Klonopin is a sedative in the benzodiazepine class of drugs, and is prescribed for treating panic disorder, seizures, insomnia, and akathisia. The drug has a rapid onset, with the tranquilizing effects of Klonopin evident within one hour. It also has a rather long half-life of 30-40 hours, which is unusual for benzos. This long half-life can cause the drug to accumulate in the system, making it risky if Klonopin is abused.
While benzodiazepines were thought to provide a safer alternative to barbiturates, as with all benzodiazepines, Klonopin use has a high probability of evolving into psychological or physical dependence. A reflexive thought/behavior pattern develops driven by the belief that the individual absolutely needs the drug to manage the anxiety. Any little sign of anxiety will prompt the action to reach for the Klonopin.
Tolerance to the effects of the drug eventually increases, so the individual no longer achieves the same deep relaxing effects at the prescribed dosage. This instigates higher self-dosing and further deepens the dependency on the Klonopin. Meanwhile, the individual’s brain chemistry is being incrementally altered in response to the constant presence of the drug in the system.
One of the first obvious signs of addiction is the Klonopin withdrawal symptoms that will emerge if the drug is stopped or unavailable. Klonopin withdrawal can present serious health risks and should never be attempted without medical supervision. During a medical detox the drug will be tapered over a two-week period to prevent dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
The sedative clonazepam, known under its brand name, Klonopin, is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs along with Valium, Xanax, and Ativan. Each of the benzos has its own unique clinical features that treat a variety of anxiety-related conditions. Benzodiazepines are not only highly abused drugs, but may be abused along with a second substance, such as alcohol and opioids. Although Klonopin is typically prescribed for short-term or occasional use, the drug is highly addictive, often trapping unsuspecting individuals into dependency.
While most of the recent media attention has been centered on the opioid epidemic in the U.S., benzodiazepine abuse and addiction is attributed to a surge in drug-related deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 12,000 people died from a benzo overdose in 2017, representing an eleven-fold increase since 1999.
Klonopin Addiction and Dependence
Klonopin can be used safely when the patient uses it only as prescribed. However, individuals who are predisposed to addiction through genetics or other risk factors may develop an addiction to this benzodiazepine. Typically, the drug lends itself to addiction through increasing tolerance that cause the individual to begin abusing the Klonopin.
Signs of Klonopin abuse include:
- Slowed cognitive and motor skills
- Mental confusion
- Impaired judgement
- Reduced sexual libido
- Heaviness or numbness in arms and legs
- Slowed reaction time
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
When it is time to receive treatment for a Klonopin addiction, the individual will first go through the detoxification process. Klonopin withdrawal can present serious risks, so should only be done under medical monitoring where the drug will be incrementally tapered.
The severity of the withdrawal symptoms will depend on various factors, including the length of time the Klonopin has been abused, the usual daily dosage, whether there is a poly-drug addiction, whether there is a co-occurring mental health disorder, and the general health status of the individual.
Withdrawal symptoms will be experienced in three phases: emerging symptoms, acute symptoms, and late symptoms. The acute phase will present the most intense withdrawal symptoms, which usually appears on days 3-4 of detox. Generally, detox will last from 7-14 days, depending on the severity of the addiction or dependency.
Klonopin withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Muscle cramps and spasms
- Blurred vision
- Impaired coordination
- Mental confusion
- Mood swings
- Concentration difficulties
- Anger or hostility
- Short-term memory problems
During the medical detox the trained detox specialists will provide appropriate interventions as needed. These might include antidepressants and other psychotropic medications, along with over the counter relief. Psychological support is another important aspect of the medical detox program.
After Klonopin Detox and Withdrawal
Once the detoxification process is successfully completed, the individual will need to enroll in a drug rehab program. The inpatient program is appropriate for severe, long-term addiction to benzodiazepines as it provides a more intensive daily schedule of therapeutic activities, as well as 24-hour supervision and support.
An outpatient program provides the same basic treatment elements as the inpatient program, but on a more flexible schedule. During outpatient rehab, the individual will reside either at home or in sober living housing outside of treatment hours. In most cases, an intensive outpatient program will require 25-30 hours per week of participation in the various activities.
Treatment elements include:
- Psychotherapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Addiction education classes
- 12-step meetings and programming
- Relapse prevention planning
- Medication management, if applicable
- Adjunctive activities, such as mindfulness training, yoga, and art therapy
Phoenix Rising Behavioral Provides Medical Detox Resources for Klonopin Withdrawal
Phoenix Rising Behavioral is a leading outpatient rehab located in Orange County, CA where each client is treated according to his or her own specific recovery needs. Because Klonopin detox can present serious heath risks, Phoenix Rising will refer the client to a local medical detox program where trained healthcare professionals will safely guide them through the detox process.
Following detoxification, the client will enroll in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that is designed to treat the addiction behaviors that led to the Klonopin addiction or dependency. Using a proven, evidence-based approach, treatment will revolve around psychotherapy, education, learning recovery skills, 12-step programming, and holistic activities. Our compassionate and dedicated staff of therapists will partner with the client, providing guidance and inspiration during their recovery from Klonopin abuse or addiction. Phoenix Rising also provides resources for sober living housing. For more information about the program, please contact Phoenix Rising today at (877) 299-5694.