Halcion (Triazolam) and Xanax (Alprazolam) are Central Nervous System depressants that treat anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, and insomnia. They’re potent and powerful, so they’re often misused by high-risk opioid users, addicts, and those with mental health issues.

Halcion and Xanax belong to the Benzodiazepine family and are thus categorized as sedative medications. However, they treat varying conditions with varying degrees of potency, so they shouldn’t be used in place of the other.

In this article, we’ll discuss the differences and similarities between Halcion and Xanax, including their uses, side effects, and withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Halcion?

Halcion is a Triazolam used to treat insomnia and, to a lesser degree, anxiety and psychosis. It’s a type of Benzodiazepine class, a class of depressant drugs.

Halcion is banned in countries like the UK and Germany. It’s still legal in the US, but it’s prescribed at the lowest possible dose due to its highly addictive nature and unpredictable side effects.

The medication is often given as a short-term solution for insomnia, to be taken for no longer than 10 days. Individuals who take Halcion outside the prescribed amount can become addicted to the drug in as little as two weeks.

When used as intended, Halcion can help people stay asleep longer and prevent them from waking up at night. Like other Benzodiazepines, Halcion slows the body’s respiratory and heart rates. Its hypnotic effects can also decrease brain activity, thus allowing users to reach a deeper level of sleep.

When the drug wears off, various side effects can be observed:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Unplanned sleep
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination

Perhaps the most troubling side effect of this drug is that it can cause the loss of memory in some people. They can likewise cause people to feel as though they’re dreaming when they’re actually awake, causing them to act in unpredictable ways.

Because of its extreme potency, it only takes four tablets to trigger an overdose, which can potentially be life-threatening. It can cause a person to pass out, fall into a coma, or experience respiratory depression/failure. In severe cases, it can cause death.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed psychotropic medications across the globe. In the US alone, it’s given as a prescription over 16 million times.

Under the generic name Alprazolam, Xanax is a fast-acting Benzodiazepine. It’s used to treat generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders. It can also be used to treat depression, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and other health issues.

Xanax works by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that promotes feelings of calm and relaxation. It’s a fast-acting drug, so it’s often abused for short-term gratification. In high dosages, it brings about feelings of euphoria, lethargy, and contentment.

Unlike Halcion, tolerance to Xanax builds quickly. People with Xanax addiction may take up to 20 to 30 tablets a day to achieve the desired effect. 

Signs and Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

The withdrawal symptoms of Halcion and Xanax are much the same. As potent Benzos, they slow down the function of the brain. Without them, the addicted brain becomes hyperactive, causing physical and mental withdrawals.

With continued misuse, a person may experience the following physical symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Seizures
  • Light-headedness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever
  • Muscle cramps
  • Insomnia
  • Issues with memory and movement
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches

Physiological symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal thoughts

Those who develop significant levels of dependence inevitably experience the jarring effects of withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur when a person reduces how much they’re using or when they quit cold turkey.

During withdrawal, the body struggles to reach a state of homeostasis as it expels the remaining influence of the drug from the body. This can result in harmful mental and physical effects with varying intensity. 

Halcion, in particular, can cause a resurgence of insomnia when users stop taking it. This resurgence is known as rebound insomnia. Rebound insomnia usually lasts for two to three days after the last dose. 

The more suddenly the use ends, the more intense the symptoms. As such, those undergoing addiction should refrain from sudden discontinued use. Instead, a medical detox is recommended.

How Long Does Halcion/Xanax Withdrawal Last?

Halcion and Xanax are fast-acting Benzos, so withdrawal starts within a few hours after intake but lasts only a few days, typically between 5 to 14 days. The duration of the withdrawal depends on several factors, including:

  • How often the drug was taken
  • The average dose taken
  • The manner in which the drug was taken (orally, by injection, etc.)
  • Individual factors like genetic profile, metabolism, and weight
  • Whether the drug was taken alongside another substance (alcohol, opioid. etc.)
  • Mental health and medical history

Most of the time, withdrawal symptoms peak 24 to 48 hours after the last dose. During this period, insomnia, paranoia, and anxiety may worsen. Users may start experiencing physical symptoms such as shakiness, muscle cramps, and nausea.

On the third or fourth day, these symptoms feel less intense but nonetheless present.

The majority of the symptoms die down after day five, though some people experience symptoms for another week.

Long-term users may suffer from Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) two to three weeks after the fact. Symptoms include persistent fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep difficulties, and anxiety. These symptoms may appear sporadically from several weeks to months, making PAWs one of the more common causes of relapse.

Final Thoughts

Halcion and Xanax are fast-acting CNS depressants under the Benzodiazepine class. While both slow down the activity in the brain, they’re used for two different applications: Halcion for severe insomnia and Xanax for anxiety and panic disorders.

Both drugs are highly addictive, so they’re often misused. Halcion and Xanax should only be taken under medical supervision and never more than the prescribed dose. If you’ve developed a tolerance for either drug (particularly Xanax), ask your doctor to request a potential dose increase instead of increasing them yourself.

Published on: 2023-03-07
Updated on: 2024-02-01