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What Does a Clonazepam Addiction Look Like?

Clonazepam addiction treatment may be necessary for people who were prescribed the medication, as well as for those who started using it as a recreational drug.

If you are interested in clonazepam addiction treatment for yourself or a loved one, please reach out for help.

What Is Clonazepam?

Clonazepam, which is sometimes administered under the brand name Klonopin, is a sedative-hypnotic drug that interacts with the brain’s GABA receptors and depresses the central nervous system. Medical professionals prescribe it to treat a variety of conditions, including insomnia, panic disorder, seizure disorders, and withdrawal from other drugs. The medication is categorized as a benzodiazepine and classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance.

The Effects and Dangers of Abuse

projectknow-shutter140803288-woman-holding-white-pillsClonazepam has a calming effect on the mind and body. In low doses, it tends to make a person feel sleepy. In high doses, it can produce a sense of euphoria. Clonazepam also slows a person’s reaction time. Because benzodiazepines may lower a person’s inhibitions, especially when the drugs are paired with alcohol, some people exhibit antisocial behaviors when using them. Clonazepam use can lead to aggression, impulsivity, violence, an irritable mood, or excitement.

People who use clonazepam regularly tend to build a physical tolerance to it and need increasingly larger doses over time to feel its effects. If a psychological dependence occurs as well, a person may need clonazepam addiction treatment to stop using it. This class of medication is rarely prescribed to a person with a history of drug abuse or dependence.There is a risk of overdose when abusing clonazepam. Signs and symptoms of overdose include intense drowsiness, a severely depressed respiratory or heart rate, confusion, and poor reflexes. A person who has overdosed on clonazepam can be treated with gastric lavage and antagonist medications.


The dangers of clonazepam abuse are increased when the drug is used with alcohol or opiates. These substances can enhance the toxicity of clonazepam.

Warning Signs of Addiction

Clonazepam abuse can be difficult to identify in some cases, especially in those who have a prescription for it. Abusers of the drug have been known to acquire multiple prescriptions for it from different doctors. Others purchase it illegally or abuse a friend’s or family member’s prescription. Signs of abuse and addiction in people with a standard prescription include taking higher doses or more frequent doses than recommended by their physicians. Taking clonazepam with alcohol to enhance its effects is another sign of a problem.


Abusers of clonazepam tend to take the medication with other substances, and abuse rates for the medication are higher in people who use cocaine or heroin.

“Abuse or long-term use of clonazepam can cause some people to lose confidence in themselves and in their abilities to manage their lives without medication.”Physical dependence is common in people who take benzodiazepines regularly. This dependence is evident when withdrawal symptoms occur after ceasing use of the drugs. Having a physical dependence does not mean a person is addicted to the medication.

However, an addiction also involves psychological symptoms, one of which is drug-seeking behaviors. People who are addicted to clonazepam may feel as if they need to take the drug to function normally. They may also experience fear or anxiety when imagining life without it. Abuse or long-term use of clonazepam can cause some people to lose confidence in themselves and in their abilities to manage their lives without medication.

Clonazepam addiction treatment can help reverse these psychological symptoms of dependence.The withdrawal symptoms experienced by people coming off clonazepam depend on multiple factors, such as the dosage level and the frequency and length of use. Abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines can intensify these symptoms and is generally discouraged by medical professionals.

Withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, heart palpitations, an increased respiratory rate, insomnia, hallucinations, tremors, gastrointestinal distress, and seizures. Seizure activity is a likely symptom in those who take benzodiazepines for seizure disorders. These withdrawal symptoms can be managed and reduced in clonazepam addiction treatment to aid the recovery process.

What to Expect During the Detox Process

When beginning clonazepam addiction treatment, a person is assisted with detox from the medication. Physicians usually recommend a gradual lowering of the person’s typical dosage, as this can reduce the chance of certain withdrawal symptoms developing. It can also reduce their severity. In some cases, particularly those involving overdoses, a physician may prescribe a different medication for symptom management and recommend immediate abstinence from clonazepam.

Detox from clonazepam can usually be completed on an outpatient basis with help from a physician or psychiatrist. Inpatient treatment may be more suitable in certain circumstances, though. People who abuse clonazepam in addition to other substances should consider inpatient treatment for a more intensive level of support. Inpatient care may also be ideal for those who have other physical or psychological conditions. Another option is to enter a rehab center for detox and then use outpatient rehabilitation services for recovery support. Treatment professionals help each person determine which option is best for his or her needs.

Available Recovery Treatment Options

Residential Program

A residential program for dual diagnoses provides 24/7 support but allows patients to live together in the community rather than in a hospital. These programs also provide different types of support, including assistance with developing life skills and adhering to treatment plans.

Once the detox process is underway, a person can begin to focus on clonazepam rehab. The rehabilitation process addresses the patient’s underlying reasons for substance abuse and helps the person create and follow a sobriety plan. The underlying reasons for clonazepam abuse are varied.

For some people, a preexisting mental health condition may have contributed to the psychological dependency. For others, a stressful home environment or poor coping skills may have led to substance abuse. Clonazepam addiction treatment typically involves cognitive therapy to uncover the root of the problem and help a person manage it.If a psychiatric disorder is present, a patient may be encouraged to enter a residential program or use inpatient treatment for an extended period of time. This can help the person develop the skills necessary to cope with mental illness and addiction.

A residential program for dual diagnoses provides 24/7 support but allows patients to live together in the community rather than in a hospital. These programs also provide different types of support, including assistance with developing life skills and adhering to treatment plans. Residential programs are also an option for people without psychiatric conditions. These are often referred to as sober living homes.

In a sober living home, a person has support from professional staff and from other addicts in recovery. A typical day may include medication management, group meetings, individual recovery discussions, recreational activities, and daily chores. These homes are an excellent option for people in need of structure and a healthier living environment.

When recovering from a clonazepam addiction on an outpatient basis, a person has several options for support. These options are often combined to address all aspects of the addiction and help the person abstain from drug use. Regular appointments with a general practitioner can assist with medication management and symptom management. Depending on the individual and his or her circumstances, a psychiatrist may be a more suitable option.

Regular counseling is also beneficial and is often provided twice weekly for addictions. In addition to providing cognitive therapy to explore the addiction, a counselor will usually provide behavioral therapy to help the person make lifestyle changes. The treatment plan typically includes both short-term and long-term goals. For example, a short-term goal may be to attend appointments as scheduled for one month, whereas a long-term goal may be to maintain sobriety for six months.

Treatment plans also address other areas of a person’s life. They can include goals regarding relationships, careers, housing, social skills, stress management, and more.A therapist may recommend family therapy as well. Family therapy can be especially helpful for substance abusers who are married or in frequent contact with family. Sessions focus on dynamics that cause stress for the patient and can help family members improve their relationships with one another.

Family therapy also seeks to identify and address any dynamics that enable the patient to abuse drugs. For example, the patient’s mother may have shared her clonazepam prescription because she was coerced or felt guilty for something. Family therapy helps people develop new patterns of behavior that are healthier for all involved. Because therapy may not be available as often as the person needs support, patients are also encouraged to enroll in community-based support groups.

Family Intervention

family-interventionWhen planning an addiction intervention for a loved one, it is important to have a treatment plan in place that the individual can immediately begin. Once you have convinced him or her to get the help that he or she needs, no time should be wasted in the start of rehabilitation at a reputable facility. If you have tried to help a loved one in the past but have been unsuccessful, do not lose heart. Read More

Narcotics Anonymous is one group that is available to people who are in clonazepam addiction treatment. This 12-step program is directed and attended by other substance abusers in recovery. In highly populated areas, a person can usually find multiple meetings per week or even daily meetings. In smaller communities, meetings are typically available at least once weekly.

Connecting with an NA sponsor can also help the person overcome urges to use. For people who prefer a science-based approach to addictions, there are SMART Recovery groups. SMART Recovery follows a four-point program that focuses on motivation, urges to use, thought and behavior management, and balanced lifestyles.

Rehabilitation often involves a rewards system to motivate people and encourage sobriety. In some cases, a treatment plan will also include drug testing to implement a rewards system. Positive reinforcement for sobriety can be used at home or in counseling sessions. For example, people can develop plans to reward themselves with desired items or outings for each designated period of time they abstain from clonazepam use. In therapy, the rewards system may include a gift certificate or other desirable item for achieving each goal.In any form of therapy, a primary goal is relapse prevention.

A counselor or social worker helps the person identify triggers to his or her clonazepam abuse and develop new methods of coping with those triggers. For example, the trigger may be arguments with loved ones or a bad day at work. When these triggers are identified and skills and means of support are in place for handling them, a person is much less likely to relapse.

In addition to focusing on the addiction and underlying reasons for it, treatment professionals also encourage an all-around healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition and exercise not only help the person feel mentally and physically better, but also they contribute to healthy stress management. The primary attraction of clonazepam is its capacity to reduce anxiety.

In clonazepam addiction treatment, a person learns multiple methods for managing stress and overcoming anxiety-inducing thought processes. Stress management techniques that may be practiced in individual or group therapy include biofeedback, which helps a person become more in tune with his or her stress response; guided imagery, which involves positive thoughts and images; progressive muscle relaxation, which gives a person more control over his or her physical stress response; and deep breathing.A combination of these different approaches to recovery can quicken the process and help people feel that they are in more control over their lives. Treatment professionals often recommend that patients choose whichever option places them in a positive, supportive environment, and they can help each person determine which one is best.

Unsure where to start? Take Our Substance Abuse Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. This evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are designed to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result. Please be aware that this evaluation is not a substitute for advice from a medical doctor.

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