Last Updated: July 24, 2020

Healthcare professionals have long seen Klonopin addiction as a serious public health issue, but a recent rise in anti-anxiety drug prescriptions has raised alarms. While there are certainly legitimate therapeutic uses for these substances, it’s easy to become addicted. This is why it’s so important to understand what you’re up against with Klonopin abuse. 

The Effect of Klonopin on the Brain

The purpose of Klonopin – also known as clonazepam – is to act as a sedative and reduce anxiety. It’s part of the benzodiazepine family of medications – which are part of an even larger group of medicines called sedatives, hypnotics and anxiolytics. On top of treating anxiety, the drug has proven useful against muscle movement disorders, seizures and panic disorders. 

This is a very potent substance, and this helps explain why Klonopin addiction is so rampant. Around 30 percent of people experiencing seizures see anticonvulsant activity end within three months, and anxiety symptoms can go away in less than an hour. Unfortunately, this high effectiveness rate also explains why it’s so frequently misused among the public. 

If you’ve ever taken Klonopin, you’re not alone. At least 1 in every 20 Americans has used the drug or a similar benzodiazepine in just last month. More than two million U.S. citizens have done so in a way not recommended by a medical professional. When used excessively, Klonopin side effects could include psychological and physical dependence. 

Klonopin addiction occurs when an individual loses control over how they use the drug. Thinking about the substance, using it, and recovering from its side effects will take up an increasing amount of their time. In a worst case scenario, this could lead to overdose or even death. Those who abuse the drug could also face serious issues related to Klonopin withdrawal when trying to quit. 

If you believe you or a loved one might be misusing Klonopin or a similar medication, you don’t have to face the struggle on your own. Transformations Treatment Center is here to help you through the journey to recovery. Our evidence-based treatment program helps confront substance abuse and fight addiction. We’ll work with you to overcome these unhealthy patterns. 

How Klonopin Works

Both Klonopin addiction and legitimate treatment are linked to the chemical mechanism of the drug. It increases the body’s availability of GABA – a chemical messenger – to the nervous system. This is a natural substance that stifles the transfer of stimulating messages moving from one nerve cell to the next. The body does this after a “fight, flight or freeze” response. 

When you’re feeling anxious, it’s often because there’s an increase of stimulating nerve cell message transfers in the brain. By increasing the amount of available GABA, Klonopin inhibits that transfer. This essentially takes your body’s “foot off the accelerator,” reduces the strength of these messages, and reduces overall anxiety. 

This is an effective process, but Klonopin addiction can occur if long-term or excessive use occurs. This is because sedatives will begin to lose their effectiveness in controlling your anxiety. Once you build up a tolerance, the same dose will not create the same effect of reduced nerve cell action. You’ll need to take more for the same effect, and this makes your body dependent. 

After Xanax and Ativan, Klonopin is the most prescribed benzodiazepine on the market. This along with the euphoria produced by the drug explains why it’s one of the most abused substances out there. With continued use, your brain will eventually remodel itself in order to create the same level of euphoria. Anyone who reaches this point is highly vulnerable to addiction. 

Your brain is the most powerful organ in the body, so if it begins to view the euphoric feeling experienced when taking the drug as its normal state, you’ll have a hard time overcoming this response. It will work to keep your body in the state of bliss it’s become accustomed to, and Klonopin addiction is the eventual outcome. 

Potential for Klonopin Overdose

The reduction in communication caused by Klonopin in the nerve cells can also create dangerously slow breathing patterns if an overdose occurs. Such an overdose isn’t typically fatal on its own, but people often combine Klonopin with additional substances. When taken with painkillers, other sedatives or alcohol, the combination can prove fatal. 

Klonopin addiction isn’t just dangerous when someone is abusing the substance. Reducing the amount you take – or stopping entirely – can also cause withdrawal symptoms once your body is physically dependent. Your body’s capacity to reduce anxiety on its own will be compromised. The GABA system’s ability to regulate blood pressure, heart rate and nerve cell activity will also be reduced. 

Klonopin withdrawal is a serious medical concern, and in some cases, this can lead to hallucinations, seizures and even death. At Transformations Treatment Center, our goal is to help those addicted to these types of substances safely overcome their dependence. Contact us today to get started on the road to recovery. 

Klonopin Addiction Warning Signs

If you believe that you or a loved one may have developed Klonopin dependency, there are several clues you can look for. Taking the drug outside of recommended use – including higher dosages or for longer than prescribed – could be a sign that misuse is occurring. In fact, uing any prescribed narcotic in a non-prescribed way indicates a problem. 

There are also other key indicators that may suggest Klonopin addiction: 

  • Previous attempts at quitting have been unsuccessful.
  • Even after negative consequences, use continues. 
  • Isolation or detachment from normal social groups. 
  • Social or legal problems related to use occur. 

You may also notice the following physical and psychological symptoms: 

  • Uncontrolled anxiety. 
  • Sedation. 
  • Confusion.
  • Unexplained seizures. 
  • Unexplained changes to blood pressure.
  • Insomnia. 
  • Rapid mood changes. 
  • Memory loss. 

Treating Klonopin Addiction

Due to the high risk of withdrawal symptoms when stopping Klonopin, overcoming addiction typically begins with medically supervised detoxification. This process could require a hospital or rehabilitation facility if withdrawal symptoms become severe enough. Medical professionals will have to regularly monitor the patient’s vital signs for several days. 

Individuals going through the detox process are also given long-acting doses of Klonopin alternatives that are chemically similar but much safer. This prescription will be regularly reduced until withdrawal symptoms have subsided. The following side effects could be experienced when recovering from Klonopin addiction: 

  • Seizures. 
  • Weight loss. 
  • Nightmares. 
  • Muscle cramps and spasms.
  • Insomnia. 
  • Hallucinations. 
  • Elevated heart rate. 
  • Elevated blood pressure. 

Overcoming Klonopin addiction is typically easier if other mental health needs are addressed. Hidden disorders related to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, for instance, could be an underlying cause for substance abuse. Identifying these disorders and finding healthy ways to address them is vital for ensuring long-lasting results from the treatment process. 

There are also various psychotherapy options for helping to treat mental health issues and Klonopin dependence. The best option for addiction to sedatives is typically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a form of talk therapy centered around helping patients change their behavior. It teaches you critical information about your emotions and how they are directing your thoughts. 

Once you understand how these thoughts lead to certain behaviors – including Klonopin addiction – the healing process can begin. You’ll learn to adapt your emotions and fight the thought processes that have led to substance abuse. There’s a wealth of evidence showing that CBT in conjunction with 12-step programs help reduce problems with sedative use. 

A Growing Epidemic

Millions of people deal with Klonopin addiction every year, but spikes in prescription rates mean the problem is likely to get worse. Recent statistics show a spike of more than 10 percent in prescriptions of anti-anxiety medications. This increase has been constant in recent years, and the amount of active ingredient in these prescriptions has also been rising. 

This steady increase occurred alongside an escalation in fatal overdoses. Yearly overdose deaths related to benzodiazepines increased from 1,135 in 1999 to over 11,537 in 2017. People often overlook the seriousness of these drugs because opioids are more often mentioned in the media as an epidemic. Unfortunately, Klonopin addiction can be just as deadly. 

While an increase in reported anxiety could be behind this growing problem, there are many other effective ways to treat anxiety. A focus on the easiest solution along with little guidance on how to properly prescribe this medication could also be at fault. Medical students often are provided little training on mental health issues, and this fosters an environment where Klonopin addiction runs rampant. 

At Transformations Treatment Center, we understand that substance abuse extends far beyond what we see on the 6 o’clock news. If you or a family member is struggling with Klonopin or any form of benzodiazepine, our healthcare professionals will work with you to build an effective treatment plan. Don’t let addiction come out on top. 

Preventing Klonopin Relapse

One of the largest hurdles facing individuals who have overcome Klonopin addiction is relapse. The therapeutic process helps in this essential aspect of recovery, but it’s also important to have family support. Our loved ones need to know they’re cared for when going through these difficult times. You can view our Family Member Support Guide for more information. 

The focus of long-lasting treatment is to help avoid relapse when things become stressful. Up to 60 percent of individuals may relapse within a year of quitting drugs or alcohol, but utilizing effective treatment techniques can minimize this potential. Treatment should also focus on teaching the individual how to deal with relapses if they occur. 

Klonopin addiction is a difficult enemy, so it’s essential to have all available resources at your disposal. 

Don’t Suffer in Silence

Substance abuse is a serious health issue that must be confronted immediately, and the increasing frequency of Klonopin prescriptions make this drug especially dangerous. At Transformations Treatment Center, we’re focused on providing the tools that can help you clear this hurdle. With our scientifically supported treatment options, you can overcome Klonopin addiction. 

Our goal is simple: helping you lead a healthy and substance-free life. Contact us today to learn more about our first-rate facilities and certified staff of professionals.

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