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Klonopin Addiction and Abuse

Klonopin, or clonazepam, is a highly addictive prescription drug used to treat panic attacks, anxiety and seizures.

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Addiction to Klonopin

Blue Klonopin pills

Klonopin is a potentially habit-forming benzodiazepine, with some people becoming addicted to it in as little as a few weeks. Many people have become addicted to Klonopin taking only the amount prescribed by their doctor. Klonopin blocks special receptors in the brain to reduce anxiety, stress, and difficulty relaxing. Once a person is addicted to the drug, their brain can no longer produce feelings of relaxation and calmness without it. This is why people addicted to Klonopin struggle to quit and are unable to function normally when they don’t have it.

Some signs that you may have a Klonopin addiction include:

  • Persistent cravings for Klonopin
  • Continued Klonopin use despite negative consequences
  • Having a desire to quit but being unable to do so
  • Losing interest in social or professional obligations
  • Developing legal or financial issues

Klonopin addiction starts when the user builds a tolerance to the drug, which means they need larger doses to get the same effects they once had with smaller doses. Some users then start taking more than they were prescribed, or using the drug just to get high.

Singer and songwriter Stevie Nicks publicly shared her struggles with a Klonopin addiction. Because the drug was prescribed by her doctor, Nicks said she had a false sense of security about using it.

I didn’t really understand right up until the end that it was the Klonopin that was making me crazy. I really didn’t realize it was that drug because I was taking it from a doctor and it was prescribed.

- Stevie Nicks, SFGate, 2001.

Eventually, users with a tolerance will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking Klonopin. Klonopin withdrawal symptoms range from intense anxiety to seizures. These symptoms can be deadly, making it dangerous for Klonopin users to quit without medical supervision.

Understanding Klonopin (Clonazepam)

A long-acting benzodiazepine, Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam. Klonopin slows down brain activity to help users feel relaxed. It was initially formulated to help people with epilepsy manage seizures. Later, the drug’s rapid and powerful calming effects were also recognized as a way to treat panic attacks. Klonopin is often prescribed to ease anxiety and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other addictive substances. Doctors may also prescribe Klonopin for short-term insomnia. The drug is swallowed as a blue tablet or taken as a quick-dissolve tablet placed on the tongue as often as three times a day. Slang terms for Klonopin include k-pins, tranks, downers or benzos.

Klonopin isn’t generally recommended for long-term use because of its addictive potential. The drug has a relatively long half-life, or length of time the drug is active in the body.

How Long Do Benzos Stay in the Body?
Brands Xanax Librium Klonopin
Length of Action Short-acting Intermediate Long-acting
Time 6-10 hours 5-30 hours 18-50 hours

Once Klonopin’s effects wear off, addicted users start to experience symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Many people attempting to quit Klonopin relapse when withdrawal symptoms become unbearable.

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Klonopin Effects and Abuse

Although Klonopin is effective in treating severe medical problems like epilepsy, it is also a potent drug that is likely to be abused. Any use of Klonopin without a prescription is considered abuse. At higher than prescribed doses, Klonopin greatly depresses the central nervous system. This causes a short, euphoric “high” followed by a hazy, intoxicated stupor. Some people crush Klonopin tablets up into a fine powder and snort them to intensify the drug’s effects.

When someone abuses Klonopin, or takes doses that are too high or uses it for long time periods, they may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Fainting
  • Numbness
  • Impaired cognition
  • Confusion
  • Slow reaction time
  • Impaired judgement
  • Reduced libido

One user described the effects of abusing Klonopin as being immersed in peace with a feeling of strong euphoria.

Klonopin is most frequently abused with alcohol to intensify the effects of both drugs, which can lead to blacking out and possibly respiratory failure. Some people abuse Klonopin because it can produce hallucinatory effects when taken in large enough doses. No matter the reason for abuse, large doses of Klonopin can put users at risk of overdose. Klonopin is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. As the drug slows the central nervous system, functions like heart rate and breathing are slow and can lead to coma or death.

Signs of a Klonopin overdose include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unsteady walking
  • Reduced attention span
  • Memory impairment
  • Lack of coordination

When someone abuses Klonopin, they are likely to struggle with body function and overall alertness. After a period of time dependent on Klonopin, there is risk of paradoxical reactions. Paradoxical reactions are the opposite effect of what the drug is supposed to be doing, such as increased irritability, anxiety, agitation, and poor sleep. Long term use of Klonopin can also lead to depression and panic attacks.

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Common Klonopin Drug Combinations

Polydrug use is common among Klonopin users hoping to mask or amplify the drug’s effects. Some people take cocaine or other stimulants to counteract the sedative effects of Klonopin. Others may take alcohol to enhance Klonopin’s calming effects, whether it’s for the sake of trying to sleep or get a better high. The worst consequence of combining Klonopin with other drugs, especially CNS depressants like alcohol, is a fatal overdose. In combination, alcohol and Klonopin can slow down a person’s central nervous system to the point where they stop breathing.

Taking cocaine may help users stay awake, but it may also give them a false sense of how much Klonopin they can handle. Cocaine wears off faster than Klonopin, causing the user to use more than intended. When this happens, the user may overdose causing severe complications like coma, seizures, and death.

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Klonopin Abuse Statistics

75K+

people

Over 75,000 people were admitted to the emergency room in 2011 due to complications caused by Klonopin.

60K

users in rehab

There were approximately 60,000 admissions to treatment centers in 2008 for addiction to benzodiazepines such as Klonopin.

15

percent

Fifteen percent of Americans have a bottle of some type of benzodiazepine in their medicine cabinet.

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Klonopin Addiction Treatment

An addiction to Klonopin can leave you feeling isolated and alone, but you don’t have to go on without the help and support you need. Contacting a treatment provider can make all the difference in overcoming your addiction.

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