Clonazepam, available as both a generic and brand name tablet (Klonopin), is a type of sedative drug belonging to the class of benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” provide calming effects on the central nervous system (CNS) and are prescribed to help manage anxiety, panic attacks, and seizures. Clonazepam is a Schedule IV, federally controlled substance, meaning that in carefully prescribed doses, it is a helpful medication; however, it has some potential for abuse and dependence 3. People may misuse or abuse it by taking more than prescribed, taking it more frequently than prescribed, mixing it with other substances, or using it in a way other than directed, such as dissolving the drug in water and injecting it.
Clonazepam abuse can lead to adverse consequences, such as the development of significant physiological dependence on the sedative. When someone develops a dependence, they will experience the withdrawal symptoms if the drug is not in their system. Dependence and associated withdrawal avoidance often fuels the development of chronic patterns of misuse and, eventually, addiction—a progressive condition characterized by compulsive drug use despite negative ramifications. It is not advised that someone looking to quit abusing clonazepam tries to do so on their own, as the withdrawal or detox symptoms can be severe and have potentially fatal complications, such as seizure.
Rather, drug detox programs can provide you with comfort and safety throughout the withdrawal process and foster your transition into an addiction treatment program once the Klonopin has been eliminated from your body.
Although clonazepam is effective and beneficial when taken as directed, people often abuse it to get high, since it has the potential to produce euphoric feelings. Most short-term effects of Klonopin abuse are not as desirable, though, as they can be problematic. Some immediate effects of clonazepam abuse include 5,7,11:
Paradoxical reactions, characterized by contradictory behaviors, can occasionally occur. This phenomenon often consists of impulsivity, excitement, irritability, hostility, and aggression, which can lead to antisocial or violent behaviors 7.
Long-term Klonopin abuse can damage a person’s physical and mental health and significantly impair a user’s life functioning. Some consequences associated with chronic use include 5,7,11:
These effects of chronic clonazepam use can be debilitating and cause distress and impairment in a user’s life. Don’t hesitate to get help for your addiction and begin on the road to lifelong recovery.
When a person has developed a dependence to clonazepam, recovery will begin with abstinence and the elimination of the drug from their body—a duration of time known as detoxification, or detox. The withdrawal symptoms for a person with a clonazepam addiction are not only uncomfortable and unpleasant, but they can be life-threatening as well. People find these symptoms difficult to cope with alone, and many people who try to do a drug detox themselves will quickly relapse and take clonazepam to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms associated with clonazepam detox can include 2,5:
Do not attempt to withdraw on your own from clonazepam due to the potential for serious complications. Instead, seek out a professional detox program that can ensure your safety.
It is difficult to say how long it will take for a person to undergo a clonazepam detox. There are many factors that determine the length of detox, such as the person’s overall physical and mental health, age, physiological make-up, the length and severity of the addiction, and if the individual has an addiction to other substances. That being said, Klonopin is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine with a relatively long half-life, which means that when you stop taking clonazepam, the withdrawal symptoms may not appear as immediately as they do with short-acting benzodiazepines, such as Ativan 5.
Although the Klonopin withdrawal timeline can vary from person to person, below is a general timeline of how the clonazepam withdrawal syndrome may manifest 5:
Individuals who have abused clonazepam for extended periods of time, particularly in high doses, may experience withdrawal symptoms long after the acute withdrawal syndrome has been resolved. These withdrawal symptoms, which can last for weeks, months, or even years, are referred to as protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. These persisting symptoms can be distressing and impede long-term recovery. Protracted withdrawal symptoms may include the following 7,8:
Even after you have completed a Klonopin detox program, these symptoms can persist, which is why it’s terribly important that you seek post-detox addiction treatment. A clonazepam addiction treatment program can provide you with healthy coping strategies, sober social skills, the ability to avoid triggers, psychological and emotional support, and a foundation for long-term sobriety.
When suffering from a clonazepam addiction or an addiction to any other substance, you may not know the first step to take towards recovery and a happier, sober life. Although detoxification doesn’t constitute formal substance addiction treatment itself, it is an invaluable asset on the continuum of care and road to recovery.
Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant, painful, and sometimes life-threatening without proper medical attention and care. Detoxing on your own can be risky and many people relapse to ease the distress of withdrawal. To mitigate these complications and withdraw comfortably and safely, enter a clonazepam detox program. A detox program can also provide you with a smooth transition into drug abuse treatment once your body is clean of any substances.
There are different settings for clonazepam detox, and before enrolling in a program, it’s pertinent that you seek out a professional screening through a substance abuse professional or physician. The professional can assess your risk for having a complicated or severe withdrawal syndrome associated with quitting clonazepam and recommend the proper level of detox care for you.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) asserts that 24-hour monitoring and care is the preferred setting for withdrawal from benzodiazepines, such as clonazepam 9. This recommendation takes safety and humanitarian concerns into consideration.
Below is a list of the detox options for you:
Again, if you are addicted to clonazepam or any other benzodiazepine, don’t choose a detox program without first seeking the advice of a medical or mental health professional. They can help guide you towards detox services that best meet your individual needs.
After completing clonazepam detox, the next step towards long-term recovery is to enter a professional substance abuse treatment program. In treatment, you can work with addiction and mental health professionals to learn the skills you need to remain sober. Without formal treatment, the risk for relapse and overdose is extremely high. Without treatment support, returning immediately post-detox to the environment where you used to abuse clonazepam—filled with old triggers and stressors—can be extremely difficult. Treatment can help you remove yourself from triggers and focus solely on your treatment goals and your road to recovery.
In addition, addiction treatment can help you address the underlying issues that contribute to your clonazepam abuse. Many people who abuse benzodiazepines struggle with issues related to mental health, poor relationships, past trauma, and financial distress. Working with therapists can provide you with healthy coping skills so you feel prepared to transition out of treatment and remain clean and sober. Certain therapies can also help you recognize and change maladaptive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your drug abuse.
Given the range of options when it comes to treatment, it is important that you research treatment programs so you can pick one that is going to be the best fit for you. For example, treatment centers may or may not include individual therapy, group counseling, relapse prevention classes, aftercare planning, medical and psychiatric care, and medication-assisted treatment. Other factors that differentiate facilities include:
Some of these features may be extremely important to you, while others are not. It can be helpful to make a list of what you want in treatment and discuss this with your treatment counselor before choosing a facility.
Inpatient treatment requires that you live on the facility grounds throughout the program. These programs provide a high level of structure and a safe environment so that you will not be triggered to use clonazepam or any other drugs. Each facility practices a different treatment approach, but in general you can expect that many inpatient treatment programs will provide you with an individualized treatment plan, individual therapy, group counseling, family therapy, relapse prevention classes, support groups, and aftercare planning. At many of these facilities, you will begin working on aftercare planning soon after entering the facility. Relapse is common, so it is important that you begin thinking about how you will resist the temptation to use clonazepam after leaving treatment.
The price of inpatient treatment will vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including:
Another option for treatment is outpatient treatment. There are different levels of care when it comes to the outpatient model. These include 10: