What is Klonopin?
Klonopin, the brand name for clonazepam, is a potent prescription benzodiazepine, the same class of drug as Xanax and valium. Because benzodiazepines like this one are widely prescribed and easy to find, most people underestimate their addictive and potentially lethal effects.
When taken under the care and supervision of a medical professional, benzodiazepines can help improve several mental health symptoms.
Doctors typically prescribe them to patients with anxiety, depression, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder, epileptic seizures, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, among others.
How Does Klonopin Work?
Benzodiazepines, including Klonopin, impact the chemical messengers that reside in the brain known as neurotransmitters. Specifically, Benzodiazepines enhance the action of a specific neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is responsible for slowing down the central nervous system.
This interaction helps to produce a calming, sedative feeling throughout the body, making it ideal in the treatment of many fear, panic, or anxiety-based disorders, as well as seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawals. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of individuals using benzodiazepines increased from eight million to almost 14 million.
Klonopin and its Risk of Addiction
While it certainly has its benefits, Klonopin is typically only prescribed for short periods of time. While patients typically experience improvements in their symptoms while taking this medication, benzodiazepines carry the risk of addiction if taken long-term.
For individuals who continue their use of this particular medication after the suggested time or in larger quantities than prescribed to them, they run the risk of developing a Klonopin addiction.
How Common is Benzodiazepine Abuse?
Klonopin is one of the most common and addictive in its drug class. This is true of most benzodiazepines, as they are the second-most addictive drug class and are linked to more overdoses than most other prescription drugs.
As the body becomes more tolerant of a substance, it will likely require higher doses of it in order to produce the same effect over time. Thus, individuals tend to develop a clonazepam addiction due to a heavy dependency on increasing levels of this drug in order to maintain the sedative feeling it provides.
Furthermore, many individuals struggling with a Klonopin addiction have reported withdrawal symptoms that were unbearable, increasing their likelihood of relapsing even after stopping usage.
It relaxes the body and brain, which makes it ideal in the treatment of many fear, panic, or anxiety-based disorders, as well as seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawals. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of individuals using benzodiazepines increased from eight million to almost 14 million.
Klonopin, the brand name for clonazepam, is one of the most common and addictive in its drug class. One thing that keeps users coming back for more is the drug’s overwhelming withdrawal symptoms. As tolerance builds in your body, so does the potential for withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.
Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline
When it comes to Klonopin withdrawals, most people have the same two questions. When does Klonopin withdrawal start? And how long do Klonopin withdrawals last? It takes less than one month to develop an addiction to Klonopin.
And it takes less than two days for withdrawal symptoms to begin after you stop taking the drug. This first phase of early withdrawals often begins between 30 and 40 hours after you last consumed the drug. The early withdrawal stage typically lasts about four days.
Next is the acute withdrawal phase, which will typically last between two weeks and a few months depending on your withdrawal approach and other individual factors. The most severe of your symptoms will occur during this phase.
And they will be easier to manage if you choose to detox in a monitored facility. After this phase, the worst is over. But there is one phase left that is not defined by any particular timeframe or by any particular symptoms.
Possible Timelines of Clonazepam Addiction
It can take less than one month to develop an addiction to Klonopin, with most individuals developing a physical dependence on this drug after only several weeks of usage.
Because the drug starts working fairly quickly (usually within 30 minutes) and wears off within a few hours, individuals may find themselves taking it quite frequently in order to maintain its effects.
Further Details on Clonazepam Withdrawal
When it comes to clonazepam withdrawal symptoms, these typically begin 1-3 days after an individual’s last dosage and reach their peak around 1-2 weeks after this. By weeks 3-4, these symptoms should begin to level out, with mild symptoms continuing for up to two months.
Of course, this timeline is not exact and can vary on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, those with a more severe addiction are more likely to experience stronger symptoms and for longer periods of time.
Withdrawal from Klonopin can be extremely difficult and can cause both physical and mental symptoms for individuals stopping their usage of this drug.
Many individuals struggling with Klonopin addiction experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, the severity of which can vary by person, based on:
- Current dose of Klonopin
- Length of time taking this drug
- Amount of times drug dosage has been increased
- Mixing of Klonopin with alcohol and/or other drugs
- Age, physical health, and/or mental health
- Previous substance abuse and/or withdrawal history
There are two stages of Klonopin withdrawal, the first of which is acute withdrawal, and the second of which is protracted withdrawal.
Acute Withdrawal from Klonopin
This stage usually begins within a few days of the individual’s last dose. The symptoms of this stage can range from uncomfortable, to severe (and even dangerous) in nature.
Acute withdrawal is typically the stage in which a person’s worst symptoms will occur, and of which can present themselves on both a physical and mental scale.
Post-Acute Klonopin Withdrawals
The third and final phase, post-acute withdrawals, may continue long after the drug is out of your system. Primarily, the symptoms in this phase are more general and include mood changes like panic, anxiety, and depression.
Mental health symptoms like these are also common relapse triggers. They are experienced alongside addiction more often than not. This is one reason why continued care is so critical to long-term success.
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on certain individual factors, including but not limited to:
- Your medical history and weight
- Your dosage
- Your method of use
- How long you have been using Klonopin
- Other medications or substances in your body
Physical Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the physical withdrawal symptoms associated with clonazepam withdrawal are:
- Decreased appetite & loss of weight
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle spasms, tremors
- Dizziness, unsteadiness
- Muscle pain
- Blurred vision, light sensitivity, other visual disturbances
- Ringing in the ears
- Grand mal seizures
These variations can show themselves in the types of symptoms you experience, the severity of them, and how long they last. Some of the most common Klonopin withdrawal symptoms include irritability, nausea, tremors, dizziness, and blood pressure changes. Headaches, drowsiness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and other mood changes are also common.
Klonopin promotes the production of a neurotransmitter that your body needs to function. Your body struggles to find balance once it has come to rely on Klonopin to produce these neurotransmitters, and then you suddenly stop taking it.
Over time, your body will regain the right balance. But it can be difficult to power through withdrawal symptoms long enough to get to that point. In any drug class, withdrawal symptoms are some of the most common relapse triggers.
Certain factors may increase an individual’s likelihood of experiencing complications during the withdrawal process, including:
- Age. Older adults undergoing Klonopin withdrawal may be more prone to falls and injury, due to increased delirium, dizziness, and confusion.
- Pregnancy. Case studies suggest that the use of benzodiazepines during pregnancy can lead to early births, low birth weights, and birth defects such as a cleft lip.
- People With Psychiatric Disorders. Previous history of a panic disorder may increase likelihood of panic attacks during withdrawal; a history of psychosis and/or suicidal tendencies may also increase the risk of a complicated withdrawal.
- Additional Substance Usage. Mixing Klonopin with other substances can cause unpredictable and possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
- Previous History of Complications. For individuals who have previously experienced complications while recovering from a previous substance addiction, it may be advisable to take precautions during current or future addiction treatment processes.
Klonopin and Brain Chemistry
Because Klonopin boosts GABA production, stopping usage of this drug will cause your body to react, possibly even in severe ways. Because these symptoms can be dangerous, it is not recommended to quit cold turkey when it comes to clonazepam.
Over time, a person’s body will regain a regular chemical balance without a need for Klonopin, but it can be difficult to power through withdrawal symptoms long enough to get to that point.
This is why finding addiction treatment centers that can provide medical supervision throughout the rehabilitation process is so important for a successful recovery from Klonopin addiction.
Mental Symptoms of Klonopin Withdrawal
Some of the mental withdrawal symptoms associated with clonazepam withdrawal are:
- Nightmares, insomnia
- Irritability, agitation
- Nervousness, panic attacks
- Changes in sensory perception (touch, taste, etc.)
- Problems with concentration and memory
- Delusions, confusion, auditory/visual hallucinations
- Detachment, distorted reality
- Suicidal thoughts
Protracted withdrawal, or post acute withdrawal, is the second stage of clonazepam withdrawal and can last anywhere from a few months to a year. However, not everyone experiences this stage.
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can include lingering anxiety, irritability, and depression.
Mental health symptoms like these can be common relapse triggers. They are experienced alongside addiction more often than not, and further highlight why continued professional care is so critical to long-term rehabilitative success.
Because Klonopin is typically used to combat symptoms of an anxiety disorder, stopping usage of this drug can cause them to return.
In some cases, the symptoms may be more severe than they were originally. This can also be a cause for concern in regard to a potential relapse.
What are the Most Severe Withdrawal Symptoms?
Klonopin use can often lead to addiction. This is one reason why most doctors will prescribe it for a maximum of four weeks at a time. This is true of most benzodiazepines, as they are the second-most addictive drug class and are linked to more overdoses than most other prescription drugs.
The Klonopin withdrawal symptoms listed above can be overwhelming. These symptoms and drug cravings lead many Klonopin addicts to begin using again. But using again can lead to even worse symptoms, creating a vicious cycle of abuse.
Rapid heartbeats and seizures become more likely in high doses and long-term abuse. Slow and difficult breathing are two Klonopin withdrawal symptoms that become more likely when it is taken along with other potent prescription drugs.
Under certain conditions, Klonopin withdrawals may become fatal. But stopping Klonopin use cold turkey is rarely effective and can even be dangerous. So, what can help with Klonopin withdrawal? What can make it easier to maintain your strength through the difficult stage of early sobriety?
Treating a Klonopin Addiction
There are several options for addiction treatment for individuals struggling with abusing clonazepam.
In order to avoid severe symptoms of withdrawal, Klonopin users are recommended to follow a tapering schedule (gradual decrease in their dosage), and to do so under careful medical supervision.
Aside from tapering off of Klonopin, individuals may also be encouraged to undergo a medical detox Klonopin withdrawal method, which often use the tapering method alongside the detoxification process.
Tapering Off of Klonopin
By gradually reducing their dosage of Klonopin, doctors can help to minimize their patient’s symptoms of withdrawal and other complications that may arise upon stopping usage of this drug.
This is usually a trial-and-error process, lasting an average of 2-3 weeks. Because each individual’s addiction situation is different, finding a decrease rate and reduction period that works for them may take time, and will require frequent communication with their medical provider.
The slower the tapering process, the less uncomfortable symptoms a patient will be likely to experience.
Tapering Klonopin dosages is a very complicated process, and attempting to do so is never advised without receiving professional medical advice and guidance.
Medical Detox for Klonopin Withdrawal
Medically-supervised drug and alcohol detox programs are, for some, a necessary part of their substance addiction treatment process. For those with particularly severe Klonopin addictions or withdrawal symptoms, they may be advised to partake in a drug detox program.
These programs are intended to help purify the body of any remaining traces of the abused substance, and help restore balance within bodily functions.
During the detox process, patients are monitored and prescribed medications that help to alleviate symptoms such as Clonidine, Keppra, and Propranolol. They will also be given fluids and nutritional supplements if necessary. Furthermore, they will be constantly monitored for safe heart rate levels, regular breathing, and other healthy vital functions.
Medically supervised detoxes are one of the best methods of ensuring the patient’s safety during their recovery from addiction, and increases the likelihood of success of their substance abuse treatment.
Alternatives to Klonopin for Treating Anxiety
There are several alternative options for treating anxiety and other stress/panic-related disorders that do not pose the same risks for addiction that come with Klonopin.
Some of these include:
- Lifestyle Changes.
- Other Prescription Medications for Anxiety.
- Therapy and Counseling.
While making lifestyle changes geared towards treating anxiety may not be effective when used singularly, they can provide minor benefits, as well as serve to boost the impact of other treatment methods.
Some easy and effective lifestyle changes to help reduce anxiety may include:
- Eating balanced and nutritious meals. Prioritizing whole and healthy foods and avoiding caffeine, unnecessary sugars, and alcohol (which can damage neurotransmitters in the brain when consumed in excess quantities) can all help reduce anxiety.
- Improving sleeping patterns. Increased rest helps to balance brain function, which can help improve bodily functions and reduce stress levels.
- Exercising. Physical activity releases endorphins and serotonin in the brain, which cause happy and positive feelings in an individual.
- Practicing meditation and mindfulness skills. These activities can help to increase productivity, as well as reduce stress levels and restore a sense of inner peace.
Finding Support During Rehabilitation
For those seeking or undergoing addiction treatment, joining support groups can be extremely beneficial during their recovery process and maintaining their sobriety afterwards.
Whether in the form of trusted family and/or friends, or through local or even online support groups with experience coping with specific substance abuse-related issues, knowing they are not alone in their struggle with addiction can be extremely relieving for these individuals.
For those receiving addiction treatment while also struggling with mental health problems, these support systems can be especially helpful.
Other Prescription Medications for Anxiety
While benzodiazepines are typically prescribed due to their fast-acting nature, there are several other prescription medications that are non-addictive and have been proven effective in treating anxiety.
Some of these alternatives include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Beta-Blockers (blood pressure medications)
- Buspirone (anti-anxiety)
- Hydroxyzine (prescription antihistamine)
While SSRIs are usually the first choice for treating anxiety, they can take a few weeks to start working as intended.
Furthermore, while these medications do not pose a risk for addiction, they do have side effects, and should not be stopped or adjusted without medical guidance.
Therapy and Counseling
Therapy and counseling for anxiety are very effective options for treating this disorder and can be done without the addition of medication.
Those undergoing this treatment option are taught to recognize and challenge thought patterns and behaviors in relation to their anxiety, as well as introduced to exercises (breathing techniques, for example) that can help them manage their symptoms in their daily lives.
Other Resources For Klonopin Withdrawal
Inpatient and outpatient rehabs, like those offered here at Circle of Hope, can also help to overcome a Klonopin addiction.
While our social detox programs will not involve medications, it is still safer and more effective than detoxing at home. Whether you begin a medical or non-medical detox, withdrawing in the comfort and safety of an established rehab facility like ours is always a better choice than attempting to go it alone.
The support from our trained and compassionate team of professionals ensures that you remain comfortable, safe, and stable. They are dedicated to helping you receive the necessary care addiction recovery requires, and will ensure you have the support and guidance in maintaining your sobriety when you need it the most.
What Happens After Klonopin Withdrawal Treatment?
While a monitored detox is an excellent start, it is not necessarily the end of an individual’s addiction recovery journey. Relapse rates are significantly higher among people who attend detox programs and stop seeking treatment afterwards, than in those who continue treatment after detox.
At Circle of Hope, we offer a variety of recovery programs that serve to continue to meet our clients’ unique needs after completing the detoxification process. Among them, residential care, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs are the most effective and convenient treatment methods.
A Full Range Of Treatment Options At Circle Of Hope
At Circle of Hope, our programs range from 24-hour support and guidance to part-time, pre-scheduled visits each week. In our full-time programs, you receive healthy meals, attend behavioral therapy and support groups, and participate in other proven treatments throughout the day.
In our part-time programs, we work with your unique needs and schedule to give you the care you need on your terms. We offer many of the same types of treatments in these programs but require less of a time commitment, taking the pressure of working with a complicated schedule off of your shoulders!
For those who have already attended more intensive recovery programs, we typically recommend participating in our outpatient programs. This allows you to recover steadily, and without the possibility of feeling overwhelmed. These programs are also ideal for people with full-time jobs, children, or other commitments that make a full-time stay a more difficult option.
If you aren’t sure which option is best for you, don’t worry! We will work with you to determine which treatment program will best suit you and your needs. Call us today at 818-391-5259, and let us help you take the first step on your road to recovery!
We will work with you to determine which treatment program will best suit you. Call us today at 818-391-5259. It’s time to choose a better way.