Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine medication (also known as benzos), a class of drugs that work on the central nervous system as a depressant or sedative. Clonazepam, also known as “Klonopin,” is typically prescribed by doctors for panic disorders. Its main function is to slow down bodily and brain functions related to anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, however, Klonopin is habit-forming, and many users form a physical and psychological addiction to the drug. According to the CDC, benzodiazepines were involved in nearly 7,000 overdose deaths in 23 states from January 2019–June 2020. It is, therefore, essential to know the side effects and withdrawal symptoms that may be experienced when starting such a medication, along with treatment options if one becomes addicted to the drug.
Clonazepam Side Effects
Although clonazepam can be a temporary solution to calm the nerves of someone in a constant state of anxiety, many side effects need to be taken into consideration before starting this medication.
Some common side effects of Klonopin (clonazepam) include:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of orientation
- Sleep disturbances
- Problems with thinking or memory
- Blurred vision
- Sore gums
- Dry mouth
- Runny nose
Rare and more serious side effects that need a doctor’s immediate attention include:
- Depressed mood or suicidal thoughts
- Abnormal eye movements
- Difficulty speaking
- Excessive bleeding or bruising from reduced platelets in the blood
- Menstrual problems
- Difficulty urinating
- Seizures (especially if the person stops taking the drug suddenly)
- Mood swings and behavioral changes
Clonazepam Side Effects from Withdrawal Symptoms
As Klonopin can have serious, even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, one must taper off this medication under the direct supervision of a medical professional. As such, this medical professional will need to monitor vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration levels to ensure that no bodily function is compromised during the detox.
Physical symptoms of withdrawal may include:
- Stomach pain
- Muscle spasms and cramps
- Blurred vision
- Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
- Short-term memory loss
- Impaired respiration
- Impaired coordination
Furthermore, psychological withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Mental confusion
- Drastic mood swings
- Impaired short-term memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Drug cravings
Since Klonopin has a long half-life (18-50 hours), meaning the drug is effective for a long time, the user usually does not experience withdrawal symptoms until 1-3 days after their last dose. Additionally, the withdrawal time frame can differ from person to person depending on the severity of the addiction, the individual’s genetic make-up, and any other co-occurring disorders that the user is experiencing (anxiety or depression, etc.). However, generally speaking, many people detoxing off clonazepam report feeling rebound symptoms of anxiety and insomnia lasting 2-4 days, with some acute symptoms peaking around 2 weeks after the last dose and lasting anywhere from a week to a month.
How to Get Help for an Addiction to Clonazepam
Quitting clonazepam cold turkey can have serious, even life-threatening consequences and, therefore, needs to be monitored by a medical professional to help taper the user off the drug safely and effectively. Detoxing off clonazepam, or Klonopin, can be done either through a clinic where a doctor can help guide the user on decreasing the dosages slowly and effectively, or it can be done through a drug rehab center where a medical professional is on staff 24/7, ensuring that the user is taken care of if a medical emergency were to arise.
If you or a loved one are seeking an alcohol rehab in Austin, a Dallas drug rehab, or addiction treatment elsewhere in Texas, reach out today. Our passionate medical professionals would love to guide you on the path of health and well-being that comes from long-term sobriety.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does clonazepam make you feel?
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. Clonazepam calms the nervous system by attaching to the GABA receptors in the brain, bringing feelings of relaxation, reduced anxiety, and mild euphoria.
Is it bad to take clonazepam every day?
For dosing instructions, always follow the instructions of your medical provider. Clonazepam is an addictive substance, and most doctors recommend using PRN – only as needed for treating anxiety and panic disorder. However, some providers will recommend regular daily usage of Clonazepam for treatment-resistant anxiety and panic attacks.
What does clonazepam do to your brain?
Clonazepam attaches to a particular subset of GABA receptors in the brain and works to reduce electrical activity. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety, panic attacks, and mood disorders in the brain. Over time, you can easily become addicted to clonazepam, so use it cautiously.
How long can you stay on clonazepam?
Clonazepam is an addictive substance and should only be used for short periods when medically necessary. For patients with a history of addiction, clonazepam use is strongly not recommended.
What are the long-term side effects of clonazepam?
Long-term side effects of clonazepam use include addiction, memory loss, cognitive problems, depression, sexual dysfunction, and prolonged withdrawal symptoms. Clonazepam withdrawal is potentially deadly and can cause seizures, so never attempt to quit clonazepam cold turkey without consulting a medical professional.
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- CDC. A Day to Remember: International Overdose Awareness Day. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published August 20, 2021. Accessed July 4, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/featured-topics/ioad-benzo-overdose.html
- Cunha JP. Side Effects of Klonopin (Clonazepam), Warnings, Uses. RxList. Published July 14, 2020. Accessed July 4, 2022. https://www.rxlist.com/klonopin-side-effects-drug-center.htm
- Cadman B. Clonazepam vs. Xanax: Differences, dosage, and side effects. Published November 8, 2020. Accessed July 4, 2022. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323330