Clonazepam (Klonopin) Addiction

Learn about the withdrawal symptoms, effects, and treatment options for clonazepam addiction.

What Is Clonazepam Addiction?

Clonazepam Addiction

Clonazepam (Klonopin) is a benzodiazepine used to treat panic disorders, anxiety, and seizures. Like other drugs in its class, clonazepam should be taken with caution due to its high risk of dependency from prolonged use. Thus, learning more about clonazepam addiction, its side effects, and withdrawal symptoms can help you or a loved one recognize a problem and find treatment.

Clonazepam addiction is a substance use disorder characterized by compulsive drug use despite harmful consequences. Some signs that indicate a clonazepam addiction include the inability to stop using the drug, neglecting everyday responsibilities, and having financial problems. Additionally, people addicted to clonazepam may also develop a tolerance, causing withdrawal symptoms if they cease consumption.

According to the National Health Statistics Report, prescriptions for benzodiazepines increased from 4.1% in 1996 to 5.5% in 2013. Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines jumped from 0.58 per one hundred thousand adults in 1996 to 3.07 in 2010. In 2017, there were eleven thousand five hundred thirty-seven overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines.1

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Why Is Clonazepam Used?

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine used to treat certain seizure disorders, panic disorders, anxiety, and insomnia. The drug can also be prescribed to manage some symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. 2

Clonazepam for anxiety treats different anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Although it is not exactly known how clonazepam reduces panic, scientists believe that the drug activates the inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), calming the activity in the brain.

What Does Clonazepam (Klonopin) Do to the Body?

Clonazepam has hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytics, anticonvulsant, muscle relaxant, and amnesic properties. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that slows down the brain’s functioning. It also enhances the activity of GABA receptors, leading to increased relaxation and lowered anxiety. It can create a euphoric high and a sense of calm when abused.

Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the main indicators of physical dependence is the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the patient stops taking clonazepam. Doctors recommend the gradual weaning approach over the “cold turkey” withdrawal method as the latter carries many health risks.

Early Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms may begin within hours of the drug leaving the system and may periodically come and go. In addition, ceasing clonazepam use often triggers the return of symptoms the medication was treating in the first place.
Some of the most common early withdrawal symptoms of clonazepam include the following:

Severe Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Long-term use of clonazepam may cause more severe withdrawal symptoms that linger on for weeks, months, or years. Some of these symptoms include:

Effects of Clonazepam Abuse

Like other benzodiazepines, clonazepam abuse can cause unwanted side effects. The intensity and severity of these side effects depend on how much clonazepam is taken. Taking large doses of the drug can result in:3

Effects of Clonazepam Abuse
Clonazepam abuse via snorting or injecting can result in more intense side effects and may also lead to other harmful side effects due to the method of use.

Treatment for Addiction to Clonazepam

Treatment for addiction to clonazepam consists of several phases, beginning with thorough evaluation and detoxification, then progressing to a rehab program. Here is a quick overview of the most effective types of treatment:

Diagnosis

Treatment for clonazepam addiction typically starts with a comprehensive evaluation performed by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed alcohol and drug counselor. An examination by a healthcare professional might include:

Detox

Withdrawal from benzos can be fatal, which is why detoxification must happen in a medical setting. Treatment specialists do not support the “cold-turkey” method due to the severe symptoms withdrawal can cause. Therefore, the best approach is the “tapering” method, which involves gradually reducing the dose over time, and eventually removing the drug from the system completely. Tapering helps decrease the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, patients may be prescribed other medications to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms during detoxification.

Therapy Program

Once the patient completes the detox program, the next step in the treatment process is dealing with the psychological aspects of the addiction. Patients can proceed with their treatment either at an inpatient rehab facility or start an outpatient program.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment programs involve twenty-four-hour care for those suffering from substance use disorders and provide a safe environment for patients who struggle with triggers or other external factors.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment programs offer more flexibility and allow patients to work on their recovery outside of a hospital setting.

Clonazepam rehab programs last anywhere from twenty-eight to ninety days, depending on the severity of the addiction.

Substance Abuse Education

Substance abuse education is designed to teach individuals about the dangers and effects of abusing drugs or alcohol. Substance use may be a result of peer pressure, stress, depression, or other factors. In addition to teaching these individuals about the effects of substance abuse, this education may also help develop coping skills for managing any underlying issues.

Various Forms of Therapy

Treatment for clonazepam addiction includes various forms of therapy that aim to help the patient understand the underlying factors that drove them to clonazepam abuse. These types of treatments can help patients improve their coping skills and prevent relapse. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven to be effective in the treatment of substance abuse as both a monotherapy and as part of combination treatment strategies.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention is a goal-oriented approach to help people who have recovered from clonazepam addiction stay sober. With relapse prevention, patients learn concrete skills and strategies to help them avoid or minimize the risk of relapse.

Get Treatment Today for Clonazepam Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with clonazepam addiction, it is not too late to get treatment today. Treatment for clonazepam addiction can greatly improve one’s quality of life and create a happier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Contact a treatment provider today for help finding treatment.