Am I Addicted to Klonopin?

in Addiction
Morgan Metzger
Published Jan 20, 2021
klonopin addiction

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that has the potential to lead to addiction. It is a medication commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Even when taking it as prescribed, it is possible to develop a Klonopin addiction. Recognizing the dangers of Klonopin use and whether or not you may be addicted can help you get the help you need. When stopping Klonopin use, you should always speak with a medical provider. Cessation of use may cause uncomfortable, frightening, and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that should be managed under the care of medical professionals.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam, a long-acting benzodiazepine. It was initially formulated to help people with epilepsy manage seizures. However, the drug’s rapid and powerful calming effects were also used to treat panic attacks. Klonopin is most often prescribed to ease anxiety and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other addictive substances. It may also be prescribed for short-term insomnia. Klonopin isn’t recommended for long-term use because of its addictive potential. Slang terms for Klonopin include k-pins, tranks, downers, or benzos.

Klonopin’s Effects on the Brain

Klonopin works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) effects, a chemical in the brain that produces relaxation. The presence of the drug in the body causes intense feelings of relaxation. It may also lead to the desire to use more of the medication for this feeling or “high.”

Klonopin can create cognitive difficulties. It slows brain function and makes it hard to perform mental processes such as processing information, communicating with others, forming new thoughts, and using your memory. Klonopin makes it much harder to create intentional, long-term memories. These side effects occur because Klonopin changes the way the brain works and processes information. While many changes in cognition stop after ceasing the use of Klonopin, damaged or lost memories cannot be regained.

Changes in Behavior With Klonopin Use

Klonopin can change your moods and behavior. You may experience mood swings or emotional extremes. When a substance use disorder (SUD) has been developed, you may say or do things you usually wouldn’t. As a SUD progresses in severity, you may find yourself in even less control of your actions.

Recognizing Substance Use Disorder (SUD) With Klonopin

Excessive Klonopin use may lead to a substance use disorder (SUD). There are 11 criteria for SUD, including:

  1. Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than an individual is meant to
  2. Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to
  3. Spending significant amounts of time getting, using, or recovering from the use of the substance
  4. Cravings and urges to use the substance
  5. Not managing to complete tasks at work, home, or school because of substance use
  6. Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships
  7. Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use
  8. Using the substance again and again, even when it puts the individual in danger
  9. Continuing to use, even when the individual knows they have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or worsened by the substance
  10. Needing more of the substance to get the desired effects (tolerance)
  11. Development of withdrawal symptoms

 

The severity of the SUD is then determined by the number of criteria the individual meets:

  • Mild: 2 or 3 criteria out of 11
  • Moderate: 4 or 5 criteria out of 11
  • Severe: 6 or more criteria out of 11

 

These criteria are divided into four categories: impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological indicators (tolerance and withdrawal). Klonopin withdrawal may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dysphoria
  • Hand tremor
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle cramps
  • Panic attacks
  • Poor concentration
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating
  • Tension

Klonopin withdrawal can be deadly. Signs of severe Klonopin withdrawal may include behavioral changes, convulsions, hallucinations, psychosis, and seizures.

Risk of Overdose With Klonopin

Large doses of Klonopin can put you at risk for overdose. As the drug slows the central nervous system, functions like heart rate and breathing slow down and can lead to coma or death. Signs of a Klonopin overdose include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unsteady walking
  • Reduced attention span
  • Memory impairment
  • Lack of coordination

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of an overdose, call 911 immediately.

The risk of overdose increases if Klonopin is used in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol or opioids. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were more than 11,500 overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines in 2017, most of which also involved opioid use.

Seeking Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

If you or a loved one is struggling with a SUD concerning Klonopin, there is hope. The first step in achieving sobriety is stopping the use of the medication. While detox can be frightening, detox centers such as Gallus Medical Detox Centers put your comfort and safety above all else. At Gallus, we implement The Gallus Method to emphasize medical safety and patient comfort. The Gallus Method includes IV therapy, cardiac and video monitoring, daily physician visits, 24/7 medical staffing, and more. There is dignity in healing.

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that has the potential to lead to addiction. It is typically prescribed for anxiety disorders, seizures, and short-term insomnia. Recognizing addiction to Klonopin can be challenging, especially if the medication is prescribed by a doctor. If you believe you have a problem with Klonopin use, it is best to speak to a medical professional to go over the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorder (SUD). Seeking treatment for Klonopin addiction first starts with stopping drug use, which may cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be uncomfortable, frightening, and even life-threatening. At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we offer proprietary, evidence-based medical protocols to ensure your safety and comfort. We implement The Gallus Method, which includes IV Therapy, 24/7 medical staff, and individual treatment plans. Our mission is to provide the highest quality inpatient medical detox services and be the first step in overcoming SUD. We can even help you identify if you meet any diagnostic criteria for SUD. For more information on Klonopin addiction and whether you or a loved one may be struggling, contact Gallus Medical Detox Centers at (866) 296-5242.