Klonopin – Uses of Klonopin and benzodiazepines
Klonopin is one of the most common prescription drugs in the US, which is why it’s important to understand the warning signs and symptoms of addiction and overdose in loved ones.
Klonopin is a type of benzodiazepine, or “benzo,” which are a class of drugs primarily used in anxiety and stress related disorders to calm the patient. Klonopin, along with Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are all among the top 100 most prescribed medications. These drugs are prescribed on an “as-needed” basis because the symptoms for the related disorders are sporadic and unpredictable. What many don’t understand, is that these medications are not meant to be prescribed longer than 6 weeks – with the goal being that the person develops new coping skills for anxiety management in the meantime. Unfortunately, irresponsible prescribers will not require this – and people can be on benzodiazepines for years – leading to unsafe detoxification if the person stops taking them abruptly or without medical intervention.
These drugs also work for a variety of other purposes, such as muscle relaxants, sedation, convulsions and other involuntary movements. In drug addiction and dependency recovery programs, Klonopin and other benzodiazepines are often used in the detoxification process, to help lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
The same study found that as many as 15% of Americans have taken a benzodiazepine in the past year. Of those, only about 1-2% of prescriptions for benzodiazepine are misused.
Abuse and misuse of Klonopin
The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that Klonopin is generally misused in self-medication. The most clear signs are requests for early prescription refills, signaling an overconsumption of the drug. The drug, when abused, can cause a euphoric high in patients. These overdoses are often severely dangerous and can require hospitalization. In many cases, a reversal agent like flumazenil is required to counteract the sedatives.
Signs of an overdose are similar to alcohol or sleeping medication, including slurred speech, confusion, and loss of memory or focus and other impairment. If you experience any of these symptoms call 9-1-1 immediately.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Klonopin
Patients addicted or dependent on Klonopin may experience severe withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing. Because Klonopin affects the receptors in the brain responsible for relaxation and calm, some patients may experience an inability to relax or reduce their stress levels. In worse cases, the symptoms may cause seizures and anxiety. Most individuals are not fully aware that withdrawal from Klonopin will lead to rebound anxiety when as the drug wears off, the individual’s anxiety spikes.
Signs of addiction
Klonopin addiction can best be categorized by a dependence on the drug for daily functioning. If you in any way feel that your will to stay sober is overpowered by your desire for Klonopin or its effects, if the use of the substance puts you or others in harm, or if you continue to use despite social and health consequences directly tied to the drug, you should seek help immediately.
Addiction generally starts when the regular prescribed dose from a doctor doesn’t “seem like enough” and you end up reaching for an extra dose. Early signs might include running out of a prescription ahead of time, or losing track of doses.
Addictions comorbid with Klonopin
Drug addictions and dependency are often not in isolation. More often than not, these follow other addictions or mental health conditions. In the case of Klonopin, some of the most dangerous comorbid addictions include stimulants and depressants.
Combining depressants, such as other “benzos” or alcohol can cause paralysis, coma, organ failure and death. Combining depressants with stimulants can confuse the body, making you feel like you can handle more of the substance because the effects shortly counteract one another. In these cases, overdose of Klonopin can be common because the effects are delayed.