In a world filled with recognizable drug names, the prescription medication Klonopin proves to be an outlier. Klonopin, even lesser known by its medical label clonazepam, is often hidden in the shadow of other benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium. Nevertheless, this is a very effective sedative medication. Benzodiazepines, or the colloquial benzos, sedate overactive and unbalanced brain chemistry that can lead to anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, seizures, and more.

What is Klonopin?

While not as powerful as other benzos for clinical purposes, Klonopin is one of the go-to sedatives for illicit and recreational use. Users describe the high with the same terminology one might otherwise use to define alcohol intoxication: a drunken euphoria mixed with relaxed indifference. No matter the consensus on how it makes someone feel, there is no denying that Klonopin comes with the potential for misuse, dependence, and even substance use disorders. This isn’t just a consequence facing recreational users either.

Patients who use Klonopin to alleviate their psychological burdens are also susceptible to hazardous use habits. Time and time again experts find that patients are getting hooked, not by the high, but the relief from their debilitating mental health problem. As it stands to date, thousands of citizens die from a benzodiazepine overdose each year. Finding a solution after prolonged use can be intimidating. But there is always a way. Rehabilitation facilities can help individuals overcome a problem with benzos — and a detox is one of the best ways to start.

Tapering Off of Klonopin

As addressed, benzodiazepines like Klonopin are used to treat and regulate myriad issues attributed to mental health. It can be difficult to quit the drug for reasons beyond being physically dependent on it. The fear of resurging mental health problems, known as rebound effects, once Klonopin is stopped can hold some individuals back from seeking treatment. Fortunately, physicians understand this hesitation and can assist their patients in receiving the treatment, antidepressants, counseling, or other help they may need. The hope of treatment is to provide alternatives as well as solutions. If the time has come to quit using benzos, it might just be the perfect occasion to consider tapering off Klonopin.

Infographic detailing the benefits of tapering off klonopin

Tapering methods are excellent choices for short- and long-term users alike, as each patient will get a personalized treatment program. As with all benzodiazepines, relinquishing Klonopin comes with consequences of its own, namely, withdrawal symptoms. No one wishes to go through a withdrawal; withdrawals are excruciating at their worst and uncomfortable at their best. In fact, benzos, alcohol, and opioids are considered the nastiest withdrawals of them all.

Physicians want their patients to taper off Klonopin for two key reasons: it prepares the body for Klonopin-free living while preventing withdrawal symptoms. Both of these rationales are due to a gradual reduction of the drug in the system over time. A taper is synonymous with adaption.

Some methods of detox remove the assistance of time altogether, and they are all the more dangerous for it. Tapers offer both the body and mind a crutch until they are ready to do what they know how to do — like riding a bike again after a long while. Going cold turkey removes all protections and precautions — like riding a bike again, only much more difficult. The patient is not given an opportunity to adapt to life without Klonopin, neither physically nor psychologically, and they are more likely to suffer because of it. Benzo withdrawals can be deadly, especially under disaster-prone conditions such as those with a cold-turkey detox.

The Symptoms & Risks of Stopping Use

Tapering off Klonopin prevents the debilitating side effects of quitting. Withdrawals can be week-long or month-long ordeals once everything is said and done. A taper can make all the difference in such harrowing times.

Infographic detailing the symptoms and risks of stopping klonopin

  • More on symptoms that are characteristic of a Klonopin withdrawal include:

    • Nausea: continuously feeling sick to one’s stomach may lead to bouts of vomiting.
    • Insomnia: disrupted sleep patterns may last for days, weeks, or months.
    • Agitation: cravings, an unfamiliar environment, and other factors can lead to irritable behavior.
    • Headaches: migraines and headaches of varying degrees will likely pop up from time to time. This is especially true for when the last dose wears off.
    • Psychological episodes: recurrent psychological distress may emerge during a withdrawal such as panic attacks, psychosis, hallucinations, and seizures.

When compared to the withdrawal symptoms of other benzodiazepines, severe Klonopin withdrawals have a much higher instance of seizures. This risk, along with all other side effects, can be mitigated with a proper taper in a qualified location. Physicians will painstakingly craft a schedule to guide and support their patients as they taper off Klonopin. Interestingly enough, some doctors will switch a patient’s Xanax or Ativan for a Klonopin or Valium regimen instead. This is because these latter two benzos are long-acting, meaning they last longer in the body and are easier to manage. A process like this is called a substitution taper.

Infographic giving details on the klonopin taper schedule

Every week, a recovering user will reduce their benzo consumption by 10–25 percent until they’ve reached their goal. While it’s true that the majority of patients benefit from complete Klonopin cessation, this cannot be the barometer by which everyone’s success is measured. Whatever that vision of success may be, tapering off Klonopin might just be the first step to a fruitful recovery.

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.