People who succumb to a Klonopin addiction tend to share a common story. They were prescribed the drug for a condition and found relief, only to have those issues return after prolonged use.
A Klonopin addiction can feel like being ensnared in a loop of continuous use, where someone ingests more of it over a longer period to quell the original affliction.
What’s more, users presume this benzodiazepine is safe because it is prescribed by a doctor.
What users discover is that the drug not only carries high addiction potential, it can also levy serious health complications. Its use can be fatal when combined with alcohol or other opiates.
What’s more, someone under the influence of Klonopin could be a danger to themselves and others when they get behind the wheel. For senior citizens, who have a propensity for Klonopin addiction, falls and bone fractures become more likely under its influence.
Simply put, people who were prescribed Klonopin for seizures or anxiety can easily succumb to tolerance, dependence and finally, addiction.
What Is Klonopin?
Clonazepam was patented in 1964, but Klonopin was first marketed by Roche, a Swiss multinational healthcare company, in 1975.
The drug belongs to the controversial class of medications called benzodiazepines or “benzos,” a group of highly addictive psychoactive drugs. Klonopin’s exact mechanism of action is unknown. Like other benzos, Klonopin ultimately boosts your dopamine levels and floods the brain with feel-good neurotransmitters. The drug also displays addictive properties that can be likened to that of opioids and cannabinoids.
Klonopin, the brand name for clonazepam, is considered a first-line drug for acute, occasional seizures. Its most common and effective use is for treating epilepsy in children. Doctors also prescribe it off-label to treat depression and anxiety. For the latter use, the drug appears to be an effective remedy for people who have difficulty with social environments. It is also used to treat muscle disorders like Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), akathisia, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Klonopin comes as a tablet (0.5 mg (milligrams), 1 mg, and 2 mg) and as a disintegrating wafer that is taken orally. It is intended for short-term use.
When ingested, its effects can be felt within an hour and lasts between six and 12 hours. It also has a long elimination of half-life at 30 to 40 hours. In essence, by the time you take your next dose of Klonopin, it is likely that some of it will be in your body from the last use.
That long half-life is why Klonopin is a powerfully addictive drug. In fact, one study concluded that dependence occurs in one-third of the users who take the drug longer than four weeks.
What Are the Signs of Klonopin Addiction?
In addition to being highly addictive, Klonopin has the ability to ensnare users in a continuous loop. How? When someone begins to use Klonopin to treat anxiety, spasms or seizures, they can quickly establish a tolerance. At that point, they will begin to take larger doses to gain the same effect a smaller dose once yielded.
This is in line with how the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines drug dependence, which is when “the body adapts to the drug, requiring more of it to achieve a certain effect (tolerance) and eliciting drug-specific physical or mental symptoms if drug use is abruptly ceased (withdrawal).”
When Klonopin users attempt to quit the drug and experience withdrawal, they will suffer some of the same symptoms that led them to the medication in the first place. So, they resume use, which creates that loop.
If you suspect that yourself or a loved one is becoming dependent on Klonopin and/or in the midst of withdrawal, you should look for these observable symptoms:
- Muscle pain
- Low attention span
- Panic attacks
- Muscle spasms
- Increased anxiety
As with any substance, when a user becomes addicted, they will display compulsive behaviors that are “characterized by an inability to stop using a drug; failure to meet work, social, or family obligations; and, sometimes (depending on the drug), tolerance and withdrawal.”
When addiction is fully developed, any or all of these behaviors will manifest:
- Displaying defensiveness around your Klonopin use
- Displaying aggressive or violent behavior
- Isolating oneself
- Use that leads to strained relationships with family, friends, and/or colleagues
- Using the drug despite negative consequences, such as job or relationships loss
- Strong, seemingly unbearable cravings for Klonopin
- Going to great lengths to obtain Klonopin illegally, including “doctor shopping”
- Taking the drug in a manner inconsistent with what is prescribed
- Taking Klonopin solely for its euphoric effects
- Experiencing sleepiness throughout the day
- Slurred speech
- Getting into financial and/or legal trouble because of Klonopin
- Mixing Klonopin with alcohol or other drugs (polysubstance use)
If you or a loved one is in the clutches of a Klonopin addiction, then it is imperative that you seek professional addiction treatment services.
What Is Involved in Klonopin Addiction Treatment?
Klonopin can be insidious in the way it ensnares people in a cycle of use and addiction. Because doctors prescribe it, users assume that it can’t be abused. In fact, addiction specialists have found Klonopin every bit as addictive as Xanax (alprazolam).
What’s more, withdrawal from Klonopin, like any other benzodiazepine, can be fatal. That is why it is recommended that you entrust your recovery to licensed addiction specialists.
When you enroll in addiction recovery, you will receive highly intensive therapy and constant care to meet your medical needs. What we offer is a program that takes a holistic approach to your treatment. What we offer is a suite of services under acute treatment.
Acute treatment of any substance addiction begins with a medical detoxification, which addresses the problem of Klonopin dependence. In detox, we will rid your body of Klonopin and other toxins. A licensed medical staff will administer round-the-clock care and supervision to ensure your comfort and safety. Detox treatment for benzodiazepines typically takes five to seven days, depending on your needs.
You also will receive a comprehensive initial assessment, which includes a review of your medical history, a mental health evaluation, and social evaluation. Once you are stabilized and can sit down with a clinician, a licensed therapist will provide you with an in-depth look at your biological, psychological, and sociological needs.
What you will gain from this step is a foundation of knowledge that will allow your therapist to develop the best treatment plan for your individual needs going forward.
To help you recover from your Klonopin addiction, it is highly recommended that you stay at a facility and receive comprehensive treatment and counseling. This step is referred to as residential treatment, where you will receive the level of care designed to get to the root of your addiction.
A stay at a residential treatment facility typically lasts between 30 days and 90 days. However, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends that the treatment process take the full 90 days from detox to completion. This time frame has been shown to produce the best results.
After your stay at our residential treatment facility, it is recommended that you undergo outpatient treatment. In outpatient, you can return to your career and family life while still receiving the care and support necessary to maintain your sobriety and reduce the risk of relapse.
Outpatient treatment is divided according to how many hours you spend a week in therapy:
- Partial hospitalization programs – 20 or more hours per week
- Intensive outpatient programs – nine or more hours per week
- Outpatient programs – fewer than nine hours per week
These programs are administered in a structured and safe environment, relatively secluded from the outside world where relapse triggers often exist. What’s more, you will have access to a suite of programs, including:
- Individual and group therapy
- Educational programs
- Ongoing support
- Family counseling
How Dangerous Is Klonopin?
The sedative effects of Klonopin are amplified when a user ingests the drug with alcohol, opioids or other benzodiazepine. In those instances, Klonopin can produce life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma. When someone uses Klonopin with other substances, it can trigger overdose and even death.
What’s more, Klonopin can produce side effects that greatly impair one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Such side effects include:
- Difficulty with thinking or remembering
- Coordination problems
- Blurred vision
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Klonopin because it may harm the fetus.
Klonopin Abuse Statistics
- According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased by 67%, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million, between 1996 and 2013.
- Clonazepam is one of 12 medications responsible for 75% of child hospitalizations from 2007-11.
From 2002 to 2016, there was an eightfold increase in the total number of benzodiazepine overdose deaths, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.