Klonopin is the brand name for the benzodiazepine clonazepam. It is used to treat anxiety, seizures, panic attacks, and the movement disorder akathisia. It is also used to manage acute mania. However, while it can be used by prescription, it is also a recreational substance due to its euphoric effects in high doses.
Abusing Klonopin can be dangerous as it can rapidly lead to dependence and addiction, making it very difficult to quit. If you or a loved one is misusing Klonopin, it is advised to get medical support. We will talk about Klonopin addiction and the treatment process. While it is easier to recover if you get support early, it is never too late.
What is Klonopin (Clonazepam)?
Clonazepam is used as a first-line treatment for acute seizures and anxiety, such as panic disorder. It is not recommended to use it long-term such as for seizure disorders, including epilepsy, due to its potential for abuse and addiction. In 2020, Klonopin was the 44th most prescribed drug in the US, with an estimated 14,758,212 prescriptions for 2,498,126 patients.
Klonopin works as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS so causes sedative effects. When you take Klonopin, its effects will usually start within one hour and take between six to twelve hours to disappear. Like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin is a Schedule IV drug which means it is considered to have a low potential for abuse and a low risk of dependence.
Despite being classed in one of the safest drug schedules, Klonopin does have a significant risk of leading to dependence and addiction. Klonopin abuse statistics show that one-third of people who take it for longer than four weeks develop dependence. Dependence develops gradually as you take Klonopin. As you take more your brain will adjust to the changes so that it can maintain a balance.
At some point, your brain will have altered to a state where getting a regular dose of Klonopin is part of the norm and part of what now maintains the balance. Therefore, when you stop taking it, you experience withdrawal symptoms as your brain thinks that it needs Klonopin to function normally.
While addiction is sometimes confused with dependence, and they often occur simultaneously, they are different things. Addiction is a brain disorder that develops gradually as you use a substance. Unlike dependence, addiction is more influenced by personal factors such as whether you have a mental illness or have experienced trauma. In these cases, you are more likely to develop an addiction. Addiction is where you lose control of your substance use and continue taking the substance despite negative consequences.
The more you abuse Klonopin, the more likely you are to develop dependency and addiction. Examples of prescription drug abuse include taking:
- more than the prescribed doses in terms of frequency and/or quantity
- someone else’s prescription
- in a different way than prescribed, such as snorting
- illicit Klonopin
Effects of Klonopin
If you are wondering if someone you love is taking Klonopin, you may be able to recognize this from the effects. We will speak about the side effects of Klonopin, both common and rare, so you can understand what to look out for.
Common Side Effects
- Poor coordination
Less Common Side Effects
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of libido
- Short-term memory loss
Occasional Side Effects
- Personality and behavior changes
Rare Side Effects
- Liver damage
- Suicidal thoughts
- Paradoxical behavioral disinhibition
Long-term effects can include depression, disinhibition, and sexual dysfunction. For those who are already depressed, there is an increased risk of suicide.
Signs of Klonopin Addiction
It might not always be possible to recognize if someone is abusing Klonopin before they have developed an addiction. If this happens, it can be useful to understand the signs of addiction. These include:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Losing control of Klonopin use
- Increased tolerance
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit
- Neglecting personal hygiene and appearance
- Trying to quit but not managing
- Obsessing with getting the next dose
- Risk-taking behaviors such as driving under the influence
- Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Avoiding responsibilities
- Breakdown of relationships
- Going to multiple doctors for prescriptions, also know as doctor shopping
Whether you have been taking Klonopin for weeks or years, there is always a risk of overdose. Understanding the signs of this can help to save someone’s life. Signs include:
- Problems with coordination and reflexes
- Loss of consciousness
Mixing Klonopin with other drugs increases the risk of an overdose. You are also more likely to overdose if you take a break and then start to use it again while taking the same dose as before. If you see someone experiencing symptoms of an overdose, you should call 911 immediately. You can put them in the recovery position if they are unconscious. This will prevent them from choking if they vomit.
Once you have developed a dependence on Klonopin, it can be difficult and daunting to quit. Getting professional help will help to make symptoms more manageable. In the long run, you will feel better once you have received treatment for your addiction.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
- Tremors and sweating
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
- Anxiety and depression
Klonopin Addiction Treatment Process
The first step to getting treatment is accepting that you have a problem. If you recognize the signs above in yourself or a loved one, you or they likely need to get treatment. Taking the step to accept this is brave and important for your recovery. When you go to a treatment center, the first thing you will need to do is detox. This is when you stop taking Klonopin, allowing its toxins to leave your body, and managing withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines can be very difficult and even dangerous so it is recommended to do so under medical supervision.
Inpatient treatment programs allow you to be monitored by a medical professional so that your withdrawal symptoms can be dealt with as they appear. You may be given medication to ease symptoms, or you may need to speak with a psychologist if you are experiencing bad psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Some people do not have time to attend an inpatient treatment program. For these people, it is possible to have outpatient treatment. You will be assessed by a medical professional and will have access to medication to help with withdrawal symptoms if you need it. However, you will only go to the treatment center for particular sessions.
Once you have completed the detox process, it is important to continue the recovery process. There will be reasons that you started to abuse Klonopin, and these will not disappear once you have detoxed. Therapies and support groups can help you deal with these and to learn new healthy habits that prevent you from relapsing. It is important to note that most people relapse before they remain sober long-term, so do not lose hope if this is the case for you.
Cutting Edge Treatment at Cirque Lodge
If you think that you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse problem, we are here to support you at Cirque Lodge. We provide private and exclusive treatment, allowing you to recover at the pace you want without worrying about the judgment of others. As well as traditional therapies, we offer additional therapies to help heal your mind and soul. Our treatment options include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Equine therapy
- Art therapy
- Outdoor activities
- 12-step recovery program
- Family healing program
You can visit our website or call us at (801) 614-7976 for more information about our facility and treatment options.