Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that is indicated in the treatment of anxiety and its associated disorders like panic attacks. Also known as clonazepam in its generic form, the drug is used to manage seizures. When the drug is abused, a person can develop Klonopin addiction. Chasing this Klonopin high leads to various side effects that might be harmful to the body.
What Is Klonopin Addiction?
Klonopin is used because of its interaction with receptors of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This chemical slows down signals in the brain and causes a calming effect. Because of this, Klonopin uses are always limited to a short-term period.
However, some people ignore the recommended Klonopin dosage and instead abuse it to experience euphoric feelings it induces. By abusing clonazepam, the body gets used to having it. This raises the threshold at which GABA causes a calming effect. To achieve this effect, someone who is addicted will need increasing amounts of medication.
So, is Klonopin addictive? Apart from the physical addiction of needing the drug, a person can also develop a psychological dependence on clonazepam as well. This is because they need it to maintain their mood and keep the anxiety and panic at bay.
Signs And Symptoms Of Klonopin Addiction
Like addictions to other drugs, clonazepam addiction is categorized into groups. The signs and symptoms can be in the form of the person’s behavior as well as physical and psychological symptoms.
Behavioral Signs And Symptoms
When someone engages in Klonopin recreational use, there is a marked change in their behavior.
The noticeable changes include:
- Doctor shopping – going to numerous doctors to get clonazepam prescriptions
- Taking the drug for longer than is necessary
- Consuming more than the recommended dosage of clonazepam
- Withdrawing from colleagues, friends, and family
- Expending a lot of time and resources to get clonazepam
- Decreased interest in previously pleasant activities and hobbies
- Failure to meet obligations
- Continuing to use clonazepam despite the negative effects
Psychological Signs And Symptoms
The psychological Klonopin effects due to addiction include:
- Short-term amnesia
- Difficulty in forming coherent thoughts
- Suicidal ideation
- Intense craving of the clonazepam
Physical Signs And Symptoms
The physical signs of Klonopin addiction include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Light and sound sensitivity
- Nausea and vomiting
- Numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes
- Changes in libido
- Clonazepam withdrawal signs if a person tries to stop using the drug
Causes Of Klonopin Addiction
Addiction to clonazepam can be attributed to genetics, a person’s brain chemistry as well as the environment in which they live. Sometimes, the addiction comes about due to a combination of these factors.
- Brain chemistry: Some people don’t have enough receptors for GABA to bind to. Since clonazepam works by targeting GABA receptors in the brain, people turn to it or other benzodiazepines to enhance the calming and euphoric effect of the neurotransmitter. Continued use results in addiction.
- Genetics: Addiction to clonazepam can also be attributed to genetics. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction to drugs can be the result of epigenetics. Exposure to addictive drugs like clonazepam can mark the DNA and lead a person to seek the drug more often.
- Environmental causes: The environment in which a person is, does a lot to determine their activities. If a person lives in a family where drug abuse is the norm, they are more likely to abuse drugs. A person might be familiar with Klonopin overdose and still seek out the drug because it is commonplace in their environment.
- Psychological causes: Clonazepam is used to treat severe anxiety disorders and panic attacks. When a person who has these chronic conditions gets some relief by using the medication, they do not want to cease using it. Therefore, they might develop a psychological dependence on the medication before physical addiction manifests.
Dangers Of Klonopin Addiction
Although clonazepam is beneficial when it comes to treating anxiety and panic disorders, there are some Klonopin side effects when it is abused. Addiction to the medication can result in several dangers to the health as well as general lifestyle.
The side effects of Klonopin due to prolonged abuse include:
- Damage to the liver
- Impairment of cognitive function
- Problems with vision
- Tolerance to the effects of clonazepam and other benzodiazepines
- Changes in personality
- Problems with finances and the law
- Problems in close relationships
- Klonopin withdrawal symptoms on abrupt cessation
Treatment Of Klonopin Addiction
The first step when it comes to treating addiction is for the addict to admit that they have a problem. However, treating addiction to clonazepam needs qualified personnel found at rehabilitation centers like A Sober Way Home.
If someone tries to stop their addiction without professional help, they are likely to experience some clonazepam withdrawal symptoms.
These symptoms include:
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle tremors
For chronic abuse of clonazepam, doctors recommend a gradual reduction of the medication. Abrupt stopping can lead to Klonopin withdrawal.
Although there is no stipulated period for withdrawal, several studies show that at least 10 weeks of weaning off the drug leads to long-term abstinence.
Psychotherapy, in combination with weaning, also helps patients to stay off the drug. A Sober Way Home has qualified and professional personnel that can help in the treatment process.
Getting Over Klonopin Addiction
People can abuse Klonopin and become addicted to the calming and euphoric effect that it endows. Continuous abuse leads to severe clonazepam side effects.
The dedicated personnel at A Sober Way Home can show your loved one how to get off Klonopin without withdrawal symptoms appearing.
- NIDA. Genetics and Epigenetics of Addiction. (2019. August). https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/genetics-epigenetics-addiction
- Janhsen, K., Roser, P., & Hoffmann, K. (2015). The problems of long-term treatment with benzodiazepines and related substances. Deutsches Arzteblatt international, 112(1-2), 1–7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318457/#s3title
- Brett, J., & Murnion, B. (2015). Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. Australian prescriber, 38(5), 152–155. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/#__sec4title