Klonopin Addiction: Abuse Signs, Effects & Treatment

Understand and Overcome Your Klonopin Addiction

Klonopin, a type of benzodiazepine, is highly addictive. This drug is prescribed for anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures, among other conditions. The generic name of this drug is clonazepam.

This medication is deemed safe when prescribed and monitored by a doctor. Although addictions of any kind become difficult to handle, there is Klonopin addiction treatment. With therapy, you or a loved one can overcome your addiction and get back to living.

Klonopin Addiction Treatment

Benzodiazepine Addictions Are Rising

Almost everyone knows about the opioid epidemic which has plagued the country since 1990. Although opioids are undoubtedly a danger, many other drug problems have arisen within their shadow.

Benzodiazepine addictions are rising sharply. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that they rose from 8 million in 1996 to 14 million by 2013.

Klonopin Misuse Can Lead to Dependency

Klonopin, because of its fast action and long half-life, can cause dependency and addiction. Misuse is one of the most common reasons for dependency development.

In a recent survey, participants were asked why they misused benzodiazepines. Of the respondents, 46.3% admitted their motivation to misuse was based on their need to relax.

Others, 22.4% of the total, said they misused benzodiazepines to sleep. One of the biggest dangers of dependency and addiction is when Klonopin and other same-class drugs are mixed with alcohol and opioids. Mixing medications with alcohol increases the euphoric effect and frequently causes people to become dependent.

Who Is at Risk for Misusing Klonopin?

You may be at risk of misusing Klonopin, even if you take this drug as prescribed by your doctor. Because Klonopin is fast-acting and has a half-life of 20 to 30 hours, people sometimes misuse it to keep the euphoric high going longer.

You may find yourself taking more medication than prescribed or taking it more frequently. If you continually use large amounts of Klonopin, you are at an increased risk of developing an addiction.

Just like other medications, Klonopin is dangerous when misused. Misuse of this drug can result in death. The FDA repeatedly warns against the dangers of misusing benzodiazepines or mixing them with opioids. Here are some of the effects that may occur as a result:

• Slowed or labored breathing
• Respiratory distress or arrest
• Extreme dizziness and lightheadedness
• Marked drowsiness
• Loss of consciousness

Even if you do not mix Klonopin with other drugs, you need to be aware of the signs of misuse, which include:

• Increased anxiety
• Headaches
• Slurred speech
• Flu-like symptoms
• Diarrhea or constipation
• Memory impairment
• Paranoia
• Tremors
• Vision disturbances
• Vertigo
• Vomiting

Signs of Addiction to Klonopin

Aside from the physical side effects of misusing and dependency above, there are some other signs to look for. It might be time to seek Klonopin treatment if you or a loved one exhibits:

• Sudden withdrawal from family and friends
• Excessive spending on Klonopin and other drugs
• Inability to stop at a lower dose
• Running out of prescriptions before it is time for a refill
• Stealing medication from others or buying Klonopin on the street
• Continued use regardless of negative outcomes
• Seeking other benzodiazepines when Klonopin is not available
• Snorting or injecting oral Klonopin

Dangerous Misuse

Oral Klonopin is never meant to be snorted or injected because major side effects may occur, including erratic behavior, facial swelling, swallowing difficulty, and hives. Overdose and death are more likely with Klonopin abuse.

What Occurs During Klonopin Withdrawal?

If you are taking Klonopin as directed and for no more than two weeks, you should not experience any major withdrawal symptoms. Misuse by taking this drug at higher doses can result in serious side effects that are difficult to manage, including:

• Anxiety
• Insomnia
• Elevated heart rate
• Profuse sweating
• Elevated blood pressure
• Painful muscle spasms
• Loss of appetite
• Vomiting

If you have used Klonopin for more than six months, the withdrawal symptoms above are likely to be severe. Rather than stopping cold turkey, it’s best to consult with your prescribing doctor to taper off Klonopin. Some people experience hallucinations or seizures because they stop this drug abruptly.

What Should You Do if Someone Overdoses on Klonopin?

A Klonopin overdose is highly dangerous and requires immediate medical care. If someone overdoses on benzodiazepines, call 911 right away.

You should check to ensure the person is still breathing. Place the individual in a safe position where their breathing passages remain uncompromised.

Once at the hospital, the person will be evaluated by the medical staff, including nurses and doctors. Depending on the severity of the overdose, the doctor may administer Flumazenil to reverse the effects. This medication works in tandem with other life-saving initiatives, such as airway ventilation.

Depending on the person’s symptoms and how quickly they recover, they will likely spend a few hours in the emergency room. The medical staff will need to ensure the patient is stabilized before they are allowed to go home.

If the overdose of Klonopin was intentional, the individual would likely go through a psychiatric evaluation. In the event of severe breathing, heart distress, or coma, the person will probably be placed in intensive care until they make a full recovery.

How to Prevent Klonopin Overdoses

If you take benzodiazepines, having an overdose prevention strategy in place is essential. You are less likely to overdose if you:

• Follow your doctor’s instructions precisely.
• Never use Klonopin without a prescription, under any circumstances.
• Never mix Klonopin with alcohol, other benzodiazepines, or opioids.

Treatment for Addiction to Klonopin

Klonopin addiction treatment is the safest and most effective method of overcoming dependency and addiction. Multiple modalities of treatment are available:

• Cognitive behavior therapy is beneficial to addicts because it helps them change maladaptive behaviors that contribute to their addictions.
• Family therapy is often an integrative part of seeking treatment. Getting your family involved increases the likelihood of success.
• Motivational interviewing helps you become part of the steps involved in recovery.
• Contingency management offers rewards for reaching each treatment benchmark.

How Can You Stop Taking Benzodiazepines?

Are you considering quitting Klonopin because you are worried about the side effects? Have you become addicted and want to stop using?

Quitting Klonopin alone is not only difficult, but it can also be dangerous. You may not realize, after lengthy abuse of benzodiazepines, that your brain pathways have begun to change.

Your brain has grown accustomed to the constant presence of the drug. Once these pathways alter, you become physically dependent on the drug. If you do not have the drug, you cannot function normally. Does this sound familiar?

Even if you have taken Klonopin as prescribed for two months, you can develop uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The longer you have taken benzodiazepines, the stronger and more uncomfortable the symptoms.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a set of impairments that occurs after abruptly stopping a drug. These resulting impairments can last for weeks or even months.

Signs and Symptoms of PAWS

Abruptly stopping Klonopin can result in the development of PAWS. The symptoms of PAWS can fluctuate. They may increase and suddenly calm down, only to come back without warning. Signs and symptoms include:

• Increasing difficulty with all cognitive tasks, including decision-making, learning, and memory recall
• Obsessive-compulsive behavior
• High levels of anxiety
• Depressive moods
• Increased irritability
• Sleep pattern disturbances
• Deep cravings for the drug
• Increased sensitivity to stressful situations
• Increased pessimism or apathy

Unfortunately, the above symptoms can flare up without warning. Increases in severity often result from being exposed to stressful stimuli.

Causes and Risk Factors of Developing PAWS

While research continues, scientists believe drug misuse causes physiological changes in the brain. As drug use increases, the brain begins to make changes to all available neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters express excitability in the absence of the drug.

Unfortunately, most people do not realize they are at risk of developing this withdrawal condition until they attempt to quit a drug. For some people, these symptoms go on for months and become debilitating.

Seek Treatment for Benzodiazepine Addiction

Are you or a loved one addicted Klonopin or another benzodiazepine? Have you found this drug is monopolizing your life? Have you tried quitting but cannot seem to find the will to stop?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are certainly not alone. Though anyone can develop an addiction to benzodiazepines, those between the ages of 18 and 25 are more likely to do so.

Withdrawal Can Be Painful

Drug withdrawal is often difficult but is especially so without medical intervention. Consider these facts about withdrawal:

• Withdrawing from drugs like benzodiazepines can make you very ill.
• You could experience a combination of physical and mental symptoms.
• The duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms will vary.
• Drug withdrawal can sometimes put your life in danger.

Research to understand your treatment options and get the customized care you need to help you safely stop your addiction in its tracks. Do not wait for an overdose or serious complication to occur. Get the help you need now.

You do not have to stop cold turkey, and you shouldn’t. With treatment, you can safely manage the process and minimize the withdrawal symptoms, making detoxification easier and less stressful for your body. Get the help you need to overcome this addiction and get back to being the best you.

How to Choose a Treatment Option

One of the most important decisions you will need to make is deciding how and where to get treatment. You now know about the dangers of long-term misuse of Klonopin and drugs in the same class.

You need to be aware of the options you have for overcoming your addiction. If you are just concerned right now and are not sure if you want to quit, motivational interviewing techniques may be ideal.

Whether you decide on residential or outpatient treatment, choosing the right professionals is essential. Here are some of the factors you should consider when deciding on a treatment program for addiction.

• First, you need to determine your treatment goals. You should also consider your needs. Each treatment approach differs, but many can cater to the needs of their clients to help ensure success.
• Next, you should find a treatment option that offers consultation appointments. Talking with the provider about your needs will allow you to discover which treatment approach will be most beneficial. Make sure to ask plenty of questions and tour the facility.
• Will you need inpatient or outpatient care? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Those with severe addictions often benefit from inpatient care.
• You should also consider the specialties of the treatment center. You will want to choose a center that specializes in addictions to Klonopin and other benzodiazepines. It is also critical that you evaluate the track record of the treatment center. What is their client success rate?
• What are the treatment modalities offered by the center? It is important to note that there is no cookie-cutter approach to addiction treatment. The center should offer customized treatment approaches that address your needs specifically.
• The amenities are also a factor you should consider. Most centers will allow you to tour the facilities and even the client rooms to ensure they will offer a good fit for you.
• You will also need to learn about the length of the program. Most programs last 30, 60, or 90 days. For some, 30 days may not be enough. You will need to be evaluated to determine the proper length of treatment.

Get the Help You Need Now

Klonopin addiction is difficult to handle, no matter how long you have been using the drug. With professional intervention, you will have access to treatment that can help you overcome your addiction and find freedom.

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Reviewed By:

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

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