Klonopin (Clonazepam) Addiction
This article will discuss Klonopin addiction, the short-term effects of Klonopin use, and the effects and risks associated with long-term use. It will also cover what happens during withdrawal, the process of detoxing from Klonopin, as well as options for Klonopin addiction treatment.
What is Klonopin (Clonazepam)?
Klonopin is a sedative, central nervous system (CNS) depressant, and benzodiazepine.1,2,3 Street names for the drug include:1
- Klondike bars.
Like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin is generally effective when used for its intended uses, though it does carry the potential for misuse and addiction.2,3
Klonopin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating seizure and panic disorders. However, it is also sometimes prescribed off-label to treat other conditions such as:4
- Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder.
- Restless leg syndrome.
Despite its many medical uses, clonazepam is also one of the most frequently misused benzodiazepines.5
Klonopin misuse may entail:3,6
- Using Klonopin for non-medical purposes (i.e., using it to get high or to enhance the effects of other substances).
- Falsifying a prescription or purchasing Klonopin on the black market.3, illicit distribution
- Using Klonopin in any way other than as prescribed (e.g., crushing the pill and snorting it).
Long and Short-Term Effects and Risks of Klonopin Use
There are many different short-term and long-term effects of Klonopin use. Misuse increases the likelihood of experiencing negative effects.7
Short-Term Side Effects of Klonopin
Some short-term side effects of taking Klonopin may include:2,4
- Feeling lightheaded.
- Difficulty with coordination.
- Difficulty with concentration.
Less common, but serious side effects may include:4
- Lack of motivation.
- Loss of libido.
- The temporary inability to form new memories (usually from high doses).
Long-Term Effects and Risks of Klonopin
Long-term Klonopin effects and risks may include:7,8
- Misuse and dependence.
- Cognitive impairment.
- Impaired psychomotor performance.
- Increased risk of falls and fractures (especially in elderly people)
- Increased risk of car crashes.
Is Klonopin Addictive?
Yes, Klonopin has addiction potential.3 People with other addictions or who have a family history of substance use problems are at a higher risk of developing a Klonopin addiction.9
Benzodiazepines are commonly misused with other substances, either to enhance their effects—as with opioids or alcohol—or to mitigate the undesirable effects of substances, like during a “comedown” or “crash” from stimulant use.5 Therefore, it is common for people addicted to Klonopin to suffer from addiction to other substances. Studies also indicate that people who engage in polysubstance use take higher doses of benzodiazepines.8
One reason benzodiazepines like Klonopin are potentially addictive is because of how they can cause physiological dependence, meaning someone may experience withdrawal when they attempt to quit. In a minority of people, withdrawal symptoms can be severe and resemble serious psychiatric or neurological issues, like schizophrenia and seizure disorders.10
Benzodiazepines also increase dopamine activity. Dopamine is a brain chemical associated with motivation, reward, and pleasure and is believed to reward or reinforce continued substance use.10
Signs of Klonopin Addiction
Klonopin addiction—or sedative use disorder (the clinical term)—is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as “a problematic pattern of sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress,”. According to the DSM-5, exhibiting 2 or more of the following criteria within a 12-month period qualifies as having a sedative use disorder:11
While it’s helpful to be familiar with and understand the above criteria for sedative use disorder, a diagnosis of Klonopin addiction must ultimately be made by a medical professional.11
Klonopin Detox and Withdrawal
Those who become dependent on Klonopin may experience Klonopin withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop the drug or significantly reduce the dose.11 Such withdrawal symptoms can include:11
- Involuntary nervous system hyperactivity (e.g., sweating or increased heart rate).
- Hand tremor.
- Transient visual, tactile, or auditory hallucinations.
- Psychomotor agitation.
- Grand mal seizures.
Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and it can be dangerous to discontinue use without medical advice or supervision.12 In medical detox, professionals may administer tapering doses of a long-acting benzodiazepine which will mitigate the risk and severity of seizures and other symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal.12 In some cases, phenobarbital may also be prescribed or replace the use of a benzodiazepine to manage seizures caused by withdrawal.11
Medical detox is just the first step in addiction treatment;12 most patients need continued treatment that addresses the factors that contribute to their addiction in order to achieve long-term recovery.13
Klonopin Addiction Treatment Programs Available
Klonopin addiction is treatable, and long-term recovery is possible. Effective forms of klonopin addiction treatment often include a combination of behavioral therapy, peer support, and treatment for any co-occurring disorders that are present.13,14
There are several different levels of addiction treatment offered at Desert Hope Treatment Center:
- Medical detox, which stabilizes a patient during acute withdrawal.
- Inpatient or residential treatment, which requires patients to live at the facility 24/7 and receive structured care around the clock.
- Outpatient treatment, which is a flexible option where patients visit the facility several times a week depending on their needs.
- Intensive outpatient programs, which requires patients to visit the facility for treatment at least 3 days a week.
- Partial hospitalization, which is the most intensive form of outpatient care, requiring patients to visit the facility 5 times a week for treatment.
If you or someone you know struggles with Klonopin addiction, please don’t hesitate to call today to start the admissions process at our Las Vegas, NV rehab center. Our admission navigators can answer questions about your payment options, including how to use your insurance coverage to pay for rehab.
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