Prescription drug abuse has swept through this country, causing major increases in overdoses, deaths and addictions. There are many different types of prescription drugs that people misuse. One of the more common examples is Klonopin, a common benzodiazepine that has proven itself ripe for dependency and addiction.
What Is Klonopin and How Does It Work?
Klonopin is a benzodiazepine, commonly known as a benzo. This is a class of drugs that work by slowing your body’s functions, often resulting in a sense of calm or relaxation. This specific mechanism works by the way that Klonopin impacts your body’s levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid, otherwise known as GABA. GABA is a natural chemical in your brain that helps to reduce certain aspects of brain activity, including the way that your body processes thoughts and muscle movements. By increasing the effect of GABA, your body will slow down, relax and become calmer.
Additional research has found that Klonopin will alter the electrical currents in your brain. As a result, the drug changes the way that your entire brain operates.
What Is Klonopin Used For?
Klonopin is typically prescribed for one of several reasons. First, Klonopin acts as a tranquilizer. It is relatively fast-acting and long-lasting, with maximum effects taking place about an hour after ingestion. Users typically report that they begin to feel its effects even earlier than that. It has a calming and sedative effect on the body, so it is often prescribed for anxiety reduction to manage anxiety disorders. Klonopin can be given to help reduce generalized anxiety when taken on a regular basis. It can also be taken in order to stop a panic attack once someone has one. Since it is a fast-acting drug, this is a relatively common use for Klonopin.
Since Klonopin works by altering the electrical current in the brain, it can also be used in order to treat seizure disorders. It also has a relaxing effect on someone’s muscles, which results in it sometimes being prescribed to treat restless leg syndrome.
What Are the Side Effects of Klonopin Use?
Like many other prescription drugs, Klonopin does have some noticeable side effects. These side effects often indicate that the drug is working as designed in order to help a person feel better, but some can have a negative impact. These side effects include:
- A sense of calmness or peace
- Reduction of anxiety
- Loss of coordination
- Sleepiness, drowsiness and an overall difficulty staying awake
- Brain fog and a difficult time remembering things
- Slurred speech
- Loss of appetite or upset stomach
Depending on the dosage, this impact can be a relatively intense one. This is why people who are using Klonopin are often encouraged to start with the lowest dosage and gradually increase from there. Furthermore, individuals who are actively under the influence of Klonopin are not supposed to operate a motor vehicle or any other heavy machinery as taking the drug will unquestionably impair motor skills and delay reaction time.
Furthermore, many of these side effects will be enhanced if someone mixes Klonopin and alcohol. This is because drinking alcohol will allow more of the drug to impact the brain than is medically advisable. As such, someone who has Klonopin in their system should avoid consuming alcohol.
Is Klonopin Addictive?
Sadly, the answer to this question is yes. Many individuals can become addicted to Klonopin as with many other types of benzos.
In order for a substance to be addictive, it has to have a few key traits. Unfortunately, Klonopin shares all of these. First, and perhaps most importantly, people who take Klonopin often enjoy the experience. Depending on an individual’s body, it can be a very pleasant experience that is relaxing, tranquil and even euphoric. Taking higher dosages of the drug, or taking it in conjunction with another substance, may enhance these experiences, but it will also certainly enhance the danger.
It is relatively easy for people who take Klonopin to develop a tolerance to the drug. Drug tolerance occurs when someone needs more of a substance in order to get the same effect. This means that they will take more of a drug more often. This can increase the effectiveness of the drug, so it may also enhance the euphoric experience of someone who takes it, leading them to fall deeper into the cycle of addiction.
Klonopin tolerance is very common for users, particularly longer-term users. This is not a newly discovered danger, either; studies have pointed to the tolerance-related dangers of drugs like Klonopin since 1987.
Unfortunately, since Klonopin is a benzo, many users who stop taking the drug find that they have a variety of negative symptoms when they try to do so. This means that Klonopin also causes withdrawal symptoms, something that is very common among benzo users. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Physical sensations, such as insomnia, pain, seizures, muscle spasms and nausea
- Emotional and cognitive sensations, including disorientation, delirium, mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks
These withdrawal symptoms can make the process of withdrawing from Klonopin extremely difficult and may drive a person back to using the drug. This, in turn, will enhance the painful cycle of addiction.
How Can You Tell If Someone Is Abusing Klonopin?
Klonopin abuse is all too common in America today. Like most prescription drugs that get misused, there are indicators that can help show when someone is abusing the drug. These abuse indicators of Klonopin can be broken down into a few different categories:
- Physical signs of Klonopin abuse: Someone who abuses Klonopin may begin to lose weight, have changes in appetite and sleep more. Over the long term, a person who abuses Klonopin will lose coordination and muscle mass. They may have difficulty performing everyday physical activities, such as walking and talking. They will also have slower reaction time and reflexes. If someone is abusing Klonopin by snorting it, they may have a difficult time smelling, breathing or swallowing. They may also experience more frequent nosebleeds.
- Cognitive signs of Klonopin abuse: The cognitive signs of Klonopin abuse are dangerous and long-lasting. Someone who abuses the drug on a regular basis may begin to have trouble with processing new memories or recalling old ones. They could black out whole sections of their day and not recall things that they absolutely should have been able to. They may appear to be perpetually “out of it” and struggle to process thoughts or emotions in the way they could previously. They may sleep more, or they may actually perform activities in their sleep, including eating, talking or other actions. This is a sign of severely disturbed sleep patterns and can be very dangerous.
- Emotional and behavioral signs of Klonopin abuse: If abused over the long term, Klonopin can lead to mood swings and depression. It is also possible that the drug will not only lose its ability to prevent anxiety attacks but actually cause them.
- Social signs of Klonopin abuse: People who abuse Klonopin may suddenly have an entirely new group of friends. They may have forgotten about older friends who no longer share the same interests as them, such as using Klonopin or other drugs. Their behavior may become more secretive. Furthermore, they may begin to struggle in school or at work as they forget about their normal responsibilities, choosing instead to focus on using Klonopin as much as possible.
How Can a Klonopin Addiction Be Treated?
Despite the serious dangers posed by Klonopin abuse, there is good news: A variety of treatments can help someone kick their Klonopin habit. First, it is important to realize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” treatment plan that is guaranteed to work. The most important thing for you is to speak with your doctor and an addiction professional who can help craft a treatment plan that will fit your needs and your life.
Klonopin addiction can be treated in a variety of ways. First, you’ll have to go through a period of medical detoxification, otherwise known as detox. This means that you will stop taking the drug and purge it completely from your body. Detox can be difficult and painful without supervision, so it is best to undergo this process under a medical doctor’s care. Medical professionals may provide medications to ease withdrawal symptoms, and with professional monitoring, a person is unlikely to relapse while under a doctor’s care.
Detox is just the first step. A person needs to make a commitment to avoid relapse in the future, and they need to be given the resources to keep that commitment and stay sober for their long-term health and wellness. This is where drug rehab comes in.
There are a variety of treatments that can help address Klonopin addiction. The best treatment plan will likely incorporate all of these methods in order to provide you with a comprehensive, holistic plan.
Therapeutic talk options involve therapy with a professional, trained counselor. During this therapy, you and your counselor can work together to discover the root of your addiction and better ways to cope with the feelings, thoughts and sensations that drove you to abuse Klonopin. This may also involve some form of group therapy, in which a variety of participants work together in order to jointly learn from each other and help each other overcome their addictions.
A variety of alternative forms of therapy exist, including music therapy, art therapy, exercise, meditation, yoga, acupuncture and more. An increasing amount of research is pointing to the idea that these therapies can provide an excellent complement to traditional forms of addiction treatment.
Once therapy has been completed, many individuals may transition into group homes known as recovery homes or sober-living homes. These homes can help to transition someone back into the real world by providing a structured environment and therapy options as someone begins to leave a treatment facility.
Getting Professional Treatment
As you are no doubt aware, Klonopin addiction can be dangerous to a person’s long-term health. There are signs that someone is addicted to Klonopin, and if you can catch those signs, you can help enroll that person in the treatment they need.
There is an array of treatment options available for individuals who are addicted to Klonopin. One such example is Granite Recovery Centers. Located in New Hampshire, Granite Recovery Centers facilities offer a wide array of treatment programs, providing services such as drug rehabilitation and mental health treatment. Klonopin addiction can be beaten, but you have to invest in treatment and seek it as soon as possible. Call us today and start your journey to better health.