Long-Term Side Effects of Klonopin

Klonopin is used to prevent and manage seizures, panic disorders, and anxiety disorders. Discover the short- and long-term side effects of Klonopin.

 

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What Is Klonopin (Clonazepam)?

Klonopin (clonazepam) falls under a class of medication known as benzodiazepines and is approved for treating different types of seizures, certain movement disorders, and panic disorders. The drug is also known as an antiepileptic or anticonvulsant medication. Data between 2015 and 2016 found that 30.5 million people in the U.S. used clonazepam. 1

Klonopin works by calming down the nerves and reducing abnormal brain electrical activity. It can be effective on its own or combined with other types of medicine for seizure treatment.

How Addictive Is Klonopin?

The medication was approved as a generic drug in 1996, and in 2019, it became the forty-sixth most prescribed drug, with more than fifteen million prescriptions written. The government classifies Klonopin as a Schedule IV drug, meaning it has a low potential for abuse and dependence. However, there is a high potential for getting addicted to Klonopin, especially with long-term use. 2
Once addicted to the drug, the brain can’t produce feelings of calmness or relaxation without Klonopin, resulting in a higher chance of overdose. Benzodiazepines are the second most abused drugs that result in deaths, accounting for 16% in 2020. 3

Side Effects of Klonopin

Clonazepam can cause mild side effects, some going away in a few days or weeks; however, severe effects can occur, resulting in dangerous outcomes. Studies show that 9.9% of drug-related emergency department visits are caused by benzodiazepines. 4

Short-Term Effects of Klonopin

Common short-term side effects include feeling dizzy, lightheaded, drowsy, impaired coordination, and decreased concentration ability. If you experience these symptoms after starting your Klonopin prescription, they will improve over time as you continue taking the medication. Other short-term effects of Klonopin may include:

  • Fatigue or sleepiness
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Memory loss

Long-Term Effects of Klonopin

Can you take Klonopin for life? While Klonopin is an effective and safe medication in the short term, negative effects, dependence, tolerance, and addiction are all risks with long-term use. In some cases, people can become physically dependent on the drug after two or more weeks of daily use, causing withdrawal when they stop using the drug. Here are some of the long-term side effects of Klonopin use:

  • Cognitive problems 
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impulse control problems
  • Overdose
  • Memory damage
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired thinking
  • Hostile, erratic behavior

Noticeable Impacts of Klonopin: What’s Next?

If you notice any of these dangers of Klonopin, you should book an appointment with your doctor immediately instead of stopping use, as a sudden stop after long-term use can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.

Klonopin Tolerance and Dependency

As a benzodiazepine, there are high chances that the body will develop tolerance and dependence if clonazepam is taken for extended periods.

Klonopin Tolerance

Regular consumption of Klonopin reduces the medically-necessary benefits of the drug, as the body starts to adapt to the high amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter responsible for producing calming effects.

Over time, the body builds tolerance to the drug, which results in more consumption of Klonopin to replicate the initial effects of the drug. As a result, the body will function sub-optimally until there is some level of clonazepam running in the system.

Klonopin Dependence

Once Klonopin dependence has set in, people will begin to experience potential withdrawal symptoms when clonazepam levels fall below a certain level.

At this time, individuals are highly likely to become addicted to the drug as they start behaving and thinking differently with increased attention and focus assigned to acquiring and consuming more Klonopin. The following factors influence the rate at which the body becomes addicted to Klonopin:

  • The typical dosage consumed each time
  • The duration of Klonopin use
  • How often the drug is consumed

Those who consume Klonopin at great levels will have greater tolerance and dependency, increasing the risk of Klonopin addiction. Remember, even if you are taking the drug as prescribed by your doctor, you could still become dependent on the drug. 

Klonopin Withdrawal Treatment

Treating drug addiction is usually a complex and highly-personalized process that should be left to qualified professionals.

Long term side effects of klonopin

Medically Supervised Detox

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Prescription Medication

Supervised medical detoxification is the best treatment approach for Klonopin dependency. Abruptly stopping the use of the drug can have potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.

The treatment can be administered in an outpatient setting, inpatient setting, or at the doctor’s office, depending on the person’s body health and the severity of their addiction. As part of treatment, the doctor can use other drugs to help lower the urge for Klonopin consumption.

Medications

Some drugs, such as flumazenil, can reverse Klonopin’s effects, but they must be administered through an IV at a hospital. Doctors usually recommend a gradual taper to reduce Klonopin dosage or to discontinue clonazepam dependency completely.

Therapy

Therapy is an additional layer of treatment that comes after medically supervised detox. Therapy helps people better understand their behavior and motivations that led to the misuse of clonazepam. Therapists can also help patients develop a stronger sense of self and identify positive and healthy coping strategies.

Multifaceted Treatment Opportunities

Whether people seek outpatient or inpatient treatment, multiple treatment layers are likely to be used to tackle some of the complex issues associated with the drug. The multifaceted approach ensures patients remain drug-free and become productive members of society. Here are other layers of treatment that are commonly used:

  • Medically supervised detox
  • Rehab programs
  • Individual and group therapies
  • 12-Step programs
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

Get Professional Help for Klonopin Addiction at Irish Healing

There is no one-solution-fits-all to long-term side effects of Klonopin. Effective dependency treatment is usually unique for each individual, and professionals adjust each treatment accordingly. If you are struggling with clonazepam dependency issues, we are here to help. 

At Irish healing, we provide exceptional comprehensive care for your recovery and treatment needs. We design each program based on the individual, thanks to our highly skilled team, who work with you on a personal level.

Get in touch with us today and talk with us about the long-term side effects of Klonopin.