find relief for the constant tossing and turning in bed often seek the remedy in prescription drugs like Halcion, Ambien and Lunesta. Consequently, these medications do come with a host of side effects and should be used with caution.
What Is Halcion?
First approved for medical use in 1982, Halcion is a sedative-hypnotic that is classified as a triazolobenzodiazepine. Much like other benzodiazepines, Halcion affects the brain’s nervous system, creating a calming and relaxing sensation so the user can effectively get to sleep. Halcion is only intended to be used on a short-term basis for no longer than one month.
General side effects include drowsiness, loss of coordination or muscle weakness. Halcion does have a host of other side effects that appear to be related to dosage levels; however, some may be considered more serious than others:
- Weak or shallow breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Unusual changes in behavior, such as aggression, hostility or irritability
- Slurred speech
- Suicidal thoughts
- Muscle weakness
- Nausea, abdominal cramps or stomach pain
- Pale skin
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Fever, chills and body aches
- Memory loss
It’s been reported that after regular use for up to 10 days, Halcion users have experienced daytime anxiety, abnormal thoughts and anterograde amnesia. Memory loss and thought disturbances are perhaps the most troublesome of the side effects reported by users. Unusual thoughts included excessive extroversion, decreased levels of inhibition, aggression, hostility, depersonalization (a disorder characterized by a sense of detachment from one’s surroundings), and possible suicidal thoughts. Memory loss, on the other hand, has been reported from use of not only Halcion but other benzodiazepines as well. Halcion users also cite a condition called traveler’s amnesia. Traveler’s amnesia occurs when an individual takes Halcion to help sleep while traveling.
Other potential side effects included sleepwalking, having sex, making or eating food, having conversations, and driving while sleeping. These activities can be very dangerous and Halcion users are unlikely to be fully aware of what they are doing. If you experience any of these sleep activities, please consult your physician immediately.
Risk of Addiction and Abuse
When using benzodiazepines, there is always the risk of addiction, tolerance, dependence and abuse. It’s been noted that tolerance to Halcion can develop in as little as a few weeks of use, which can further develop into a physical and psychological dependence. The loss of effectiveness can become problematic for those using it, and it is possible that users can mix Halcion with other drugs or alcohol in order to feel the same initial effects. This type of abusive behavior can be accompanied by taking more of the medication than necessary and by potential addictive behaviors like forging prescriptions and lying about Halcion use. It’s not often that users intend to abuse or become addicted to Halcion, but it’s not to say that it can’t happen.
Do You Need Treatment for Halcion Abuse?
If you or a loved shows signs of Halcion addiction or abuse, it’s important to seek medical attention. It is advised not to abruptly discontinue Halcion use without a medical professional’s assistance. Withdrawal side effects can be very unpleasant and cause rebound anxiety and insomnia, sometimes worse than before Halcion was taken.
Don’t let Halcion abuse or addiction keep you from living a full and happy life. Here at The Oaks at La Paloma, we can help you find ways to withdraw from Halcion safely and teach you how to manage your insomnia using alternative therapies. For more information, contact us today.