Klonopin, also known as clonazepam or Rivotril, is a highly-addictive benzodiazepine drug, used to treat anxiety, panic attacks and convulsive disorders (sometimes referred to as epilepsy and/or seizures). Klonopin acts as a depressant or sedative on the central nervous system, producing increased amounts of the neurotransmitter GABA and slowing certain body functions to create feelings of relaxation. Intended for short-term use only, when Klonopin is used for more than four weeks, dependency often develops, leading to the need for Klonopin addiction treatment.
Klonopin is taken orally. There are no increased or psychoactive effects if snorted or injected. When doses are reduced, or suddenly stopped, withdrawal symptoms occur. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, nearly 21 million prescriptions for Klonopin were written in 2011. This high rate of use and lack of understanding of potential issues often leads to addiction.
Causes of Addiction to Klonopin
When Klonopin is used for longer periods of time, typically more than four weeks, the chance of addiction is greater. Dependence develops as the body becomes used to increased amounts of GABA in the brain. Tolerance begins and increased amounts of Klonopin are needed to achieve the same euphoric feeling.
The amount used, frequency of use, and length of time used all contribute to the likelihood of an addiction developing. These factors also contribute to the severity of both withdrawal symptoms and length of withdrawal from Klonopin.
If Klonopin use begins as a recreational use, not prescribed by a physician, or is not taken as prescribed, the chance of addiction also increases. In these instances, the interaction with other medications being taken is not typically accounted for, and proper dosage amounts are not taken into consideration, leading to potentially dangerous interactions and increased risk of addiction.
Addiction occurs as the body becomes accustomed to increased amounts, and Klonopin addiction treatment is needed.
Signs and Symptoms of Klonopin Addiction
Physical symptoms of Klonopin addiction can begin within a month of use. These symptoms include:
- Exaggerated sleepiness
- Delayed reaction time
- Coordination issues
- Slurred speech
- Memory issues
These physical symptoms may develop slowly, but as continued use occurs and dosages increase, they often become more obvious. Behavioral symptoms of an addiction can also be observed:
- Agitation or aggressive behaviors
- Restlessness or irritability
- Taking more than prescribed amount for a longer period of time than intended
- Inability to stop taking Klonopin despite the desire to do so
- Overwhelming desire to take Klonopin that consumes extra time, energy and resources
- Isolation from family, friends and social situations
- Missing work, school, and other important obligations
- Continued use despite conflicts arising in interpersonal relationships
- Taking Klonopin in risky situations
- Exhibiting symptoms of withdrawal when dosage is decreased
Most Common Combination of Substances Used with Klonopin
According to Medical News Today, benzodiazepines, the class of drugs which includes Klonopin, is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. Often, once dependency on this highly-addictive drug starts, the co-occurring use of other substances begins to mask, or increase, the effects of its abuse.
Cocaine or other stimulants are often used to counteract the sedative, slowing effects of Klonopin. This is often an attempt to hide signs of addiction to the drug. Drinking alcohol can also occur to either induce sleep or increase the effect of Klonopin, increasing feelings of euphoria.
The interactions and subsequent result of taking either of these types of substances along with Klonopin can have dangerous, and even lethal, effects. If a stimulant is used, the sedative effects of Klonopin can be decreased, leading to losing track of how much Klonopin was actually taken. This often means that more of the drug is taken than the body is able to handle, with devastating results.
Other depressants, such as alcohol, also slow important body functions — particularly the central nervous system. When used in conjunction with benzodiazepines like Klonopin, the effects can be fatal. Over-sedation, coma and even death can occur. Body functions can become so slow that breathing can stop and unconsciousness can occur. Even when breathing doesn’t stop, an individual can vomit, and can easily choke because they are unconscious. Mixing alcohol with any depressant, like Klonopin, is dangerous.
When co-occurring substance use exists, it’s even more important to get the proper Klonopin addiction treatment to ensure safe withdrawal from all addictions.
A Klonopin addiction can be dangerous and deadly. Withdrawal occurs when, once a dependence is developed, the dosage is decreased, frequency of use lessens, or when it is stopped completely. There are three stages of withdrawal. The specific symptoms of each stage, intensity of symptoms and length of withdrawal depend on time and amount of last dose, amount of regularly used dosage, frequency of use and length of addiction.
Early Phase of Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Panic attacks
- Extreme anxiety
These early phase withdrawal symptoms are all problems that Klonopin is used to treat:
- Acute Withdrawal Phase Symptoms
- Body tremors
- Heart palpitations
- Moderate to severe depression
- Muscle twitches
- Burning sensation in the brain
- Loss of memory
- Appetite changes
Post-Acute Phase Withdrawal Symptoms:
- Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
- Long-term depression
Post-acute withdrawal is not clinically considered a phase of withdrawal and not all individuals withdrawing from Klonopin will experience these symptoms. Those who do can continue to have withdrawal symptoms for up to two years after detox from Klonopin.
Benzodiazepines, including Klonopin, are considered to be one of the most difficult drugs to withdrawal from due to the length and severity of withdrawal symptoms. The half-life of Klonopin is very long, taking two full days to leave the body entirely. There are different methods for stopping use of Klonopin, however, quitting cold turkey is highly dangerous, as life-threatening seizures can occur. This approach is also not recommended as the extreme difficulty of managing withdrawal symptoms can lead to relapse. It is highly recommended that withdrawal from Klonopin be supervised by a medical professional.
Methods for Klonopin Addiction Treatment
Medical supervision is always advised for a successful withdrawal from Klonopin. Medical professionals are able to monitor vital signs while decreasing the dosage. It is recommended to decrease gradually in steps.
In addition to gradual decreases, the use of other medications to ease withdrawal symptoms can be helpful, when done under medical supervision. Longer-acting sedatives can be used to help reduce or eliminate seizures from withdrawal. Gabapentin, also known as Neurontin, is sometimes used to ease difficult withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants can be helpful during withdrawal as well. Again, these should be used only under the supervision of a medical professional because they can also become addictive if not taken as prescribed and only for the short period of time an individual is going through withdrawal.
Comprehensive Klonopin Addiction Treatment
As with any addiction, a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes supervision by medical professionals, behavioral therapy, and relapse prevention are essential to long-lasting recovery. These are the critical building blocks of recovery that lasts.
Get started on the road to recovery. Call us today at Futures of Palm Beach to discuss treatment needs.