Klonopin is a prescription benzodiazepine that is also known as clonazepam. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that produces anxiolytic and feelings of sedation. While the medication has a high probability of addiction, it is described as highly effective in treating the symptoms of anxiety and panic disorders. Klonopin is also used to treat epilepsy, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome. The many ailments people struggle with are a big reason these medications are highly sought out.
An estimated 50 million adults older than age 18 have insomnia and other sleep-related disorders. In addition to a lack of sleep, another 40 million adults struggle with anxiety each year. The sheer volume of those struggling with crippling disorders gives a better understanding of why these medications, despite their adverse characteristics, are efficient in calming overactive nervous systems when used as prescribed.
If you are familiar with other benzodiazepines, you are aware that long-term use of these drugs has the potential to cause chemical dependence, which can lead to addiction when not used in moderation. Unfortunately, in some cases, even those who use Klonopin as prescribed are at risk of developing a chemical dependence. They can become tolerant of the effects quickly, which can cause dependence in as little as three weeks.
The long-term side effects of Klonopin use can be psychologically and physically damaging. Misuse is one of the most common issues involving Klonopin, which can cause depression and other co-occurring disorders. Other significant long-term health factors include memory loss, dizziness, and coordination impairment.
Many, but not all, will use Klonopin in conjunction with other drugs. In many cases, people rely on Klonopin to alleviate the crash of a cocaine or amphetamine binge. Some will regularly combine it with alcohol, which is not only dangerous but can cause grave consequences due to the sedative effects. When mixing the two depressant drugs, it slows down the heart rate and breathing, which can cause oxygen deprivation followed by death.
Klonopin is highly addictive, and long-term abuse can lead you down a road toward Klonopin withdrawal symptoms if you stop suddenly or run out of the medicine. A shared characteristic among benzo drugs is their notoriously dangerous withdrawal symptoms, and without medical care, they have the potential to be fatal.
The safest way to avoid an overdose or withdrawal symptoms that may occur as a result of your cessation is to start your recovery journey in detox. It is especially important when it comes to dealing with Klonopin withdrawal.
What are Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms?
Due to its classification as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, Klonopin works the same as you’d expect from other benzos by entering the brain and binding to GABA receptors. GABA, short for gamma-Aminobutyric acid, is a neurotransmitter that allows the mind to remain calm and regulates anxiety, stress, and fear. GABA does this by blocking nerve impulses that transmit feelings of worry throughout the brain and central nervous system (CNS).
A person will become dependent on Klonopin when the brain produces less of its own GABA and relies on the drug to stimulate production. When someone stops using the medicine or significantly reduces their dose, the body experiences a crash because there is no pill to rely on for GABA production, and the body has grown accustomed to the artificial effects.
Despite being a prescription medication that doctors can give patients, Klonopin can have life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. These can not only affect the body, but they can affect how someone thinks and hinder their ability to function. If someone has taken the medication for a prolonged period, they may resort to other drugs that ease the symptoms. It is commonly referred to as drug-seeking behavior, and it can be dangerous.
Physical withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin include:
- Blurry vision
- Chest pain
- Dilated pupils
- Dry mouth
- Gastrointestinal distress like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Increased sensitivity
- Muscle spasms
Klonopin can also cause terrible psychological symptoms. Some are likely to appear as the first stage of withdrawal, even during a period of tapering correctly. Some of these symptoms can include:
- Rebound anxiety
- Rebound insomnia
- Mood swings
- Dissociative disorder
- Panic attacks
What Are The Stages Of Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline?
Several Factors can Dictate the Severity if Klonopin Withdrawal as Well as How Long it Will Last. Some of These Include:
- How long someone abused Klonopin
- How much Klonopin they took and how frequently
- Polysubstance use
- How they were taking Klonopin
- If they have a co-occurring disorder
- If they have a history of addiction
- If they experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome
- If they stop using Klonopin with a tapering schedule
Weaning off Klonopin will help with the severity of the symptoms, which can include nausea and anxiety. If you were to stop using Klonopin all at once in a method known as cold-turkey, it can exacerbate the symptoms and make them much more severe. The correct way to taper from the drug is to do it over a two-month period. It’s a small price to pay to avoid seizures or other dangerous problems.
Klonopin withdrawal affects people in two phases. The first phase is the rebound portion, and the second part of it is full-blown withdrawal. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the factors we described above will contribute to someone’s personal withdrawal experience.
Why Should I Detox?
Medical detoxification is the process of medically weaning off a drug that you’ve become either dependent on or addicted to. The point of this step is to allow medical professionals to monitor your progress and ensure you get through the worst of the process safely. They will help to alleviate the worst symptoms of withdrawal by prescribing medications and making sure you are as comfortable as possible. Going through this process alone can lead to seizures or delirium tremens (DTs), which can be deadly.
Another part of withdrawal is the cravings that come along with it, and it can lead to drug-seeking behavior that may cause someone to engage in taking any available drug. Committing such an act can lead to an overdose followed by death. Being held in detox for 24-hours a day and under the care of professionals will hold you accountable.
What is the Next Treatment Step?
Once detox is complete, the underlying issues that caused your addiction are likely to be present. To continue on the path of progress that you’ve worked so hard to achieve, you must continue addiction treatment. There are many options available, and it will be in your best interest to choose a program tailored to your specific needs.
Depending on how severe your Klonopin use is, the specialists will suggest that you either attend long-term residential treatment or attend an outpatient program that allows you to go home once your therapy sessions conclude. All cases of addiction are unique and require being treated as such.