Prescription drug abuse affects approximately 18 million people. That’s over 6% of those 12 years old and above.
While many of those struggling with addiction would love to just quit, the severity of withdrawal symptoms can make it feel impossible.
This is the reality for many people struggling with a clonazepam dependency. But while recovery from addiction may be difficult, it is possible if you take the right approach.
If you or a loved one are going through clonazepam withdrawal, keep reading to learn about what to expect and how to make the process as easy as possible.
What Is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is a medication commonly known by the brand name Klonopin. It’s prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, and tremors.
Clonazepam belongs to a family of sedative drugs called benzodiazepines (“benzos”). Other medications in this category include Xanax, Ativan, and Valium.
Benzos work by increasing the activity of GABA, a compound responsible for modulating communication in the brain. Higher GABA activity leads to CNS depression, resulting in slowed breathing, heart rate, and brain function.
Over time, your body can develop a tolerance to the drug, leading you to need higher doses to get the same effects. This potential for tolerance makes clonazepam and other benzos highly addictive.
Signs of Clonazepam Addiction
Many people who develop a clonazepam addiction begin with a legitimate prescription from their doctor. A dependency can sometimes develop even if the medication is taken according to dosage instructions. Others use the drug for purely recreational purposes.
Someone with a Klonopin dependency may try to fill their prescriptions through more than one doctor. They may also forge their own prescriptions or buy the pills from dealers.
Other signs of substance addiction include:
- Feeling unwell (shaky, nauseous, sweaty, etc.) after a dose wears off
- Spending significant time thinking about the medication or your next dose
- Stealing pills prescribed to others
- Significant changes in sleep and appetite
- Changes in personality, friends, and activities
- Financial troubles, due to purchasing the drug or inability to work
- Taking more than the prescribed amount of a medication or mixing it with alcohol and other drugs
- Inability to stop taking the drug, no matter how much you want to
If you or a loved one are exhibiting these signs, it may be time to talk to a medical professional about your options for treatment.
Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
Because of its significant effect on brain chemistry, clonazepam withdrawal has both physical and psychological symptoms. Some of these symptoms may pose a threat to your health and safety, so it’s important to detox under the care of a licensed physician.
Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Fast heart rate and breathing
- Increased blood pressure and temperature
- Anxiety, panic, and irritability
- Depression and lack of motivation
- Profuse sweating
- Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Headache, dizziness, and confusion
Some users will also experience more severe symptoms, such as:
- Suicidal ideations
- Grand mal seizures
Each individual’s withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on a variety of factors. Long-term use or comorbid abuse of other drugs or alcohol will likely result in more severe symptoms.
Clonazepam Withdrawal Duration
While everyone’s journey will be different, detoxing from Clonazepam is not an overnight process.
Severe withdrawal symptoms can begin hours after stopping the medication and tend to peak after about two weeks. However, milder symptoms may last anywhere from one week to a full month.
In some cases, especially after long-term use, certain withdrawal symptoms may persist over a period of months or years. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) are thought to be a result of changes in brain chemistry due to chronic substance abuse.
Regardless of how long your withdrawal symptoms persist, maintaining a support system throughout the entire detoxification process is essential to recovery.
Treating Clonazepam Addiction
Abuse of benzos like clonazepam comes with serious risks. As with any drug, there is always a risk of death due to overdose and accidents. However, clonazepam addiction can also have severe and permanent effects on physical and mental health.
Chronic benzo abuse can lead to heart and liver damage, increased anxiety and paranoia, memory loss, depression, psychosis, and overall cognitive decline. Early intervention and treatment is the best way to prevent serious damage.
The best option for treating a clonazepam addiction is to go through an accredited detox and rehabilitation program. A medical doctor will work with you to develop a plan for quitting or tapering off. Going through a residential detox program with medical staff on hand can also help you manage withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment doesn’t stop after the initial detox, though. For the best long-term results, patients should take advantage of resources like addiction counseling and support groups.
How to Support Your Loved One’s Recovery
If someone you love is struggling with a clonazepam addiction, here’s what you can do to help.
- Exercise patience and understanding. Anyone can develop a chemical dependency, even if they take medication according to their doctor’s instructions. Treat their addiction like the chronic disease it is, and recognize that recovery will take time.
- Be ready to listen. It takes a lot of courage to reach out, so make sure to encourage your loved one when they ask for help regarding their addiction. Encouragement and support are essential for long-term recovery.
- Do your research. Take the time to learn all you can about addiction, withdrawal, and the recovery process. Addiction doesn’t always make sense. Doing your research will help you to better understand what your loved one is going through.
- Recommend an experienced physician. Taking the time to find and recommend a local doctor who specializes in addiction shows that you care. Even if your loved one is reluctant to seek out help on their own, you can leave the information with them for when they’re ready to use it. Once they see a physician and enter a treatment program, talk to the program director about how you can continue to provide support.
- Stick with them for the long haul. Addictions don’t generally develop overnight, and they’re not broken overnight, either. Expect the road to recovery to have plenty of ups and downs. If your loved one relapses, don’t cut them out of your life. They will need your support more than ever.
Recovering from any drug addiction isn’t something that many people can do alone. A healthy, encouraging support system can make or break their journey to freedom from substance abuse.
Detox Comfortably in Florida
If you or a loved one are struggling with clonazepam withdrawal, or are seeking treatment for other types of drug or alcohol abuse, Coastal Detox can help.
Coastal Detox is Florida’s most comfortable drug and alcohol detox center. We use a combination of holistic therapies and medication-assisted treatment to help you recover without the pain of withdrawal. If you want a treatment center that puts you and your comfort first, our state-of-the-art rehab facility may be just what the doctor ordered.
Don’t go through detox alone. Contact us today to find out how to start your journey toward freedom from addiction.