Clonazepam is the generic name for Klonopin, a sedative drug in the benzodiazepine family. It is often prescribed to treat panic disorders, anxiety and some types of seizure.
It works by decreasing the amount of electrical activity in the brain. Clonazepam is a controlled substance and is usually prescribed in small amounts for limited periods of time.1
Clonazepam Side Effects2,3:
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in appetite
- Poor coordination and dizziness
- Trouble concentrating
- Sadness, listlessness, or depression
- Headache and congestion
- Increased anxiety or increased panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances
- Appetite changes
- Weight gain or weight loss
Can Clonazepam Cause Weight Gain? The Effects of Klonopin on Weight
Weight changes related to clonazepam use are sometimes reported, as this drug does lead to changes in energy levels and alertness. In fact, people who use this drug should not drive cars, operate heavy machinery, or complete tasks that require full attention, such as watching children.
Clonazepam can also cause difficulties when sleeping. People often take this medication at night to bring on feelings of sleepiness, but that does not guarantee a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, people find they wake up too early after taking this drug, or that they have difficulty sleeping deeply throughout the night after clonazepam use. Sleep disturbances have the potential to rapidly alter one’s metabolism, as it has linked poor sleep to a slower metabolism and rapid weight gain.4
Clonazepam slows down the brain’s communication centers, and this leads to slowed movement, slower reaction times and drowsiness — all things that can contribute to a slower metabolism.
When a person takes Klonopin, they metabolize it in the liver. People who have experienced previous liver damage may have trouble metabolizing this drug, which can also impact weight changes related to clonazepam. (If you notice any unusual side effects while on this medication, speak with your doctor immediately.)5 It is important to know that this drug is highly addictive. When a person becomes dependent on a drug for daily functioning, that person will focus more on getting the drug and pay less attention to healthy eating and exercise. Some people experience unintended weight loss on this drug, while other people find it more difficult to exercise when taking clonazepam.
As Klonopin users become more lethargic, they will have reduced activity levels and may engage in mindless eating or even food binges. Weight gain is also linked to depression and anxiety, which can cause changes in appetite and activity levels. Increased depression is a side effect of clonazepam, and overeating may serve as a short-term solution to difficult emotions.
How Do I Know if I Am Addicted to Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine drug, which means it can lead to dependence and addiction in a short amount of time. Most people who become dependent on this drug never intend to become hooked. In many cases, clonazepam addiction is not recognized until symptoms have taken over the dependent person’s everyday life.
Some signs and symptoms that clonazepam may be a problem in your life include:
- Increased anxiety when clonazepam is unavailable
- Needing more of this drug to achieve the original effects
- Clonazepam use has caused arguments or difficulties in everyday life
- Irritability or flu-like symptoms when the drug wears off
- Taking more clonazepam than your original prescription indicates
- Mixing clonazepam with alcohol or other drugs
- Getting drugs without a prescription, or “doctor shopping” to get more clonazepam
Help for Clonazepam Addiction
Many people struggle to stop using this drug. Studies show that many patients experience noticeable weight changes when they stop using this drug because clonazepam use can be very difficult to overcome.6 It is always important to speak with an experienced medical professional if you have concerns about any substance you take.
The best solution to your concerns about metabolism and clonazepam abuse is to quit taking the drug.
The side effects of clonazepam can devastate your life beyond changing your weight. Detox can be physically challenging, but a dedicated inpatient treatment program can help you work through this difficult process. You can return to a healthy weight and also break the grips of this addictive drug.
1 U.S. National Library of Medicine. Clonazepam. Medline Plus. 15 Jun 2017. Web. Accessed 18 Sept 2017.
2 RxList. Klonopin. Nd. Accessed 20 Sept 2017.
3 Mayo Clinic. Clonazepam Side Effects. Mar 2017. Accessed 20 Sept 2017.
4 The National Sleep Foundation. Sleep Disorders and Weight Gain. 2017. Web. Accessed 20 Sept 2017.
5 The U.S. National Library of Medicine Archives. Klonopin (Clonazepam). DailyMed. Accessed 20 Sept 2017.
6 Petursson H, Lader M H. Withdrawal from long-term benzodiazepine treatment. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 283 :643. Web. Accessed 20 Sept 2017.
By Kathryn Millán, LPC, MHSP, Contributing Writer