Klonopin Withdrawal

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, with tens of millions of people affected every year. Klonopin is a prescription drug in the benzodiazepine class that’s used to treat anxiety, panic disorders, and seizures. With increased activity, it acts as a tranquilizer and muscle relaxant.

Klonopin is intended for short-term therapeutic use and it’s more likely to lead to adverse effects when taken longer than recommended. If you take them consistently for several weeks or months, drug dependence, cognitive impairment, and other physical and mental side effects can occur. 

However, people who develop an addiction or dependence to Klonopin can usually recover from negative side effects within a few months after withdrawal. However, withdrawal from benzodiazepines can be potentially dangerous and it’s important to know what to expect when overcoming Klonopin addiction.



How Does Klonopin Work?

Klonopin is the brand name for a type of benzodiazepine called clonazepam. Like most benzodiazepines, it achieves its antianxiety and hypnotic effects by binding to a receptor in the brain called GABA receptors. Normally, they respond to a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid and, when activated, it produces sedative or relaxing effects. Benzodiazepines are GABA agonists, which means that they bind to the receptor and activate it. When benzos like Klonopin bind to GABA receptors, the effect can be strong enough to induce sleep, calm anxiety disorders, and relax muscles.

After several weeks of regular use, your brain may become used to the effects of Klonopin and the way it affects brain chemistry. When you build up a tolerance to the drug, it’s usually because your brain is compensating for the neurochemical effects it is producing. In nervous system depressants like benzos, alcohol, or barbiturates, the brain might slow down natural production of endogenous nervous system calming chemicals. For this reason, abrupt cessation of Klonopin can have withdrawal side effects that include a rebounding of anxiety, insomnia, and other symptoms caused by nervous system overactivity.

Klonopin is primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorders, but it can also be used to treat a movement disorder called akathisia. It can begin working within an hour and lasts for 12 hours. If you use it for longer than four weeks you risk building a tolerance and becoming dependent. If you decide to stop using it after becoming dependent, cut back slowly. Abruptly quitting can lead to dangerous symptoms that are sometimes deadly. More on that later.

What Are the Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Klonopin belongs to a group that is among the few types of drugs with potentially dangerous withdrawals. Benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and alcohol all carry the possibility of tonic-clonic seizures and delirium tremens to occur during withdrawal. These dangerous effects with a host of other uncomfortable physical and psychological symptoms, make it unwise to go through withdrawal on your own.

Tonic-clonic seizures experienced in Klonopin withdrawal are the same as episodes that are associated with epilepsy.

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While they are not typically deadly on their own, seizures can cause life-threatening medical complications in some people, like heart arrhythmia or aspiration of vomit. Plus, if you experience a seizure on your own, you may injure yourself or get into an accident.

Delirium tremens (DT) is even more dangerous and may cause seizures as well. Delirium is a state of confusion, hallucinations, and shaking brought on suddenly by Klonopin withdrawal. It can cause irregular heartbeat, respiratory depression or arrest, and aspiration of vomit, which can all be life-threatening. In some cases, benzodiazepine withdrawal after abrupt cessation can cause a symptom called catatonia, which is when a person becomes immobile and unresponsive even though they are still conscious.

It can also come with strange behaviors like positioning the limbs in strange positions, negativism, and stupor. In extreme cases, as with Delirium tremens, symptoms can come on suddenly with over-excitement, fever, autonomic instability (unstable central nervous system), and fatality.

With intensive care treatment, mortality for DT rates can be as low as 5 percent but without any treatment, it is as high as 35 percent. Medical detox facilities are prepared to treat symptoms of alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal in order to respond to or avoid Delirium tremens.

Other symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Because Klonopin withdrawal is so dangerous, it’s important to seek medical help if you believe you’ve become dependent. If you have tried and failed to cut back or quit Klonopin use don’t stop suddenly. Call your doctor and seek treatment immediately.

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What Are the Stages of the Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline?

How long will you have after your last dose before you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms? It’s an important question. Prescription drugs can be hard to get when you run out and, with such dangerous symptoms, it’s important to know when you might start to feel the effects. Will they begin to happen on a long flight or before you can get into a detox program? Klonopin has a relatively long half-life (30 to 40 hours) which means it stays in your system for longer than many addictive drugs. This means you have one to three days before you start feeling the first symptoms.

However, there are several factors that can speed up or delay those first signs. If you’ve been dependent on benzos for a long time, your body may not be able to go very long without the chemical. The dosage you are used to will also play a role. The amount you took in your last dose can also contribute to a longer period before symptoms.

Klonopin’s long half-life and time before withdrawal kicks is a double-edged sword, because it also comes with a long period of symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can last for up to four days until their peak and can linger for months. Without treatment, specific symptoms can last for years.

Why Should I Detox?

Medical detox is the safest way to get through potentially dangerous drug withdrawals without relapsing. Medical professionals with expertise in treating addiction and drug dependence can help alleviate your symptoms and monitor for potential medical complications. Going through withdrawal alone can be extremely uncomfortable, at best. And at its worst, it could mean deadly symptoms without help.

Through medical detox, you will also have help preventing relapse that would mean having to go through withdrawal symptoms all over again. Finally, withdrawing from benzos means the possibility of deep depression and suicidal thoughts. Going through detox in the care of others means having the support while overcoming adverse psychological and emotional symptoms as well as physical ones.

Withdrawing from any chemical dependence on your own would be a painful experience, but benzodiazepines like Klonopin can be much more dangerous than that. If you are experiencing a benzo withdrawal signs and symptoms, call Maryland House to learn more about what’s involved in medical detox programs.

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

In some cases, the effects of Klonopin dependence can last well beyond the withdrawal symptoms. Psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, and drug cravings are unusually persistent, particularly without long-term treatment. Drug cravings can be powerful and lead to relapse unless you learn how to combat them. Addiction rewrites the way your reward center perceives Klonopin. Your brain will become used to the feelings of euphoria and relief it provided, treating the drug like any other life-sustaining activity, like eating, drinking, and sleeping. 

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Long-term addiction treatment is, in part, about training you to overcome drug-seeking impulses caused by triggers and cravings.

The best way to learn these techniques is to engage in a continuum of care. After detoxification, long-term addiction treatment (90 days or more) has shown to be the most effective option for achieving lifelong sobriety. Starting with intensive treatment options like inpatient or residential treatment can give you the structure and accountability you need as you learn to identify triggers and overcome cravings.

As you continue in treatment, you can scale back intensiveness with outpatient treatment or sober living environments. Once you complete treatment, support groups and twelve-step programs can connect you to a community of people committed to recovery.

Start Your Journey to Recovery Today

No one should have to go through Klonopin withdrawal on their own. Not only does it involve nearly unbearable discomfort, but it can also cause potentially deadly symptoms. Through drug detox and addiction treatment, you can safely rid yourself of a damaging addiction. Recovery may just be a call away.

If you or a someone you care about is showing signs of Klonopin withdrawal or addiction, call Maryland House Detox today at 888-263-0631 to learn more about what you can do to overcome addiction.