Klonopin is a well-known name for the benzodiazepine drug Clonazepam.
Clonazepam is a prescription-only medicine in the UK. This prescription drug is most commonly used for the treatment of acute anxiety and the prevention of seizures.
It can be abused, and it is a controlled drug and can only be obtained legitimately with a doctor’s prescription.
Clonazepam can also be prescribed to patients as an anticonvulsant and antiepileptic drug and for those with panic disorder. Its calming and relaxing effects are very pronounced. These effects, coupled with a feeling of false well-being, also make it attractive to drug abusers.
As with all drugs within the benzodiazepine class, prolonged use can develop into Clonazepam dependence and addiction. For this reason, any prescription of Clonazepam should be carefully monitored by a medical professional.
What is Clonazepam used for in the UK?
Clonazepam works in the same way as other drugs of the benzodiazepine class. Stimulating the release of GABA, a calming brain neurotransmitter, helps restore normal brain activity in an overactive brain.
Brain overactivity is commonly associated with seizure-related conditions. It is also prevalent in those that suffer from anxiety-related disorders and abnormal muscle movements.
Taking Clonazepam can prevent seizures and panic attacks, and their related symptoms diminish.
This medication comes in tablet form, sublingually (under the tongue) and in intramuscular or intravenous injection.
In the instance of Clonazepam being prescribed to treat an anxiety-related disorder, a short course of treatment is recommended (2 to 4 weeks). During treatment, the root causes should be worked through with a therapist or mental health worker. (1)
Klonapin does not resolve any conditions. It merely reduces the symptoms of conditions it is prescribed to treat.
The Effects of Klonopin
The effects of Klonopin commence within one hour of consumption and can last for anything between 6 and 12 hours.
Any side effects are likely to be more severe in the first few days of taking the drug whilst the body and brain acclimate. For this reason, patients should always start with the lowest dosage possible, as per their doctor’s recommendation, and not take any more than prescribed.
Any severe, serious or persistent side effects should be reported to the prescribing doctor
Common side effects from Clonazepam include:
- Changes in appetite
- Sleepiness and drowsiness
- Decreased ability to concentrate
- Impaired coordination
- Slurred or slowed speech
- Upset stomach
More serious but rarer side effects of Klonopin include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Memory impairment
- Shortness of breath and feeling very fatigued
- Feeling low in mood, depressed, thoughts of harming yourself or taking your own life
- Doing things whilst under the influence of Klonopin that you cannot recall, such as driving, eating or talking to people (2)
Risks associated with Clonazepam use
One of the main risks associated with Clonazepam use is that you can quickly build a tolerance to the effects of the drug. This means that the drug becomes less effective over time and that the original symptoms it was prescribed to treat can return.
If you become tolerant of these effects, it is important to consult your physician and not increase the dose on your own accord. This can be tempting, especially in the case of rebound anxiety. However, tolerance will only continue to develop and can quickly turn into prescription drug dependence.
Benzodiazepine withdrawal is undoubtedly one of the most unpleasant drug withdrawals a person can experience. Not only are symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal uncomfortable, but they can become life-threatening if the withdrawal is not conducted correctly and safely. If you have developed a dependence, it can be dangerous to stop the medication without your doctor’s guidance.
The Risks of Clonazepam Abuse and Addiction
If you have been abusing Clonazepam or taking large amounts for a prolonged period, you may want to consider an inpatient detox as the safest way of stopping the drug.
Not everyone who becomes addicted to Clonazepam starts out abusing the drug. However, your risk of developing an addiction is increased if you do.
Clonazepam addiction can also result from a genuine prescription. Perhaps this was the case with you. Many benzodiazepine addictions start very innocently in this way.
Not everyone who takes a benzodiazepine will go on to develop an addiction. They can be taken safely without negative consequences by most people. However, the risk of developing an addiction will be high for certain people, those who carry the increased risk factors for addiction.
- You have ever suffered a drug or alcohol use disorder
- Have ever abused drugs (illicit or prescribed)
- Taking this drug without a prescription
- Drink alcohol or use other drugs at the same time
- You have other mental health conditions such as depression or PTSD
If any of the above is a concern, please discuss these with your doctor as soon as possible.
What Should I Avoid Whilst Taking Clonazepam?
You should avoid consuming alcohol and taking illegal drugs while taking Klonopin.
Mixing Klonopin with alcohol or drugs will only decrease its benefits. Additionally, using alcohol and drugs whilst on a prescription for Clonazepam will increase the drug’s adverse side effects, such as sedation. This will increase your risk of suffering an accident, accidental overdose, respiratory arrest, coma and even death. (3)
A further complication of taking this drug is that your awareness levels, decision-making skills and ability to react to danger will initially be reduced. Therefore, you should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how Clonazepam affects you.
Accounting for 30% of cases, Klonopin overdose treatment in the form of flumazenil can reverse the effects.
Causes of Klonopin Abuse and Addiction
Those who abuse drugs or alcohol are at higher risk of developing a full-blown addiction.
With any addiction, there is no one singular cause responsible. Rather, there are several recognised contributing risk factors.
The risk factors for addiction include:
- Cooccurring mental health illnesses
- Unresolved and untreated trauma
- Environmental and social factors
- Childhood upbringing and adverse traumatic experiences
- A genetic predisposition (A history of addiction or mental health illness in your family)
The type of drug involved also contributes to the risk of addiction. Klonopin is a powerful benzodiazepine. It carries a high risk for dependence and addiction when abused or used for a prolonged period. (4)
What you Need to Know About Klonopin Addiction
Much like other drugs in the benzodiazepine class of medications (Diazepam, Temazepam etc.), Klonopin can be very addictive, both physiologically and psychologically.
No one sets out to develop a drug addiction. However, prescription drug addiction often falls under the radar and can be even more difficult to spot in someone else.
When a person develops a dependence on a drug such as a benzodiazepine, as long as that drug is still being prescribed, they won’t necessarily see themselves as being addicted.
Pharmaceutical drugs can lull a person into a false sense of security. The truth of the matter is that they can be as dangerous as an illicit drug when they are abused.
Some people use drugs such as Clonazepam to self-medicate mental health symptoms and to soothe the symptoms of anxiety, past trauma, mania, or even psychosis. Self-medication is extremely dangerous and often backfires. As previously mentioned, Klonopin has no curative properties. Take the drug away, and the original symptoms return.
Rebound and withdrawal symptoms from the cessation of a benzodiazepine can keep a person trapped in a never-ending cycle of repeatedly trying to stop and failing.
Klonopin withdrawal is most definitely not pleasant. At best, it is extremely uncomfortable, and at worst, it can cause life-threatening symptoms and seizures.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal and the Brain
When a benzodiazepine is taken, brain activity is calmed. This results in the user feeling relaxed, calm and even euphoric. Adversely, when a benzodiazepine is stopped, the brain goes into acute overdrive resulting in some unpleasant and exaggerated symptoms.
The brain will acclimate to functioning under its influence during the prolonged usage of a benzodiazepine. When the brain becomes tolerant to the effects, the user will feel no benefits other than staving off withdrawal symptoms. To feel the desired benefits of the drug, the dosage or frequency of administration will need to be increased.
Tolerance is never-ending and progressive. The brain continues to adjust to functioning with each increase. This usually starts to happen over two to four weeks of continuous use.
Abruptly stopping a benzodiazepine where tolerance and dependence have formed is extremely dangerous.
Just as tolerance is built, the brain needs time to acclimatise to a slowly reduced amount. This is why inpatient detoxification for dependence is often recommended. The reduction in medication is carefully monitored and controlled by trained medical professionals, ensuring patient safety.
Physical symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal include:
- Strong drug cravings
- Increased sweating
- Reduced appetite
- Increased heart rate
- Restless legs
- Muscle spasms, aches and pains
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired concentration and ability to process information
- Reduced impulse control
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
Psychological symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal include:
- Erratic thoughts
- Intrusive thoughts
- Acute anxiety
- Thoughts of self-harm and suicide
If you think you may have developed a dependence on Klonopin, it is important to seek medical advice before attempting to stop the drug.
A full medical detox carried out within a CQC registered drug detox facility will make your detoxification much more comfortable and, more importantly – safe. Additionally, you will also receive professional support for the psychological aspects of Klonopin withdrawal and have the opportunity to undergo a bespoke rehabilitation programme.
If you are considering taking Klonopin, less addictive drugs are available.
Treatment for Klonopin Addiction
Klonopin addiction can be successfully treated using evidence-based addiction treatments.
Addiction treatment is most intensive and successful when carried out within the safety of a registered detox and rehab facility.
In any addiction, the safe removal of the problematic substance is merely the beginning of the recovery journey.
Addiction is medically recognised as a chronic substance use disorder and a brain disorder. Treatment is therefore targeted at healing and rewiring the brain.
Depending on the rehab you choose, the treatment programme can vary tremendously. This is why it is crucial to seek professional guidance to ensure you access the most appropriate treatment for you.
Treatment for Clonazepam Addiction Includes:
- A full medical drug detox (home detox or inpatient)
- A bespoke addiction rehabilitation programme
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Group meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous
- Proven and holistic therapies including mindfulness, art therapy, yoga, exercise, meditation, equine therapy and more
- Aftercare support
- Family programme
- Relapse prevention therapies and strategies
- Addiction education
Detox and Rehabilitation
Detox Plus care that you make a full recovery from Klonopin abuse, dependence and addiction. Our CQC-registered and heavy regulated detox and rehab centres are staffed by medical professionals trained in the latest detox and rehabilitation techniques.
For free advice and a no-obligation assessment, call our team of friendly advisers today. We offer a safe space where you can recuperate and get well. Furthermore, we will support your family during your stay.
Can I drink alcohol whilst taking Klonopin?
It is advised that you do not consume any alcohol whilst taking a Clonazepam medication. Alcohol is a CNS depressant, as is Clonazepam. Combining alcohol and Klonopin will increase the sedative properties of both drugs and is considered abuse.
Is Klonopin addictive?
This drug is a powerful benzodiazepine, and it does have addictive properties. It can, however, be taken safely for a short period with the guidance of your healthcare provider.
How do I know if I’m addicted to Clonazepam?
If your use of Clonazepam has negatively affected other areas of your life: socially, physically, mentally, occupationally or financially, yet you find yourself unable to stop, you may have a Clonazepam addiction. Call our helpline for a free addiction assessment and support.
Can I buy Klonopin online without a prescription?
Sadly people can buy this medication from the dark web. This is strongly advised against. Not only will there be no regulations in place for the safety of the drug, but self-medication regularly leads to addiction. It is also illicit to obtain a prescription-only controlled drug in this way.
Is Clonazepam the same as Xanax?
Clonazepam and Xanax are not the same drugs. Whilst both are classed as benzodiazepines, Klonopin has longer-lasting effects than Xanax. You can also use this medication to treat certain types of seizures.
How do I stop taking Klonopin safely?
A gradual reduction is recommended when stopping a drug such as Klonopin. Your doctor should be able to advise you of a plan. If you cannot stop using Klonopin in this way, consider attending an inpatient detox.
- Clonazepam – https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/clonazepam/
- Side effects of Klonopin (Clonazepam), Warnings, Uses – https://www.rxlist.com/klonopin-side-effects-drug-center.htm
- Clonazepam (Klonopin) NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Clonazepam-(Klonopin)
- Drug Misuse and Addiction – https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-misuse-addiction