The benzodiazepine Klonopin can soothe an overactive mind, allowing a nascent panic attack to fade away before it takes hold. But this medication can also boost the effectiveness of pleasurable chemicals inside the brain, which might provide the person with a feeling of euphoria that’s almost impossible to forget. As a result, Klonopin abuse is remarkably common, and it might even take hold in someone who doesn’t have a prescription for the medication.
Common Uses and Diversions
- Anxiety disorders
- Seizure disorders
- Recurrent panic attacks
- Restless leg syndrome
The soothing action of the medication can provide these people with intense relief, and if they take the drug under the direction of a medical professional, they might not ever develop an addiction issue. But there are some people who find that the drug is just rewarding, and they might begin to experiment with their use by taking doses close together or taking multiple pills at once. Soon, they might run out of pills much too early, and they might be forced to buy pills on the street to keep their addictions alive. There are some people, however, who develop addictions to Klonopin via a very different route. These people might hear that Klonopin is a pleasant drug from their drug-using friends, or they might read accounts of the joys of the drug on pro-abuse websites. They might then steal the drug from those who have a prescription, or they might buy the drug from dealers or online retailers.
Hazards of Abuse
The abuse is Klonopin can be deadly, and according to the Community Epidemiology Work Group of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription benzodiazepines like Klonopin rank second in terms of drug-abuse deaths in the state of Georgia. Only cocaine kills more people in that state. These deaths might come about due to the way this drug works within the human body. Each time a person takes Klonopin, the body responds in a specific way by releasing some chemicals and inhibiting others. With each exposure, that response becomes less and less intense, as the body learns to adjust to the presence of the drug. In order to feel the intense pleasure associated with the original drug abuse incident, someone would need to take a larger amount of drugs. As a result, people who have Klonopin addictions might be taking huge amounts of that drug, but meanwhile, the body might respond in an unusual manner. Klonopin can slow breathing rates, and sometimes, that rate is so slow that brain cells begin to die. People might just forget to breathe, or their hearts might stop beating. They might feel euphoric, and they might look like they’re sleeping, but they might not ever awaken again. Each time a person ups the amount of Klonopin taken, the risk of overdose rises. Some people might walk the line between euphoria and death regularly, never knowing the dangers they face. These alterations can also prove deadly for people who want to get well, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, as people who attempt a cold-turkey recovery from this addiction can develop life-threatening seizures. People who experience an episode like this, even once, can become convinced that recovery from this addiction just isn’t possible. The seizures, if they survive them, can make them fearful of even thinking about recovery.
The Link to Eating Disorders
While almost anyone can develop an addiction to Klonopin, there’s some evidence that suggests that benzodiazepine abuse and addiction are common in people who have eating disorders. For example, in a study in the journal Psychiatry Research, benzodiazepines were named as a popular drug of abuse in those who had either anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. The only other drug named was an inhalant solvent. Some people who have eating disorders have underlying anxiety disorders that respond to benzodiazepine treatment, so they might be provided with Klonopin in an effort to help them heal, and they might head down the road to addiction. There are some people with these eating disorders, however, who have personality issues that make them more vulnerable to issues of any kind of substance use and abuse. Experts call this trait impulsivity, and in a study in the journal Eating Behaviors, researchers suggest that impulsive behaviors are “common” in people with eating disorders, often stemming from childhood abuse of some sort. People who endure sexual or physical abuse as children have difficulty moderating their emotions, and they may lash out at their bodies with their eating behaviors. They might also, when they’re tempted with drugs, dive right in due to their impulsivity. It’s a difficult, and dangerous, problem.
Help Is Possible
While people who try to quit their Klonopin habits on their own can face serious health consequences, medical help can allow people to change their habits for the better. In an addiction treatment program, experts can design a detox program that can allow people to get sober without feeling horrible in the process. Some people might taper away from the drug slowly, taking a little less each day, while others might switch to a different drug and taper just a bit faster as a result. Either approach could be quite helpful. When detox is through, people will need to examine the behaviors that led to their addiction, and they’ll need to develop habits that are healthier and more productive.
- Individual therapy, in which a person works directly with a counselor
- Group sessions, in which a therapist works with several people who have the same background
- Medication management, which could be vital for people with anxiety or depression issues
This is the kind of help we provide at Futures of Palm Beach. Our program blends approaches that could help people who have drug addictions and co-occurring disorders competing for their attention at the same time. Our dual diagnosis focus allows us to address both issues in a comprehensive way that can bring back big results. We can even help you if you just have an addiction and no eating disorder. We’d just like to help. Please call us to find out more.