Clonazepam, also known as the generic version of the drug Klonopin, is a medication typically prescribed by doctors to help patients suffering from seizures and panic disorders. Classified as a benzodiazepine, clonazepam alleviates pain by increasing the neurotransmitter, GABA, in the brain. Since GABA is suspected to help boost mood or create a calming effect on the nervous system, the increase of GABA in the brain is meant to help relax the brain and the nerves in the suffering patient. Along these lines, it is thought that someone who has low levels of GABA may experience anxiety, epilepsy, chronic pain, or mood disorders. As such, people suffering with low levels of GABA coupled with chronic pain or anxiety may turn to clonazepam to alleviate their discomfort.
Although this prescription medication was created to help alleviate anxiety, pain, and seizures, the unfortunate reality is that the rise of abuse, addiction, and misuse of this drug is on the rise in America. In fact, there was a 122 percent increase of clonazepam-related emergency room visits between 2004 to 2011. This increase could come from a variety of reasons, however, may be primarily due to the fact that this medication has a high risk of developing an addiction or dependence on the drug. Furthermore, even well-intentioned pain or anxiety sufferers may feel the need to take more and more of the drug in order to feel “functional” and overtime may become addicted to the “high” that clonazepam can give users.
Whatever the reason is for dependence or addiction, abusing clonazepam, especially over a long duration of time, raises serious health concerns for the user. Some of the most alarming side effects include increasing one’s risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior or causing someone seeking the “high” to accidentally overdose.
Therefore, in order to break the chains of addiction, it is imperative that one not only learn what the side effects are of abusing clonazepam to achieve a “high” but how to safely and effectively detox off clonazepam and learn how to walk the path of recovery long-term.
The Dangerous Addiction Cycle of a Clonazepam High
Even when someone with good intentions takes clonazepam, there is a serious concern for the user to develop a tolerance and dependence on the drug. As a result, the user has a much higher risk of getting trapped in the vicious cycle of addiction. This becomes even more apparent as oftentimes people taking this medication end up taking more of the drug as time goes on in order to feel the original, desired effects.
Furthermore, because clonazepam can produce mild euphoria in the user, some people will find themselves addicted to the “high” that they feel when taking the medication. This is particularly alarming since taking more than prescribed can lead to serious health issues and overdose. Additionally, since this drug acts as a depressant on its users, overdose oftentimes involves slowed bodily functions, all of which can be fatal to the user. These overdose symptoms can include:
- Respiratory depression
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Delirium or profound confusion
When combining this medication with other drugs or alcohol, the intensity of these symptoms is greatly enhanced and the risk of overdose is significantly increased.
Detoxing Off Clonazepam: Withdrawal Symptoms
Although clonazepam can help certain people through a period of intense chronic pain or anxiety, it is meant to be utilized short-term. Long-term use of clonazepam increases one’s chances of developing habit-forming tendencies, tolerance, dependence, and even an addiction. However, it is important to note that even short-term use can be detrimental to someone who has a propensity to fall into the grips of addiction.
If the user builds a tolerance to the drug and decides to suddenly stop taking the drug, the user may experience a highly magnified resurgence of symptoms that were the reason for them taking the drug in the first place. Symptoms like anxiety, panic, and insomnia may become predominant forces in the users life, even being experienced at a much greater intensity than that was experienced before originally taking the medication. Additionally, because the body adapts to taking clonazepam over time, people who stop taking this medication suddenly may experience intense, violent episodes of being ill.
Because detoxing off clonazepam can create serious health concerns, it is vital that anyone wanting to detox off the medication seek professional medical guidance first. Under no circumstances should someone attempt to detox off this medication without direct supervision of a medical professional. Some typical clonazepam withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts
Although rare, some more serious withdrawal symptoms can involve lack of movement and communication (catatonia). Other serious physical withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Short term memory loss
- Irregular heart rate or heart palpitations
- Increased blood pressure
- Impaired respiration
- Blurred vision
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Impaired coordination and motor functions
Some extremely concerning, psychological, withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Mental confusion
- Short-term memory lapses
- Drug cravings
- Suicidal ideation
- Difficulty feeling pleasure
- Trouble concentrating
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling disconnected from reality
- Anger and hostility
- Drastic mood swings
It is essential that if one is experiencing any of these symptoms when detoxing that they notify a medical professional as to ensure that their health and safety are being well monitored.
How to Break the Addiction of Clonazepam High
As previously mentioned, in order to safely and effectively detox off clonazepam it is vital that one seek the help of a medical professional either through a clinic setting or an inpatient drug rehab facility. Because inpatient rehab settings can safely monitor one’s detox process 24/7, it can provide someone detoxing with the peace of mind that their health and safety are being well-monitored at all times of day. Furthermore, an inpatient rehab removes all distractions and temptations to return to drug use along with giving the individual the necessary tools to cope in healthy, drug-free ways for the future.
If you or a loved one is abusing clonazepam, the time to get help is now. Reach out to a friendly enrollment advisor today to get on the path to a healthier, more fulfilling life right now.