Medications prescribed by doctors are usually safe to take if followed strictly. When medication is taken not for medical purposes, it can lead to abuse and possible overdose. Dependence and addiction can stem from taking a prescribed drug too long. This is especially true for benzodiazepines.
Addiction to benzodiazepines is extremely dangerous and should be treated immediately. What may seem normal could be dangerous, so the best possible solution is to get help.
This article will highlight the signs of addiction and what makes Klonopin so addictive and how to seek treatment.
What is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a fast-acting benzodiazepine, also known as clonazepam. In 1975, it was created to treat disorders in individuals such as seizures, but it was later discovered that it could treat much more. After its approval, it was discovered that it could help treat panic attacks, schizophrenia, tic disorders, and restless leg syndrome, among other disorders.
Of the benzodiazepines on the market, Klonopin is the second most abused only after Xanax. Many use this medication to treat the disorders listed above, but there is a huge market that Klonopin use is a part of.
Klonopin addiction has exploded over the past several years, becoming popularized through music, and has the potential to be one of the most dangerous pills on the market. Behind opioids, benzodiazepine medications, which includes Klonopin, are the second-most widely abused class of drugs in the U.S.
From its intense withdrawals, and how easy it is to overdose and die, Klonopin has earned a bad reputation for good reason.
Klonopin works as a tranquilizer by blocking receptors in the brain to reduce stress and agitation. In doing so, it creates a high that can be dangerous because of the calm it produces. It can reduce coordination, and it is dangerous when operating a motor vehicle or machinery.
It reaches a point, however, that without the drug’s very existence within the brain, the body cannot create feelings of calmness and relaxation without it. The most common side effect of Klonopin is sedation, but other common side effects attributed to the drug are:
- Loss of balance
- Lack of coordination
- Sleep disturbance
- Loss of sex drive
- Low blood pressure
- Thoughts of suicide
Research and in-depth studies have found that senior adults are more susceptible to the adverse effects associated with benzodiazepines. The medication should be taken with precaution and should never exceed the prescribed dose. Your medical professional will determine the proper amount to take, but if you or a loved one takes more than prescribed, there are specific signs of addiction to look out for.
What are the Signs of Klonopin Addiction?
Klonopin addiction begins as any other addiction does. Users start to abuse the drug when they do not feel the desired effects, and they begin taking more than the prescribed dosage to achieve the results they felt when first taking the substance.
Soon, they realize they are taking much more than the prescribed dose, and life without the drug becomes impossible. The user will do anything to obtain the drug, whether they “doctor shop” or buy counterfeit drugs on the street.
Engaging in this behavior is common among people who abuse substances, and they risk death by taking fake drugs or overdosing on too much of the substance.
If you suspect a loved one of Klonopin abuse, some signs to look for are:
- Using despite negative consequences
- An inability to quit
- Constant cravings
- Loss of interest in social/professional obligations
- Developing financial or legal issues
- Sleepiness despite a full night’s sleep
- Slurred speech
- Unnecessary aggressiveness or hostility
No two people are the same, so it’s possible that some Klonopin users may show absolutely no signs of addiction. These may be your working professionals who get up every day and go to work, have families, and show no outward signs that they’re affected. Inside, however, they could be fighting a battle no one can sense, and it is always important to pay attention to even tiny warning signs that may be exhibited if you suspect that you or a loved one is in the grips of addiction.
What is Involved in Klonopin Addiction Treatment?
Klonopin is known for its severe withdrawal symptoms and those who attempt to quit cold turkey experience often devastating, and potentially life-threatening symptoms from withdrawal. For this reason, experts urge the user to enroll in a medical detox program at an accredited center for medical professionals to oversee the withdrawal process.
Typically, a team of medical professionals will wean clients off the medication during the detox period to achieve a more desirable outcome. The process can last up to a week and improve the chances of long-term recovery and lessen chances of relapse.
Side effects from Klonopin can last for several weeks after detox, so to ensure a successful recovery after detox, it is important for recovering users to enter a residential drug addiction treatment program.
A common theme among users in recovery is that they had a more successful outcome and avoided relapse by committing to treatment after detox.
In residential treatment, clinical professionals will work alongside the user in recovery to establish a path to continued growth throughout their recovery. This will include therapy sessions to address the root of the addiction. Through the process of talking about these thoughts and behaviors that ultimately led to the Klonopin addiction, the foundation for success will start to be paved.
Not everyone can take an extended break from everyday life to address an addiction, so other options, such as outpatient rehab centers, offer flexible arrangements. These allow you to transition back into the real world while being responsible for yourself in that time. This type of treatment allows those in school and full-time jobs to continue with their responsibilities while equipping themselves with the knowledge and strategies that can help them stay committed to their sobriety goals.
Counselors and peers will help identify triggers in day-to-day life, and this will teach recovering substance users how to steer clear of temptations. This is the ideal choice for individuals who seek structure but cannot leave their prior obligations.
Is Klonopin Dangerous?
Klonopin itself, when taken for its intended purpose, is not dangerous, but people with an addiction to drugs tend to use multiple substances at once, which is dangerous. A popular combination is with opiates; this is a toxic mixture because both drugs are “downers,” or depressants.
“More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines. Another popular combination is to take benzodiazepines with alcohol. This is another fatal combination that enhances the deadly effects of Klonopin. While all drug combinations can become deadly without the supervision of a medical professional, these mixtures listed above remain as some of the most lethal. ”
An overdose of the substances above involve slowing a person’s central nervous system to the point where breathing on their own is not possible. If you or someone you know is struggling with a Klonopin addiction, the professionals at The Palm Beach Institute are here to help assist in your road to recovery.
Post-treatment Transitional Housing
Sober living homes, also known as transitional housing, can be a crucial portion in your aftercare once you’ve completed the continuum of care. A problem that many people face once they complete treatment is a lack of stable alcohol and drug-free living environments. It’s possible to commit to the program, learn the tools necessary through cognitive-behavioral therapy, and then relapse once you leave treatment due to a lack of stability.
A transitional house is not licensed or funded by state or local governments, and clients must pay their costs. Transitional housing is structured in a way that avoids limitations that halfway houses present.
The most common characteristics, including alcohol and drug-free living environment for those abstaining from these substances. Another feature is that no formal treatment services are offered, but the homes will either mandate or encourage attending 12-step self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), or Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Finally, compliance with house rules is a must. The client must maintain abstinence, pay rent, or other fees associated with the house. The client is free to live in the transitional home for as long as needed.
During this process, they will learn responsibility and how to live independently. It is the perfect environment to complement their newly founded sobriety. It may not be right for everyone, but those taking sobriety seriously will find transitional housing to be highly successful in their recovery goals.
Klonopin Abuse Statistics
- 75,000 people were admitted to an ER in 2011 due to complications of Klonopin addiction
- 60,000 admissions to treatment centers in 2008 were because of benzodiazepine addiction
- 15% of Americans have some type of benzodiazepine prescription in their medicine cabinet