Klonopin Abuse and Treatment
While many people are able to close their eyes and drift off once their heads hit the pillow at night, individuals with insomnia, anxiety and sleep disorders aren’t so lucky. They can lie down for hours, but are unable to shut down their brains or relax. It’s tempting to believe that popping a pill will induce instant sleep without any risks. However, there is a real risk of addiction when using hypnotic-sedatives and sleeping aids.
In 2016, over nine million Americans used benzodiazepines (or ‘benzos’) to sleep, with 30% of that number dependent on sleeping aids.
Klonopin is commonly used as a short-term solution for sleep disorders and anxiety, but if you abuse it in any way, it’s extremely difficult to quit without professional help.
What is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a sedative-hypnotic medication that is classed as a benzodiazepine. It is prescribed for panic disorder, seizures (such as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, petit mal-seizures and akinetic seizures) and for the movement disorder, akathisia, as well as for insomnia. Initially patented in 1964, it went on sale as a generic medication in the US in 1975. Also known as Clonazepam, it works by increasing dopamine chemicals in the reward centre of the brain and enhancing GABA chemicals. Klonopin decreases electrical activity in the brain, which leaves you feeling sedated, relaxed and calm.
History of Klonopin addiction
Klonopin is the recognised brand name for Clonazepam. Barbiturates were at one time the main prescription pills for treating sleep disorders, panic disorders and anxiety. However, there was a high risk of addiction and overdose and they were eventually deemed unsafe. Benzodiazepines like Klonopin were borne of the need for safer sedatives.
Hoffman La-Roche commissioned Leo Sternbach to design Klonopin, which was
patented in 1964, at a time when benzodiazepines enjoyed huge success in the pharmaceutical market.
All habit-forming drugs with muscle relaxant properties have a high potential for abuse. This is the attraction for recreational users, who acquire the drug by ‘doctor shopping’, buying pills online or forging prescriptions.
Causes and risk factors for Klonopin addiction and abuse
Addiction to Klonopin is triggered by a combination of several risk factors working together. Common risk factors of Klonopin abuse include:
Genetic: A direct link has been established between genetics and addiction. Individuals whose parents or first-degree relatives are addicts are at risk of developing addiction later in life.
Environmental: Some environmental factors increase the risk of abuse; for instance, socio-economic status, having friends who abused drugs or living in an area where drug use is common.
Mental health disorders: co-occurring disorders like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and panic disorders increase the risk of addiction as a means of self-medicating for mental health issues.
Other risk factors include peer pressure, unemployment, being female and abusing Klonopin at an elderly age.
Klonopin drug interactions
Almost 95% of individuals admitted for benzo rehabilitation had at least one other drug in their system. Mixing Klonopin with other addictive substances (especially those with depressant compounds) increases the risk of overdose and heightens the side effects of other drugs. Klonopin and alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When combined, this heightens sensitivity to alcohol and enhances side effects from both substances. Combining Klonopin with other substances also worsens mental health issues and panic attacks.
Common Klonopin drug interactions include:
- Narcotic-containing medications such as oxycodone, codeine and morphine
- Benzodiazepines such as Lorazepam, Alprazolam and Diazepam
Interactions don’t indicate that you should stop taking the medications. Your doctor will help you manage drug interactions safely.
What is Klonopin Addiction?
Klonopin is a habit-forming medication and users can develop addiction within a few weeks. When using Klonopin beyond the period it was prescribed, you’ll quickly progress to building tolerance to the drug. At this stage, the original dosage no longer achieves the desired effects and your doctor will look to wean you off Klonopin.
Many individuals continue using Klonopin and graduate to dependence. When you’re dependent, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms after quitting Klonopin. The desired effects usually manifest within an hour of taking a dose. The ‘high’ induced includes feeling of pleasure, relaxation, calmness and euphoria.
With long-term usage, you’ll become addicted to Klonopin, which alters brain chemistry. Flooding the brain with GABA and dopamine chemicals reinforces drug use and subsequently makes it difficult to quit.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
Why is Klonopin so addictive?
All benzos have a risk of addiction, and Klonopin is no exception. Typically, the drug is prescribed for a short window of two to four weeks, due to the risk of tolerance and dependence.
When the drug enters your bloodstream, it reaches the brain within an hour and remains in your body for between 18-39 hours. Klonopin blocks special receptors in the brain to reduce stress and agitation. The immediate effect is a relaxed mindset, a euphoric feeling and sedation, with no agitation, tension or rigidity. These positive effects make Klonopin attractive to substance abusers looking for the next ‘high’.
Since most people abusing Klonopin mix it with depressants like alcohol, there’s a ‘cross tolerance’ effect that affects GABA receptors. A person who struggles with polydrug use disorder will more likely remain on Klonopin, because it induces a ‘rapid hit’ and remains active in the body. This fast-acting medication is more effective than Valium, as it kicks in quickly. In turn, this means it is also easier to build tolerance to Klonopin.
How Klonopin affects the mind and body
As a CNS depressant, Klonopin slows down some processes in the body and mind to help you feel calm, relaxed and drowsy. It takes effect by altering the levels of chemical impulses that cause distress and anxiety when levels are low. With continued use, Klonopin can seriously damage your body and brain.
Klonopin affects cognition and reasoning. You will likely take more risks, drive whilst under the influence and sometimes have trouble remembering simple details after you black out. When you stop using Klonopin, the brain (which has become used to high levels of GABA and dopamine) reacts with the onset of withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, headaches and sweating. The severity of withdrawal can drive you back to Klonopin abuse.
Signs, symptoms and effects of Klonopin abuse and addiction
If you’re wondering whether a loved one is abusing Klonopin, there are general signs of abuse to look out for. Recognising these signs is the first step to helping your loved one get the help they need. Symptoms include:
- ‘Doctor shopping’ for prescriptions
- Unexplained absences
- Abandoning old friends to hang out with drug-using associates
- Disregarding family and work responsibilities
- Unexplained mood swings and angry outbursts
- Avoiding social gatherings
- Onset of withdrawal symptoms when the user goes a short period without taking the drug
- Dishevelled appearance and poor hygiene
- Refusing to go anywhere without Klonopin
- Hiding and defending drug use
Addiction is a serious consequence of Klonopin abuse. It takes hold of you and makes it increasingly difficult to complete treatment. Klonopin addiction also changes brain chemistry and structure – especially when other addictive substances are involved. These adjustments lead to personality changes, memory problems, cognitive difficulties and a reinforced addiction to Klonopin.
Short-term effects of Klonopin on the body
The positive effects of Klonopin include decreased tension, reduced worry, drowsiness, slowed respiration and reduced heart rate. The short-term effects are heightened by the actions of GABA receptors in the brain, which decrease neural excitation.
When you take higher doses of Klonopin, you risk experiencing a fatal overdose. With every dose, you’re a step closer to the risk of lethal overdose that could prove fatal. Signs of an overdose include respiratory depression, weakness, delirium, convulsions, extreme drowsiness, decreased levels of consciousness and coma.
Other effects of Klonopin on the body include:
- General body aches, tiredness and joint pains
- Gastrointestinal problems such as loss of appetite, nausea and constipation
- Headaches, coughing, fever, congestion in the nose and ears, poor coordination, sore throat and sneezing
Long-term effects of using Klonopin
When you abuse Klonopin, tolerance sets in within a week for most individuals. With tolerance, you’ll need more drugs to feel the initial sedative effects. Most users overprescribe themselves and take larger doses to sleep or feel calm.
Consistent abuse subsequently leads to dependence. There’s an imbalance present at this stage and only an increased use of Klonopin makes you feel balanced and able to function normally or experience pleasure. Dependence is a definite indicator that you’re on the way to addiction.
Mental health patients may also experience suicidal ideation. Report any such thoughts to a doctor if you notice their presence. When you try to quit Klonopin, you’ll experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. This is linked with psychiatric struggles like mood swings, exhaustion, cravings and irritability. Long-term users are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms due to the quantity of drugs in their system and the length of time addiction has had to make changes to brain structure.
Signs of long-term abuse include:
- Shallow breathing
- Low blood pressure
- Suicidal thoughts
- Severe depression
Physical signs and symptoms of Klonopin abuse and addiction
Klonopin abuse begins with a legitimate prescription for most users. It is a temporary solution that should not be used for long periods, lest it turn into a full-blown addiction. Physical consequences of Klonopin addiction include tremors, weakened immune system, low sex drive and brain atrophy. Withdrawal symptoms differ between individuals, but given the potency of Klonopin, you’ll certainly experience some level of discomfort.
Other symptoms of long-term abuse can include urinary tract infections, burning sensation when urinating, fluid in the ears, body pain, tightness in your chest and cerebral ventricular enlargement. Most long-term abusers notice a shift in weight, because of how quickly the body metabolises Klonopin. There’s also fatigue that causes clumsiness and accidents.
Psychological signs and symptoms of Klonopin abuse and addiction
Psychological signs of Klonopin abuse include temporary amnesia, depression, anxiety that doesn’t respond to medication, reduced inhibition and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
With continued use, the brain develops tolerance and anxiety returns with increased intensity. Some users suffer long bouts of depression, make irrational decisions and act impulsively. Other psychological issues include paranoia and mild anxiety. Many claim these symptoms can be managed at home, but paranoia is a serious problem linked to suicide attempts.
Signs of Klonopin withdrawal and overdose
Withdrawal signs manifest in three stages:
In the early withdrawal stages, you’ll experience rebound anxiety panic attacks and insomnia. Other symptoms (which Klonopin was initially prescribed to treat) can return with painful intensity.
After four days of symptoms, withdrawal peaks in the second week. Symptoms during this phase include sleep disturbances, depression, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, mood swings, irritability, seizures and gastrointestinal pain.
Late withdrawal symptoms occur in the third week after general withdrawal symptoms have subsided. Some patients experience protracted withdrawal symptoms such as depression, drug cravings and insomnia.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
Dangerous effects of Klonopin abuse and addiction
Most of the dangers associated with Klonopin abuse take place long-term.
A study found that individuals with benzodiazepine use disorder who abuse Klonopin for up to three months noticeably increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Those who abused Klonopin for longer periods raised it by a further 32%, with over six months of abuse increasing that figure to 84%. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Long-term use of Klonopin also increases the risk of mania, commonly experienced by individuals with bipolar disorder who have been misdiagnosed and given the wrong medication. As Klonopin changes brain structure, manic episodes could occur, during which the individual experiences elevated mood and talks excessively.
Physical, psychological, emotional and behavioural effects of Klonopin abuse and addiction
Substance abuse impacts every area of your life, including behaviour, thought pattern, emotion and physical health. Many individuals who abuse drugs suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and depression. They combine Klonopin with alcohol to numb negative feelings and boost confidence levels. Sadly, the reprieve is only temporary. When the drug wears off, symptoms worsen and mental health issues are still present.
The realisation that you can’t feel confident, happy, elated or derive joy from simple activities, unless under the influence, increases the risk of other mental health issues taking hold. We all want to feel loved, but abusing drugs is not the cure to loneliness.
The Social Impact of Klonopin
Addiction isolates. Your communication skills, friendships, social activities and familial bonds all come undone when you’re addicted to Klonopin. Your family – your immediate circle of support – will suffer most from your drug use and bear the brunt of your aggression, mood swings and violent outbursts. You no longer derive joy from past activities and everything takes a backburner to satisfy cravings for Klonopin.
Children who are raised by addicted parents grow up thinking drug use is acceptable behaviour and have an increased risk of becoming addicts themselves.
Therapy and treatment for Klonopin abuse and addiction
When combined with medication management, behavioural therapy is effective in treating Klonopin addiction. Options include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): This is the most widely used therapy technique for treating Klonopin addiction. It helps you understand the root cause of your addiction and teaches strategies and techniques for channelling your thoughts and actions in a positive way.
Contingency Management: This is a therapy model for reinforcing positive behaviour. You are rewarded with vouchers and tokens when passing a drugs test or reaching a milestone in your recovery journey. Treatment targets the reward centre of the brain, replacing the desire for drug use with motivation to maintain positive behaviour.
Inpatient rehab: Residential rehab is a 24-hour addiction treatment structured to optimise your recovery efforts. There are medical professionals on hand 24/7 to provide emergency treatment where necessary and help you detox safely. The ideal length of stay is three months.
Outpatient rehab: Outpatient programmes are designed to integrate with your personal life. You will attend rehab from home and receive treatment on site. This option is ideal for patients with mild addiction. Treatment last between 10 and 16 weeks.
Klonopin addiction: Treatment prices
When compared with the dangers and permanent side effects associated with drug abuse, treatment is relatively affordable. The price of addiction treatment is determined by the expertise of staff, size of the facility, number of therapy techniques and size of programme.
Standard programmes can range from £1,000 a week, while luxury programmes may cost as much as £10,000 or more each week. You can pay for treatment via private medical insurance or use personal finances, bank loans, credit cards or government funding. You might also wish to seek financial aid from loved ones.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.
Staying off Klonopin
The goal of Klonopin treatment is to ensure life-long abstinence from drugs. To achieve this, you’ll need comprehensive aftercare and relapse prevention planning to keep you on track and reduce temptations or triggers. Attend doctor’s appointments, don’t miss therapy sessions, find a 12-step meeting, build a network of drug-free friends and stay away from places with triggers such as clubs, bars and parties.
Use your replacement medication as prescribed to avoid swapping one addiction for another. Community-based meetings are extremely important to your recovery journey. Attend meetings stringently and hold yourself accountable by finding a sponsor. The skills and training you learn in rehab should guide your activities and prevent relapse.
Individual therapy is a technique that addresses drug related problems by examining emotions, behaviour and thought patterns that led to substance abuse. You can’t move forward if you don’t understand your drug use history and tackle unresolved issues. Dealing with these emotions helps you identify warning signs of triggers that might cause relapse post-rehab. Your therapist will help you build coping skills and teach you how to manage stressful situations without turning to drugs. Techniques employed in individual counselling include Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
The best way to surround yourself with people going through similar challenges is to join support groups. When you alienate yourself, you only increase the chances of relapse. Mutual support groups like SMART Recovery, Narcotic Anonymous and other 12-step programmes provide a structured environment that motivates abstinence. You learn by listening to the addiction experiences of other recovering addicts and heal when you share your own stories.
Addiction is referred to as a family disease, because when an addict suffers, so does the entire family. Successful treatment incorporates the family to treat the individual within that unit. It is a platform for family members to learn more about your addiction, air any grievances, talk about how your addiction affected them and heal together.
A popular technique is Multidimensional Family Therapy, which teaches parents to not be controlling, reinforces parental authority, teaches communication skills and helps young family members understand that drug use isn’t acceptable behaviour.
Klonopin addiction: Facts and statistics
- Over 75,000 hospital admissions in 20011 were caused by Klonopin.
- 15% of Americans have a bottle of Benzodiazepines in their medicine cabinet.
- Over two million Americans aged 12 and over regularly abuse sedatives.
- There are over 1.5 million Brits who are dependent on Benzodiazepines because of prescriptions from their GP.
- Around 10-20% of the world’s population has a prescription for sedatives.
- Over 200 million people have abused Benzodiazepines like Klonopin.
- 34% of all hospital admissions involve Klonopin.
What is Klonopin addiction and treatment?
Klonopin is a fast-acting benzodiazepine with habit-forming potential. When you take Klonopin for periods longer than prescribed by your doctor, you risk developing tolerance, physical dependence and addiction, which can only be treated by medical professionals at a rehab facility. The care you receive is known as called Klonopin Addiction treatment.
Is Klonopin just a harmless drug?
When you follow doctor’s orders, Klonopin is a safe drug. It’s most dangerous when abused.
How should Klonopin be used?
Klonopin should be used with a prescription from your doctor for the treatment of seizures, panic disorders, insomnia and the relief of anxiety.
How does addiction to Klonopin develop?
Like other benzos, Klonopin triggers the reward/risk centre of the brain by stimulating overproduction of dopamine chemicals that flood neurotransmitters associated with feelings of relaxation and pleasure. The altered function makes neurons more readily responsive to future surges when you take higher doses of Klonopin. The half-life of 18-50 hours reinforces drug use as soon as the previous effects wear off.
How addictive is Klonopin?
The fast-acting half-life of Klonopin increases the potency and risk of abuse, especially when mixed with alcohol. The body metabolises Klonopin quickly and develops tolerance within a short period. GABA receptors change the brain’s reward centre, increasing addiction and making it harder to quit.
Who abuses Klonopin?
Those most likely to abuse Klonopin include individuals with mental health issues who self-medicate to relieve symptoms, stressed-out women and business executives, teenagers who were exposed to drugs and patients with a prescription for Klonopin.
How long does it take to become addicted to Klonopin?
Addiction takes around four to six months to fully develop.
What is the Klonopin ‘high’ like?
The immediate effects of Klonopin include feelings of relaxation and calmness, lower heart rate and breathing, drowsiness and euphoria.
Are there side-effects of Klonopin abuse?
Side-effects of taking Klonopin include drowsiness, headaches, confusion, slurred speech and lack of coordination.
What Is Klonopin overdose?
Overdose happens when you take high quantities of Klonopin and experience symptoms such as seizures, shallow breathing, unconsciousness and coma. Overdose is mostly triggered by interactions of Klonopin and other substances (or high amounts of Klonopin alone).
What are the dangers of mixing Klonopin?
Mixing Klonopin with other substances increases the danger of overdose, as well as long-term brain damage and liver failure.
How is Klonopin legally classified?
In the UK, Klonopin is a Class C substance.
Does Klonopin show up in urine tests?
Klonopin doesn’t show up in drug or urine tests. This only happens if the lab drug order specifically includes it.
What Is Klonopin Withdrawal?
Withdrawal happens when you suddenly stop taking Klonopin after long periods of use.
What Treatments Are Available for Klonopin Addiction?
Treatments include medical detox, as well as inpatient and outpatient residential treatment.
Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.