Klonopin Addiction (Clonazepam Abuse)

Help for Klonopin Addiction

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Prescription medication has many benefits for treating patients with anxiety and panic disorders. Medications like Klonopin help people manage their anxiety and overcome panic attacks; however, Klonopin and similar prescriptions have highly addictive qualities that can lead to addiction and health risks.

Understanding the risks behind potentially addictive medications is essential to using these prescriptions responsibly and mitigating the risk of addiction. Klonopin might not be the first medication that comes to mind when considering prescription drug abuse, but Klonopin addiction (clonazepam abuse) is a genuine and dangerous issue.

If you or a loved one is managing symptoms of Klonopin addiction, taking action is vital. The first step to healing from Klonopin addiction is knowing the signs and symptoms. 

This article will help you to understand Klonopin addiction and what to do if you are concerned with Klonopin misuse for yourself or a loved one.

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What is Klonopin?

Before you can understand the dangers of Klonopin addiction, you must start by understanding what Klonopin is and why it’s prescribed for patients suffering from illnesses including anxiety and panic disorders.

Klonopin is a brand name for clonazepam, which treats epilepsy and seizure disorders. However, Klonopin has many uses for treating mental health conditions. Clonazepam is part of the drug class of benzodiazepines. Similar to other benzodiazepines, Klonopin can lead to physical and mental dependence, as well as withdrawal, if it is misused.

What is Klonopin Used For?

Klonopin treats various disorders and is not exclusively used for treating psychiatric conditions. According to the National Health Service (NHS), Klonopin and clonazepam brands help treat and control seizures, fits of epilepsy, muscle spasms, and conditions like restless legs syndrome. Klonopin is a prescription-only medication in liquid or tablet form.

However, most people are familiar with Klonopin for its anti-anxiety properties. It is often used to treat debilitating anxiety, panic disorders, depression, and alcohol withdrawal. Klonopin can lead to severe addiction and physical dependence when used in large quantities or too frequently.

What is a High Dose of Klonopin?

Klonopin is especially dangerous when used frequently in high doses. The maximum Klonopin dosage is 20 milligrams taken daily. This high dosage is not recommended in most cases and disorders and is typically reserved for individuals with epilepsy or seizure disorders. 

Klonopin tablets for treating anxiety and panic disorders come in three sizes: 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg. Your doctor will adjust your Klonopin maximum daily dose based on physical and mental factors and pre-existing conditions.

Your doctor will start with a lower dose when you take Klonopin and may increase the maximum dose gradually depending on your reaction to initial use. Below is an overview of the average doses depending on age and conditions.

  • Epilepsy for Adult Patients: Doses begin at 1mg and should be taken at nighttime. Doses might increase from 4mg to 8mg in the weeks following the initial prescription.
  • Epilepsy for Child Patients: Children with epilepsy or seizure disorders taking Klonopin will use varying doses depending on age and pre-existing conditions. The starting Klonopin dose might increase in the weeks following the initial prescription.
  • Involuntary Muscle Spasms for Adults: Klonopin doses begin at 1mg taken at nighttime. Like other uses, Klonopin treating muscle spasms can increase in the weeks following the initial prescription.
  • Panic Disorders: 1mg to 2mg daily is the recommended maximum Klonopin dose for treating patients with panic disorders or severe anxiety conditions.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome: Individuals using Klonopin to treat restless leg syndrome should take doses between 500 micrograms to 2mg daily.

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How Long Does Klonopin Take to Work?

Klonopin works at different speeds depending on the condition this medication is treating. Individuals using Klonopin for seizures, muscle spasms, and epilepsy will typically see positive results as doses gradually increase, meaning that it can take a few days to a few weeks to work.

Individuals using Klonopin for panic disorders, anxiety, and restless legs syndrome will notice Klonopin working around one hour after consumption.

Is Klonopin a Sedative?

Because Klonopin belongs to the class of benzodiazepines, they are considered sedative medication. Benzodiazepines are sedatives that slow down an individual’s brain and body functions to help with anxiety and insomnia. Klonopin is considered a sedative because it enacts calming, tranquillising, and sedating effects in the mind and body.

What Are Sedatives?

Sedatives are a type of medication falling into benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sleep or insomnia medication. Many people refer to sedatives by other names, such as tranquillisers, depressants, and hypnotics.

Sedatives are sometimes known as Z-drugs. Z-drugs are psychoactive substances that induce sedation and relaxation in patients’ minds and bodies by targeting the central nervous system. Sedatives and Z-drugs can have various side effects on the user’s mind and body, including the following.

  • Difficulty with movement
  • Memory issues
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Lower heart rate and breathing, mainly when used alongside alcohol
  • Worsened depression and anxiety if the medication is abused
  • Poor attention span and judgement
  • Inappropriate behaviour or unnatural mood swings
  • If misused or overused, possible dependence and addiction could lead to overdoses.

How Long Does Klonopin Stay in Your System?

The length of time Klonopin remains in your system depends on various factors. One factor to consider is the half-life of clonazepam. A drug’s half-life is the time it takes for the level of a medication’s active substance to decrease by half, a process that can take hours, days, or weeks depending on the medication.

Clonazepam’s half-life is long compared to many other medications, though the exact amount of time it takes to leave your system depends on how often you consume Klonopin and in what quantities. Clonazepam generally has a half-life of 20 to 60 hours – however, this means that only half of the substance will leave your system.

After your final dose, Klonopin can take six to nine days to leave your system entirely. The medication is usually detectable in urine tests for an average of four days after your final use. If you are a long-term Klonopin user, the medication can show up in urine tests for up to a month and hair tests for an average of four weeks.

Below are some variables that will affect how long Klonopin remains in your system.

  • The frequency of use
  • Your age
  • How long you’ve used the medication
  • Your typical dosage
  • The use of any other medications, prescribed or illegal.

Does Klonopin Cause Depression?

Overusing or abusing Klonopin can cause worsening depression. While the medication is helpful for severe anxiety episodes, it can cause challenges when taken too frequently. Klonopin causes some patients to feel depressed and uninterested in their usual hobbies and passions.

Is Klonopin Used to Treat Anxiety?

Klonopin is often used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Because the medication induces calm in your brain and body, it is effective when used as needed to treat severe anxiety conditions. Individuals resistant to antidepressant treatments but requiring help managing acute anxiety are often prescribed benzodiazepines like Klonopin to manage high anxiety levels.

Klonopin Addiction

What Is a High Dose of Klonopin for Anxiety?

When treating panic disorder, Klonopin doses begin at around .25 mg twice daily. Over the weeks following the initial introduction of Klonopin to the body’s system, this dose might increase to 1 mg daily. The highest dose of Klonopin for anxiety is 4 mg daily.

Klonopin is not often used to treat anxiety outside of panic disorder; however, in cases of acute anxiety, your psychiatrist might recommend Klonopin. If a psychiatrist prescribes Klonopin, they will provide you with accurate guidelines for dosing.

What Are the Side Effects of Klonopin?

Unfortunately, there are many clonazepam and Klonopin side effects that could cause severe harm when the drug is abused or taken incorrectly. Generally speaking, Klonopin should only be used in severe panic episodes. Below is a list of the primary side effects of Klonopin that individuals taking this medication often experience.

  • Mental and physical fatigue
  • Drowsiness and chronic sleepiness
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating on tasks
  • The trouble with speaking and forming cohesive thoughts
  • Feelings of weakness in the muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Delayed mental and physical responses
  • Poor coordination, shaky movements, difficulty walking
  • Restlessness
  • Nightmares and vivid dreams
  • Respiratory depression, causing slow and shallow breathing
  • Rapid mood swings or behavioural changes
  • Agitation
  • Worsening anxiety symptoms, suicidal thoughts or behaviours
  • Lower inhibitions
  • Psychosis, delusions
  • Depersonalization and derealization
  • Chills
  • Feelings of chronic emptiness
  • Lower appetite
  • Lack of enthusiasm and loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Ear and nasal congestion
  • Changes in sex drive or sexual performance
  • Higher saliva production
  • Blurry vision
  • Upset stomach
  • Physical and mental dependence and addiction

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Klonopin?

Because Klonopin is a highly addictive medication, numerous withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the length and level of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms include emotional and physical changes, some of which could result in serious medical issues. Therefore, addressing a potential Klonopin addiction for you or a loved one as soon as possible is essential to mitigating the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Physical and psychological effects separate Klonopin withdrawal symptoms. Below are some of the most prevalent physical Klonopin withdrawal symptoms to look out for if you feel concerned about Klonopin addiction.

  • Nausea, low appetite, weight loss
  • Diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Restless legs
  • Sweating
  • Spasms, aches, and pains in the body
  • Weak muscles
  • Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  • Low impulse control
  • Rapid or increased heart rate
  • Poor concentration and difficulty processing information
  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Increased sensitivity to light, touch, smell, and noise
  • Faintness and dizziness
  • Low sex drive
  • Face and neck pain
  • Sore eyes
  • Tingling in the hands and feet, which feels like pins and needles
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Sore tongue and metallic taste

Along with these physical symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal, there are numerous psychological withdrawal symptoms to watch out for when you suspect Klonopin addiction for yourself or a loved one.

  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Dysphoria
  • Acute anxiety, panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Restlessness and racing thoughts
  • Erratic thinking patterns
  • Confusion and trouble following trains of thought
  • Irritability
  • Agoraphobia
  • Thoughts of suicide and self-harm, along with suicidal ideation.

How Long Do Klonopin Withdrawals Last?

The length that Klonopin withdrawals last varies depending on addiction severity, including the length of time abusing the medication and other personal factors. However, below is a typical detox schedule for the early stages of Klonopin withdrawal.

  • Days 1-3: During the first three days of Klonopin detox withdrawals, the individual begins to experience some of the withdrawal symptoms mentioned above. Symptoms commonly include insomnia and anxiety and will vary in intensity depending on each individual.
  • Days 4-15: The second stage of Klonopin withdrawal is typically the most aggressive regarding the severity of withdrawal symptoms. During this detox phase, individuals experience many of the symptoms mentioned above. Psychiatric care is crucial in this stage.
  • Days 15+: In the final stage of the initial Klonopin detox, individuals will still experience lingering withdrawal symptoms. Because Klonopin is a benzodiazepine, it takes longer to leave your system than other medications. Though withdrawals in this period aren’t as severe as the second stage of Klonopin detox, the individual will likely still need supervision and care.

Can I Mix Klonopin with Other Medications?

Klonopin interacts negatively with specific medications and substances. While some combinations of medications will increase Klonopin side effects, others could significantly harm your health. Below is an overview of the medications and substances you should avoid if you are taking Klonopin for an anxiety disorder or seizures.

  • Antipsychotics: Antipsychotics, including Abilify, Risperdal, Clozaril, and other prescriptions, can worsen the side effects of Klonopin.
  • Antidepressants: While many antidepressants don’t cause dangerous side effects when used alongside Klonopin, specific types of antidepressants can worsen the side effects of Klonopin. These medications include brands like Emsam, Anafranil, and Nardil.
  • Antifungals: Similar to antidepressants, antifungals don’t constantly interact with Klonopin when taken together. However, certain antifungals, including Sporanox and Diflucan, can cause dangerous side effects when mixed with Klonopin.
  • Opioids: Combining Klonopin with opioid medications is dangerous and should always be avoided. Oxycontin, Ultram, Methadone, and any other opioid should never be used with Klonopin. This combination can cause severe side effects.
  • Other types of benzodiazepines: Other benzodiazepines should not be used or prescribed alongside Klonopin. Common benzodiazepines that treat anxiety disorder, including Xanax and Ativan, increase the risk of severe side effects when taken with Klonopin.
  • Additional seizure medications: Regardless of whether you take Klonopin for seizures or an anxiety disorder, you should avoid taking the medication with seizure medications. For instance, Lamictal, Dilantin, and Neurontin can worsen Klonopin side effects. Alternatively, additional seizure medications can make Klonopin less effective in treating seizures and anxiety.
  • Sedative antihistamines: Sedative antihistamines should not be taken alongside Klonopin. Benadryl and Dramamine, for instance, can worsen the common side effects of Klonopin use.
  • Sleeping medication: Because Klonopin has a sedative effect and causes drowsiness for many users, additional sleeping medication should be avoided when using Klonopin. Sleeping pills like Ambien can worsen the side effects of Klonopin use.
  • Stimulants: Amphetamines and stimulant brands like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Ritalin can cause Klonopin to be less effective in treating anxiety disorder or seizures.

While these interactions can cause severe health issues, there are other substances and medications that experts classify as major drug interactions when used alongside Klonopin. The following are among the most dangerous substances to use with Klonopin.

  • Alfentanil
  • Buprenorphine
  • Butorphanol
  • Codeine
  • Dezocine
  • Droperidol
  • Esketamine
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Ketamine
  • Levomethadyl Acetate
  • Levorphanol
  • Meperidine
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Morphine Liposomal
  • Nalbuphine
  • Olanzapine
  • Oliceridine
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Pentazocine
  • Propoxyphene
  • Remifentanil
  • Sodium Oxybate
  • Sufentanil
  • Tapentadol
  • Tramadol

Can I Mix Klonopin with Benadryl?

Many people question whether there are interactions between Benadryl and Klonopin. There are moderate interactions between Klonopin and Benadryl, and users should not take the two simultaneously. Taking Benadryl and Klonopin concurrently can increase the side effects of both medications.

Side effects that can increase with simultaneous Klonopin and Benadryl usage include dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, poor concentration, impaired thinking, poor judgement, and poor motor coordination.

How To Wean Off Klonopin Safely?

Klonopin addiction is a severe condition that individuals must address as soon as possible to lower the risk of serious health problems. However, it’s essential to wean off Klonopin safely and with a doctor’s guidance to guarantee that you do not encounter dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Weaning off Klonopin depends on how long the individual has been using Klonopin. Individuals who have been using Klonopin for a shorter period, such as two to three months, will be able to taper off Klonopin over a week. If the individual has used Klonopin for multiple months up to a year, the weaning process will take around one month. Individuals who have struggled with a Klonopin addiction for longer than a year typically take at least three months to wean off Klonopin completely.

It is essential to monitor individuals as they wean off Klonopin. Detoxing from Klonopin can cause severe health issues if not done correctly and under expert medical care. When weaning off Klonopin, patients should be monitored closely at a rehab facility or by a medical professional. Professional monitoring is essential if the weaning process needs adjustments to mitigate severe withdrawal symptoms.

During the weaning process, typical withdrawal symptoms include tremors, nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea, headaches, and in extreme cases, seizures. It’s essential to wean off Klonopin slowly and under the guidance of a professional, ideally in a rehab facility.

Get Help at Castle Craig

Addiction is an emotionally, mentally, and physically draining condition that struggling individuals shouldn’t navigate alone. If you or a person you love are having trouble recovering from a Klonopin addiction, there are ways to get help and safely wean off Klonopin. The professional and compassionate services at Castle Craig are ideal for individuals in the UK struggling with Klonopin addiction.

Castle Craig is an addiction treatment facility that helps anyone struggling with addiction recover safely and return to total health. The experts at Castle Craig have helped more than 10,000 people recover from addiction using evidence-based practices. Whether you or a loved one are struggling with Klonopin addiction or addiction to other substances, Castle Craig has the recovery programme you need to rediscover the beauty life has to offer.

Contact the addiction experts at Castle Craig today to learn more about recovering from Klonopin addiction.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are concerned about addiction, reach out to a professional immediately.

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How Long Is the Rehab Programme?

Residential rehab treatment starts at 4 weeks and can go up to 12+ weeks. Research shows us that the longer you stay in rehab and are part of the residential therapy programme, the longer the likelihood of continued abstinence and stable recovery.

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When you call you will reach our Help Centre team who will give you all the information you need to help you decide whether to choose treatment at Castle Craig. Once you have decided that you would like to have a free screening assessment you will be put in touch with our admissions case managers who will guide you through the admissions process.

What Happens at the End of My Treatment?

Castle Craig thoroughly prepares patients before departure by creating a personalised continuing care plan which is formulated following discussions with the medical and therapeutic team. We offer an online continuing care programme which runs for 24 weeks after leaving treatment, in order to ensure a smooth transition back into your everyday life. Patients leaving treatment automatically join our Recovery Club where they can stay connected via our annual reunion, events, online workshops and recovery newsletters.

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