One of the first benzodiazepines developed and sold as a prescription, Valium entered the marketplace in 1963. Excitement about this and similar drugs led to skyrocketing prescription rates and the development of other benzodiazepine medications to meet the demand. In fact, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR): “More than 15 different types of benzodiazepine medications” entered the market, all designed “to treat a wide array of both psychological and physical maladies based on dosage and implications.”1 Klonopin, a brand name for clonazepam, is one of these.
Reasons to Take Klonopin
Benzodiazepines like Klonopin vary in the duration and intensity of their effects, but all of them are classified as sedative-hypnotics. They calm overly active electrical signals in the brain. CESAR explains that all benzodiazepines display “one or more of the following drug actions: anxiety relief, hypnotic, muscle relaxant, anti-convulsant, or an amnesiatic (mild memory-loss inducer).”1
These effects dictate when, why and which benzodiazepine a doctor prescribes. Patients who experience seizures may find Klonopin prevents seizures or keeps them from being severe. Mental health professionals may prescribe it to treat panic or anxiety attacks. They may also prescribe Klonopin in conjunction with anti-psychotic medications that otherwise cause restlessness or other uncontrollable movement. Doctors may choose to prescribe it for insomnia or acute anxiety treatment.
Ativan or Xanax are more common drugs for these conditions as they are short-acting benzodiazepines. They offer symptom relief within minutes and only stay in the system for a short period of time. Klonopin is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. Its effects on brain and body last longer.
Reasons to Not Take Klonopin
Klonopin should not be used without a prescription. Even with a prescription, the drug has potential negative short- and long-term effects. Users may experience memory loss, depression, anxiety and poor motor coordination. Long-term effects can include serious damage to mental and physical health. Psychology Today published a study that found “the brains of regular benzodiazepine takers were damaged and shrunken when compared to the brains of people who had not taken benzodiazepines.”2
Damage can occur even when Klonopin is used as prescribed. Recreational use or prescription abuse increases the likelihood of serious side effects such as dependence and addiction. Anyone with a history of drug or alcohol addiction should explore alternatives before using Klonopin. They should carefully monitor any use of prescription drugs and be open with medical professionals about their medical history. Every patient should discuss any and all side effects and symptoms with their health care provider.
Should You Quit Using Klonopin?
Klonopin has medical benefits. While relatively safe if taken as prescribed, it can also cause symptoms to worsen or new ones to appear. As with any medication, individuals and doctors should work together to develop a treatment plan and to adjust that treatment plan as needed. If you are taking the drug without a prescription or are worried about your relationship with it, you can take action. You can quit using Klonopin, no matter the reason for your use. However you don’t have to, and shouldn’t, quit suddenly. Abruptly ending Klonopin use can result in experiencing potentially serious withdrawal symptoms.
Medical supervision during the detox process ensures your safety and greatly increases comfort and support. Talk with your healthcare provider or with recovery specialists like those at Black Bear Lodge to learn whether you should quit using Klonopin, and if so, how you can do so safely and effectively. At Black Bear Lodge, we provide intensive, personalized treatment programs for clients struggling with prescription drug addiction. Our peaceful, secluded location provides a haven from stress and triggers. Call us to find out how our rehab programs can help you lead the fulfilling, drug-free life you want.
1 Center for Substance Abuse Research. “Benzodiazepines.” 29 Oct. 2013. Web. Accessed 11 Jun. 2017.
2 Lane, Christopher. “Brain Damage from Benzodiazepines.” Psychology Today. 10 February 2011. Web. Accessed 11 June 2017.