Klonopin is a type of benzodiazepine, or “benzo,” that is commonly used to treat seizures and panic disorders. Taking Klonopin can produce a sedative or relaxing effect. While this can help the conditions that Klonopin is prescribed for, it also means that the drug is often misused.
Klonopin can have many benefits, but taking this medication also has a variety of side effects. Klonopin is often used recreationally, either as a sedative or to enhance the high of other drugs taken with it. Misusing Klonopin can lead to addiction and can impact both short- and long-term health.
How Is Klonopin Abused?
Klonopin is not usually misused on its own, and it is often taken in combination with other drugs. Klonopin can be accessed by buying the drug illegally or through prescription sharing. Benzos such as Klonopin are often taken in combination with opioids to increase feelings of euphoria. Klonopin is also misused to reduce withdrawal symptoms from other drugs, such as heroin or alcohol.
Although it can still be misused, Klonopin is not the most commonly misused benzodiazepine. Klonopin is slower-acting than other types of benzos, and people who are misusing drugs might look for a quicker-acting type.
Klonopin can be addictive even if a person follows their prescription or only uses it in small doses. People might experience unpleasant side effects when they first start taking Klonopin, but these usually disappear as tolerance is built.
Dependence on Klonopin is sometimes only noticeable when a person tries to stop taking the drug. When Klonopin use ends, it may be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms. These can signal a physical dependence on the drug.
As with other addictive drugs, taking Klonopin frequently can impact the brain’s reward system.
Changes to the reward system resulting from drug use can impact learning and memory, and taking Klonopin can become compulsive and automatic.
Long-Term Klonopin Side Effects
Benzodiazepines such as Klonopin are usually prescribed for short-term use, and long-term use of benzos is not usually recommended. Using Klonopin for a long time can increase the risk of negative mental and physical side effects. Some of the side effects of Klonopin can last for weeks or longer after stopping use. These Klonopin effects can include:
- Tolerance, meaning a higher dose of the drug is required to have the same effect
- Poor coordination
- Memory problems
- Increased risk of driving accidents or falls
- Cognitive or memory problems
Some of these side effects can develop after just one month of daily use, especially for people taking high doses. To avoid long-term effects, patients can discuss alternatives to Klonopin with their doctor.
Using Klonopin regularly or taking it in high doses can impact physical health. The side effects of taking Klonopin can vary, and they depend on a person’s dose, tolerance and frequency of use. Some of the physical side effects of using Klonopin include:
- Sleepiness or drowsiness
- Low blood pressure (if benzodiazepines are used intravenously)
- Blurred vision
- Loss of appetite
Use of Klonopin can also impact behavior. These symptoms are often noticeable to other people and can include:
- Memory loss or confusion
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
The risk of overdosing on Klonopin is not as high as other benzodiazepines, but it is still possible. Overdose can occur if a high dose of Klonopin is taken in a very short amount of time or if Klonopin is combined with other drugs. Combining benzos with opioids significantly increases the risk of a bad reaction or overdose.
As a depressant, Klonopin can disrupt functions controlled by the central nervous system functions, such as breathing. Other Klonopin overdose symptoms can include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Appearing overly sleepy, drowsy or confused
- Difficulty or slowed breathing
These symptoms are very serious and can be life-threatening. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
Klonopin Abuse Facts and Statistics
Benzodiazepines have been shown to be misused by men and women of all ages:
- Prevalence in men: Rates of non-prescription Klonopin misuse have been reported to be higher in men. However, the evidence of gender differences in benzo misuse is conflicting, and it’s not clear whether Klonopin misuse is higher in men.
- Prevalence in women: Women are prescribed benzodiazepines at a higher rate than men and might be at higher risk for misuse. As women experience higher rates of anxiety disorders, this may also be a risk factor for Klonopin misuse.
- Teen abuse: Young adults have some of the highest rates of benzodiazepine misuse. Rates are higher among young adults who misuse other substances or demonstrate other risky behaviors.
- Senior abuse: Benzodiazepines are often used in elderly populations to help anxiety and insomnia. Klonopin is one of the most frequently prescribed medications for older adults. It is often prescribed for long periods of time to seniors who live in aged-care facilities or who have a chronic illness. Benzo misuse has often been reported in this group, and it can increase the risk of problems like dependence, falls or fractures.
Klonopin Abuse and Treatment Trends in South Florida
Klonopin is a controlled substance in Florida and must be prescribed by an authorized professional, such as a doctor or psychiatrist. There are many different treatment options throughout Florida, which can include detox centers, inpatient care or outpatient rehab programs.
The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health offers medical detox, inpatient and outpatient programs for Klonopin addiction and other substance use or mental health disorders. The programs offer safe, supportive and medically supervised options for recovery.
Rehab for Klonopin Misuse
People who are dependent or addicted to Klonopin may require supervision to stop taking the drug. Klonopin should not be stopped suddenly — doing so can be very risky to health.
The process of stopping Klonopin requires time for the body to adjust. In order to stop using Klonopin, the drug should be tapered slowly. Tapering off Klonopin includes reducing the dose over several weeks or months, depending on the starting dose.
There are different options for treatment or rehab from Klonopin addiction. The best option can depend on the length of Klonopin use, the dose and frequency taken and whether it is used with any other substances. Treatment can range from constant medical supervision to attending appointments or support groups.
Rehab for Klonopin Misuse
Klonopin detox is the first step of treatment, and it involves the process of Klonopin leaving the body. Detoxing can have many side effects, and if a patient has been taking a high dose, medical supervision can make sure they are safe during the process. Detox centers are a safe and comfortable way to begin the rehab process.
Residential treatment includes live-in addiction treatment with medical supervision. This can sometimes include the detox process, and it usually involves therapy to address underlying mental health or emotional problems related to substance use disorders.
Outpatient care can be a combination of individual or group therapy, medical guidance through the recovery process and support groups for substance use disorder. Outpatient care is a less-structured rehab option, but it can be suitable for people who are only misusing Klonopin on its own.
- Dual Diagnosis
Patients with a dual diagnosis can be suffering from another mental health condition that may be related to their Klonopin misuse, such as depression or schizophrenia. Treatment for dual diagnosis is more complex, and treatment must address both addiction and co-occurring mental health problems. Treatment for the dual diagnosis of addiction and other mental health problems is offered at many rehab facilities, and it may be possible through outpatient services.
Key Points: Understanding Klonopin Side Effects and Addiction
Klonopin is a type of benzo that produces a sedative effect, and it is usually prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. Klonopin is often misused to help people ‘relax’ or enhance the high of other substances. This can lead to Klonopin addiction, and there are a few key points to remember:
- Even small doses or relatively short-term use can lead to Klonopin addiction
- Klonopin side effects can include feeling sluggish or drowsy, memory problems or blurred vision
- Using Klonopin long-term or in inappropriate doses can impact long-term health
- Stopping Klonopin use should be done gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms and health risks
- Treatment for Klonopin addiction includes detox as well as inpatient or outpatient rehab
If you or someone you love may be suffering from Klonopin addiction, The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health can help. Reach out today to learn about treatment options that can work well for your situation.
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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.