Addiction to Klonopin: What It Is and How It Happens

prescription bottle of small yellow pills knocked over on its side with pills spilling out - Klonopin addiction

By Sandy Baker

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam, a type of benzodiazepine (benzo). Doctors prescribe this drug as a treatment for various mental health disorders, including panic disorders. It may also be used to treat seizure disorders and insomnia.

Treatment of panic disorders is one of the most common uses of Klonopin. A panic disorder occurs when a person experiences an intense level of fear that’s out of proportion to the situation at hand. It may come on unexpectedly and repeatedly, causing physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and sweating.

As a benzo, Klonopin can work quickly to help alleviate these symptoms. Some forms work over a period of days to control repeated panic attacks or symptoms. However, the use of this drug is only recommended for short periods of time. That’s because it can cause emotional and physical dependence and addiction.

How Does It Work?

Klonopin works to reduce the over-function of the brain. It helps to slow down the central nervous system, allowing for a feeling of relaxation or calm. To do this, Klonopin enhances the function of GABA-A receptors in the brain. This neurotransmitter helps to control emotions and regulate the chemicals present in the brain.

Some people show signs of using too much of the drug even while on a prescription. If you notice signs such as slowed reaction time, vertigo, fainting, confusion, or impaired cognition when using this drug, be sure to speak to your doctor before your next dose. Most often, the smallest dose possible is recommended.

How Does Klonopin Addiction Happen?

Klonopin addiction can form over a period of time or when a person without a need for the drug uses it. Addiction occurs as a result of the calming sensations that occur when using the drug. People want to return to that sense of euphoria and relaxation over and over again. The brain becomes dependent on the medication over time, so much so that cravings develop.

Klonopin can last a long time, remaining in the system for up to 50 hours. As it begins to wear off, the onset of anxiety and insomnia can occur, especially in someone who has developed a physical addiction to the drug.

Signs of Klonopin Addiction

Using Klonopin by following the prescription provided to you by a doctor is typically safe. Use it for the shortest amount of time possible. It can be hard to distinguish between the effective use of this drug and addiction. Some of the most common symptoms of addiction include:

  • Cravings. Needing to use Klonopin more frequently than recommended is a sign of addiction development in some people. A person may think about using so often that it becomes impossible to refrain from doing so.
  • Tolerance. Tolerance occurs when the body and brain become used to the amount of Klonopin present in the system, lessening the effect. A person may feel they need to take it more often or in higher doses to get the same level of relief.
  • Withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug begins to leave the system. Symptoms can include physical pain, insomnia, panic attacks, and agitation.
  • Drug-seeking behavior. Addiction is defined as drug-seeking behavior, which means a person is often unable to focus on anything but having enough of the drug. They may attempt to get more than one prescription, steal from others, or hoard pills.
  • Withdrawal from life. Klonopin changes the way a person interacts with others, often creating isolation. Many people pull away from family and friends.

Over time, Klonopin use can lead to a risk of medical issues, including cognitive brain function decline, kidney and heart problems, and ongoing insomnia. Some people may experience a drop in their quality of life from using this medication.

How to Get Help for Klonopin Addiction

If you are using Klonopin, don’t stop taking it without the help of a doctor. Discuss your symptoms with your provider or reach out to a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center for immediate help. Our team at The Ranch at Dove Tree can help you wean off this drug while also helping you to control panic disorders that led to your Klonopin use in the first place.

Treatment may involve the use of other medications to treat panic disorders. It may also involve the use of therapy to help you change your thought processes. Don’t wait to get help for Klonopin addiction. We offer the types of treatment you need to reach a better future.

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