There are many prescription drugs out there that can be abused. In fact, medicine misuse is such a predominant issue that 128 people die from overdosing on prescription medication each day. To overcome this problem, it’s crucial for patients to understand these drugs and their addictive properties. One such widely used drug is Klonopin. This is a detailed analysis of Klonopin.
What Is Klonopin?
Over 20 million Clonazepam prescriptions were given in 2017.
Benzodiazepines have a 2% to 7% prevalence rate, making them the most widely prescribed psychotropic drugs on the globe.
Klonopin is a brand name for Clonazepam – a potent benzodiazepine. It’s an anti-epileptic medicine with 90% bioavailability meant for treating panic attacks, seizures, insomnia, mania, and anxiety. Since it enhances the activity of some neurotransmitters, it is also considered a CNS (central nervous system) depressant.
According to experts, Clonazepam is a very strong and long-acting drug. It functions both as a serotonin agonist and GABA-A receptor. The drug is FDA-approved for panic and seizure disorders.
Klonopin demonstrated a high effectiveness level for managing panic disorders. Based on multiple clinical trials, adult patients with panic disorders managed to treat their frequent panic attacks efficiently. Around 74% of the volunteers who received 1mg of Klonopin a day were able to free themselves of panic attacks completely. Compared to the 56% of the patients who received only placebo treatments.
Reports from Practical Geriatrics show such medications are mainly prescribed to elderly patients, around 65 years or older. This accounts for about 12% of the global population. The use of benzos is more common among female patients than men and increases with age.
The benzodiazepine prescription rate is at 13% for patients between the ages of 65 and 74, and 20% among those over the age of 75. In fact, less than 3% of patients using Clonazepam are 18 to 25 years old. Only 5.5% are between the ages of 36 and 50, while a staggering 9% are over the age of 65.
Although Klonopin is not used as the first line of treatment for seizures, it hasn’t stopped the younger population from obtaining it illegally. Unfortunately, many users tend to abuse the product, which creates a dependency or addiction.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, contact a long-term Klonopin addiction treatment center near Fort Worth, Texas, like the one at Stonegate Center.
Why Is Klonopin Dangerous?
9% of high schoolers have abused prescription tranquilizers, like Klonopin, in 2015. That’s more than seven times the rate of heroin abuse.
Every benzodiazepine available on the market has a high risk of dependence, tolerance, and addiction. Klonopin is rated as one of the most addictive drugs in the world.
There are two factors that make Klonopin a primary target for addiction – the very long half-life (18h to 39h) and quick effects. It only takes 1 hour for the drug to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain. Although the system will eventually get rid of it, the product can still remain for three days or more.
A recent survey studied the impact of Clonazepam on addiction. Statistics show Clonazepam has a high abuse liability of 23%, which puts the product in the second rank, right after Rohypnol (flunitrazepam). Rohypnol is a potent hypnotic and muscle relaxant with highly addictive properties.
The research showed that 1.5% of subjects who abused Clonazepam displayed deviant behavior. These reports show how important it is to monitor Clonazepam intake, especially in individuals susceptible to addiction.
How Does Klonopin Cause Addiction?
Klonopin interacts with the central nervous system and delays reaction. As a CNS depressant, it can slow down the mind, heart rate, and respiratory system. The product suppresses brain activity and controls seizures.
The chemicals in medicine help the body achieve a state of calmness. It blocks all the stressors and pain receptors. That’s why it becomes a strong tool for addiction. The problem is people who abuse the substance also reduce their electrical activities in the brain after taking Klonopin.
But, whenever they stop taking the drug, they tend to experience debilitating side effects. Many users believe the drug to be more hazardous than cocaine, claiming it makes them feel like “zombies.”
What Does Klonopin Addiction Feel Like?
Klonopin addiction is a serious health concern. The high from Klonopin is quite like being intoxicated from alcohol or blissfully sedated. Users report feeling extremely calm and relaxed. Experts estimate the high comes from the slowed internal functions.
Since abusing benzodiazepines can drastically impair the central nervous system, it can affect coordination, perception, breathing, and thinking. People will feel as if they are moving at a snail’s pace. However, a Klonopin high is completely different from that of opioids.
It doesn’t create euphoria as other drugs do. Instead, it provides moderate or mild sedation, all in an effort to boost pleasure. For others, the high was incredibly uncomfortable, creating a fire-like effect inside their brain, causing them to blackout.
The Difference Between Klonopin and Similar Drugs
Most benzodiazepines have similar effects, names, and properties. They produce powerful therapeutic effects, which can help manage numerous health conditions. They all work by binding the GABA receptors in the central nervous system to produce quick relief.
Because of these similarities, people often confuse Klonopin with Ativan or Xanax. That’s why it’s crucial to clear up any misunderstandings and help patients understand these completely different types of medications.
Although they might sound similar, each drug has its own effect, use, and type of treatment. Xanax is one of the most used anxiety drugs, with over 50 million prescriptions annually. It is a powerful benzodiazepine for treating anxiety disorders in older individuals.
The effects of Xanax appear relatively quickly, just 1 hour to 2 hours after the last dose. The drug could be prescribed 3 to 4 times a day, depending on the severity and impact of panic issues.
Ativan also has similar properties to Xanax, particularly for anxiety management. It is a popular addition to alcohol withdrawal treatment. With over 12 million prescriptions in just 2017, it has become the go-to choice for managing anxiety or panic attacks in recent years.
The main difference is in effect. It takes 1h to 1.5h for the effects to kick in, which can last for about 6h to 8h. But, since its compounds are not as potent as Xanax or Klonopin, Ativan can be prescribed for much younger patients.
Klonopin, on the other hand, is a potent anti-epileptic and anticonvulsant. It often takes the drug 1h to 4h to reach its highest concentration peak. It can last a lot longer than both Xanax and Ativan, depending on the patient’s health state, tolerance, or dependency. The dose could be doubled in case of severe panic disorders.
Patients who don’t monitor their drug intake with either of these medications can become addicted or develop a dependency.
Klonopin Combined with Other Drugs or Alcohol – A Deadly Mix
Countless users who mix Klonopin with other drugs, especially opioids or alcohol, have experienced numerous health complications. Some of them were even life-threatening.
This is not the first time scientists have warned about the impact of abusing these substances. In fact, constant Klonopin misuse with alcohol or opioids has led to numerous emergency department visits even back in 2011, published DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network).
Because of the product’s sedative and tranquilizing compounds, constant abuse could lead to overdose, and overdose can affect heart rate and breathing, experts explain. Users with severe benzodiazepine toxicity can experience coma-like symptoms, extreme confusion, and drowsiness. Without timely treatment, the addiction can stop the heart, which could put their lives in danger. That’s where enrolling in the inpatient rehab center for Klonopin addiction in Texas can help turn the tide.
How to Recognize Klonopin Addiction
If a user has formed a habit of using Klonopin outside the prescribed dose, they’ve most likely become addicted. Those who abuse the substance can develop an addiction in just a couple of weeks. This makes the drug a serious health hazard.
It’s easy to recognize a Klonopin addiction if the user experiences one of the following signs:
- Constant Klonopin cravings
- Being unable to quit even though they want to
- No interest in any work-related or social obligations
- Trying to get the drug through any means necessary
- Persistent use despite the negative effects
The addiction builds up over time. First, it starts with tolerance, after which the user keeps taking bigger doses to satisfy their cravings. Small doses will no longer have any effect. But, whenever they try to quit the drug, people experience seriously draining side effects. They go through intense withdrawals. This makes the habit dangerous to quit without expert help.
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Klonopin withdrawal is almost identical to ethanol withdrawal. People can feel restless, irritated, and on edge. However, when these symptoms reach their peak, that’s when the real problem begins.
It takes the body about 2 days to flush out all the compounds of the Klonopin. Once the product leaves the system, that’s when users start experiencing withdrawal issues. The withdrawal will take a heavy toll on your mental and physical well-being.
Researchers from the Baltimore Medicine Center demonstrated the possible withdrawal symptoms of the drug in severe benzodiazepine dependence. Based on their case report, a 40-year-old patient who spent 20 years in psychiatric care developed a severe dependency on benzodiazepine.
He received 10mg of alprazolam and 60mg of Clonazepam on a daily basis. After abruptly stopping the clonazepam treatment, the patient experienced gradual withdrawal issues. He had headaches, tension, and sometimes insomnia.
Some of the observations suggest the patient has previously abused the Clonazepam, which helped explain the changes in the GABA receptors. Although the withdrawal was a debilitating process, the patient didn’t experience any severe withdrawal effects. With daily monitoring and a regular gabapentin dose, the physical signs subsided, and the patient managed to overcome the withdrawal period.
Although the effects vary depending on how long the person has been addicted, it’s still crucial to seek medical help. Every withdrawal stage is excruciatingly difficult to deal with. Hallucinations and panic attacks can be severe and potentially dangerous.
Some patients could hyperventilate after they stop taking the substance. Others can experience serious visual disturbances, which can hinder their daily functions. Because of these complex health issues, professional help becomes necessary.
With proper help, like the inpatient rehab center for Klonopin addiction in Texas, patients can mitigate those symptoms and make the detox process a lot more bearable. Medical experts will focus on treating their emotional and physical health, regardless of how serious the withdrawal may be.
Patients are vulnerable to rebound if they have abused the substance. Anyone with an underlying health disorder who has been taking Klonopin to manage their health issue will start experiencing the symptoms of their disorder.
For example, if you took Klonopin to treat anxiety, but became addicted to it, once you’ve removed the drug from the system, the anxiety symptoms can come back. This is normal, especially in the first couple of days of the withdrawal process.
Depending on how severe the disorder was, the rebound symptoms will vary. That’s where contacting a detox facility can help. Enroll in the 24/7 medical detox for Klonopin addiction in Texas. With quick intervention, you can get both your anxiety and addiction under control.
Short-Term Side Effects of Klonopin Abuse
Some people can misuse the drug for a short while. But, that doesn’t mean they won’t experience any side effects. Anyone who abuses drugs like these can experience serious health damage. The impact depends on how many pills the person has used.
Some of the most prevalent short-term effects include:
- Heavy breathing
- Tunnel vision
- Hair loss
But, one of the most dangerous short-term effects is suicidal thoughts. According to research, benzodiazepine abuse can elevate the risk of suicide. These reports indicate it’s crucial to limit the drug intake. Otherwise, it can drastically compromise a person’s well-being.
Long-Term Side Effects of Klonopin Abuse
Abusing Klonopin for a long time can have serious repercussions. Not only can the drug impair mental and physical health, but it can also interfere with cognitive functions. Long-term abuse refers to individuals who have been misusing the drug for over three months.
In cases such as these, it becomes incredibly difficult to stop taking the drug and it can cause one of the following side effects:
- Slow reaction
- Poor reasoning
- Reduced sensory perception
- Low libido
- Weak immune system
- Inability to process information
- Irreparable sleeping problems
- Poor emotional, social, and physical restrain
Those who get hooked on the drug won’t be able to perform at work. Since they will become difficult to reason with, users will slowly ruin their relationship with other people. They will try to obtain the drug illegally, which will have immeasurable consequences.
What Does the Detox Process Look Like?
Detox from Klonopin is a very uncomfortable process. The withdrawal can be painful and draining. When not done in a medical facility, users can put their lives in danger. That’s why it is vital to try a medical detox.
The whole detox process goes through two phases, the acute withdrawal and the protracted withdrawal phase. You will need a comfortable and safe environment with constant supervision, like the one at a men’s inpatient rehab center for Klonopin addiction in Texas, like Stonegate Center Creekside, which is located just outside the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex.
The detox can take a long time, depending on how severe your addiction is so give them a call now at (817) 993-9733 to get started.
The acute phase starts with controlling the symptoms of anxiety. After patients stop taking the drug, they may experience hypersensitivity, which can heighten their anxiety. At this stage, it is normal for users to experience sensory distortions or hallucinations.
It can take 5 to 14 days for the acute phase to subside. This is when patients become susceptible to relapse. Their lack of sleep and poor mental health will create a further desire to return to the substance. However, all of that can be managed with proper medication.
The protracted phase can cause numerous symptoms, but they are less severe. This phase often lasts from 12 to 18 months. At this stage, the body tries to stabilize its emotional and physical health without the need for Klonopin.
It allows the central nervous system to get back to normal and restore its primary functions. Patients can experience lesser forms of insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Since the process takes so long to complete, it’s best to do the detox in a medical facility.
However, some patients may also experience a third phase, which is known as the PAWS (post-acute withdrawal). When a user has abused the drug for over two years, they can experience this final detox phase. The withdrawal symptoms can still linger and cause anxiety and depression.
What’s important is that patients receive regular health evaluation and monitoring to make sure the detox goes well. In most cases, doctors prescribe medication to curb the withdrawal symptoms. They can help reduce discomfort and pain.
A successful detox is the first step to a healthy recovery. Although it takes a very long time, the results are worth it. Some patients may feel like they’ve lost the battle, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
When a detox is completed successfully, the Klonopin has been completely removed from the system. There will be no traces of the drug, which means you are on the path to a full recovery. What matters is that you avoid relapsing at all costs.
With dedication and persistence, you can get your life back on the right path. Just make sure to continue resisting any remaining cravings, and you will navigate through the addiction successfully.
Without a doubt, Klonopin is an effective medicine for managing serious anxiety disorders. It is a potent medication that can be used for avoiding panic disorders or similar debilitating health issues.
Because of its potency, high bioavailability, and fast reaction, many people have abused the substance, but they fail to notice how harmful it can be for their psychological and physical health. The drug has high addiction rates. Stopping the habit can result in debilitating withdrawal symptoms. The only way to overcome the issue is to seek medical treatment. In an inpatient facility, anyone can overcome their addiction.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction as well as the pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center’s status at the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content creation. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.