Klonopin is one of the most dangerous and difficult drugs to be addicted to. And doctors are prescribing thousands of pills daily.
What drugs do you think of when you consider the most brutal addictions?
All of the above are vicious addictions to live with. However, addicts continue to fall victim to a wider variety of pharmaceuticals than before.
When taken in excess, different psychiatric medications produce significant highs in the user. Adderall is a common example of a psychiatric medication used to excess.
However, one medication, in particular, is tearing through the lives of addicts and their loved ones without a second glance:
They are a wildly popular option for addicts seeking a synthetic high.
Read on to find out more about Klonopin, known as clonazepam in the medical field. In this in-depth blog post, we will address the following questions:
- What is a Klonopin high like?
- What is the half-life of Klonopin and how long does the high last for?
- How do people abuse Klonopin?
- How do you know when someone is dealing with a Klonopin overdose?
- What are Klonopin withdrawals like?
- Are Klonopin side effects severe or tolerable?
- What is a common psychiatric-prescribed Klonopin dosage?
- How do I know if my loved one is addicted to Klonopin?
- How can I find help for someone with a Klonopin addiction?
If you are not familiar with the ins and outs of clonazepam and Klonopin addiction, you will be after reading.
As the recreational use of non-prescribed Klonopin continues to soar, learning more about Klonopin has the potential to save a life.
What is Klonopin and What is it Used to Treat?
Klonopin is the most common brand name of the drug clonazepam, brought to market in 1975. Clonazepam is most often used to treat those who experience severe seizures or panic disorders (such as agoraphobia), as well as a movement disorder called akathisia.
Klonopin is available only through prescription by an approved doctor. Klonopin is a benzodiazepine medication, specifically classified as a tranquilizer.
Medications similar to Klonopin or clonazepam include:
When taken as prescribed, Klonopin is beneficial and often life-altering medication. Their calming effects help both those with seizures and anxiety disorders to function as close as possible to normal in their day to day lives.
26.9 million prescriptions for clonazepam were prescribed in 2011, according to a 2013 study conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This statistic shows a significant number of Klonopin and other clonazepam tablets entering the market that year.
As with all psychiatric medications, though, there are downsides. Not everyone uses Klonopin for its life-altering capabilities: they aim only to get high and find some relief from the troubles in their lives.
Doctors are aware of the high potential for Klonopin addiction in those who have already shown signs of substance abuse. Again, clonazepam is similar to drugs like Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Restoril, incredibly powerful, prescription sedative drugs.
What exactly happens in situations where Klonopin is taken without a prescription or in greater amounts than prescribed?
What are the Potential Downsides of Such a Helpful Medication like Clonazepam?
Benzodiazepines, in general, are a common way for thousands of addicts across the United States to get high every year. Street names for benzodiazepine medications include:
- Nerve Pills
As with any non-prescribed medication, complications are always possible. Addicts who abuse benzodiazepines like Klonopin usually take much higher doses than the one recommended by a doctor in a medical setting.
20.4 million Americans ages 12 and older have misused benzodiazepines at some point in their life, according to the National Survey for Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducted in 2011.
127 million legal prescriptions of benzodiazepines were prescribed in 2011, including alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and temazepam (Restoril).
Tranquilizing benzodiazepines are the 6th most misused drug in America, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The only drugs misused more than tranquilizers are:
- Pain Relievers
Additionally, there were 345,691 emergency room visits due in part or entirely to benzodiazepine use in 2010. Of those visits, almost 20 percent of them (or 62,811 total visits) involved some type of clonazepam medication.
With nearly 1 in 5 benzodiazepine hospital visits caused by Klonopin or some other clonazepam medication, clearly there are detrimental effects at play. Klonopin isn’t the entirely safe medication it’s proclaimed to be.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s narcotic classification scale, clonazepam is a Schedule IV drug. Other Schedule IV drugs are:
So why do addicts use Klonopin to get high? What is a Klonopin high like? Surely there must be some sort of benefit to risk all the negatives that come with clonazepam use.
A Klonopin High: Why People Use Clonazepam to Get High
Benzodiazepine medications are second only to painkillers when looking at misused prescription medications. Other types of abused prescription medications include stimulants and sedatives.
Clearly, these tranquilizing medications produce some type of effect to keep addicts coming back day after day, month after month, year after year.
But what is it?
What exactly does the Klonopin high do that keeps people so hooked?
Again, Klonopin is a medication used to relieve seizures (particularly in those with epilepsy) and as an anti-anxiety medication for individuals with panic disorders.
Therefore, the name tranquilizer is rather appropriate.
A Klonopin high slows the functioning in the addict’s brain, relieving anxiety, agitation, frustration, and irritation. Oftentimes people high on Klonopin are sleepy and in a stupor.
Klonopin highs remove all the user’s cares, providing only the calmest, most carefree state possible.
Little wonder why people escape from the world by using Klonopin to get high, right?
How Do People Who Aren’t Addicts Get Addicted to Klonopin?
But why do seemingly clean-nosed individuals who would never be seen as a drug addict find themselves hooked?
Recall the number of prescriptions prescribed in 2011: 127 million benzodiazepine prescriptions in general, 26.9 million clonazepam prescriptions alone.
When people use medications like benzodiazepines for extended periods of time, they begin to develop a tolerance to the drugs. As their tolerance grows, oftentimes they must take more of the drugs to receive the same effect.
Some who receive a prescription for clonazepam may realize they like the Klonopin high and begin to take more than they were initially prescribed. These individuals often find themselves hooked to clonazepam before they even see what is happening.
Side Effects of Clonazepam and Its Impact on Your Body
No drug comes without its side effects. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Advil or Klonopin side effects; all medications run the risk of producing side effects in your body.
Like other side effects, there is no guarantee that every single Klonopin side effect will show. However, having an idea of the things that could come along with the high are good to know.
Common Klonopin side effects include:
- Feeling worn out, sleepy, or tired
- Decrease in libido
- Difficulties swallowing
- Puffiness or swelling of or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- Feeling down or depressed
- Drowsiness and dizziness
- Minor memory problems
- Difficulties with balance and coordination
These are all regular side effects that come with Klonopin use. However, if you experience any of the following side effects from Klonopin, call your doctor immediately:
- New or worse seizures
- Severe drowsiness or dizziness
- Shallow, weak, or labored breathing
- Body aches and pain
- Abnormal mood swings or sudden changes in behavior
- Confusion or hallucinations
- Shakiness or difficulties walking
- Anger or aggression
- Thoughts of self harm or suicide
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Involuntary eye movements that are out of the ordinary
The packaging that the medication comes in will consist of a full list of side effects. As with all medication, it is best to keep an eye on your body and pay attention to what it’s telling you.
Remaining proactive, especially when starting a new medication, makes a massive difference in your health. Staying on top of your side effects allows you to know when something is out of the ordinary and you can respond immediately.
Common Klonopin Dosages Prescribed by Doctors
As with most medications, deciding on a Klonopin dose depends heavily on a multitude of factors. Just a few factors doctors take into consideration are:
For an average adult seeking seizure treatment, a common dose of Klonopin is around 1.5 milligrams per day, divided into three 0.5 doses taken throughout the day.
The maximum Klonopin dosage for seizure patients is around 20 milligrams orally taken throughout the day.
Adults struggling with anxiety or panic disorders usually start at a dose of 0.25 milligrams twice per day and move up to a maintenance dose of 1 milligram per day.
Those with panic disorders should cap at a Klonopin dosage of 4 milligrams per day.
However, outlining Klonopin doses online is difficult as everyone’s body is different. The best way to find out the proper dose for you
Klonopin Half-Life and How Long it Stays in Your System
Klonopin is a popular option for benzodiazepine users because of its long-lasting effects. The effects of most tranquilizers like Xanax or Valium start after about an hour last around 3 to 4 hours.
On the other hand, effects of Klonopin start after an hour and last anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. The significantly longer high makes for a more popular drug in Klonopin.
What about the Klonopin half-life, though? How long does it take for Klonopin to leave your system?
In order to understand the Klonopin half-life, you must know what the half-life of a medication is. Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half of the initial dosage of Klonopin to leave the bloodstream.
For example, if you took 2 milligrams of a medication, the amount of time it takes for 1 milligrams to be left over in your bloodstream refers to the drug’s half-life.
Klonopin half-life, or the half-life of any other drug for that matter, repeatedly breaks down until there is no more medication left in your system.
Klonopin’s half-life is quite long, taking about 30 to 40 hours for the first half of the medication to leave your system. Depending on your Klonopin dose, this means it takes at least a week or two for your system to be cleared entirely of clonazepam.
These lengths of time carry over into the amount of time it will take to pass a drug test. You should expect it to take around 2 weeks for the Klonopin half-life process to finish and clear your body entirely of the clonazepam.
What a Klonopin Overdose Looks Like and What You Can Do
Knowing what to look for in a Klonopin overdose has the potential to save someone’s life.
When someone has a Klonopin overdose, the signs to look for are:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Extreme drowsiness
- Weakness or soreness of muscles
- Difficulties with coordination or movement
- Extremely slowed reflexes
- Brief losses of consciousness or fainting (“nodding out”)
If you are worried someone is overdosing on Klonopin, the best course of action is to immediately call emergency services and get the individual to the emergency room.
It is better to make a mistaken assumption that they are overdosing than to assume it’s just a bad high and realize later it was a Klonopin overdose.
What is it Like to Withdraw from Klonopin?
When someone takes a medication for a long period of time, they generally experience withdrawal symptoms when they separate from it. Withdrawing from Klonopin is no different.
Since the medication acts as an anti-anxiety medication, the Klonopin addict’s body and brain must learn to handle stress on their own again. Anxiety, nervousness, and agitation are a large part of the Klonopin withdrawal process.
Other side effects of Klonopin withdrawal include:
- Stomach pain
- Body tremors
- Frustration or agitation
- Thoughts of self harm
- Suicidal thoughts
The Klonopin withdrawal process can be difficult, especially when managed alone. If the addict’s addiction is severe enough, seeking help through addiction treatment may prove beneficial.
Detox and inpatient rehab can help manage the symptoms of withdrawing from Klonopin, making the process easier to manage. Treatment provides a safe and secure environment in which to separate entirely from drugs.
After detox and inpatient rehab, attending an intensive outpatient program can help transition you back into your regular life. You can work or go to school during the day and attend treatment at night.
There is no requirement to attend treatment, though; you can get sober without it. However, the assisted support of a sober, addiction recovery-minded environment may provide you the best opportunity.
Regardless, seeking help for your loved one’s Klonopin addiction may be the best thing you ever do for them. While you can’t get them sober, you can point them in the direction where they can get help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Klonopin the Same as Xanax?
Both Klonopin and Xanax are classified as benzodiazepines. They are both central nervous system depressants. When you take a benzodiazepine medication, it affects GABA, which is an important chemical messenger in your brain. It causes the nerve impulses in your body to slow down considerably. This can lead to a calming effect on your mind.
Both medications are used to treat panic attacks in adults. Children may be prescribed Klonopin if they have seizures, but Xanax has not been tested for safety in children. They both have powerful effects and tend to work well when they are taken as directed.
The main difference between Klonopin and Xanax is how they are prescribed. If you are taking Klonopin, it is likely a part of your normal medication regimen each day. But Xanax is often prescribed as a PRN, which means that you take it as needed. It can be helpful on those days when your anxiety might seem out of control and nothing else is working. Although there are some doctors who prescribe it for their patients to take daily, that is not as common.
How Long Does Klonopin Stay in Your System?
Klonopin has a much longer half-life than many other drugs on the market. The term, half-life, refers to the amount of time it takes for the drug to be processed out of your body. Klonopin’s half-life is between 30 and 40 hours. That means that it can take between six and nine days for your body to eliminate just one dose of it.
Of course, there are always exceptions, depending on a number of variables. If you have taken Klonopin for years, it could take a few weeks before the drug is out of your system. Certain types of tests may be able to detect it for even longer. For example, a hair follicle test for Klonopin could remain positive for as long as 90 days after your last dose.
If you are addicted to Klonopin, going through withdrawal can be very difficult, not to mention dangerous. In some cases, benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. It is important to get professional help if you want to quit.
What are the Long-Term Risks of Taking Xanax and Klonopin Together?
When you combine Klonopin and Xanax and you take both of them at the same time, you increase your risk for addiction. Chronically abusing them together can have serious consequences as well.
You could experience cognitive deficits as a result of mixing Klonopin and Xanax. For example, people who take them together often report problems with focusing or concentrating on tasks. They may have trouble speaking or even experience memory problems as a result.
When these two drugs are combined, there is a potential for serious brain damage to occur. You may have:
- States of delirium.
- The development of depression.
- Psychotic episodes.
- An increase in aggression.
- An increase in impulsive behaviors.
- An increase in mood swings.
You are also very likely to develop a tolerance when you take Klonopin and Xanax together. That means that you will need to take higher doses of each one in order to get the same results. Worst of all, if you are taking both of them at the same time and you quit, you may have dangerous withdrawal symptoms that could put your life in danger.
How Common is Benzodiazepine Abuse?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers some interesting information about benzodiazepine abuse. According to their records, statistics indicate that:
- 12.5% of adults in the United States regularly use benzodiazepines.
- This works out to about 30.5 million people.
- But only 2.1% of adults have ever abused them.
- Only 0.2% of them meet the criteria for benzodiazepine use disorder.
- 17.1% of benzo users have misused them at some point in their lives.
- Less than 2% of these individuals meet the criteria for benzodiazepine use disorder.
- 46.3% of people who abuse benzos state that they did it to relax or relieve tension.
- 22.4% claimed that they abused them to get better sleep.
- 5.7% stated that they were just experimenting when they abused benzodiazepine drugs.
- 11.8% stated that they abused them to get high or because they were addicted to them.
Surprisingly enough, only about 20% of people who abuse benzodiazepine drugs had a prescription for them from their doctors. Most people got the pills from someone they knew who had a prescription.
How Does Klonopin Abuse Turn Into Addiction?
Klonopin abuse can easily turn into an addiction if this drug is not taken according to doctor’s orders. It happens with frequent abuse because of the way the medication makes changes to the brain.
People have a higher risk of getting addicted to Klonopin when they take it more often than they should. The same is true for those who increase their dosages on their own, or who mix it with alcohol or another drug. Over time, the body forms a tolerance, and at that point, it takes more of the drug to get the same effects.
How Can You Tell if You are Addicted to Klonopin?
Most people find it hard to believe that they are addicted to Klonopin because it is a prescription medication. They do not understand that it can be just as addictive as many of the most common drugs on the street.
You might be addicted to Klonopin if you:
- Have severe anxiety.
- Have headaches.
- Find it hard to sleep at night.
- Have visited multiple doctors to get prescriptions.
- Have withdrawn from your family and friends.
- Spend a lot of money on Klonopin.
- Have a desire to stop using it, but you are not able to.
- Go through withdrawal if you skip a dose or two.
- Have trouble taking care of your normal responsibilities.