Klonopin is the best-known brand name of clonazepam, a drug used to treat panic disorder and certain types of seizures. Clonazepam belongs to the benzodiazepine drug class, drugs that stop abnormal brain electric impulses through their interaction with GABA, an inhibitory brain neurotransmitter.
If taken differently than prescribed, in higher doses or for a longer time, Klonopin use can lead to dependence and addiction.
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Addiction to Klonopin
According to a study conducted by Minnesota’s Office of the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, some people or groups are a higher risk of behavioral side effects from benzodiazepine, including addiction. Risk factors for Klonopin addiction include:
- Drug availability. Since they have easy access to Klonopin, any individual who is prescribed the drug has a risk for addiction.
- Novelty-seeking. Individuals who love the thrill of trying something new, individuals who are novelty-seeking and impulsive, are also more likely to develop an addiction.
- Alcohol disorder. Individuals who have problems with alcohol use may likewise have a higher risk for developing an addiction to Klonopin, which is sometimes prescribed to treat alcohol-related insomnia and anxiety.
- Gender. Women are more prone to use Klonopin than men, but men are more prone to misuse.
- Heredities. Addiction risk is at least partially due to genetics, but it may run in families also because of family drug disposition and peer influence as well.
- Early exposure and use of Klonopin. If you have been using Klonopin or other sedatives from a young age, then your propensity for addiction is higher.
Klonopin was first brought to the market in 1975. It has then become the treatment for seizures, movement disorders, and panic disorders. Since this drug belongs to the benzodiazepine class (specifically categorized as a tranquilizer), it can only be bought and used by prescription.
Other drugs falling under the same benzodiazepine category as Klonopin include:
If only taken as prescribed, Klonopin can be a life-changing medication. According to ClinCalc DrugStats database, clonazepam prescriptions reached more than 18.5 million in 2016. Its calming effects enable those who have seizures and those who are suffering from anxiety disorders to function more normally.
Not every Klonopin-user takes it for these legitimate purposes. Some take it just to get high or to experience some release from their troubles.
Medical professionals know there is a high risk of addiction from Klonopin in individuals who have manifested signs of drug and substance abuse. Drugs on the same class and composition as Klonopin are extremely potent sedatives.
If a person becomes addicted to Klonopin addiction, it can be hard to stop using it despite the adverse effects of the drug.
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Signs of Klonopin (Clonazepam) Abuse
People who use Klonopin regularly may develop a physical dependence on the drug. Dependence occurs when our bodies’ attempt to adapt to regular exposure to the substance. Once it does, if the body no longer receives these substances, withdrawal symptoms will likely set in.
Dependence is just one sign of addiction to Klonopin or other hypnotics, sedatives, or anxiolytics. Others may include:
- Taking the drug longer or in larger amounts than prescribed.
- Feeling compelled to use Klonopin despite the known consequences.
- Planning ways to obtain the drug all the time.
- Being unable to quit or reduce drug use despite a burning desire to do so.
- Neglecting or abandoning responsibilities of work, school or family because of the drug.
- No longer interested in previously favorite hobbies and leisure activities just to have more time to use the drug.
- Taking the drug even while operating huge equipment, driving or other dangerous circumstances.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia.
- Requiring higher doses and quantities to get the intended effect because you have developed a tolerance for the drug.
The Dangers of Klonopin
Aside from the physical dangers of becoming addicted to Klonopin, the legal dangers of continuing to obtain it after your prescription runs out by looking for it on the black market, by doctor shopping or with another person’s prescription, there is the danger of coming off of Klonopin and its half-life.
So, how long does Klonopin stay in our bodies? The half-life of Klonopin is quite long, about 30 to 40 hours before the first half of the drug to leave the user’s system. Half-life means the time it takes for half the drug to leave your system. Depending on the dosage you took, it might take a week or two before your system can be fully cleared of Klonopin.
Acute withdrawal symptoms may not start until a week after last usage and last until eight weeks. Unlike opioids, withdrawal from Klonopin or other benzos can be dangerous, even life-threatening, if you stop cold turkey. A tapering off is safer.
Recognizing a Klonopin Addiction
The Klonopin abuse takes many forms, but the most typical forms involve using the drug other than as prescribed. It may also mean taking it in larger doses, taking it more often, and taking it for recreation. If you abuse Klonopin regularly, you may find yourself addicted to it in a month or less.
Signs of Klonopin addiction include:
- Being incapable of fulfilling work, school, or familial obligations.
- Using the drug in higher doses and for longer periods than prescribed.
- More than one failed attempt to stop using the drug.
- Spending large amounts of time looking for the drug.
- Uncontrollable cravings for the drug.
- Continued of the drug despite its adverse effects.
- Stopping other activities that were once enjoyable.
- Requiring larger quantities to achieve the same effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms start after missing a single dose.
- Feeling much better after the drug is taken.
If you or a loved one is showing any or all of these symptoms, then it’s time to seek help.
Treatment for Klonopin (Clonazepam) Addiction
The first step in treating Klonopin addiction, or any addiction for that matter, is to acknowledge that you need help. Don’t wait until something bad to happen before you seek professional help. Visit your doctor for a referral for treatment.
If it is a loved one who is addicted to Klonopin but still in denial, have a sincere talk. If that doesn’t work, try a group intervention. Make it clear that the individual is loved and drug rehab is what’s best. Once the individual is convinced and quiescent, visit a doctor to ask for a treatment referral.
If the doctor hasn’t screened you or your loved one for potential drug abuse, ask for a referral to a substance abuse specialist. You can also ask your family or your friends for referrals and recommendations, search online resources, read about other people’s shared experiences in addiction treatment and research ways you can pay for rehab.
Don’t be afraid, or ashamed, or intimidated by the idea of getting help from an addiction specialist. Many people who submit themselves to rehab recover from addiction every day. Rehab can help you find sobriety and assist you in reclaiming control over your life.
Klonopin Treatment Centers
If your friend or your loved one won’t confide in you about their addiction problem or is adamant about not getting help, do the research. Find out as much as you can about different treatment options offered in addiction rehab centers. The information you learn may help you convince your friend or loved one to get treatment.
If they are still not convinced or willing to get help, then try an intervention: a staged meetings wherein you, your family members or other friends confront your loved ones about their addiction, how it has affected you personally, and offer them a a great treatment opportunity. Such interventions may be more successful if facilitated by a professional.
Klonopin Inpatient Rehab
There’s no single treatment option that works best for everyone, so choose a treatment option that seems right for you.
The first step in any treatment assessment and intake part. Here, a doctor will examine you and evaluate your medical condition and history to see what type of treatment would work best for you. The doctor will devise a treatment plan that best suits you.
Before that plan starts, however, you first have to get clean. That means detox, which can be cold turkey, a gradual tapering off of the substance, or use of medications to minimize the withdrawal pains that might undermine your will to complete rehab.
After detox, the treatment option you and your doctors selected begins. Those who need to be monitored the closest and kept from temptations and triggers do better with inpatient rehab, where they live at the rehab until the recovery regimen is complete. They eat, sleep, receive counseling, and work on recovery at the rehab for a month or three. In milder cases, or where the individual need sto continue to work or attend school, outpatient therapy works like a day spa. You visit, do the work, then go home.