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Klonopin Withdrawal

Klonopin is a prescription benzodiazepine, which falls into a class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. It works on the body to cause anxiolytic and sedative effects and is designed to treat anxiety and panic attacks. 

Long-term use of drugs like Klonopin can lead to chemical dependency and addiction. Some people may become dependent on the drug even when it’s used as prescribed.  

Benzodiazepines are notorious for how dangerous they can be during withdrawal. Klonopin withdrawal is no exception, and detoxing can be deadly without the right help. 

What Are Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms?

Klonopin works similarly to other benzos that bind with the brain’s GABA receptors. When someone becomes dependent on the medication, their body stops producing the necessary amount of GABA naturally. If you try to stop using the drug or significantly reduce your dose, you will experience a crash as the levels of GABA attempt to adjust. 

Klonopin can produce severe withdrawal symptoms that affect the mind and body. Someone who is going through detox may experience a set of symptoms known as benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. If someone has been taking the drug for extended periods, they may resort to other drugs to alleviate their symptoms. 

Physical symptoms to expect from Klonopin withdrawal include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Hypertension
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms
  • Increased sensitivity

Klonopin may also produce severe psychological symptoms that could appear as the first sign of withdrawal. Unfortunately, this can also happen during a tapering period. Psychological symptoms might include:

  • Rebound anxiety
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Akathisia (physical restlessness)
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Hallucinations

Stages of Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline

Some factors that influence the severity of your withdrawals include:

  • If you stop Klonopin with a tapering schedule
  • How long you’ve abused Klonopin
  • How much you took and how frequently
  • If you have a history of addiction
  • If you struggle with a co-occurring disorder
  • If you abused other drugs or alcohol in conjunction with Klonopin

Klonopin withdrawal will occur in two phases. The first phase is the rebound stage, and the second stage is full-blown withdrawal. You must keep the factors listed above in mind on how you will be affected. A general timeline might look like the following:

  • Days 1-4: Due to Klonopin’s long half-life, it may not exit your system for 18 to 50 hours after your last use. In some cases, it can be several days before the rebound stage begins. 
  • Days 5-10: Once you reach a week sober, you will enter into the full withdrawal stage. It is characterized by severe symptoms, which include sweating, tremors, and irritability. 
  • 3 to 4 weeks: Even when you’ve reached a month clean, withdrawals may persist due to the long half-life of Klonopin. Fortunately, they will be much weaker and easier to manage.
  • 1 month and beyond: When you reach a month sober, Klonopin withdrawal symptoms should disappear. For heavier users, symptoms may continue for months or years, which is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome

Should I Detox?

Detox will help someone who has become physically dependent or addicted to Klonopin alleviate the worst symptoms of withdrawal. They may offer medication that will help the process. Klonopin withdrawal can also cause intense cravings or drug-seeking behavior. If you are considering weaning off the drug, you must consider entering treatment. 

What Is the Next Treatment Step?

Once you complete detox, you will still experience cravings for the medication. You must seek out the right help to overcome an addiction to prescription medication. Clinicians will help their clients with anything they need and help them get on the right path.

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Prescription CNS Depressants. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-cns-depressants

What is GABA? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/qa/what-is-gaba

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/PAWS

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Is there a difference between physical dependence and addiction? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/there-difference-between-physical-dependence

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.) Medical Detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

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