What is Klonopin
Before talking about Klonopin addiction, effects, and withdrawal, first we need to understand what is Klonopin. Klonopin, also known as Clonazepam, is actually a drug used to prevent and control seizures. It is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic type of drug. However, Klonopin is also used to treat panic attacks. This medication is prescribed by a doctor and works by calming your brain and nerves, belonging to the drug family of benzodiazepines.
Other common benzodiazepines include medications like Xanax, Librium, Valium, and Ativan. All of which are considered highly addictive. Klonopin, when used correctly, can be highly effective. However, it may create a tolerance as well. Especially when used for panic attacks.
Klonopin Side Effects
Klonopin is a highly effective medication for both seizures and panic attacks, but as with many other medications it is important to know that side effects exist. Though the focus of this article is addiction and withdrawal from Klonopin, knowing normal side effects can help eliminate them to some degree in addiction. Typical Klonopin side effects include depression, suicidal thoughts, confusion, and memory problems. If these symptoms show up you need to talk to your doctor and if they do not lessen over time then this is a problem.
Since Klonopin is potentially habit forming simply by being part of the benzodiazepine family, some people can become addicted in only a few weeks. For some this may happen without trying, simply by using exactly what the doctor prescribed. Once a person is addicted, the brain can no longer produce the feelings Klonopin is supposed to that of relaxation and calmness. This is why people with Klonopin addiction struggle to quit and are unable to function normally without it. Signs of Klonopin addiction include:
- Persistent Klonopin cravings
- Continued use despite negative consequences
- Losing interest in obligations (social and professional)
- Wanting to quit without the ability
- Issues financially or legally
This all begins with a tolerance to the medication, like so many other addictions. The user builds up a tolerance in which they need a larger dose to get the same effects as the smaller dose. This can happen so quickly with Klonopin because as soon as the drug wears off, symptoms of anxiety and insomnia often return immediately.
Withdrawal from Klonopin
Withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin are highly varied and feeling these symptoms is often what keeps someone from stopping on their own. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms seek medical intervention as they can be difficult to navigate. Symptoms include:
- Stomach Pains and nausea
- Tremors and sweating
- Dizziness and Confusion
- Anxiety and depression
- Thoughts of suicide
As mentioned, some of these are normal side effects of Klonopin, but the difference is that with side effects they are typically felt when first taking the medication and go away over time, while withdrawal comes after prolonged use.
Acute withdrawal usually peaks two weeks after stopping Klonopin use, but can last anywhere from a week to a full month with subtle signs. There are also medically concerning physical symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal that should be monitored. These include:
- Short term memory loss
- Irregular heart rate or palpitations
- Increased blood pressure
- Blurred vision
- Muscle spasms
- Impaired coordination and motor functions
Withdrawal from benzos can have debilitating psychological side effects, including an increased risk for suicide. This is why finding the right treatment is so important.
There are three main phases of withdrawal from Klonopin, early, acute, and protracted or late. Klonopin is a benzo with a long half life of 18 to 50 hours so withdrawal will not likely begin before 1 to 3 days of the last dose because until then the drug is still effective. Early withdrawal lasts about 2 to 4 days and is likely to include rebound symptoms like insomnia and anxiety. This moves into acute withdrawal that peaks around two weeks and can last from a week to a month. Acute withdrawal is when the majority of symptoms will be felt. Protracted or late withdrawal can include the continuation of some symptoms and drug cravings may occur. This aspect can last for several months or even years for some people.
Not everyone will have all three phases as they are affected by some other influencing areas, which include:
- Age – Older people tend to have stronger withdrawal
- Amount taken with each dose – The more drug ingested, the more heavily dependent the brain
- Abuse of other substances – Multiple drug use can make all side effects worse
- Length of time – The longer Klonopin has been used, the more dependent one becomes
- Comorbid disorders – Mental health issues and medical issues can make withdrawal worse
- Genetics – A family history of addiction can increase Klonopin addiction behaviors and withdrawal symptoms
- Environmental factors – Environments that are high stress or non-supportive can impede the withdrawal period.
There are always options when it comes to treatment. Out-patient counseling is one option, but when Klonopin withdrawal is a concern then medical treatment should also be sought. Following the withdrawal period, out-patient counseling is something that should be utilized to maintain recovery whether it be through group or individual settings. Getting clean on your own is also possible, but rarely works and medical concerns are still high priority. The best option is an in-patient facility that is well staffed and well versed in addiction.
One such facility is DARA. DARA offers locations in several countries around the world with affordable prices and spectacular views from luxury facilities that will meet your recovery needs. DARA does not simply focus on addiction, but on the overall well being of the person. This is accomplished through education, therapy, groups, and even physical fitness and nutritional balance. Addiction can affect the whole body and this should be addressed through rehab. Each person will be given the tools and training necessary to reenter the real world ready to face daily challenges that come with recovery. If you or a loved one has developed a Klonopin addiction or any addiction to benzos, then give DARA a call. Your life does not need to be lived tethered to a drug, DARA can help.
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