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Klonopin Addiction

Klonopin is an extremely useful medication for people who battle with anxiety and insomnia. Anxiety is the most common mental health illness that affects an estimated 40 million adults in the United States age 18 or older (18.1 percent). Those who have anxiety disorders are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than people who do not have anxiety disorders. 

There is a strong correlation between those who experience anxiety having a high propensity for drug abuse and drug addiction. Treating anxiety with drugs like Klonopin can be a life-saving means of fighting their battle with anxiety, but the condition itself holds a high potential for someone to misuse drugs. For those struggling, Klonopin can feel heaven-sent, but it’s a tightrope in which the user is walking on when taking it for relief. 

Your body can quickly become dependent on benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, and addiction can be extremely dangerous. While it may seem safe because a doctor prescribes it, the truth of the matter is that it is not safe when abused. There are several warning signs to determine whether you or a loved one has slipped into addiction.

What Is Klonopin?

Clonazepam, better known as Klonopin, is a benzodiazepine (benzo for short) that has gained notoriety for its fast-acting effects. It was created in 1975 with the intention of treating people who have seizure disorders. It was later discovered that its therapeutic nature could reach a wider spectrum. Once it was approved, it helped treat disorders like panic attacks, tic disorders, schizophrenia, and restless leg syndrome, to name a few. 

Klonopin is the second most abused benzodiazepine behind Xanax, and while the majority use this medication for the purposes listed above, there is a huge market for Klonopin that extends beyond its medicinal reach. The popularity of the drug has skyrocketed over the years largely in part from music that glamorizes it. There have been articles addressing how dangerous Klonopin actually is.

While the headlines will highlight the sheer destruction the opioid epidemic has had on our society, and rightfully so, there are other drugs like Klonopin and other benzodiazepines that don’t get enough press. Benzodiazepines are among the most abused drugs in the nation, and unlike Heroin or OxyContin, the withdrawals can be fatal. It may not be the best to compare two drugs to determine which one is more dangerous. The fact remains that these drugs are just as deadly as the ones you often hear about in the news.

Klonopin works as a tranquilizer to block receptors that cause stress. The way it works causes a high that can be dangerous because of how calm or “sedated” the user becomes. This reduces coordination, which can be deadly if someone gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle to drive.

After the extended use of Klonopin, the body reaches a point where it can’t create feelings of calmness without it. The most prominent side effect related to Klonopin is sedation, but there are other side effects of the drug to look out for, such as:

  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Loss of balance
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Low blood pressure
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Thoughts of suicide

Research has pointed out that senior adults are more susceptible to the harsher effects associated with benzodiazepines. There is no answer as to why this is. This drug should always be taken as prescribed. If there are ever any questions, reach out to your primary care physician to discuss any dangers that may be involved with the consumption of Klonopin. 

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What Are the Signs of Klonopin Addiction?

The first stage of a pending addiction is dependence. Dependence is when you are not feeling the same effects from the initial dose taken. If you feel the desire to take more than your prescribed dose to achieve the high from the drug, this is a sign of a growing dependence. Other signs that can indicate if either you or a loved one is falling into a Klonopin addiction include:

  • Isolation
  • Unnecessary aggressiveness or hostility  
  • Slurred speech
  • Constant cravings
  • Inability to quit when you try
  • Continued use despite negative consequences attached to use
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Failing to meet the standards of your profession/education
  • Poor hygiene

Not everyone is going to show the same signs, but it is important to talk about what is happening. Some people will be able to carry on with their everyday lives, showing no signs of dependence or addiction at all. But the longer the drug is used, the signs of could become more apparent. If you suspect that you or someone you love is battling a Klonopin addiction, it’s important to pay attention to even the smallest of warning signs to either help yourself or others in a time of need to get the treatment needed.

What Is Involved in Klonopin Addiction Treatment?

Detox

Klonopin is an extremely dangerous drug to withdrawal from. Withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin can be deadly if not treated by a medical professional. You could experience fatal consequences as a result. Doctors strongly advise against quitting cold turkey, or abruptly, and will encourage you to seek medical detox at a professionally accredited treatment center. This will be the first step in the continuum of care that can provide 24-hour per day supervision if needed. 

A staff of trained professionals will ensure your transition to sobriety is as comfortable as possible. You will be treated with respect as well as given medications that help alleviate the worst symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal. You will be monitored throughout your three to seven-day stay in detox. How long clients remain in detox depends on the severity of their addictions. In some cases, some medical detox stays will extend past the standard one-week period. Addiction experts often suggest detox as a first step as it will give clients the highest chances of long-term success. 

Residential

Klonopin’s side effects can last for several weeks after the drug is removed from your body, so addiction experts recommend that you enter into a drug treatment program. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you will be immediately transferred to a residential center where you will stay anywhere from 30 days to 90 days. You are more likely to enjoy continued success the longer you are in treatment.

During residential treatment, you will attend therapy sessions along like-minded individuals who share the path to sobriety. You will attend behavioral-based therapy sessions that your medical team will deem most beneficial for your health. You will learn about the causes of addiction, and get to the root of what caused yours. This is where the foundation toward success will be created.

Outpatient

Some of those who face addiction can maintain personal responsibilities, such as going to work or school. The reality is, some of those who want help will avoid it because they cannot sacrifice their obligations. With the emergence of high-quality outpatient treatment centers, someone in active addiction can still get the help they need while fulfilling their obligations. This will allow you to attend the same therapies you’d expect to attend in a residential setting while allowing you to go home or to work/school afterward.

An outpatient treatment program will allow you to consult with counselors and peers about how to identify triggers in your day to day life, and what is the best course of action forward. This is the best choice for those struggling with addiction and need structure to proceed forward on their path to health and well being.

Is Klonopin Dangerous?

In short, yes, Klonopin can be extremely dangerous when abused. However, it can be useful when taken as prescribed. The unfortunate reality with Klonopin is that those who use the drug will expose its effects by using multiple substances at once. The most popular combination is opiates/opioids, which are responsible for increased overdoses. Another popular combination is to consume benzos with alcohol.

What makes Klonopin so dangerous is how it slows the breathing. In higher doses, it can bring a person to the point of near suffocation. It’s important to follow the doctor’s orders and never use other drugs with Klonopin. If you or someone you love is struggling with Klonopin addiction, you must get help immediately.

Klonopin Abuse Statistics

Many people

Sources

Foley, K. E. (2016, May 07). Opioids aren't the most dangerous drug to go through withdrawal from https://qz.com/677980/opioids-arent-the-most-dangerous-drug-to-go-through-withdrawal-from/

McAndrews, M. P., Weiss, R. T., Sandor, P., Taylor, A., Carlen, P. L., & Shapiro, C. M. (2002, December 11). Cognitive effects of long‐term benzodiazepine use in older adults. from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/hup.453

Byron, C. (n.d.). America's Most Dangerous Pill? from https://www.alternet.org/story/151166/america's_most_dangerous_pill

Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Drugs.com. Klonopin. (January 4, 2019) Entringer, S. PharmD from https://www.drugs.com/klonopin.html

HuffPost. Just Like Millions of Americans, I Cling to My Emergency Klonopin Prescription. (September 20, 2016) Nemirovsky, G. Contributor. from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/just-like-millions-of-ame_b_12110098

Everyday Health. Clonazepam. What Is Clonazepam (Klonopin)? (July 30, 2014) Iliades, C. MD, Sohrabi, F. MD from https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/clonazepam

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