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Klonopin Misuse and Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Dangers

Some prescription drugs, despite their medical benefits, have the inherent potential for misuse. With certain types of drugs, you may run a greater risk of negative side effects and even addiction if the prescription is misused, too. On this page, you can discover facts about Klonopin, health risks of Klonopin misuse, Klonopin abuse symptoms, signs of Klonopin abuse, how to treat Klonopin addiction, and more.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin, which may be prescribed under its generic name clonazepam, is a potent and relatively long-lasting benzodiazepine.1 Klonopin has been specifically approved by the FDA to treat panic disorder as well as specific types of seizure disorders.2

Klonopin is classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance.3 As Schedule IV substances, these medications have relatively low but noted risk of misuse.3

Drugs like Klonopin are often meant to be used for only a short period.2 Use for longer periods of time, or misuse that falls outside of prescribed guidelines increases the risk of certain adverse effects, including physical dependence.2

Some of the adverse effects of Klonopin use may include:2

  • Drowsiness or fatigue.
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Decreased levels of consciousness or passing out.
  • Impaired coordination.
  • Decreased ability to concentrate.

If side effects are experienced when first taking the medication, these side effects may improve over the first week or two of use.2

Clonazepam Misuse Dangers & Risks

When used as directed by your physician, clonazepam can be a safe and effective medication.2 However, even when used as suggested, benzodiazepines are associated with the development of physical dependence.2 It may be possible for physical dependence to develop after around 2 weeks of daily use.2

If a person is dependent on a substance, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop or lessen their dosage. Some potential signs and symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal may include:4,5

  • Sweating.
  • Racing pulse.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.

In addition to the risk of dependence and an associated withdrawal syndrome, the misuse of clonazepam may increase the likelihood of other, potentially severe adverse effects. Combining the use of clonazepam with other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, can increase the risk of overdose.6

Long-term use of a benzodiazepine may come with other risks.6,7 Some long-term use side effects of Klonopin may include:6,7

  • Deficits in working memory.
  • Lowered processing speed.
  • Lack of attention.
  • Deficits in recent memory.
  • Trouble expressing things verbally.

Is Klonopin Addictive?

Are you wondering if you can be addicted to Klonopin? The short answer is yes, Klonopin can be addictive. Though the risk of misuse may be relatively lower than drugs in Schedule I-III, clonazepam still has a recognized risk of misuse and addiction.8 So individuals should use the drug knowing that clonazepam is addictive.

Exceeding the recommended prescription dose that your doctor has suggested can increase the risk of addiction. Developing tolerance and dependence to a medication does not necessarily mean you have an addiction, though both issues have the potential to help drive the escalating and compulsive patterns of use characteristic of addiction.2,8

Misuse of a substance can involve taking a larger dose than recommended, or using the drug without a prescription.8 Benzodiazepine misuse often occurs in the context of polysubstance use—when a person mixes benzos with other substances.9 People may combine drugs to enhance the euphoric feeling, to reduce undesired effects of one of the substances being used, and to relieve withdrawal symptoms that creep up when a person is not taking the drug as often as before.9

Drugs commonly misused with benzos like Klonopin include:9

Estimates indicate that more than 50% of those who misuse benzodiazepines also misuse opioids, and nearly 25% of people who misuse benzos also misuse alcohol.9

Signs and Symptoms of Klonopin Addiction

Clonazepam addiction can be diagnosed as a sedative use disorder by healthcare professionals based on specific criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Based on these diagnostic criteria, the signs and symptoms of a sedative use disorder involving Klonopin misuse may include:5

  • Klonopin is taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  • There is a persistent desire but an inability to cut down on the use of the substance.
  • A large amount of time is spent trying to obtain and use the substance.
  • There are strong cravings for or urges to use Klonopin.
  • Recurrent use of the Klonopin results in a failure to fulfill important obligations.
  • The person continues to use the substance despite persistent interpersonal problems related to their use.
  • Activities that the person used to enjoy are given up in favor of their substance use.
  • Klonopin taken in conditions that are physically hazardous, such as while driving.
  • The substance is taken despite the person knowing it is causing physical or psychological harm.
  • The person has developed a tolerance to the substance.
  • The person experiences Klonopin withdrawal symptoms when they don’t take the substance.

A diagnosis of a sedative use disorder may be made when 2 or more of the above criteria are present within the previous 12-month period.5 Not everyone will experience the same addiction-related changes. As potential warning signs of addiction, exactly which of the above criteria are met may differ from one person to another. Some Klonopin addiction symptoms and signs may be relatively subtle while others easier to recognize. An evaluation for these issues may be best performed by a treatment professional, though awareness of any of the above as may be helpful in recognizing a need for treatment for you or your loved one struggling with addiction.

How to Deal with Klonopin Addiction

If you are struggling with Klonopin addiction, it is important to understand that addiction is treatable. Treatment is available in a variety of settings. Your doctor can help you discuss your options and what treatment pathway is best for your needs.

If you recognize Klonopin addiction in your loved one, try to get them help as soon as possible. There are multiple types of treatment available for benzodiazepine addiction. While everyone’s treatment process may differ depending on your specific needs, a person undergoing Klonopin addiction treatment may experience following elements of care:

  • Medical detox.
  • Behavioral counseling.
  • Addiction education.
  • Relapse prevention skills training.
  • Long-term follow-up (aftercare) planning.

A period of medical detox is often the first step in treatment for sedative use disorders. Supervised medical detox and withdrawal management helps to mitigate benzodiazepine withdrawal severity and potentially dangerous withdrawal complications. Professional detox can make this difficult portion of early recovery safer and more comfortable, allowing them to more smoothly transition into additional, more comprehensive treatment.10

Depending on your treatment needs, Klonopin addiction and other professional substance use disorder treatment may take place in either an inpatient rehab program or outpatient treatment setting.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Klonopin misuse, We are available 24/7.

Find Out if Your Insurance Plan Covers Klonopin Addiction Treatment

American Addiction Centers can help people recover from Klonopin misuse and other substance use disorders (SUD). To find out if your insurance covers treatment at an American Addiction Centers facility, click here, or fill out the form below. Your information is kept 100% confidential. You can also click here to find a rehab near me.

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