Klonopin (Clonazepam) Withdrawal
Klonopin is a widely prescribed medication used to treat panic and seizure disorders. Klonopin, which also comes under the generic name clonazepam, belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines or “benzos.”
Withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be uncomfortable and dangerous. This article will discuss what happens when a person suddenly stops or reduces their use of Klonopin and how medical detox can help keep a person safe and comfortable during benzo withdrawal.
When someone has been using or misusing Klonopin regularly for longer than several weeks, they will likely experience klonopin withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to suddenly stop or reduce their use.1,2
Withdrawal results from physical dependence on the drug. Dependence develops as the body becomes so used to a drug being present in its system that it feels like it needs this drug to function normally.3
Dependence and addiction are not the same thing.2 But dependence and the resultant withdrawal syndrome can compel a person to restart or continue substance use to avoid withdrawal symptoms, which also promotes compulsive use and addiction.3
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms associated with Klonopin withdrawal can range from mildly uncomfortable to serious and life-threatening.2 These symptoms may include:1,2
- Elevated vital signs (e.g., increased heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature).
- Hand tremors.
- Nausea or vomiting.
Withdrawal symptom onset, duration, and severity can vary from person to person, depending on how much Klonopin they have been taking and for how long. Longer periods of use and higher doses increase the risk of severe withdrawal symptoms.1 Higher doses also increase the likelihood of withdrawal seizures or delirium.
An estimated 20%–30% of people who undergo withdrawal on their own (i.e., without professional medical supervision) will experience a grand mal seizure, which can cause a person to lose consciousness and may even be fatal.1,5,6 Seizures may also occur without any other signs or symptoms of withdrawal.4
Misuse of benzodiazepines also commonly involves the use of alcohol, opioids, and/or illicit substances. This is known as “polysubstance use” and associated with an increased risk of fatal overdose.7
Benzodiazepine dependence that co-occurs with dependence on another substance can complicate treatment and worsen withdrawal symptoms. One study showed that patients undergoing withdrawal from more than one substance required more intensive care than those only withdrawing from benzodiazepines.7,8
Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline
The withdrawal timeline for benzodiazepines such as Klonopin is generally determined by the specific drug and its half-life.1
For short-acting benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Xanax), withdrawal effects typically begin 6–8 hours after the last use, peak around the second day, and start to resolve by the fourth or fifth day.1
For longer-acting benzodiazepines (e.g., Valium), withdrawal effects may not develop for more than a week after the last use, peak ahead of the second week, and markedly improve during the third or fourth week.1
However, these are just rough guidelines. Some people who suddenly stop taking benzos may experience less-intense withdrawal symptoms that persist for months. These lingering withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety and depression, as well as trouble concentrating, remembering, and sleeping.1,2
Medical Detox for Klonopin Withdrawal
To mitigate the risk of complications associated with severe withdrawal symptoms, doctors recommend medical supervision for patients discontinuing the use of benzodiazepines like Klonopin.4 Medical detox helps ensure patients are as safe and comfortable as possible during the withdrawal process.
Through around-the-clock care from nurses and staff, medically supervised detox can also provide:4
- Monitoring of vitals and acute withdrawal symptoms.
- Screening for other drugs and alcohol present in a patient’s system.
- Screening for any co-occurring mental health disorders.
- Emotional support when cravings and other uncomfortable symptoms arise.
- Medical intervention if complications occur.
Another important role of a medical detox program is to pave the way for more comprehensive drug rehab, which focuses on the different issues that drive addiction and helps patients acquire relapse prevention skills.4
During medical klonopin detox, patients may be encouraged or even expected to attend group sessions and counseling as part of their treatment plans. After detox, patients typically continue treatment in an inpatient or outpatient rehab program.4
What Medications Can Help the Detox Process?
Certain medications can help manage acute symptoms that arise during detox. In many cases of benzo withdrawal, a relatively longer-acting sedative—such as Librium (chlordiazepoxide)—may first be substituted for the original benzo (e.g., Klonopin) being used or misused.4
The treatment team will use this longer-acting agent to stabilize the patient. Then, as they progress through detox, the team will monitor closely as the medication dose is gradually decreased (or tapered) over time.4
Sometimes for various reasons (e.g., practitioner preference, withdrawal severity, response to first-line drugs), doctors may instead use the anti-convulsant medication phenobarbital to stabilize a person in withdrawal.4 Supportive medications targeting specific symptoms may also be used.
Finding Klonopin Addiction Treatment
While it can be a helpful first step, detox alone is typically not enough to support long-term abstinence from substance use. To sustain recovery over time, individuals benefit from addressing the underlying thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that led to substance use.9
At Desert Hope Treatment Center, we offer different levels of addiction treatment and customize treatment plans to meet the individual needs of each patient.
To learn more about the programs at our inpatient drug and alcohol rehab in Las Vegas, contact us at . Our admissions navigators are available 24/7 to walk you through ways to pay for rehab, insurance coverage, and the treatment admissions process.
You can also find out whether we accept your health insurance by filling out this quick and confidential .
If you or a loved one has lost control of their Klonopin or other drug use, there is hope. Call us at to begin the path to recovery today.