What to Know About Klonopin Withdrawal and Treatment
Klonopin, or clonazepam, is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of tranquilizers that have a calming effect on the body and mind. Other prescription drugs in this class include Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), and Ativan (lorazepam). Doctors often prescribe Klonopin to deal with issues like panic attacks and anxiety. The sedative effects of Klonopin are due to the drug’s ability to elevate levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which can reduce excessive brain activity.
If taken as directed, Klonopin can be an effective and safe treatment for anxiety and other conditions, including seizure disorders. However, like with all benzodiazepines, abuse, dependence, and addiction are risks. Prescription drug abuse—either taking more than recommended or using the medicine for non-medical purposes—can speed up the onset of dependency and lead to addiction. However, even regular users can become dependent. People addicted to Klonopin may find it difficult to stop taking the drug even though they know the drawbacks associated with maintaining their habit.
What Is Klonopin Withdrawal?
Those dependent on Klonopin may experience withdrawal symptoms, including nausea and anxiety, if they try to stop taking the drug independently. These withdrawal symptoms manifest as a result of the brain and body’s reliance on Klonopin and the way that it boosts the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). By dampening the activity of a few neurons in the brain, GABA has a calming effect throughout the body. Users of Klonopin can have severe withdrawal symptoms if the medicine stops blocking these receptors. Dependence on Klonopin can emerge after several weeks of continued use, which is why the drug is intended for short-term treatment.
When a user of Klonopin abruptly stops using the medicine, they may experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms. Some factors that contribute to the severity of these symptoms include:
- Duration of Klonopin use
- Dosage size and frequency
- Combining Klonopin with other substances
- Individual medical history
Like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin reduces brain activity, making the user feel calm and at ease. When the drug is removed from the body, a rebound effect can occur, leading to anxiety and nervousness. Other withdrawal symptoms include:
- Elevated core temperature
- Coordination issues
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased heart rate
- Hand tremors
- Visual disturbances
Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline for Klonopin withdrawal varies from person to person because no two people react similarly during withdrawal. However, there are often three distinct stages of Klonopin withdrawal that may occur before, during, or after detoxification:
- Early withdrawal
- Acute withdrawal
- Post-acute withdrawal (protracted withdrawal)
Rebound psychological symptoms of conditions that Klonopin treats, such as anxiety and insomnia, are common during the early withdrawal phase. In addition, symptoms such as a racing heart, dizziness, and stomach pain may present themselves.
This withdrawal period often begins within a day or two after the final dose has been eliminated from the body. It typically takes four days for early withdrawal symptoms to diminish.
Acute withdrawal refers to the period immediately following the initial withdrawal phase. Most withdrawal symptoms may manifest during this time. Some possible symptoms are:
- Loss of appetite
There is some variability in how long acute withdrawal lasts from person to person, but it typically lasts anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
Protracted or Post-acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)
Prolonged withdrawal is another name for the post-acute withdrawal stage. Although not everyone goes through this, those who do frequently suffer from symptoms such as despair, anxiety, and panic attacks. Those who habitually abuse Klonopin at high levels and in large quantities are more prone to experience these symptoms, which can linger for a long time. Seeking mental health care is often necessary for those dealing with PAWS.
Although a person’s prolonged withdrawal symptoms may appear to be over, they may return at a later period. The most frequently encountered symptoms of post-acute withdrawal are:
- Issues with recall
- Lack of concentration
- Absence or decrease in sexual desire
- Mood Swings
Treatment for Withdrawal
It is recommended that people with benzodiazepine use disorder enroll in a medically supervised withdrawal management program as part of their treatment. It is imperative that anyone experiencing Klonopin withdrawal is thoroughly monitored throughout the acute detox period as the onset of seizures during this time can be life-threatening.
Furthermore, completing a withdrawal management program is only the beginning of the recovery process. Although overcoming a benzo addiction might be challenging, your chances of success greatly increase with expert substance use disorder treatment that includes therapy, social support, and aftercare services to help you stay clean.
Treatment options include both outpatient and residential programs. Programs for patients going through Klonopin withdrawal may offer detox and round-the-clock monitoring. A person will participate in a treatment program that includes individual therapy, group therapy, 12-step meetings, aftercare planning, and other group activities after detoxing.
Those with moderate withdrawal symptoms may be able to detox through an outpatient program. Group therapy is a common component of these programs, and individual sessions are sometimes available. As they are only offered part-time, clients can continue to live at home and keep their jobs.
Types of Treatment
To help you better understand your addiction and acquire new coping mechanisms, inpatient and residential recovery programs offer extensive therapy sessions. During your time in one of these programs, you will have access to a team of caregivers available to help you.
Therapy sessions are typically scheduled every week in outpatient rehabilitation programs. The program and your specific needs will determine how often you will need to attend treatment. Partial hospitalization programs commonly provide 20 or more hours of therapy each week, spread out over four or five days. Most intensive outpatient programs provide between six and nine hours of weekly therapy.
Whether residential or community-based, addiction treatment programs often include individual and group psychotherapy with clients. Family therapy can help you and your loved one work through the tensions that have been building up and could soon become a source of stress and a catalyst for relapse.
Group therapy is a great place to work through problems, learn new coping mechanisms, and act out scenarios in a safe and encouraging setting. It’s also a great place to build a sober support network.
One can effectively treat benzodiazepine addiction with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Reducing risky behaviors, such as drug use, can be achieved using CBT, which can help you alter destructive thought patterns and help you learn to control your emotions.
Those addicted to Klonopin may also experience anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues. Dual-diagnosis treatment, offered by psychiatric hospitals and residential and outpatient treatment centers, may be helpful for those with mental health difficulties and Klonopin addiction. When you enroll in a dual-diagnosis program, you can simultaneously get assistance with your substance misuse and mental health issues. If you don’t treat your mental health, you may relapse because you’ll use substances to deal with your symptoms.
Medications for Withdrawal
In some cases, medication is used to manage withdrawal symptoms and lessen the likelihood of complications during a medically supervised detox. For benzodiazepine addiction, clients often taper their dose while under a doctor’s care. This can help a person greatly reduce their withdrawal symptoms or even avoid them altogether. Anticonvulsants may also be prescribed during Klonopin withdrawal.
Aftercare for Klonopin Addiction
Your therapists and counselors should work with you to develop an aftercare plan as treatment nears its conclusion. It is a comprehensive strategy for continuing to progress in recovery after formal therapy has ended. It may entail weekly therapy sessions, contacting other sober people, and securing secure residences at a sober living center.
People suffering from benzodiazepine addiction may benefit from participating in a self-help group as part of their aftercare strategy. Twelve-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous are available along with other groups that don’t follow the 12-step format, such as SMART Recovery. In contrast to professional group counseling sessions, support groups in the community are led by recovering individuals who donate their time. Self-help groups are an invaluable resource to build a sober community and acquire the skills necessary to sustain your sobriety. These groups also give you the chance to help others, which can greatly benefit your own recovery.
Get Help for Klonopin Addiction Today
If you or someone you know has developed an addiction to Klonopin or another benzodiazepine, you are not alone. Klonopin is a commonly prescribed medicine in the United States, and because one can quickly develop a dependence, Klonopin addiction is not uncommon. To treat Klonopin misuse, dependence, or addiction, seeking detoxification and rehabilitation services is a vital first step.
Medical detox and a comprehensive range of aftercare therapies are available at many rehabilitation centers nationwide, including White Light Behavioral Health in Columbus, Ohio. Our dedicated team of medical professionals and addiction specialists can help you get through Klonopin withdrawal and develop the skills you need to maintain lasting sobriety. Reach out to us today to learn more about getting help for Klonopin addiction.