Klonopin addiction has become a serious problem in the United States. This might be the most over-prescribed benzodiazepine medication in our country.
Research indicates that the majority of people who are admitted for Klonopin addiction are males between the ages of 18 and 34. There are also a significant number of women who become addicted to it as well. This may be because women tend to suffer from panic disorders more often than men do. This medication is frequently physicians’ drug of choice to treat this condition.
A Klonopin addiction can happen for two reasons. Some people get addicted to it on accident, whereas others may be abusing it recreationally. Both situations are reasons to get treatment.
If you’re addicted to Klonopin, or if you’ve been abusing it, you need as much information as you can get. It’s critical for you to understand the drug’s side effects and what happens when you stop taking it. You also need to know that help is available so that you can come off it safely and successfully. That’s what we would like to provide for you today.
Klonopin’s chemical or generic name is clonazepam. It is a drug that is very similar to Xanax and Valium. It belongs to the benzodiazepine classification of medications. It can be very effective, and tends to work quickly. In fact, it is often used as a rescue medication for people who have seizures.
For people who have a prescription for Klonopin, they need to follow their doctor’s orders exactly. They shouldn’t miss a dose of it because doing so can actually cause seizures. However, physicians should also be careful to only keep their patients on it for a short period of time.
Here, two physicians discuss Klonopin and how doctors use it to treat their patients:
Benzos are used to treat a number of different conditions. They’re often helpful in treating anxiety and panic disorders. They are sedatives, and they can be useful in treating insomnia.
Benzodiazepines are very good at treating seizures, and they are excellent anticonvulsant medications. Doctors may also prescribe them to treat restless leg syndrome and they’re also used for those who suffer from alcohol withdrawal.
As you can see, these drugs are very versatile. This is one of the reasons they’re so highly prescribed in the United States. But their versatility can result in overprescribing, which is also why so many people are dependent on them.
For people with severe anxiety, Klonopin can almost seem like a wonder drug. It’s not the type of medication that has to take time to build up in your system. This is the case for drugs like Prozac and Lexapro. It will work as soon as you take it the very first time.
After their first use of Klonopin, people are usually amazed at how well it calms them down. They generally feel the effects of it within the first hour, and those effects can last for several hours.
Here, you can listen to one man talk about his experience with taking only a microdose of Klonopin. He was terrified to even take the full dosage that his doctor prescribed, which was 0.5 mg. Instead, he cut the pill into four pieces and only took one of them. He was surprised at how well it worked for him.
First, it’s important to identify what we mean when we say, taken properly. The medical community often defines this as being with a doctor’s prescription. However, research has shown that benzodiazepines should not be taken long-term, even when they’re prescribed.
Most addiction recovery professionals believe that medications like Klonopin should only be taken for a few weeks. Other drugs that are less addictive should be used once the issue it was prescribed to treat is under more control.
When Klonopin is taken properly (short-term), it is not dangerous at all. It works very well at calming brain activity for people with panic disorder, anxiety and seizures.
As Americans focus on the opioid epidemic, another, very real problem is lurking in the shadows. Benzodiazepine drugs are just as addictive as opioids, and yet, they don’t get the attention they deserve. The fact is that when someone dies of an opioid overdose, most toxicology reports find benzos in the system too. The sales of these medications have increased tremendously over the last ten years. Every year, more and more people are taking them without much thought of a possible addiction.
The benzo problem in the United States has become a hidden epidemic. It’s one that many doctors refuse to acknowledge. It all started in the 50s and 60s when these drugs were viewed as an easy quick fix. They were most often prescribed for women who had nervous conditions or struggled to fall asleep. In some cases, they were even prescribed to teenagers with the same issues.
Today, these drugs are being prescribed at an alarming rate. They’re also given to patients with conditions that don’t require long-term medication therapy.
Dr. Drew had a lot to say about the hidden epidemic of benzodiazepines. Watch this video to get his take on this problem and how it has been ignored.
Dr. Richard Ries of the University of Washington conducted a study on the use of benzos in the U.S. He reported the following statistics:
His research also found that while there are a lot of nonmedical opioid-related ER visits, benzos aren’t far behind. 32.2% of all ER visits are related to the nonmedical use of opioid drugs. Close to 27% of them are related to the misuse of benzodiazepines.
The current statistics on the abuse of benzodiazepines like Klonopin are staggering. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that:
The CDC has changed their guidelines regarding these medications for doctors. They recommend that they avoid prescribing them at the same time whenever possible. Benzos now care black box warnings that offer warnings about using them along with opioids.
Building a tolerance to a drug is one of the first signs that you have become dependent on it. It’s possible to build a tolerance to Klonopin even if you haven’t been taking it for very long.
Whenever you take any type of drug for a period of time, your body will start to get used to your normal dose. Eventually, you’ll find that the drug doesn’t seem to work as well as it once did. Sometimes patients will bring this to their doctors’ attention, and they’ll change their dosage or prescription. But the vast majority of people will simply increase their doses on their own. This is a form of self-medication.
You may find that you’ve formed a high tolerance for Klonopin after only a month or so of using it. This should be a cause of concern for you. Your body is getting used to the drug, and it isn’t working the way it did when you first started taking it. If this is what you’re experiencing, please talk with your doctor before taking matters into your own hands.
Benzodiazepine dependence is a condition that occurs just before an addiction begins. This means that it’s possible to be dependent on a drug without being addicted to it. On the other hand, if someone is addicted, they are also dependent.
When it comes to addiction vs. dependence, you’re considered dependent on benzos if you physically need them. You have probably formed a tolerance to them and stopping them may lead to withdrawal symptoms.
When you’re dependent on any drug, you may experience physical cravings for it. Mentally, you might wish that you could stop taking it, and you don’t believe you really need it. Your body sends signals to your brain that indicate otherwise.
Unfortunately, benzo dependence alone doesn’t last very long for most people. It usually doesn’t take much time before they form addictions to drugs like Klonopin. Dependence does require people to get treatment in order to stop taking their medication safely.
Once you begin taking clonazepam, you’ll probably notice that you experience some side effects. This is normal with any drug, and some of its effects will fade as you continue to take it.
The more common side effects of clonazepam include:
Occasionally people will experience more severe side effects. These should be reported to your doctor immediately if you experience them:
When you abuse Klonopin, you’re most likely doing any of the following:
Klonopin abuse is very serious, and most people do it for the short-term effects the drug causes. These effects are mostly pleasant, which is what keeps drawing people back to this medication.
The short-term effects of Klonopin abuse include:
These effects aren’t harmful on their own. As long as the drug is discontinued shortly after it’s started, there won’t be any damage done. However, any instance of abuse is a cause for concern, and it’s very likely to lead to an addiction.
Just like opioid drugs such as oxycodone and Vicodin, benzodiazepines like Klonopin are highly addictive. The euphoria that results when you take these medications is really the result of a dopamine surge in the brain.
When people continue to take benzos long term, their brains come to rely on the drug to produce dopamine. This is the chemical that causes you to feel happy and more like yourself.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that when you miss a dose of Klonopin, you don’t feel normal anymore. You may be more anxious, or you could just have a hard time experiencing joy in your life. This is because you rely on the drug to produce your dopamine.
Researchers have found that addictive drugs like Klonopin cause significant changes in the brain that are difficult to reverse. NIDA tells us that, “Dopamine surges are transient events, but addictive drugs cause long-lasting changes in the reward system.” This means that when you take excessive amounts of drugs like benzodiazepines, it’s very difficult to stop.
There are some physical signs of Klonopin addiction that are easy to recognize. You could be addicted if you:
Other people may notice that you seem to be acting strangely. They may recognize your addiction before you do because of your physical symptoms.
There are also some psychological signs you can look for to determine if you’re addicted to Klonopin. For example, you may notice that:
These and other mental signs may alarm you, but for most people, they’re not enough to stop the drug. It can take many individuals years to come to terms with the fact that they’re addicted to Klonopin.
The long-term effects of taking benzos should not be understated or ignored. These are powerful medications, and they can negatively impact your entire life. Far too often, doctors allow their patients to remain on these drugs for many years. When they do, they’re likely to suffer from the long-term consequences of that. They may find that they:
In the long-term, using benzos continually is likely to result in a decline in your mental health. The symptoms you may have taken Klonopin for may return with a vengeance. You could also develop, mania, psychosis and other psychological disorders.
A Klonopin addiction happens the same way that all types of addictions happen. The individual takes the drug for too long and then becomes hooked on it. Of course, there are different scenarios that allow this to occur.
It’s most common for people to get addicted after having a prescription for the drug. Their doctor will keep them on it long-term because it appears to be working well for them. As a result, it isn’t long before they form an addiction.
There are those who choose to misuse Klonopin recreationally. Even in very small doses, it can cause sensations of euphoria. This feeling is amplified when someone takes it when they don’t need it.
In both of these cases, continued use of the medication is very likely to result in an addiction. Just like with other drugs, people become addicts because of frequent abuse.
You may find that you’re confused about your own relationship to Klonopin. Maybe you think you might be addicted, but you’re not exactly sure. It can help to first understand what the definition of addiction is.
An addiction is a disease of the brain. Like other diseases, it is chronic and progressive in nature. If it’s left untreated, it can even become fatal. It is a condition that impairs your normal psychological and physical functioning. It is also identifiable by certain signs and symptoms.
You can tell that you have an addiction to Klonopin if you:
Once you have started obsessing about a drug, it’s safe to say it’s become an addiction for you. If you’re still uncertain, you may find it helpful to take an addiction quiz to learn more. This quiz will give you even more information and help you decide if you need to get help.
As we mentioned earlier, it’s fairly common for people to become addicted to other drugs in addition to Klonopin. Many people who are prescribed this medication will also drink alcohol, take opioids or use another drug at the same time. This is known as polydrug abuse, and it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Klonopin should not be mixed with any other substance unless a doctor specifically prescribes it. Even then, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion just to be sure. It can be very dangerous to mix benzos, and it can even result in death.
Alcohol and benzodiazepines make a very dangerous combination of drugs. Both act as central nervous system depressants, and they work the same way in the brain. When the two are combined, the effects can compound. This can severe interactions, and increase the risks associated with both substances.
Both alcohol and Klonopin carry a risk of breathing problems when they’re abused. It doesn’t take high doses of either one for this combination to become deadly. Getting drunk while using Klonopin is likely to lead to irresponsible behavior and bad decisions as well.
Earlier, we briefly covered the fact that opioid drugs are often mixed with benzodiazepines. So many people who have overdosed on painkillers were found to have benzos in their systems as well. Like alcohol, opioids are also depressants, and they depress the central nervous system.
For people who take both of these drugs at the same time, the consequences can be fatal. The combination of both of their depressant qualities can result in possibly lethal respiratory failure.
People who abuse both of these drugs at the same time are at an even greater risk. Sometimes people will take Klonopin along with their opioid drugs to enhance the high they experience. They do effectively boost the high, but the risk of that euphoria is too great.
It is extremely difficult to stop taking Klonopin once you have become addicted to it. Your body gets used to having its normal dose each day. When you do something to interrupt that, it’s common to experience significant side effects. This is called going through withdrawal.
Sometimes people attempt to stop using Klonopin on their own. They assume that the medication is safe because it’s prescribed by a doctor. What they don’t realize is that their bodies and their minds have become used to it. When they stop, they don’t understand the symptoms that result. What usually happens is that people relapse and they go back to taking it. That’s the only way that they can get the withdrawal symptoms to stop.
Unfortunately, it’s possible to overdose on Klonopin if you suffer from a relapse. We’ll talk more about what that means in just a moment.
Withdrawal is your body’s way of responding when you stop taking your benzo medication. You’re likely to suffer from both physical and psychological symptoms as a result.
Keep in mind that if you have been taking this drug for a long time, or in higher doses, withdrawal can be life threatening. It’s never recommended to stop taking this drug abruptly. You need to be monitored very closely. That way, your immediate medical needs can be addressed right away.
If you have been taking Klonopin for a long period of time, and you’re addicted, your withdrawal symptoms might include:
In some people, stopping Klonopin abruptly can cause the brain to go into status elipticus. This means that your brain experiences a constant seizure. The episodes can last for several minutes, and the condition can become life threatening.
Like most people, you’re probably wondering, how long will Klonopin withdrawal take? The symptoms you’ll experience when you quit using might scare you. All you want to know is how long you can expect to deal with them.
Klonopin is a long-acting benzodiazepine medication. This means that it continues to have an effect on you long after you have taken your last dose. Most people find that they experience the psychological symptoms of withdrawal before the physical ones begin.
Unlike other drugs, it can take a few days before you begin to have withdrawal symptoms. Sometimes people don’t begin experiencing them for as long as 3-4 days after their last dose. At first, they should be relatively mild, but they will get worse as time goes on.
It usually takes about 10 days before people begin feeling better after quitting their Klonopin if they get treatment. Without treatment, they may suffer through withdrawal for several weeks. This is why it’s best to recover in a professional setting with an approved detoxification process.
You may find that many detox programs favor the use of medical tapering over going cold turkey. This is because it has a lot of benefits. A medical taper can:
Going cold turkey means that you abruptly quit the use of your Klonopin. This method is not recommended. It’s also not recommended for you to attempt a taper on your own at home. You may lower your dosages at the wrong rates, which could also be dangerous.
If you choose to detox professionally, you’ll probably undergo a medical taper for Klonopin. This is the safest way to begin your recovery.
It’s very difficult to stop using benzos on your own. This is why it’s highly recommended to get professional treatment. It’s important to treat both aspects of the addiction in order for recovery to be successful. This means getting help for both the physical and the psychological parts of the problem.
You’ll find that there are so many benefits to getting help with your benzo addiction. You’ll have access to some of the best people in the addiction treatment industry when you go to rehab. You will learn so much about substance abuse, and why you became addicted. You’ll also learn how you can avoid a relapse and go on to live a life of recovery.
The very first step in your recovery will be to go through a benzo detox. Many drug rehabs offer detoxification services on site. This makes it convenient for you to get both forms of treatment at the same location.
First and foremost, you will probably undergo a period of tapering, as we discussed earlier. Your doctor will talk with you about how much of the drug you’ve been using each day. They will slowly lower your dose of it until you’re no longer taking it at all. This will minimize your discomfort during the withdrawal process.
At some point, you may begin other detox treatments as well. The staff will talk with you about medical and holistic detoxification and the benefits of each. Usually they will combine these methods when they’re putting your treatment plan together.
Undergoing a medical detox is a great way to safely manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal. When people are addicted to benzos, their symptoms can become very severe. Quite often, they need other medications to help manage them. This is why medical detoxification is so effective.
Having seizures is a very common symptom of withdrawal for benzodiazepine addicts. Your doctor may give you a different medication that will lessen the risk of them. If you develop symptoms of depression or anxiety, they may prescribe you an antidepressant to help.
The goal of medical detox is to alleviate your symptoms in the short-term. These new medications should not be considered a long-term solution. In fact, some of the drugs used during detoxification have addictive properties of their own. This is why it’s important to only take them for a short period of time.
Holistic detoxification is also an important part of the healing process. As you were taking Klonopin, you probably noticed that it altered your appetite. Most people simply aren’t hungry, which means that they may skip meals or even stop eating altogether. It’s not uncommon for some people to become anorexic on this drug.
At the very least, your addiction probably resulted in a poor diet. You may not be getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy. This can put a lot of stress on your kidneys and liver. Their job is to detox your body, and when they’re not healthy, they don’t work very well.
Changing your diet will be very important as you go through Klonopin detox. You’ll meet with a nutritionist who will recommend the right foods for you. You’ll also begin an exercise program that will further help to detoxify your body. Regular exercise also helps to naturally boost your dopamine levels, which makes you feel better emotionally.
It might be tempting for you to consider not going through a professional detox program. Many people with benzodiazepine addictions will spend hours online researching other ways to recover. You can find a lot of information on the Internet, but we need to caution you that most of these methods can be dangerous.
For example, you may find a lot of products to use to detox at home. There are a lot of natural, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements that claim to help. Your local pharmacy may carry drug detox kits, which promise wonderful results. These products are not safe, and should be avoided at all costs.
As of right now, there are no FDA approved methods for detox that are available over the counter. The only ones that are approved are those that are offered through professional detox programs.
It’s best to leave your detox to the professionals. These are people who understand the type of help you need. They’ll take your personal situation into account when they’re designing your treatment plan. You can be sure that they’ll take really good care of you.
Like many people, you may be concerned about how long Klonopin stays in your system. This is a common question asked by people who are addicted, as well as those who have been abusing the drug.
Since clonazepam is the active ingredient in this drug, it’s important to understand its half-life. This means the amount of the time it takes for half of the drug to leave the body. In this case, this medication’s half-life is between 30 and 40 hours. That makes it much longer than many other drugs.
Once you do the math, you’ll find that it can take between six and nine days for a dose of Klonopin to be eliminated. Some experts even believe that it can take longer – up to 14 days. The actual number of days will vary from person to person, and it’s based on factors such as:
Most drug tests for Klonopin are urine tests. They can show a positive result for as long as one month after the last dose. It can remain in the blood for several days, and if a test is really sensitive, it may detect it for a few weeks.
Detoxing is a vital part of the recovery process, and it’s a step that shouldn’t be skipped. However, you should also know that it’s not the only form of treatment you need to recover successfully.
So many people will stop getting treatment once they’ve detoxed from Klonopin. What usually happens is they end up relapsing and the active addiction resurfaces. This means they need to start the recovery process all over again.
Even though detoxing is important, it shouldn’t be viewed as the answer for your addiction. You also need to continue to a benzodiazepine rehab to get further help. Your addiction is so complicated and complex. You need more treatment if you want to be successful, long-term.
It’s crucial for you to attend a benzo rehab after you have detoxed from Klonopin. Detoxing only addresses the physical component of your addiction. The next step is to address the psychological aspect of it. That’s the type of help you’ll receive in the next phase of your treatment.
At benzodiazepine rehab, you’ll learn more about why you became addicted to Klonopin. It’s possible that it really was just a matter of taking the drug for too long. Or, it could be that you were abusing it recreationally because it helped you deal with your personal problems. It’s your therapist’s job to help you discover the real reason behind your addiction.
Once you know what caused it, you can begin to heal those wounds. Doing so can take some time, but you’ll get an excellent start when you go to rehab.
Every patient will be matched with a therapist who will talk with them in a one on one setting. You’ll have regular appointments with your therapist, and you’ll enjoy getting to know them.
They will ask you all about your history; from the time you were young to the challenges you face today. Some of the issues you’ll discuss include:
Your therapist will take a lot of time getting to know you better. That will help them to discover the root cause of your addiction. Once they know what that is, they’ll be able to provide you with the help you need to heal.
Group therapy is also an important component of the healing process during rehab. You may be participating in several groups with other patients. Together, you’ll share about your experiences, and you’ll help each other solve problems.
Group therapy is so effective, and it helps to know that you’re not alone in your recovery. You may learn so much from the other patients, and they’ll probably learn a lot from you as well. This might be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have during rehab.
Many rehab facilities offer this form of treatment as a part of their program. Neurofeedback therapy works by retraining a brain that has been altered because of addiction. It can decrease the chances of relapse, and it can even make you more willing to participate in the other aspects of treatment.
Whether you realize it or not, having an addiction has changed the way you think. It’s necessary to rewire the brain (in a sense) so that you can function normally again. The longer you have been abusing Klonopin, the more severe the damage may be. This is why this type of therapy is such a good idea for people in your situation.
This is a very important part of the recovery process. No one with an addiction should consider attending a rehabilitation program that doesn’t treat co-occurring disorders. That’s because they are mental health conditions that often contribute to and cause addictions.
If Klonopin has been your drug of choice, you probably suffer from anxiety, which is considered a co-occurring disorder. You may have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a doctor, or you may not. Everyone is different, and it’s not uncommon for people to enter rehab undiagnosed.
Either way, your therapist will work with you to determine if you do have a mental illness that needs to be treated. If you do, they will provide you with the help you need.
It’s very important for these conditions to be addressed during rehab. If they’re not, it’s likely that the addict will suffer from a relapse shortly after they’re discharged. They will usually revert back to self-medicating with Klonopin because it’s what they know will help them. Treating the root cause of the addiction could result in a much better long-term outcome.
Some other examples of co-occurring disorders include:
There are several different types of rehabilitation programs you can choose from. It’s important to find the right method that will work the best for you. Of course, you’ll be receiving a recommendation for the type of treatment the professionals feel you need. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.
You will probably be recommended for one of the following options:
Most of the time, a Klonopin overdose happens for one of three reasons. People may:
Regardless of the reasons behind it, a Klonopin overdose can be fatal if medical treatment isn’t obtained right away. It’s important to know how to recognize it if you know someone who is addicted.
Overdosing on a benzodiazepine is likely to result in symptoms that are easy to recognize. The individual may:
If you suspect that someone you love has overdosed on Klonopin, you must act quickly. You should call 911 right away. Don’t worry that you could be wrong, or that you might be wasting the paramedics’ time. It’s their job to respond in these types of situations.
Once they’re on the scene, they’ll take good care of your family member. They’ll assess their heart rate and their breathing. In some cases, they may even be able to administer medications if necessary.
Acting quickly could save your loved one’s life. Don’t delay in getting them the help they need. Once they’re at the hospital, they’ll get even more care to hopefully survive the overdose.
There’s no need to worry if your insurance company will cover your treatment during your recovery. Because of The Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are required to provide benefits for benzodiazepine detox and rehab.
Prior to the passing of our country’s newest healthcare laws, people often had to pay for addiction treatment on their own. The costs can be quite high, which means that a lot of people couldn’t get help. Some tried to quit on their own, which could have contributed to overdose deaths. Others simply remained addicts for their entire lives.
Fortunately, this isn’t a concern you have to worry about today. Your insurance company should pick up a significant part of the cost of your treatment. Any amount that you need to pay of out pocket should be minimal.
If you don’t have health insurance, there are a few steps you can take to get the addiction treatment you need. You can:
Recovering from your addiction is so important. Please don’t let finances stand in your way. If you’re willing to do some research, you’ll learn that there are ways to get the help you need.
At Northpoint Washington, we want you to know that we’re here for you if you need help for a benzo addiction. Klonopin is a very powerful drug, and you need support if you want to stop using it long-term. Our program offers you help for both the physical and psychological parts of your addiction.
Recovery is possible. All you need to do is be brave enough to reach out for assistance. It may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but it will also be the most rewarding.
Our facilities currently open for services:
Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Boise, Idaho.
Our National Medical Detox and Inpatient Addiction Facility.
Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab and addiction counseling located in Washington State.