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Klonopin for Recreational Use: Dangerous or Not?

Abusing Klonopin recreationally can cause you to blackout, the kind where you don’t remember where you are. Klonopin withdrawal can make your hands shake uncontrollably and cause you to vomit profusely. 

The symptoms that come with Klonopin causes many to dub it the “world’s most dangerous pill.” 

Want proof that recreational Klonopin use is a horrendously bad idea? Then heed the words of rock-and-roll legend Stevie Nicks, who got hooked on the benzodiazepine after getting sober from cocaine.

“I felt like someone opened up a door and pushed me into hell,” recalled the former frontwoman for Fleetwood Mac.

She said Klonopin had turned her into a zombie, and the doctor who prescribed it to her kept upping her prescription during those years.

“He watched me go from a beautiful, 125-pound, newly sober woman who had the world at her feet to a 170-pound woman who had the lights go out in her eyes,” she wrote in Newsweek.

Taking Klonopin recreationally can put you at risk of suffering harmful effects, including life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. When it is abused with alcohol or another depressant medication, it can lead to death.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam and belongs to a group of medications known as benzodiazepines (or “benzos”). Benzo medications depress the central nervous system (CNS). They accomplish this by stimulating the release of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, the neurotransmitter responsible for essentially calming the nervous system.

This sort of action is why Klonopin is prescribed to treat anxiety, seizures, and panic attacks. The drug is available as an orally disintegrating tablet or wafer. Because it is habit-forming, doctors only prescribe it for short-term use.

People can quickly develop Klonopin tolerance and dependence. Even at therapeutic doses, Klonopin can produce what users describe as a mellow high. What makes it different from other benzos like Xanax, Valium, and Ativan is that it has an exceptionally long half-life. Because of this attribute, Klonopin’s effects can set in within an hour after it is used and last between six and 12 hours.

It is very possible to take another dose of Klonopin while traces of it from a previous dose is still in your body. 

Why Klonopin Can Be Dangerous

It’s worth repeating that abusing Klonopin can lead to blackouts, the kind where you wake up and don’t remember what you did while you were high. Recreational use can lead to blackouts, where you won’t remember what you did while you were high.

One Reddit user took 10 clonazepam pills, booked, and boarded a flight from Miami to Quito, Ecuador. The poster wrote that he had no recollection of the trip.

“I within these 25 hours A) Took a taxi from Downtown (where my apartment is) to [Miami International Airport], B) Spent 37.00 on Starbucks and food/drinks in the airport C) Boarded a plane to [Quito, Ecuador] from Miami International.

“5 hours later judging by the flight time on the ticket, I ended up in Quito, and judging by receipts I have in my jacket pocket, I went through customs, purchased cigarettes and a taxi ride into the old district where I booked a room at a hostel for 3 nights.” 

Blackouts are just one of the hazards that come with recreational use. 

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Klonopin Dependence

Klonopin, or “Kpins,” can make someone dependent in just a few weeks. A common narrative around the drug is that a person can take therapeutic doses to treat an ailment and will veer toward compulsively seeking it out to abuse.

In one study, when users took Klonopin longer than four weeks, about a third of them became dependent. 

Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms

The recreational abuse of benzodiazepines is that proverbial slippery slope. Dependence, where you only feel normal with Klonopin in your system, leads to ruinous withdrawal symptoms once the drug leaves your body.

As with other benzos, when you enter a stage of Klonopin withdrawal, you are subject to distressing symptoms. The most severe kind tend to be life-threatening (more on this later).

A litany of symptoms can result from Klonopin withdrawal, including physical and psychological effects.

One distinct feature of Klonopin is that users can get rebound symptoms. In other words, they may have been prescribed the medication for seizures or anxiety, yet experience those very same symptoms in withdrawal.

Someone who is detoxing off Klonopin can experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome where they get a cluster of symptoms, including grand mal seizures, which are life-threatening. People are at risk for suffering these symptoms after abruptly stopping use.

According to VeryWell Mind, the physical symptoms can manifest as:

  • Hyperventilation
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Trouble sleeping, experiencing nightmares, waking in the night
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
  • Extreme sensitivity to light
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears

The psychological symptoms associated with Klonopin include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Delusions
  • Panic attacks
  • Problems concentrating
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Nightmares
  • Strange bodily sensations
  • Distorted body image
  • Perceptual changes (things touch, taste, or feel different)
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Confusion

What’s more, some people who abuse Klonopin or other benzos have protracted withdrawal where they experience symptoms that linger for months. The best way to mitigate these effects is through a tapering process where withdrawal symptoms are medically treated.

This sort of protocol is offered in professional addiction treatment. That’s why entering a professional treatment program is recommended over going “cold turkey” alone, without the aid of licensed and certified medical help.   

How Professional Treatment Can Help You

Along with alcohol, benzodiazepines are some of the most dangerous substances in withdrawal.

When Klonopin is abused with alcohol or another CNS depressant, a user can go into a coma or die due to slowed breathing and heart rate.

So the array of services offered in professional treatment are necessary because they can address the physical, mental, and emotional brunt of Klonopin abuse and addiction.

A reputable rehab program starts with acute treatment, a detox process where the Klonopin and associated toxins are removed from the body, and withdrawal symptoms are treated with approved medications.

Alcohol and pills

Throughout, you will be assessed, monitored, and treated by a staff of doctors, nurses, and other personnel to ensure a safe and comfortable process.

For severe cases or situations where Klonopin is abused with other substances, it is recommended that you go through clinical stabilization services, where you receive intensive therapy, care, and education designed to treat the emotional and mental wounds of addiction.

The available treatment approaches at this stage include evidence-based and alternative therapies that address the mind, body, and spirit:

Individual Therapy

  • Family-focused therapy
  • Trauma-informed sessions
  • Genetic testing
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills

Holistic Treatments

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Reiki
  • Acupuncture/Acupressure
  • Massage
  • Nutritional assessments

Group Therapy

  • Relapse prevention
  • The 12-steps of recovery
  • Wellness skills
  • Emotional regulation
  • Motivational enhancement
  • Medical education

Because of the lingering psychological effects of benzodiazepine addiction, you may want to continue treatment in an outpatient program, where you can still receive counseling and therapy on a part-time basis without having to put your life on hold.

The services offered in outpatient include:

  • Ongoing support
  • Family counseling
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Educational programs

Once you finish up treatment, one of our clinicians can connect you to a recovery community that can provide ongoing support as you return to your everyday life newly sober and inspired.

Sources

Byron, C. (2018, December 12). Benzos: Is This the World's Deadliest Pill? Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/content/worlds-most-dangerous-drug?page=all

Clonazepam: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682279.html

iHeartRadio. (2017, November 21). Stevie Nicks Reveals Her Shocking Drug Addiction In New Book. Retrieved from https://www.iheart.com/content/2017-11-21-stevie-nicks-reveals-her-shocking-drug-addiction-in-new-book/

Nicks, S. (2011, May 03). Stevie Nicks Reflects on Her Biggest Mistake. Retrieved from https://www.newsweek.com/stevie-nicks-fleetwood-mac-her-pill-addiction-67619

O, C., & Osborn, K. (2018, November 29). How Long Does Withdrawal From Klonopin Last? Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/klonopin-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline-and-treatment-4176203

Reddit. (n.d.). R/Drugs – Most irresponsible benzo blackout ever, transcontinental blackout. Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/Drugs/comments/3owow9/most_irresponsible_benzo_blackout_ever/

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