Klonopin Addiction and Abuse

Klonopin is a prescription medication not recommended for long term use due to its potential to form dependence, addiction, and fatal withdrawal symptoms.

Clonazepam - Addiction | Table of Contents

Understanding Klonopin (Clonazepam)

Klonopin is the brand name of the long-acting benzodiazepine Clonazepam. This drug functions by slowing down the user’s brain activity to make them feel more relaxed. Klonopin was originally formulated for helping people with epilepsy manage seizures and was later used for the treatment of anxiety, panic attacks, and withdrawal symptoms of substance abuse. The drug may also be prescribed for the treatment of short-term insomnia. Klonopin is available as a blue tablet to swallow or a quick-dissolve tablet to keep under the tongue. This medication is generally prescribed three times a day in most cases. Drowners, benzos, tranks, and k-pins are the slang terms for this potent drug.

Klonopin is not recommended for long-term use due to its addictive features and long half-life. The definition of half-life refers to the time required for the drug to decrease to half its initial potency.

FAQ

What does a Klonopin do to you?

Clonazepam is used primarily for the prevention and management of seizures. This medication is widely recognized as an anticonvulsant or an antiepileptic drug and is also used for the treatment of panic attacks. Clonazepam operates by calming down the brain and nerves.

How Long Do Benzos Stay in the User’s Body?

Brand Xanax Librium Klonopin
Length of Action Short-Acting Intermediate Long-Acting
Time 6-10 Hours 5-30 Hours 18-50 Hours

Klonopin Effects, Abuse, and Addiction

Although Klonopin is an essential and effective drug for the treatment of severe medical conditions, its highly addictive feature makes this drug a potential for abuse. Consumption of Klonopin without a prescription or beyond what was prescribed is considered abuse. This medication consumed at a high dosage can significantly depress the central nervous system, resulting in a short-lived euphoria followed by an intoxicated, hazy stupor. Some users crush the pill and turn it into a powder for snorting. The effects caused by the drug are intense when consumed in this manner.

Here are a few symptoms of Klonopin abuse when consumed in high doses:

  • Vertigo
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Slow reaction time
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired cognition
  • Reduced libido
  • Numbness
  • Dizziness

Some users take Klonopin in large doses to experience its hallucinatory effects. No matter the intention of the user, taking this potent drug in large doses can result in an overdose that can be fatal. Misusing it in high doses can lead to a decrease in heart rate and breathing impairments, which could quite easily result in a coma or death.

Signs of a Klonopin overdose include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unsteady walking
  • Memory impairment
  • Reduced attention span
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Slurred speech

Risks of paradoxical reactions are another side effect of long-term abuse of this potent drug. These reactions are the exact opposite of what the medication was initially meant to treat.

Here are a few symptoms of prolonged Klonopin abuse:

  • Poor sleep
  • Agitation
  • Increased irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks

Long term consumption of this medication can result in the formation of dependence and tolerance, and many patients get addicted to the drug despite adherence to their doctor’s prescription. This medication works by blocking the user’s brain receptors that govern relaxation, stress, and anxiety. Once the formation of dependence occurs, a patient can no longer function without the drug and may experience withdrawal when the drug is no longer consumed. Tolerance can result in the need for higher dosages as patients no longer feel its effect at lower doses.

As Klonopin dependence can develop within a month of consumption, patients are highly advised to seek medical assistance when planning to cease the consumption of Klonopin.

FAQ

Is Klonopin right for anxiety?

Klonopin (clonazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are benzodiazepines that are generally prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.

How does Klonopin make you feel?

Clonazepam has the ability to soothe the body and alleviate physical symptoms when used appropriately. While most users initially experience mild euphoria when taking clonazepam, others report feeling relaxed and heavy while using the substance.

How long does it take for Klonopin to kick in?

Most individuals will require Klonopin doses two or three times per day to attain the intended effect. Klonopin will reach its peak concentration levels within one to four hours of use, but the rate of absorption will vary from person to person. The effects of the drug may last for up to twelve hours.

Can you take Klonopin every day?

Clonazepam can be taken daily at regular intervals or as needed. Generally, your health care provider will advise on the number of doses, dosage, and the method of consumption that is most appropriate based on your response.

Can you take Klonopin daily for anxiety?

Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin significantly decrease abnormal electrical activity in the brain, which is why they are often used to relieve and treat anxiety. Thus, you can take Klonopin one to three times a day for anxiety, with or without food.

Common Klonopin Drug Combinations

Polydrug use is prevalent among Klonopin users. They use other drugs to either enhance or mask the effects of Klonopin. Some users combine potent stimulants, such as cocaine, to counteract the sedative impacts of Klonopin to experience an intense high or sleep better. Cocaine is a stimulant that suppresses the effects of Klonopin, making the user take more and more pills without realizing the risk of a potential overdose. The half-life of cocaine is shorter than that of Klonopin and thus requiring the user to take more cocaine to maintain the desired high.

Fatal overdose is the most dangerous outcome of combining Klonopin with other CNS depressants such as alcohol. The combined effects of alcohol and Klonopin can slow down the central nervous system of the user to a point where they are no longer breathing.

No matter the combination, lethal overdose and other serious side effects can result in dire consequences.

FAQ

What drug can replace Klonopin?

Gabapentin, pregabalin, and sustained-release melatonin can be used as alternatives to clonazepam for RBD treatment, as pointed out by Escribá and Hoyo. Even though clonazepam is the first-line treatment for RBD, it should be used with extreme care in some patient populations.

Will Klonopin stop a panic attack?

Klonopin slows down the central nervous system by impacting the GABA receptors, which in turn reduces nervousness and agitation while promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. This action also helps in diminishing the severity of anxiety and panic attacks.

Recognizing a Klonopin Addiction

The high availability of Klonopin in the market increases the risk of addictions. Some users who take the medication through a prescription don’t even realize that they have developed a dependency upon it.

Prolonged use of this drug can lead to alterations of the brain’s neurochemistry. These changes then result in physical and mental dependence. Nevertheless, not all who misuse the drug necessarily develop an addiction.

Signs of a Klonopin addiction include:

  • Using Klonopin to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Spending a lot of time on getting Klonopin
  • Persistent cravings for Klonopin
  • Engaging in dangerous behavior
  • Making persistent failed attempts to cut down the usage
  • Ignoring responsibilities
  • Doctor shopping for prescriptions
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Purchasing Klonopin off the street

Signs of Klonopin (Clonazepam) Abuse and Addiction

Recognizing an addiction to this drug is difficult, as the users who misuse it often know how to keep their medications hidden from others.

Symptoms of addictions to this drug can be physical, behavioral, and psychological:

Behavioral Symptoms may include:

  • Obsessive drug-seeking behavior
  • Financial problems
  • Legal difficulties
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of personal relationships or isolation
  • Drowsiness
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • No longer engaging in once-enjoyed activities
  • Increased agitation

Physical Symptoms may include:

  • Impairment in motor co-ordination and balance
  • Blacking-out or memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Low libido
  • Increased urination
  • Loss of muscle co-ordination
  • Elevated sleeping patterns or oversleeping
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle relaxation

Psychological Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty thinking
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Decrease in anxiety
  • Cognitive challenges
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Euphoria
  • Personality changes

The Dangers of Klonopin

The adverse effects caused by this drug vary from seizures to fogginess. Though Klonopin is less potent when compared to other benzos, such as Halcon and Xanax, it is still an addictive substance.

Sudden suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation is another severe side effect of misusing this medication. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 1 in every 500 Klonopin users experience suicidal thoughts. However, these statistics don’t include users who misuse Klonopin without prescriptions.

Intervention for a Klonopin Problem

Staging an intervention is the best way to help patients understand the negative consequences of their habit. The person who is misusing the drug may feel confused or foggy during the intervention. Some heavy users may even be drowsy or nodding off. Thus, It is important to conduct the intervention when the individual is not under the influence of the medication.

When an intervention is conducted correctly, it can have a positive and effective influence on the user, so seeking the help of a professional interventionist can be ideal. These experts know the right procedure, including the right tone, words, and timings to use when dealing with a patient.

What is Klonopin (Clonazepam) Withdrawal?

Klonopin enhances the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA,) which is a chemical created in the brain that causes calming effects. GABA slows certain nerve signals in the user’s brain and relaxes the body and mind. Prolonged use of Klonopin medication stops the brain from producing its own natural chemicals. The imbalance caused in the brain during the cessation of Klonopin causes the brain to overreact as it no longer has the chemical it requires to function as normal. This process is referred to as withdrawal. Individuals who have addictions to Klonopin go through withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and nausea, when they try to quit the drug on their own.

Withdrawal Symptoms

The patient can experience various withdrawal symptoms during cessation. The severity of these withdrawal symptoms depends on many factors, including:

  • The amount of Klonopin the user took
  • How often they took the drug
  • Whether they mixed Klonopin with other substances, such as alcohol
  • The person’s general medical/mental health
  • The length of time a person has been using Klonopin

Like other benzos, Klonopin lowers the brain activity to calm the user. The brain becomes hyperactive when the user quits the drug, leading to withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Trouble with co-ordination
  • Panic attacks
  • Death
  • Hallucinations

Rebound Anxiety and Insomnia

The drug suppresses some symptoms caused by certain health disorders, and stopping Klonopin can cause a sudden rebound or return of said symptoms. Rebound symptoms can occur even while the user is taking the substance or during the acute withdrawal phase. Many individuals have reported that they experience rebound symptoms as soon as they initiated the withdrawal process. Low-level nervousness, panic attacks, anxiety, and insomnia can last about 2-3 days before fading away.

Duration of Withdrawal

Long-term use of Klonopin leads to build-ups of the drug in the body and can take 18-50 hours to leave the body completely. Withdrawal symptoms caused by Klonopin can last up to 90 days, depending on the severity of the addiction.

Klonopin withdrawal can be divided into two main phases, such as acute withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal. Though acute withdrawal symptoms only last 2-4 weeks, post-acute symptoms may last up to 18-24 months.

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Mood-swings
  • Anxiety

Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline

Days 1-3

Initial withdrawal symptoms can appear within this period. Mild anxiety, mood changes, and difficulty falling asleep are the early withdrawal symptoms caused by Klonopin.

Days 7-14

Withdrawal symptoms can become intense after 1-2 weeks since the last dose. Irritability and anxiety are common during this time of withdrawal. Seizures, hallucinations, and body tremors are the adverse symptoms experienced by those who stop the drug cold turkey.

Weeks 3-4

During this period, most withdrawal symptoms start to fade while anxiety still remains. Although some days are better than others, the worst of it has passed by this time.

Months 2+

Patients with severe addictions to Klonopin may experience some apparent withdrawal symptoms during this stage, while others may experience some mild forms.

Klonopin Detox

The tapering down method involves the patient gradually decreasing their Klonopin dosage during a certain period. Safely tapering down Klonopin consumption generally takes 2-3 weeks. Patients may experience withdrawal symptoms during this process. Due to the intensity of Klonopin withdrawal, patients are highly advised to attend a medically assisted detox program during this time. Medically-assisted detox is essential as withdrawal symptoms caused by Klonopin can be fatal. Doctors monitor the patient during this process and may prescribe medications, such as Propranolol, Keppra, and Clonidine, to help lower the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. The combination of tapering down detox and medical detox increases the chance of safe and successful detoxification treatment.

Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

Overcoming an addiction to Klonopin may require many types of treatments. The severity of the addiction and the general health of the patient determine the right treatment plan for the patient. Some treatment elements help the patient manage the physical aspects of addiction, while others help with the psychological aspect.

A study conducted in 2010, using 73 long-term Klonopin users revealed that tapering down was highly effective. Researchers lowered their daily use by 0.5 milligrams every two weeks. When the daily dose reached 1 milligram per day, doctors lowered the dose once again by 0.25 milligrams every week. The process continued until the doses were stopped altogether.

“The improvement in panic disorder and general wellbeing was maintained during both the taper and follow-up phases. [Klonopin] can be successfully discontinued without any major withdrawal symptoms if the dose is reduced gradually.”

Nardi, Antonio E. MD, Ph.D. et al. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2010

It is vital that all patients of substance abuse initially meet with a trained addiction professional for an evaluation of their addiction. Depending on the severity of their addiction and other medical conditions, the evaluation helps patients determine the right treatment plan for them. Finding the right treatment center for Klonopin addiction that provides various levels of care can help each individual receive the care and treatment they need.

Inpatient Rehab

This is the best option for patients with severe Klonopin addiction. Inpatient rehabs provide a safe and secure residential facility to help patients focus on recovery while eliminating all distractions and temptations. The around-the-clock support offered through the medical team helps patients with polydrug abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders receive the care they require. The duration of treatment at an inpatient rehab may differ from patient to patient.

A few standard treatments used at inpatient rehabs include:

  • Individual and group family therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Yoga
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Recreational therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Individual and group therapy
  • EMDR
  • 12-step programs, such as AA and NA

Ongoing Treatment and Relapse Prevention Strategies

Outpatient rehab is a solid choice for individuals with mild addictions to Klonopin. Whether you choose inpatient or outpatient treatment, medical detox is a part of both options. Outpatient treatment centers provide patients the possibility to continue with their treatment while also being able to take care of responsibilities and obligations at home and work.

Outpatient treatment is also an ideal choice for those who just completed treatment at an inpatient treatment center. It provides a patient who once suffered a severe addiction to receive additional care and support they require to maintain a long term recovery. Patients with severe addictions to substances shouldn’t choose outpatient rehab unless they have a valid reason for doing so.

After the completion of inpatient or outpatient rehab, patients must continue with group therapy and counseling for a few more months. The chances of relapse are considerably high once the patient ventures off into the real world. As they encounter the same environment, individuals, and situations that once led them towards addiction, and may be tempted to relapse. Continuing with treatment, therapy, and attending support groups provide patients with the additional support they need.

Some relapse prevention advice for former Klonopin patients include:

Set goals

Life goals keep you on track and keeps your mind occupied. Professional, financial, and spiritual goals are useful elements to help focus on the positive sides of life. Practicing healthy habits can keep you away from Klonopin use in the long run.

Take care of yourself

It is important to make your health and wellbeing your priority. A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, healthy diets, and good sleeping patterns can help alleviate stress, which is the most common reason for Klonopin abuse.

Maintain relationships

Patients who maintain healthy relationships with family and friends have a higher chance of achieving long-term sobriety. It is also vital that patients avoid maintaining relationships with individuals who once supported and encouraged your addiction.

Attend counseling and meetings

Attending support groups and therapy is necessary for maintaining long-term sobriety. Meeting counselors and support groups a few times a month helps the patient focus on recovery and manage cravings.

Know your triggers

Understanding and identifying triggers that make you want to use Klonopin can help you manage your cravings better. While some triggers are avoidable, some may not be. During such instances, therapy and counseling will help guide you to deal with such triggers in a positive manner.

Recovery Partner Network

We aim to educate and empower. If you feel our library of resources does not cover your specific need, reach out to us, and we would be happy to help.