Sold under the brand name Klonopin, clonazepam is a powerful relaxant prescribed for anxiety, panic attacks and some seizure disorders. When a person abuses clonazepam, there can be a number of side effects. Like Xanax, Ativan and Valium, this drug is highly addictive. Learning more about clonazepam, it’s side effects and symptoms of addiction can help you or a loved one recognize a problem and find treatment.
Because clonazepam is a benzodiazepine, it is only prescribed by a doctor. Clonazepam is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic and works in the brain to calm nerves that may become agitated. The drug calms brain chemicals by boosting the effect of GABA (Gabba Amino Butyric Acid) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that controls the passage of messages from one cell to another resulting in a calming effect.1 Using clonazepam for longer periods of time or in ways other than prescribed by a physician quickly leads to addiction.
Clonazepam is only intended for short-term use. Over time, a person’s brain chemistry adjusts to the presence of the drug and the user will not feel the desired effects as strongly. Clonazepam users who continue to use the drug for longer than prescribed must increase their dosage to have the same experience. Clonazepam users can develop a tolerance for very high doses of this drug.
Many people mistakenly believe that this drug is safer than illegal street drugs, because it is available through physicians. But if clonazepam is taken incorrectly, the results can be devastating.
Clonazepam abuse can also result in psychological dependence. Many people who struggle with clonazepam addiction also struggle with mental illness. Benzodiazepine users often take the drugs to combat anxiety, trauma or depression. Some people use these drugs to self-medicate bipolar mania or try to soothe schizophrenia or psychosis.2 Even if the physical addiction is treated in a detox setting, treatment in a comprehensive rehab program is crucial for addressing any undiagnosed or untreated mental illness as well as the emotional issues the drugs can cause.
Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
One of the first indicators of dependence on any drug is the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. Your doctor will usually recommend a gradual weaning of clonazepam because stopping too quickly can cause serious health problems.
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Unusual behaviors3
It is important that any person who uses this drug seeks the help of a reputable detox program to quit.
Find Help for Clonazepam Addiction
If you or your loved one struggles with clonazepam addiction we are here for you. We have many new treatment options and programs available for clonazepam and Klonopin dependence. We offer a completely confidential and toll-free helpline, 855-808-6212, that can help you find the treatment you need. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions about addiction and help you find treatment.
1 “Benzodiazepines.” Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mar. 2018.
2 Brunette, M F, et al. “Benzodiazepine Use and Abuse among Patients with Severe Mental Illness and Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders.” Psychiatric Services (Washington, D.C.)., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2018.
3 “Clonazepam (Oral Route) Precautions.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1 Mar. 2017.