Clonazolam is a potent drug in the benzodiazepine class of psychoactive substances. It was first synthesized in the 1970s, but it has only recently emerged as a designer drug. Currently, the drug doesn’t have any medical uses, and it’s only official use is as a research drug. However, it’s being studied for its potential use as a sedative. The drug is highly potent and can cause intense effects in small doses. As a designer drug, clonazolam is used to subvert existing bans on regulated benzodiazepines.
Since the drug is not controlled in the United States, it can be bought and sold as long as its marked as not for human consumption. Designer drugs can be labeled as products like research chemicals or plant food, without breaking existing laws. However, buyers and sellers often understand that the chemical is intended for recreational use.
Clonazolam hasn’t been extensively researched, and its exact effects remain unknown. However, its potency has made it a potential threat to recreational drug users. Whether it’s used intentionally or if it’s mixed into other illicit drugs, it could potentially lead to overdose and addiction. However, the fact that it hasn’t been extensively studied makes its effects and proper dosage a significant unknown variable.
But how dangerous is it and could it have any potential as a research drug? Learn more about clonazolam, its effects, and its potential dangers.
The Effects of Clonozolam
Clonozolam is a central nervous system depressant in the benzodiazepine class, and it seems to cause effects that are similar to the other drugs that are in this category. As a depressant, it works to suppress activity in the nervous system by interacting with a naturally occurring substance in the brain called GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid). GABA is designed to regulate excitability in the brain by activating its receptor. Benzodiazepines bind to GABA receptors and increase the effectiveness of the GABA chemical.
Clonazolam is stronger than many other common benzodiazepines, and it can cause heavy sedation and memory loss with as little as 0.5 mg (milligrams). It also causes effects and adverse symptoms that are consistent with other sedative-hypnotic drugs, although the exact effects may depend on subjective experiences. Common effects include:
- Anxiety relief
- Mood lift
- Muscle relaxation
- Loss of motor control
- Loss unconsciousness
- Cognitive impairment
The drug is taken as a recreational substance for effects that are similar to alcohol or other sedative-hypnotics. It lifts your mood, it facilitates deep relaxation, and it can cause euphoria in some cases, though euphoric feelings may not be typical. The drug can cause amnesia and disinhibition, especially in higher doses, making it difficult to hold conversations. In some cases, the drug can cause a blackout, also called temporary anterograde amnesia, which is when you can’t remember anything from a certain period.
The loss of motor control, sedation, and release of inhibitions can put users at risk for getting into accidents, especially if they get behind the wheel of a car. Finally, the drug is commonly sold in half milligrams, which leads users to believe this is a typical dose when it is actually a higher than average dose for a typical person.
Taking a high dose can put you at risk of experiencing an overdose, which can lead to respiratory depression and even death. If you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing an overdose, it qualifies as an emergency, and you should seek medical attention immediately.
Is Clonazolam Addictive?
Since the drug hasn’t been extensively studied, its exact addiction potential hasn’t been fully studied. However, as a powerful benzo, it does carry some addiction potential. Using high doses or using the drug for too long can cause one to build up a tolerance, which is when the drug feels like it’s getting weaker or that it’s not working as it did once before. If you compensate for this tolerance by increasing the dose, you may start to develop a chemical dependence.
Dependence Occurs When Your Brain Comes to Rely on the Drug To Maintain Its Normal Chemistry. If You Stop Using, You May Experience Uncomfortable Withdrawal Symptoms, Which Can Include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
As with other central nervous system depressants, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly. If you begin to experience these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A substance use disorder can become severe when you feel compelled to use the drug despite the serious consequences that could follow. Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the reward center of the brain. However, with treatment, you can achieve sobriety and freedom from active addiction.
Treating Clonazolam Addiction
Addiction is classified as a severe substance use disorder in the DSM-5, and it’s considered a chronic disease. However, it can be treated with the right therapies for your needs. Addiction is treated with a full continuum of care that starts with taking care of pressing medical needs and then addressing other medical, psychological, social, legal, and financial needs. For treatment to be effective, it needs to be tailored to your individual needs, and it needs to address more than just substance use problems.
As a benzodiazepine, clonazolam can be potentially dangerous during withdrawal symptoms, especially if you stop taking the drug abruptly. For that reason, treatment will usually start with medical detoxification, which is a process that helps you get through the withdrawal stage.
During detox, you’ll be under 24 hours of medically managed care to ensure your safety and to mitigate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Detox typically lasts for about five to 10 days before you can move onto the next stage of treatment. However, the length of time you spend in detox will spend on your specific needs. Other medical needs can also be addressed during medical detox.
After you complete detox, clinicians can help you determine the next level of care for your needs. If you still have high-level medical or psychological needs after detox, you may go through an inpatient program that involves 24 hours or monitoring. Residential treatment also falls under this category. Residential services allow you to live in a facility with access to treatment services around the clock.
If you can live on your own, you may move onto an intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment service, which involves more than nine hours of treatment each week. In some cases, like in partial hospitalization, IOP can involve as many as 12 hours of treatment each day. In IOP, you will go through a variety of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs, including individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.
After you’ve progressed through IOP, you may go through a standard outpatient program that involves fewer than nine hours of addiction treatment services each week. This level of care is ideal for people who have gone through higher levels of care and are getting ready to complete treatment. Outpatient provides an important step between higher levels of care and complete independence.
Once you complete addiction treatment, aftercare services can connect you to community resources that can help you continue your commitment to recovery.
Seeking Help For Clonazolam Addiction
If you or someone you love is with a substance use disorder related to clonazolam, there is help available to lead you to sobriety and recovery. To learn more about addiction treatment, speak to addiction treatment specialist at Serenity at Summit by calling 844-432-0416. Hear about the therapy options that are available to you and how treatment can help you achieve lasting recovery.