14 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Anxiety-related disorders are one of the most common illnesses in the US. It affects almost 18% of the population every year. These can develop due to genetics, brain chemistry, life events, personality, etc. 82% of patients who used Klonopin reviewed that this drug helped in relieving their symptoms. However, it has the potential to develop psychological and physical dependence if taken in high doses. If the dependency is left unchecked, it can lead to Klonopin addiction. Also, Klonopin is only prescribed for short-term use due to its addiction potential.

A white pill bottle.

Note: Use of this highly effective drug can lead to addiction; continue reading to find more about it.

Klonopin belongs to the group of drugs called benzodiazepines; it is very effective against anxiety attacks and seizures having a very compulsive nature. It only takes few weeks to develop Klonopin addiction. Mostly, patients get addicted while they are prescribed Klonopin by their doctor.

Read Also: Lunesta Abuse and Signs of Overdose

Klonopin is taken orally and controls seizures, and reduces panic attacks. Most of the doctors in the US are prescribing this medicine to millions of patients due to its efficacy. Well, there must be another question arising on top of your head regarding Klonopin use disorder. So, here is everything you should know about it.

Overusing Klonopin will most likely develop tolerance and dependency. When a patient is on Klonopin for a long time, the body adjusts the tolerance. Hence, it takes more doses to get the same results with time. Addiction develops after the chronic use of Klonopin in a hospital setting. Once the habit is at its peak, a Klonopin addict cannot remain calm and relax without it. Most epilepsy patients are prescribed Klonopin. Even if the symptoms are not there, doctors recommend the medication to reduce the chances of seizures.

If you find any patient asking for more doses, there is a great potential that he has developed an addiction. Sometimes doctors prescribe Klonopin to fight off withdrawal symptoms from alcohol abuse. So, now you know Klonopin use disorder is common. You must be wondering what changes occur in our brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) due to Klonopin overdose.

Klonopin (Clonazepam) alters the CNS and reduces its activity. So, the patient feels relaxed.

These specific relaxing and calm feelings are due to gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA). It slows down the heart rate and eventually blood pressure. When GABA levels are low, you find it difficult to relax, keep calm, and do daily routine tasks. Klonopin raises GABA level to an extreme point when you develop a euphoria effect. It regulates the feeling of anxiety, calmness, and stress.

When there are high levels of GABA, cells communicate with each other and stimulate the centers in the brain stem. A patient feels that this specific time after a Klonopin dose is the happiest. He starts craving for the drug, which is probably and earliest sign. It all starts with a good night’s sleep after a euphoria high. 

Klonopin (Clonazepam) has a longer half-life. Hence, only a single dose can be effective for an entire day. However, it is not recommended to use Klonopin (Clonazepam) for a long time due to its addiction potential. Additionally, doctors choose anti-depressants and psychotherapy to treat anxiety as it is the first line of treatment for the disease.

Note: street names of Klonopin are K-pins, benzos, downers, or tranks.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned people not to take any unnecessary Klonopin without the supervision of any health care professional. Otherwise, it may lead to psychological and physical dependence. Unfortunately, the use of benzodiazepines, especially Clonazepam is soured in recent years. In 2011, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that almost 61,000 people came to ER due to Klonopin overdose.

The effect of Klonopin lasts a day. So, a single dose for a day is enough to treat the symptoms. However, another benzodiazepine like Xanax has a shorter half-life and can be given twice a day. When Clonazepam is administered, it alters the chemical changes in our brain, which develops a habit and might stop usually working without it.

Effects of Drugs on Heart

Due to Klonopin overdose, the symptoms which were suppressed by it are now magnified. Now, you must be thinking about how the addiction starts? What is the primary cause? Honestly, it depends upon the dose of Klonopin you are taking daily. As the dose increases, there are greater chances of addiction.

Whether taking it for medicinal purposes or buying it off the streets, overdosing on Clonazepam will destroy you. Everything happens so fast that you will not realize when did you develop the addiction. Symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia may elevate. Your fear of anxiety and withdrawal symptoms might surpass your desire to get sober.

Clonazepam can be abused in multiple ways; the top three of them are: 

  • Crushing pills and snorting them through the nose.
  • Crushing pills and injecting them in a vein by an injection.
  • Consuming pills with other anti-depressants or alcohol. 

Crushing the pin pills and snorting or injecting them might be the most common of abusing them. Primarily, a patient craves the drug and tends to get his hands on as many pills as possible. He is unable to have a better sleep without it. Then they feel like they cannot concentrate on their work or important daily stuff. So, they consume it more and eventually start abusing the drug. As the addiction grows more every day. They start injecting pills into their veins.

You see, orally taken pills take longer to absorb and reach the brain via blood. Hence, it takes longer to get the desired “high.” Snorting pills also result in more excellent absorption, as there are multiple minute vessels in the nasal cavity. These vessels absorb the drug and take it directly to the brain, immediately attached to its receptors. After a time, an addict does not want to wait that long and injects it directly into the blood. Besides that, when Clonazepam is abused with other drugs like alcohol or CNS depressants. The effect is more significant and more addictive. 

Other drugs which are frequently abused with Klonopin include:

  • Opioids.
  • Anti-depressants.
  • Anti-convulsant.
  • Alcohol.
  • Painkillers.
  • Heroin.
  • Cocaine.

All the above-listed drugs have their addiction potential. Mixing the drugs creates a more powerful effect, and people feel inebriated. It gets more complex to fight the withdrawal symptoms when you are abusing multiple drugs at a time. Sadly, polydrug abuse with Klonopin is common. However, it does not mean there is no way back. You can always reverse the symptoms and live everyday life like everyone else. Talking about symptoms, let us have a look at Klonopin addiction signs and symptoms.

Note: according to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Klonopin is the third-most prescribed benzodiazepine in the US.

Klonopin addiction begins when you develop tolerance and need a high dose to get the desired effect. It keeps getting more robust, and you crave more Klonopin every day. This behavior results in physical dependence. So, this means you are now unable to perform daily chores without abusing the drug. When you discontinue the Klonopin abuse, withdrawal symptoms appear.

Klonopin addiction also relates to its use and abuse. Those who seek to get rid of this toxic habit can go to a doctor or rehab center. Moreover, there can be other reasons related to the abuse. Additionally, when you belong to a society in which popping pills and abusing drugs is a norm. There is a higher potential of you getting addicted. It becomes a culture, and you are more attracted to it.

Also, people with panic disorder, anxiety, and depression are more prone to develop Klonopin addiction. Due to their overthinking depressed mind, they wish to turn it off and have a peaceful sleep. Clonazepam tends to deliver the exact effect they want. If you are under the Klonopin treatment, it does not mean you will soon be an addict. However, it is crucial to know Klonopin addiction signs and symptoms. So, you can distinguish and call it out quickly.

Some of Klonopin addiction’s signs and symptoms are so obvious that you can guess easily. The DSM-5 has introduced a criterion to diagnose and treat a patient with substance use disorder. It helps in evaluating the severity of a Klonopin addiction. It can be labeled as mild, moderate, or severe abuse. The grading is directly proportional to the criteria.

Primarily, these are the Klonopin addiction signs and symptoms: 

  1. Taking Klonopin for a longer time: if you are still using Klonopin even after your doctor stopped prescribing you. Unluckily, an addiction is progressing. 

You probably do not realize that now, but it is the earliest sign. A good approach can be telling your family, friends, and doctor before it gets too late. 

  1. Another sign is that if a patient is trying to get the pills from an illegal source: this is a severe form of addiction when a patient is being treated with Klonopin, but he seeks more drugs. 
  2. Desires to stop using Klonopin but cannot do so: you do not feel that addiction is growing, but withdrawal symptoms start appearing when you skip a dose. 
  3. Using all the resources to get more doses: a classical sign of Klonopin addiction is when you do not care about personal hygiene, work-life, social, or family life. 

You spend all your time, money, and resources to get more Klonopin. When not being able to do so, you seek the pills on the streets or by other illegal means. You may not care about the legal or illicit procedures that can be very dangerous as abusing drugs is a serious offense. 

  1. Desire to use Klonopin and get more pills: you crave the pills even if you have enough doses. 

Suppose a patient thinks about his next dose more often in a hospital and wishes to get it ASAP. Unluckily, he has Klonopin addiction. 

  1. Cannot concentrate on anything without Klonopin: you will find it difficult to pass through a day without Klonopin. 
  2. Continue abusing despite the side effects: you overuse and use the pills even knowing it is destroying you. 
  3. Doctor shopping: you may be consulting multiple doctors at a time to get more doses and satisfy your craving. 
  4. Using Klonopin even after a risky situation: knowing that you passed out the last time you abused Klonopin. Still, you are snorting pills and injecting more Clonazepam. 

Furthermore, some people buy off a fake prescription to get more Klonopin. 

Now you can call out a Klonopin addict and get some help for them before it gets too late. 

Klonopin has the potential to develop physical and psychological dependence. Dependence is due to withdrawal symptoms and tolerance. The brain gets habitual when taking the pills more often, requiring more doses to produce the same effect. Dependence does not mean a behavior change. It is difficult to suspect a patient who is dependent on Klonopin. Physical dependency can develop after daily use of Clonazepam for two weeks.

On the other hand, addiction shows classical signs in behavior due to progressive changes in the brain and spinal cord. Addiction and dependence can co-exist. Although, the DSM has replaced the word addiction with substance use disorder or dependency.

Klonopin addiction signs can be:

  • Headache.
  • Anxiety.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.
  • Coma.

Klonopin and other benzodiazepines work by altering the chemical and electrical changes in our brain and spinal cord. For people who are already fighting with anxiety, panic disorder, etc., Klonopin is the only difference between anxiety and calmness. Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 18% of adult US citizens are in anxiety-related disorders. 

Klonopin is not safe and will act like any random street drug if abused. Klonopin addiction can cause irrational and irritative behavior. It takes time to develop compulsive behavior. Indeed, it is relatively shorter for Klonopin as compared to other street drugs. You must consider the long-term side effects of Klonopin abuse and the Clonazepam addiction’s short-term effects. So, you can call them out before it gets late.

Long-Term Side Effects of Klonopin Abuse

People who are abusing Klonopin chronically will show adverse symptoms. They may show tipsy behavior, which may mimic alcohol intoxication.

Some long-term side effects of Klonopin abuse are as follows:

  • Severe drowsiness.
  • Aggression.
  • Behavioral changes.
  • Confusion.
  • Mood changes.
  • Hallucination.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Involuntary eye movements.
  • Slow chest movement.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Pounding heartbeat.
  • Seizures.
  • Slurred speech.

Further, if a pregnant woman abuses Klonopin, there can be aggressive congenital disabilities and tubal defects in the fetus.  A Clonazepam addict will also bleed more frequently due to disturbed liver function and lack of clotting factors. 

Lyrica Addiction Symptoms and Side Effects

Sever overdose can also progress into a coma. Fortunately, it happens rarely in Klonopin addiction. 

Clonazepam Addiction Short-Term Effects

At first, you may think, “what can go wrong with another dose.” You are justifying yourself that you need a better sleep after a “tiring day.” you get addicted to Klonopin sooner than you think. Even a remote administration of Clonazepam by other means is considered as a misuse. Clonazepam addiction’s short-term effects are listed below. It is essential to call out these before it turns into chronic addiction.

  • Feeling tired.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Depression.
  • Dizziness.
  • Lack of balance.
  • Lack of concentration.
  • Short-term memory loss.

Can You Get High Off Klonopin?

US National Institute of drug abuse reports that 7.4% of high school seniors are involved in Klonopin addiction, which falls in tranquilizer abuse. Unfortunately, the Clonazepam addiction rate is seven times higher than Heroin and four times Methamphetamine. A mild euphoria high feeling after a dose can progress into an addiction. Users should be concerned about this feeling when they are administered high doses. This feeling of high, calmness, relaxed is highly addictive. So, the answer is YES! You can get high off Klonopin.

Clonazepam overdose significantly depresses the CNS and can result in an intoxication stupor. When addiction is developed after continuous use of Clonazepam for weeks, it starts with short-term side effects for beginners. As the addiction progresses, you will be popping pills without any care. Despite knowing the aftereffects and side symptoms, you cannot live without these. After knowing that it almost destroys your life, what can be worse than that. Well, death! Yes, you read it right. Clonazepam overdose profoundly suppresses your breathing rate and heartbeat. Therefore, the blood supply to the brain gets reduced. On top of that, oxygen levels in the body also decrease due to shallow breathing. Finally, you can go into a coma and die within minutes of a Clonazepam overdose. 

Clonazepam Overdose Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Clonazepam overdose are: 

  • Dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Confusion.
  • Vertigo.
  • Slow reaction time.
  • Decrease libido.
  • Numbness.
  • Impaired judgment.

Now, when you see a patient with Clonazepam overdose symptoms. Seek immediate help. Luckily, a drug called Flumazenil is administered if a Clonazepam overdose patient comes into the emergency room. It prevents benzodiazepines from binding to GABA receptors.

Klonopin (Clonazepam) half-life is greater than other benzodiazepines. Hence, it takes longer to eliminate from the body. Although, the withdrawal symptoms appear quickly and are aggressive. It is recommended not to stop the drug suddenly as it will be challenging to manage withdrawal symptoms. Fatal seizures or coma attacks can also occur if Klonopin is stopped suddenly. Therefore, this risk makes it more challenging to manage Clonazepam overdose and withdrawal.

Klonopin (Clonazepam) withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headache.
  • Tremor.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Sweating.
  • Nausea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Hallucination.
  • Confusion.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Seizures.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Withdrawal symptoms last for two weeks if it is stopped gradually. Few signs may last for a month or two.

Note: withdrawal from Klonopin (Clonazepam) can be life-threatening.

Firstly, know that almost 15% of US citizens have a benzodiazepine (Klonopin) in their medicine cabinet. Moreover, 75,000 people were brought to ER due to Klonopin-related problems. Furthermore, know that crushing pills or injecting Klonopin via injection is the only way of abusing Clonazepam. If you buy more drugs or popping more pills than the prescription, you have developed a dependency.

Clonazepam is extremely dangerous if you continue abusing it for a long time. It can cause depression, problems in social, work, and personal life. You develop memory issues, liver problems, reduced libido, and other complications. It gets more challenging to manage and return to normal. Once you step into the Klonopin abuse ladder, it grows more and more every single day.

Fortunately, this does not mean the door of a happy life is closed for you. Every symptom can be reversed but not death. Well, you have read it to the end. Why not make some effort to make this world a better place. After all, it all starts with you. So, consult a doctor if you or anyone you know is into Clonazepam addiction. Klonopin addiction is increasing day by day, and we need to let the young generation know about the side effects, symptoms, and overdose.

Break the addiction norms and culture from today!