We all need periods of peace and quiet in our busy lives, but for people who abuse Klonopin, the search for tranquility can become an addiction. Klonopin, or clonazepam, belongs to a group of prescription sedatives called benzodiazepines, which can be dangerous when they are misused. In addition to the immediate and short-term impact on your health, Klonopin can cause severe long-term side effects, including dependence and addiction.
Introduced in the 1970s, benzodiazepines have remained among the most popular drugs in the US ever since. These drugs were initially marketed as safe and non-addictive, but over time, research showed that Klonopin and other benzodiazepines could pose serious health risks.
How It Works
Klonopin works by suppressing the activity of the central nervous system and quieting abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
As a long-acting benzodiazepine, clonazepam can reduce the risk of seizures, promote sleep, relieve muscle spasms or prevent panic attacks for hours. But when you take more than the recommended dose or take this oral medication in an unsafe way ? such as snorting or injecting the drug ? you face these potential dangers:
- Poor motor coordination
- Severe allergic reactions (breathing difficulties, hives, a choking sensation, etc.)
Some users experience severe psychological side effects, such as hallucinations or delusions after taking too much Klonopin. Because clonazepam can slow down your motor function, taking too much of this medication increases your risk of an accidental fall, drowning or motor vehicle accident.
One of the greatest immediate dangers of Klonopin abuse is an accidental overdose. Combining benzodiazepines with other drugs, such as alcohol, narcotic pain relievers, sedatives or certain classes of antidepressants, can cause dangerous depression of the central nervous system, leading to respiratory problems, coma and even death.
It’s no accident that drugs in the benzodiazepine family are prescribed for short-term or as-needed use. The longer you take these drugs, the greater your risk of becoming physically or psychologically dependent: a state that can lead to addiction. A clinical review published in Psychological Medicine notes that tolerance (or the need to take more of a drug to get the same sensations) can develop in as little as two weeks.
Tolerance doesn’t always lead to addiction, but taking high doses of this drug in order to feel its euphoric effects can quickly get you hooked. Once you’re addicted to Klonopin, you’re at a much higher risk of experiencing these adverse side effects:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Cognitive problems
- Urinary incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
- An increased risk of seizures
But quitting clonazepam isn’t as easy as just stopping the medication. Discontinuing the drug too quickly can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as severe anxiety, psychotic delusions, nausea and vomiting, muscle spasms and withdrawal seizures.
Klonopin calms the central nervous system by altering the way your brain processes GABA, a neurochemical that induces feelings of relaxation, drowsiness and tranquility. The long-term abuse of Klonopin interferes with your brain’s natural response to GABA. According to the New York University Lagone Medical Center, long-term users who are taking the drug at high doses may notice signs of psychological dependence, along with these unpleasant side effects:
- Rapid heart rate
- Difficulty concentrating
- A vague sick feeling
Long-term clonazepam abuse may affect your memory, cognitive skills and ability to focus on specific tasks. You may have mood changes, behavioral problems or chronic lack of motor coordination.
Is There Help for Klonopin Abuse?
Klonopin abuse can quickly change the course of your life. Whether you’re faced with the short-term risk of an accidental overdose or the long-term risk of addiction, the misuse of this prescription medication can have devastating effects on your health.
At Black Bear Lodge, a secluded treatment facility in northern Georgia, we offer a quiet haven for recovery from benzodiazepine addiction. Our personalized rehab programs can help you realize your dream of a healthy, sober life. Call our toll-free number to find out how you can find freedom from substance abuse.