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Klonopin Abuse and Addiction

Klonopin Abuse and Addiction

Klonopin, sold under the brand name Clonazepam, is a benzodiazepine prescribed by the doctors for the treatment of anxiety disorders. It is also used to treat panic disorders and seizure disorders in adults. It works by balancing the excessive chemicals in the brain that produce the feelings of anxiety and panic. Although it has been found effective for the treatment of certain conditions, there is a high potential of becoming addicted to it. Taking the medication even for a few weeks and exactly as prescribed by the doctor has been known to cause the addiction.

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin belongs to a class of prescription drugs named benzodiazepines. The other popular benzos include Xanax, Ativan and Valium. Just like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin is a highly addictive and there is a potential to develop dependence even when the drug is taken exactly as prescribed. The drug produces its effects by slowing down hyperactivity of the brain that causes anxiety, seizures and insomnia.

Klonopin is a sedative hypnotic that is also used for the treatment of epilepsy and severe panic disorders. It is usually manufactured and consumed in the form of tablets. Having an idea about how the drug looks like can help to identify if a loved one is abusing Klonopin and can also help to prevent potential abuse. Usually, it is available in the form of orange, blue and white pills with a large K engraved in the middle.

Dosage amounts for Klonopin:

The dose of Klonopin prescribed to different patients may vary greatly depending upon the condition it is being prescribed for. For the treatment of seizure disorders, a maximum of 1.5mg of drug are prescribed per day. The dose can be gradually increased if the prescribed dose fails to make any difference. The maximum amount that can be taken per day for seizure disorders is 20mg.

For kids, the dose is started from 0.05mg per day that is given in 2-3 divided doses.

For the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder, the dose is started from 0.25mg that can be further increased.  The maximum dose for anxiety and panic disorders should not exceed from 5mg per day.

How long does Klonopin stay in the system?

Klonopin is only recommended for a short term use due to its addictive potential. Even after quitting the drug, the chemicals from it stay in the system for quite a while. Klonopin has a relatively longer half life which means it tends to stay in the system longer than other benzodiazepines. Here is a comparison between Klonopin and other benzos:

How long do Benzodiazepines stay in the system?
Brand Names Ativan Librium Klonopin
Length of Action Short-acting Intermediate Long-acting
Time 10-20 hours 10-30 hours 20-60 hours

Klonopin is also referred as K-pins and downers in slang terms. As soon as the effect of drug starts to wear off, the symptoms like anxiety and insomnia start to appear forcing the user to go back to drug.

Is Klonopin addictive?

Klonopin is a highly addictive medication. No matter if it is being used for therapeutic purposes under strict supervision, the potential of developing addiction always stays. The users have reported experiencing withdrawal symptoms even after taking it for a short period.

When Klonopin is taken in high amounts, it significantly slows down brain activities producing a feeling of euphoria and high. The addicts also tend to crush the tablets and snort them to produce a more potent high. These effects are the reason behind its abuse.

Is it possible to overdose on Klonopin?

Klonopin is a central nervous system depressant which means it produces its effects by slowing down brain activities. If it is taken in significantly high amounts, the brain and bodily functions are slowed down to such a level that life is no more sustained. So it is possible to overdose on Klonopin that may not only result into appearance of negative symptoms but also death.

Some signs and symptoms of Klonopin overdose may include:

  • Depressed respiration
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme drowsiness/ inability to stay awake
  • Loss of coordination
  • Impaired memory
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

If a person is spotted with above symptoms, immediate medical care should be provided to avoid any further complications.

Common Klonopin drug combinations:

Klonopin is often combined with other drugs to achieve a better and amplified high. Some of the drugs that are commonly combined with Klonopin include alcohol and cocaine. Combining it with other central nervous depressants is particularly more dangerous.

  • Cocaine: Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant and when it is used in combination with Klonopin, it may end up masking the effects of Klonopin. It may cause the user to take more and more Klonopin until an overdose is resulted.
  • Alcohol: Combining alcohol and Klonopin produces a quicker and stronger high. But since both alcohol and Klonopin are central nervous system depressants, combining them can be fatal since vital activities like breathing and blood circulation may be lowered down to dangerous levels.

The risk of overdosing is increased a great deal when Klonopin is combined with other drugs and an overdose may lead to unconsciousness, coma and even death.

Statistics on Klonopin abuse:

Prescription medication abuse is a growing problem in United States. There are a number of addicts suffering from benzodiazepine addiction. Just like any other addiction, it needs proper treatment and rehabilitation.

  • Since 1996, benzodiazepine prescription has increased by 30%. About 15% of all Americans use some type of benzodiazepine.
  • In 2011, over 70,000 United States emergency room visits involved Klonopin.
  • Klonopin is 3rd most commonly used benzodiazepine in United States.
  • In 2013, benzodiazepines were the reason for 30% of all prescription drug overdose related deaths.