Last Updated: October 25, 2022
Klonopin is a benzodiazepine drug often used to treat symptoms of anxiety. Although Klonopin can be helpful in many cases, it is a Schedule IV controlled substance that carries the risk of dependence and addiction. These conditions can occur even when Klonopin is taken as prescribed. Fortunately, Klonopin dependence and addiction are treatable.
The following provides an overview of Klonopin’s uses, risks, side effects and methods of treatment.
What Is Klonopin Used For?
Klonopin is a brand name of the generic drug clonazepam. It belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, often known as “benzos.” Klonopin is one of the most commonly prescribed benzos, with more than 15.5 million prescriptions in the United States in 2019. Other commonly prescribed benzos include Xanax and Valium.
Klonopin is FDA-approved to treat seizures, panic disorders, catatonia and agitation. Klonopin is also used when people are detoxing from alcohol, as it can help some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Is Klonopin Addictive?
Although there are legitimate medical uses for the drug, Klonopin addiction is a very real issue that should not be underestimated. It is a Schedule IV controlled substance, meaning that it carries a risk of abuse, addiction and dependence.
People who take Klonopin or other benzodiazepines may develop a physical dependence, an addiction or both. If you are physically dependent, you may not have an addiction. However, your body will experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop taking Klonopin after developing a dependence.
Often, people developing a Klonopin addiction can start to show behavioral signs like:
- A focus on obtaining Klonopin
- Seeking out different doctors or pharmacies to get Klonopin
- Exaggerating symptoms in hopes of obtaining Klonopin
- Problems with school, work, friends or family members
- Changes in sleep habits or hygiene
To minimize the risk of becoming addicted to Klonopin, it is important to take the drug exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take the drug in higher doses than prescribed or more often than prescribed. In addition, it is important to only take Klonopin prescriptions that have been written for you.
Even if you take the drug exactly as prescribed and do not become addicted, benzos like Klonopin can cause long-term health issues. These include:
- Cognitive decline
- Hip fracture
- Higher risk of car crashes
Klonopin Addiction Statistics
Little data is available specifically for Klonopin, but there are statistics available about benzo abuse in general:
- Overall, 2.1% of American adults misuse benzos, and 0.2% have benzo use disorders.
- Among people who are prescribed benzos, 17.1% misuse them and less than 2% have benzo use disorders.
The research shows that people with benzo prescriptions have a much higher risk of benzo abuse and addiction than the American population as a whole. For this reason, it is important to remain vigilant if you or someone you love is prescribed a benzo like Klonopin.
Klonopin Side Effects
Klonopin slows down many functions of the body because it enhances the brain’s use of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA calms the activity of the brain, which relieves symptoms of anxiety. Klonopin is only intended to be a short-term treatment option, however, because it can be addictive.
Klonopin’s calming influence on the brain may cause side effects like:
- Slurred speech
- Memory problems
- Slowed reaction time
- General lack of coordination
Klonopin and Alcohol
Using Klonopin with central nervous system depressants like alcohol can increase side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and concentration problems. Some people may also have problems with thinking and judgment. The risk of overdose and death also increases when you mix Klonopin and alcohol. For these reasons, you should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while taking Klonopin.
When a person becomes physically dependent on a drug, their body and brain begin to expect its presence. As a result, abruptly stopping the drug can cause withdrawal symptoms to occur. People should usually avoid taking Klonopin for longer than a few weeks at a time, as longer-term use increases the likelihood of dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin include:
- Increased sweating
- Heart rate faster than 100 beats per minute
- Hand tremor
- Nausea and vomiting
- Grand mal seizures
- Klonopin cravings
To prevent withdrawal symptoms, medical professionals will often taper patients off Klonopin gradually rather than have them quit “cold turkey.” A typical tapering process involves reducing Klonopin doses by 10% to 25% every two weeks, but it can be adjusted when needed. Sometimes, the tapering process can take several months, especially if the person took high Klonopin doses or used the drug for an extended time.
Many people want to try detoxing from Klonopin at home without medical supervision. Some may even try to design their own taper regimens for Klonopin. However, detoxing at home without medical guidance can be extremely dangerous due to the risk of seizures and other severe withdrawal symptoms.
Seeking professional treatment at a medical detox facility like The Recovery Village Columbus is the best way to avoid uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Along with the medical support you receive from doctors and nurses, you can also receive treatment for addiction and any other mental health concerns you may have.
Klonopin Addiction Treatment
For many people, the first step of Klonopin addiction treatment is medical detox. Medical detox allows a client to naturally eliminate drugs like Klonopin from their system while receiving 24/7 care for uncomfortable or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
However, Klonopin detox does not address the core issues that led to addiction in the first place. For this reason, most people should begin a professional rehab program after completing detox. In rehab, you begin to examine why you began to rely on Klonopin and start developing healthier coping strategies that do not involve drugs. Rehab can take place in inpatient or outpatient settings. In inpatient rehab, you live at the rehab facility and can focus entirely on your recovery. In outpatient rehab, you live in a sober living community or supportive environment and attend rehab by visiting the facility or using teletherapy services.
Recovery is possible.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, help is available. Call to speak with a Recovery Advocate about treatment options today.