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Klonopin (Clonazepam) Addiction

Clonazepam, which is also sold under the brand name Klonopin, falls in the class of drugs called benzodiazepines.1 Doctors may prescribe clonazepam for conditions like anxiety, epilepsy, and sleep problems.1 Despite these legitimate medical uses, Klonopin also carries the potential for misuse and addiction. 1  Furthermore, while klonopin misuse and addiction can present on its own, benzodiazepines are often misused in tandem with other addictive substances such as alcohol and opioids.11

While Klonopin addiction can be challenging, evidence-based addiction treatment for benzodiazepine addiction can lead to positive health outcomes. Understanding what Klonopin is, how it can lead to addiction, and how treatment can help can be vital in finding help.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin (Clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine that may be prescribed for the treatment of conditions like anxiety, epilepsy, and sleep disorders.While Klonopin is generally safe when taken as prescribed, it can carry a potential for misuse and addiction. Klonopin and other benzodiazepines affect the body by slowing down brain activity, causing calming and sedative effects.2 All benzodiazepines carry with them the risk of addiction, and many may seek to misuse Klonopin and other benzos for their sedative effects, to enhance the effects of opioids, or to negate the negative effects of withdrawal from other substances.

Is Klonopin Addictive?

While Klonopin is generally safe when taken as prescribed, it does have the potential for misuse, dependence, and addiction.2(Abstract) Studies suggest that those with a history of alcohol use disorder may be more likely to misuse benzos like Klonopin.11  Additionally, benzos appear to increase the reinforcing effects of opioids, potentially enhancing the addictiveness of the drug. 11

Symptoms of Clonazepam Addiction

An addiction to benzodiazepines like clonazepam is clinically diagnosed by a medical professional as a a sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder.3 Sedative use disorders  are characterized by compulsive use of sedatives despite negative health and social outcomes.3

Signs and symptoms of a sedative use disorder may include some of those listed as criteria for the disorder in the DSM-5. A person who experiences two or more of the following criteria within a 12-month period may be diagnosed with a sedative use disorder.3

  • Taking sedatives like Klonopin in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  • Continuing sedative use despite a physical or psychological health problem that is caused or worsened by it.
  • Experiencing a strong desire or persistent, unsuccessful efforts to reduce or stop sedative use.
  • Experiencing a strong craving or urge to use sedatives like Klonopin.
  • Spending a significant amount of time acquiring and using sedatives or recovering from its effects.
  • Experiencing an inability to fulfill responsibilities at work, school, or home caused by recurrent sedative use.
  • Continuing use of the drug despite it causing social or relationship problems.
  • Giving up important activities for Klonopin use.
  • Recurrently using sedatives like Klonopin in dangerous situations, such as while driving.
  • Developing tolerance to sedatives like Klonopin, which brings a need to increase the amount used to feel the same effects.
  • Experiencing withdrawal effects after stopping use.

Tolerance and withdrawal do not count as criteria for a diagnosis when a person is taking the sedative as described.

Klonopin Effects and Withdrawal

With regular use of Klonopin , a person’s body adapts as it grows used to functioning with the drug in their system. This can result in physiological dependence, which is characterized by experiencing unpleasant and sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms, as the body struggles to function normally without the presence of the drug.1

If someone misuses Klonopin, such as by taking more than what is prescribed, dependence can occur more quickly because the body is accustomed to larger doses of the drug in a shorter amount of time.1(Precautions, Dose Changes)

Symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal can include:1

  • Insomnia.
  • Mood difficulties.
  • Abdominal and muscle cramps.
  • Odd behavior.
  • Tremors.
  • Convulsions.
  • Hallucinations.

Can you Overdose on Klonopin?

While it is possible to overdose on benzodiazepines like Klonopin, overdosing on benzos alone tends to be rare.1, 11 Due to the fact that many who misuse benzos like Klonopin may also misuse other drugs like opioids or alcohol, it may be more common for benzos to play a role in alcohol or opioid overdoses.12 For example, in 2021, almost 14% of opioid overdose deaths also involved benzodiazepines of some type.12 Additionally, mixing benzodiazepines like Klonopin and alcohol can also cause potentially life-threatening results.13 Studies suggest that alcohol played a role in over one-fifth of overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines.13

Klonopin Overdose Symptoms

Some of the signs of a Klonin pooverdose include confusion, impaired coordination, and oversedation. While symptoms of a benzodiazepine-only overdose are seldom fatal they do require medical attention. When taken in tandem with other drugs such as alcohol or opioids, an overdose is more likely, and some of these symptoms can be severe and potentially deadly. Klonopin and alcohol increases the sedative effects of each substance. Combining Klonopin with opioids can be particularly dangerous because benzos further suppress breathing in people taking opioids, which increases the risk of opioid fatality. 11

If someone is experiencing overdose symptoms, it is important to call 911 immediately for medical treatment, which may include a medication that reverses the sedative effects of benzodiazepines like Klonopin.1 This drug reverses the sedative and overdose effects of benzodiazepines, but not the effects of alcohol or other sedative-hypnotics. If opioids were used, administration of naloxone, a medicine that’s available over-the-counter at drug stores, may help to return a person’s breathing but still requires medication attention.14

Klonopin Addiction Treatment Programs

Addiction can be treated, and treatment can help people achieve recovery.5 While addiction is often characterized as a chronic relapsing disease, evidence-based treatment can lead to positive health outcomes.5 Addiction is complex and can affect multiple aspects of a person’s life. The best treatment programs are typically those that address medical, psychological, and social needs.5

For Klonopin addiction, specifically, research has found that treatment that includes a combination of medication and behavioral therapy tends to be most effective.6 Furthermore, if somebody is also struggling with an addiction to other substances like alcohol, opioids, or stimulants, treatment may be more effective if it takes into account these other disorders. Providers use medication treatment to help someone safely withdraw from Klonopin and work toward abstinence.6 Providers may also use maintenance therapy, which means that medication is prescribed long-term to help manage cravings for someone who has a high level of physical dependence on the drug.5

Psychotherapies used to treat Klonopin addiction typically include:6

  • Motivational interviewing. If someone is not yet ready to change their Klonopin use, therapists use motivational interviewing to help the person sort through their conflicted feelings about use and help them get ready to make healthy changes.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps a person explore how their thoughts, feelings, and behavior are interrelated. It also shows the person how they can change unhelpful beliefs so that they can experience more positive emotions and, as a result, be less likely to cope with Klonopin.
  • Training on coping strategies. Therapy can also help someone learn coping strategies. This increases the tools they have to deal with stressors, which can help in avoiding Klonopin use. For instance, relaxation techniques can help someone cope with anxiety so that they rely less on Klonopin to relax.

Types of Klonopin Addiction Treatment Settings

Various types of addiction treatment programs exist and the one most suited for a person depends on factors such as the severity of addiction, the presence of other mental health conditions, and whether the person has other needs such as vocational rehabilitation.7

The different levels of addiction treatment include:

  • Clonazepam Detox Programs (detox). Detox treatment helps to remove a substance from the body safely.8 In detox care, medical providers monitor the process and may administer medications to help control withdrawal symptoms. They may also administer medications similar to Klonopin on a tapering schedule to slowly wean the body off of the drug. It is important to note that detox is not addiction treatment but rather, a required step before treatment for someone with physical dependence.8
  • Klonopin Inpatient Treatment. With inpatient treatment, the person resides at the treatment facility and receives care 24 hours per day.7 This setting includes a multidisciplinary team of providers such as therapists, physicians, and case managers to help attend to a person’s multidimensional needs.
  • Outpatient Clonazepam Programs. There are 3 types of outpatient treatment.7 Partial hospitalization programs (PHP) are for those who need more intensive care but don’t require it around the clock. Treatment involves attending services daily for a few hours at a time. Intensive outpatient (IOP) services are a step down from PHP and involve attending the facility a few times per week for a few hours each time. IOPs also tend to offer treatment in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate those who need to work or attend school. Outpatient counseling usually involves attending sessions at a therapist’s office once or twice per week—this is good for those with a mild addiction or those looking to maintain progress made in more intensive treatment.

 Aftercare , or continuing care, can help to maintain recovery once more formal treatment has ended. There are many options that can be included in your aftercare program, including outpatient counseling, participation in 12-Step meetings, group therapy, and psychoeducational programs on relapse prevention.7

Paying for Klonopin Rehab

Some or all of Klonopin rehab may be covered by certain health insurance plans. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance plans are required to provide some coverage for the medically-necessary treatment of mental health disorders such as addiction.9 A person can verify what type of addiction treatment coverage their plan has by contacting the insurance company.

Additional payment options are typically available to those who don’t have health insurance. These options can include rehab programs that offer sliding scale fees or payment plans as well as federal and state-funded rehab programs.

Finding Klonopin Rehab

Speaking with a primary care provider is a great way to start the process of finding a rehab program. Because your doctor knows your medical history and can make a substance use disorder diagnosis, they can help identify the best treatment setting for your needs. In addition, they may be able to manage medication treatment on an outpatient basis after a rehab program has been completed.10

The American Addiction Centers (AAC) treatment directory can also help you locate treatment centers that treat Klonopin addiction—the directory is used by searching by keyword or location. You can also call us at and speak with one of our specialists who can help locate rehab programs and verify your health insurance benefits.

It is never too late to seek help. Please call AAC at . We are available 24/7 and are happy to assist.

 

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