Klonopin is the brand name for the benzodiazepine clonazepam, a class of drug that depresses activity in the central nervous system and is prescribed to treat the symptoms of anxiety and other panic disorders, as well as various sleep disorders like insomnia.
Initially, in the 1960s and 1970s, barbiturates were the first line of treatment for these disorders, but they came with many, often serious adverse side effects, as well as an extremely high risk of addiction and overdose.
Benzos like Klonopin were created to provide both a safer and less addictive alternative to barbiturates and soon replaced them as the drug of choice among doctors who prescribed medications for anxiety. However, as time has gone on, it has unfortunately become clear that benzodiazepine use has plenty of its own dangers and Klonopin is no exception.
Users can rapidly build up a tolerance to Klonopin, giving it a high potential for abuse and addiction. People often assume that just because a doctor prescribes a drug, it is safe to misuse without consequences, as opposed to a drug being an illicit substance,
Even if someone finds themselves dependent on or addicted to Klonopin, this same false perception of it as a “safe” drug can lead someone to assume they can quit using on their own without any problems. However, attempting to deal with Klonopin withdrawal alone is not only extremely difficult but also incredibly dangerous without proper care. A professional medical detoxification program can help someone stop using Klonopin safely, as well as manage withdrawal symptoms, handle any complications, and avoid a relapse.
As with essentially all benzodiazepines, Klonopin withdrawal is more than just uncomfortable; it’s almost always dangerous, and it is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms that are often unpredictable and possibly life-threatening.
The reason for this is due, in part, to how Klonopin works. As a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, Klonopin works by inhibiting activity in the central nervous system, slowing down nerve impulses that create feelings of stress or anxiety to induce feelings of calm and sedation.
This is a process that is usually naturally regulated through the use of a brain chemical called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Klonopin creates an excess flood of GABA to greatly strengthen its sedative effects.
When someone stops taking Klonopin after a period of heavy abuse, the levels of GABA in the central nervous system plummet, causing it to go into a state of hyperactivity, now that it is no longer constantly depressed.
This can cause a wide range of withdrawal symptoms, including:
Other, more psychologically-based symptoms include:
“Rebounding” typically refers to what someone experiences when they have become too tolerant to Klonopin for it to efficiently suppress the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia, causing them to return, usually much stronger than they were before Klonopin use started.
But rebounding can also occur during Klonopin withdrawal as the central nervous system struggles to adjust to the lack of Klonopin, compensating with too much nerve activity
If someone was previously using Klonopin to treat insomnia or anxiety before abusing or becoming dependent on it, they have a high likelihood of experiencing rebound anxiety or insomnia, which can involve:
Technically speaking, yes, you can try to detox from Klonopin and endure the symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal without the aid of a detoxification program. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.While it’s possible to detox from some substances like opioids, which have milder withdrawal symptoms that are rarely, if ever life-threatening, on an outpatient basis where someone still returns home every day, the supervision of a medical detox professional is still strongly recommended.
Benzodiazepines, however, are one of the most difficult substances to detox from, with many possibly lethal symptoms.
So, while even detoxing from Klonopin in an outpatient program can still be risky, the alternative of enduring Klonopin withdrawal at home where so many things could go wrong can easily prove deadly.
There are many ways a detoxification program can help ensure that someone safely and successfully detoxes from Klonopin. In the care of an experienced medical detox team, a person in Klonopin withdrawal will be closely monitored, have access to medications that can help with symptoms, and be put on a tapering schedule to lower their dosage safely and prevent relapse and possible health complications.
One major mistake people trying to quit Klonopin without the guidance of a health care professional make is that they stop using the drug all at once. This practice is commonly known as quitting “cold turkey.” This is one of the most dangerous things someone can do, as abruptly cutting the nervous system off from all Klonopin will make the hyperactivity in the nervous system that much more intense, causing more severe symptoms as well as seizures and benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.
Someone who tries to quit Klonopin use cold turkey is between 20 to 30 percent more likely to experience grand mal seizures.
These seizures are also a symptom of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which not only makes the entire withdrawal process longer but also can cause symptoms not typically associated with Klonopin withdrawal to appear, including:
A detoxification program can help with Klonopin withdrawal by putting someone in Klonopin detox on a tapering schedule to carefully reduce their use over time until it is safe for them to stop using without triggering a seizure or other symptoms resulting from a dangerously overactive nervous system.
Going through Klonopin withdrawal in a detox program also makes the process much less difficult to manage.
Making Klonopin withdrawal symptoms easier to manage makes the whole detox process much smoother, greatly decreasing the chances of possible relapse due to symptom intensity.
Finally, entering into a detoxification program for Klonopin withdrawal makes it easier to take the next step in Klonopin addiction treatment. Detox will get someone sober, but it cannot treat a substance use disorder. If someone does not follow up detox with an addiction recovery treatment program, it is only a matter of time before they relapse and start using again.
Many detox programs are already part of an overall recovery treatment program, allowing for an easy transition into ongoing care. Even freestanding medical detox centers can typically provide someone with the resources they need to enter into a long-term treatment program and continue on the path to recovery from Klonopin addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with Klonopin abuse or addiction, don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. Ocean Breeze Recovery’s compassionate and experienced team of doctors and staff will help get you or your loved one on the path to long-term sobriety and recovery, starting with a safe and well-managed detoxification program.
Call 844-554-9279 now to speak with one of our specialists about finding the treatment program that best fits your needs, or you can contact us online for more information.
Chouinard, G., Labonte, A., Fontaine, R., & Annable, L. (n.d.). New Concepts in Benzodiazepine Therapy: Rebound Anxiety and New Indications for the More Potent Benzodiazepines. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6141609
Dodds, T. J. (2017, March 02). Prescribed Benzodiazepines and Suicide Risk: A Review of the Literature. Retrieved from https://www.psychiatrist.com/PCC/article/Pages/2017/v19n02/16r02037.aspx
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Prescription CNS Depressants. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants