Klonopin Addiction

Klonopin, also called clonazepam, is part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs and is prescribed to treat panic and anxiety disorders in adults. These illnesses are prevalent in the United States, where more than 40 million people suffer from a form of anxiety disorder. The medication also helps prevent seizures by stabilizing and balancing the chemicals in a person’s brain. Even though the drug is prescribed for mental health purposes, many people have become addicted to the drug either from a prescription or through misuse.

Knowing what Klonopin is, what the drug looks like, how it’s taken, the causes and signs of a dependence on the drug is important when identifying if a person is addicted.

Klonopin is the brand name of a generic drug, clonazepam, and it comes in tablet form. A 1 mg Klonopin tablet may be marked with “K Roche 1 K Klonopin,” and a 0.5 mg tablet may be marked with “K Roche 1/2K Klonopin.” With the 2 mg Klonopin which is white, the imprint is “K Roche 2 K Klonopin.”

Klonopin has been in circulation since the 1970s and is among the benzodiazepine class, one of the most commonly prescribed groups of medicines in the United States. Between 1996 and 2013, benzodiazepine prescriptions increased by 67 percent, from 8.1 million to 13.5 million adults.

Some of the drugs in the benzodiazepine class are considered sedative-hypnotics, which means the drug provides a calming high that can be similar to the relaxed effects of heroin. Other benzos include:

  • Ativan
  • Librium
  • Xanax
  • Valium

Despite all being in this group, the drugs vary from one another in potency and addiction potential. There also is a variance in how quickly the drug affects people and how long the high lasts. Klonopin takes anywhere from an hour to four hours to reach its peak effectiveness. The drug’s half-life is 34 hours, which means that half of the medication is eliminated from the body within that time frame. By comparison, Valium takes between an hour and two hours to reach peak effect and the half-life is 100 hours. Ativan’s half-life is 15 hours, and Xanax has a 12-hour half-life.

Clonazepam, the generic version of Klonopin, was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 1998. It’s an anti-anxiety drug and is prescribed to treat for anxiety disorders, which affects 1 in 5 people in the United States. Klonopin also are sometimes prescribed to treat severe manic symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.

Klonopin, which is a central nervous system depressant, works by interacting with the neurotransmitter in the brain known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Klonopin has numerous side effects, some of which are the exact reason people might take the drug. The most common effects of Klonopin are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Coordination issues
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased saliva
  • Frequent urination
  • Changes in sex drive

Since the drug is prescribed to help people with anxiety issues, feeling drowsy is a normal experience for someone who takes a sedative-hypnotic such as Klonopin. Medical professionals recommend people who take Klonopin avoid operating a vehicle or machinery and to immediately contact their primary physician if they experience any of the following serious side effects:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Swelling

Knowing the common side effects helps people be aware of a potential dependence forming for the drug.

Klonopin is one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States and also one that is commonly misused. Few drugs — opioid painkillers being one — are more likely to be the source of addiction for people suffering from substance use disorders.

Therefore, the question of “Is Klonopin addictive?” is easy to answer. Klonopin is very addictive if taken in high doses or for a consistent amount of time. As the body becomes accustomed to the drug’s presence and how it interacts with the brain, people become reliant on Klonopin for certain feelings, such as a relaxed state. If the person suffers from anxiety, the lack of the drug’s presence could result in more severe attacks.

Klonopin addiction is a person’s reaction to a consistent or high dosage of the drug, forming a dependence on its presence. There are two aspects of addiction, the physical form and the psychological one.

Physical addiction is the body’s reliance on the drug to properly function and provide certain chemicals that keep people in balance. For instance, people who are addicted to a drug like Klonopin but stop taking it might suffer from headaches or nausea. This occurs because the body becomes dependent on the drug and revolts when a significant change, such as the lack of the drug’s presence, occurs.

The psychological addiction often comes from the euphoric feeling people get from the drug. Often, people will associate the drug with good feelings and when anxiety or panic attacks occur during withdrawal, their psychological addiction kicks in and people believe they need the drug to achieve happiness. This is part of why people crave harmful substances and misuse prescription drugs such as Klonopin.

Klonopin addiction can form in two ways: with a prescription or without one. People who suffer from Klonopin addiction often begin taking the drug through a doctor’s prescription, usually to treat for an anxiety disorder. If the addiction forms through a prescription, this often comes from misusing the drug. People sometimes believe that since the drug is legal and can be prescribed to them by a doctor, it is safe to take in any dosage. This belief is incorrect and can cause addiction to form as dosage increases or continues beyond a prescription.

However, some people follow doctors’ orders and still develop a dependence for the drug. While not common, people can be misdiagnosed by their primary care physician or have allergies or take other medications that combine poorly with Klonopin.

Another common way an addiction forms is without a prescription. People who know someone with a prescription or know someone who works at a pharmacy can acquire the drug illegally and begin taking it.

The most common combinations come from alcohol and other prescription drugs. Some of these mixtures can be dangerous and people who are prescribed Klonopin should be cautious about what other drugs they take and up front with their doctor about other prescriptions.
Noticing some of the side effects of addiction can help determine if seeking treatment is the best option. When people stop taking the drug, withdrawal symptoms often appear if an addiction formed. These effects are one of the best ways to determine if a person is addicted. Common withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Severe panic attacks
There are many treatment options for Klonopin addiction. No matter where a person lives, a rehab facility is likely conveniently located in their region. The Recovery Village has centers in five states and a team of associates with the expertise to help potential clients identify the best treatment plans for every individual’s unique needs.

However, all Klonopin addiction treatment begins with detoxification and overcoming withdrawal symptoms. This stage is sometimes the most challenging for patients due to the side effects of no longer taking Klonopin — or reducing dosage as part of the “tapering off” approach. Detoxification often establishes a strong foundation for future steps of the rehabilitation process, so ensuring a safe and effective detox program is vital to a person’s long-term recovery.

klonopin addiction
Knowing some of the Klonopin addiction statistics and facts can help people understand how potent the drug can be. Many people aren’t aware of how widespread or challenging substance use disorders are, and people who are prescribed the drug often believe it’s safe since taking it is approved by a doctor. However, if dosage is not controlled, then the drug often creates a dependence for benzodiazepines and ending a prescription becomes more difficult. These statistics show how prevalent benzodiazepine and Klonopin addiction is in the United States:

  • Benzodiazepine prescriptions have increased around 30 percent since 1996.
  • In 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control, this class of drugs was involved in about 30 percent of deaths resulting from prescription drug overdoses.
  • Benzodiazepines are second in opioids for which class of drugs is responsible for most overdose deaths.
  • The amount of medicine in a benzodiazepine prescription doubled from 1996 to 2013.
  • Klonopin is the third-most-prescribed benzodiazepine in the United States
  • Around five million people in the country over the age of 12 have taken a benzodiazepine at least once in their lives.
  • Klonopin was involved in nearly 63,000 emergency room visits in 2011.
  • According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, there were 26.9 million clonazepam prescriptions in 2011.

Klonopin addiction causes pain for a lot of people, as well as their families and friends. However, healing is available through The Recovery Village. You do not have to live your life reliant on the drug for happiness. Treatment facilities like The Recovery Village can help you detox from the drug and learn coping strategies for overcoming addiction.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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