Clonazepam (Klonopin) Addiction and Treatment Options
Like many benzodiazepines, clonazepam causes a strong physical dependence even with recommended use. Abusing clonazepam can lead to addiction, but a customized treatment program can help struggling individuals reclaim their lives.
Clonazepam (Klonopin) is among the top five most commonly abused benzodiazepines in the United States. Clonazepam is a highly addictive benzodiazepine, but nonetheless, there are steps to get well and there’s hope for you to overcome addiction.
Addiction is a mental, physical and spiritual disease that affects each person uniquely. With that being said, treatment needs to be individualized in order to give a person in recovery the best chance of success. Additionally, healing from addiction takes a commitment to making lifestyle changes, reconsidering your peers, adjusting your sleep patterns, diet and exercise. To us, addiction recovery means living an all-around balanced life.
Benzodiazepine Abuse Is Trending In The United States
In 2010, 2.4 million people used prescription drugs non medically for the first time within the past year. When broken down, that number adds up to about 6,600 people abusing prescription drugs for the first time every day in the United States.
For the most part, Americans abuse benzodiazepines with a rapid onset but people might also mix them with other substances like alcohol, opioids or anything else. Even though combining prescription drugs may seem like an intensified euphoria, what it actually does is slow down reaction time to dangerous levels.
Understanding risks of clonazepam abuse are not only vital to your recovery, but also to your life. The Drug Enforcement Administration reported that “81,427 case mentions, 31,255 single exposures, and 11 deaths associated with benzodiazepines in 2010. There were an estimated 345,691 emergency department visits attributed to benzodiazepines in 2010, a statistically significant increase from 271,698 visits in 2008.”
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So What Exactly Is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is the generic version of Klonopin which belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system and make you feel relaxed. Clonazepam a sedative that works on an imbalance of chemicals in the brain by treating sleep disorders, panic disorders, and epileptic seizures.
Clonazepam also serves a medical purpose for treating serious mental conditions but the sedating factor is what makes it desirable. Even when you use a benzodiazepine as a prescription, it can be challenging to stop using it.
You may have been feeding your dependence for years before coming to the realization that you need to stop. This is actually normal and there are millions of others who needed to see their drug use as a problem before they could attempt a solution.
When you start using clonazepam, whether you intend to or not, you build up a tolerance. This is what happens when you need to take more to get the same results as when you began using a drug. You may be unintentionally fueling a craving by taking more of the drug and developing a dependence on it. Some of the other ways that benzodiazepines can be abused are:
- crushing into a powder and snorting
- using to taper off of other drugs like cocaine, or amphetamines
- mixing with alcohol
- using to intensify the euphoria produced from opioids like heroin, Oxycontin, and Morphine
- taking more of the drug than what is prescribed
- using a prescription that isn’t yours
- diverting, selling and using drugs past their “use before” date
- doctor shopping – or trying as many physicians as it takes to get a prescription
The Consequences Of Abusing Clonazepam Can Vary
Once you become physically dependent upon clonazepam, the side-effects can be similar to the original symptoms that caused you to use the medication in the first place. This is known as drug rebounding and it can include bouts of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and seizures from stopping benzodiazepines.
If you’re concerned that a loved one might be using drugs, but aren’t sure, here some signs of benzodiazepine abuse:
- unexplained financial problems
- numerous visits to the doctor to get a prescription filled
- drug rebound – stopping use can result in worsening of conditions initially being treated
- loss of interest in hobbies, work, and school
- hanging with a different crowd and loss of lifelong friends or relationships
- feeling less empathetic for loved ones
- legal problems
- sudden weight loss or weight gain
- irritability, hostility and constant negativity
The saddest part is that as people continue to abuse prescription drugs, they may start losing the support of their family, friends, teachers and loved ones. Sometimes in our culture, those who suffer from addiction are more likely to be treated as a failure rather than someone who needs help with a disease. That’s exactly what an addiction is—a chronic disease.
How To Tell If A Loved One Is Abusing Clonazepam
Addiction to clonazepam will be hard to determine if you don’t know the signs and symptoms. Generally, those who become addicted to the benzodiazepines will have serious complaints about anxiety and their need for medication. Some might even ask for a temporary solution by asking to use someone else’s medication.
You may be asking yourself, when exactly does someone become dependent on benzodiazepines? According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, any patient who takes a benzodiazepine for longer than three to four weeks is more likely to have withdrawal symptoms if the drug is ceased abruptly. The risk of inducing dependence can be reduced by issuing prescriptions limited to one to two weeks supply.
An abrupt discontinuation of a benzodiazepine after you’ve become physiologically dependent can result in heavy withdrawal symptoms:
- sleep disturbance
- increased tension and
- panic attacks
- hand tremor
- difficulty in concentration
- dry retching and nausea
- some weight loss
- a headache
- muscular pain and stiffness
Clonazepam Withdrawal and Detox
The first step to treating a clonazepam addiction is through a supervised medical detoxification. Detoxing from benzodiazepines (such as clonazepam) should never be done alone. Without proper treatment, individuals withdrawing from benzodiazepines run the risk of having seizures which may, or may not, result in death.
Detox is only the first step into getting clean and is not considered a full treatment. Once detoxed, it is almost always recommended a person goes into an inpatient rehabilitation program to treat the mental aspect of addiction. Life skills are learned as well as coping mechanisms to prevent relapse in the future.
Treating Benzodiazepine Addiction As A Life-Threatening Problem
Treating addiction as a moral failing rather than a chronic disease does not nurture a person who is sick. As a bystander, it can be hard not to interject and watch your loved one try to beat addiction.
It can be just as hard not to demand that they quit hurting themselves. That’s why these situations may call for a professional intervention to help your loved one stop abusing drugs or least get them thinking of it as a possibility. Interventions are meant to be supportive and give family members, friends, and community members a chance to personally describe to those suffering from addiction who they used to be and who they are now.
It can be hard to jump into addiction treatment if you don’t sort of know what to expect. The knowledgeable experts at a treatment center understand addiction and know how to treat it. The community of treatment facilities at Addiction Campuses make recovery accessible wherever you live and our recovery programs are designed to help you continue on with a fulfilling life after treatment.
As we touched on earlier, with a benzodiazepine addiction, it’s likely that you have developed a serious physical addiction, so for many, a detoxification may be necessary for starters. After that some of the other medication-assisted therapy will vary based on your individual needs but may include one of the following:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Group Counseling
- Individual Counseling
- Family Counseling
- Biblical Recovery Therapy / Christian Drug Rehab
- Life Skills Instruction and Training
- Experiential and Adventure Therapy
- Alumni Groups
Our Treatment Professionals Want To Help You Find A Balance
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to clonazepam, there’s hope for a complete recovery of body, mind and spirit. Contact Addiction Campuses to speak to a treatment specialist and learn more about arranging an intervention, finding the right treatment program and learning how to get sober. We’re here to work for you and help you break out of the cycle of addiction.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse – How Many People Abuse Prescription Drugs
- U.S. National Library of Medicine – Management of Benzodiazepine Misuse and Dependence
- U.S. National Library of Medicine – The Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome
- Drug Enforcement Administration – Benzodiazepines