Klonopin Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Klonopin also referred to K-pin, is a powerful sedative in the benzodiazepine class of medications. It is highly addictive and is offered by prescription only.

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is a strong sedative which acts on the central nervous system to slow the functions of the brain. This makes it highly effective in the treatment of anxiety, as it causes an extremely relaxed and euphoric sense of well-being in users. Although this is a plus for those with extreme anxiety, these properties also make it highly addictive and habit forming. Use of longer than four weeks often leads to dependence, withdrawal syndromes, and other troubling side effects.
It is because of K-pin’s intensely relaxing properties that makes it appealing as a drug to abuse. Those with severe anxiety or panic disorders may take more than recommended or take the drug for longer than advised if other prescription drugs fail to have the same calming effects against their symptoms. It is usually only prescribed to those with severe and debilitating anxiety disorders for these reasons.

What are the effects of Klonopin?

Klonopin slows down the function of the central nervous system and causes extreme relaxation and euphoria. These effects make Klonopin a perfect treatment for anxiety. Taking this medicine for more than four weeks, however, can lead to dependence, and may eventually cause abuse and addiction.
Klonopin is also favored among those who use stimulant drugs, such as cocaine since it can counteract some of the high effects. This compounded drug use is especially dangerous, even more so because the large dosage of Klonopin may be needed to counteract the effects of large doses of heroin, cocaine, or other stimulant drugs. Details about Klonopin interactions are vital to remember.
Many users combine K-pin with alcohol to intensify the relaxing effects. This leads to a very real risk of overdose, which leads to severe symptoms such as coma and death.
Up to 96% of people who enter a rehab facility with Klonopin dependence is a poly-substance abuser or someone who uses multiple drugs at once. This makes rehabilitation all the more complicated. Klonopin, like most benzodiazepines, has been shown to induce physical and psychological dependence.

Warning Signs Of Ketamine Addiction

What are the symptoms of Klonopin abuse?

The symptoms of Klonopin abuse include:

  • Staggering gait
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Personality changes or mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Sudden loss of interest in hobbies
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Poor hygiene
  • Secretive behavior
  • Poor school/workplace performance
  • Nosebleeds

There are numerous signs to look out for if one believes that a loved one may be using Klonopin in an abusive way. Since most users are also using another drug or alcohol, symptoms not associated with Klonopin directly may also present themselves, so it’s good to know the more common signs of drug abuse for all drugs. Besides, it is essential to know how long does Klonopin stay in the system.

Symptoms of Klonopin abuse

If some of these symptoms are present set up an appointment with a doctor to prevent addiction:

  • Staggering gait
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sudden changes in personality or intense mood swings
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Sudden loss of interest in activities once loved
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive impairment (may not be reversible)
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Secretive behavior
  • Suffering grades or work performance
  • Nosebleeds

Some or all of these symptoms may be present depending on the drug being used and how severe the drug abuse has gotten. In severe cases of overdose, users may experience:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Drastic changes in body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest, heart attack, stroke
  • Coma and death

If someonehas an addiction to Klonopin or another drug, contact a licensed drug addiction therapist for further instruction on how to seek treatment.

Who’s at Risk?

Those who are prescribed Klonopin are at risk of becoming dependent. Others may also be at risk, namely drug users who take a stimulant drug, depending on a variety of factors. There are some dangers connected with buying Klonopin on the street.
Because Klonopin is most often prescribed for anxiety disorders, those who have such disorders are most likely to abuse it. Veterans, for instance, are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. They may be prescribed Klonopin to help alleviate their symptoms, but the results are not permanent, and drug abuse may occur as an attempt to reduce their anxiety. Those who are in professional careers are also more likely to abuse prescription anxiety medications, especially those who have high-stress jobs.

Klonopin Statistics

  • In the year 2011, more than 75 thousand individuals were admitted to an emergency room because of Klonopin abuse or complications.
  • Those between the ages of 18 and 25 have a higher reported usage of painkillers for non-medicinal use than any other age group.
  • There were over 60 thousand people in addiction treatment facilities for benzodiazepines in 2008.

Seeking Treatment

Treatment for Klonopin addiction is sometimes complicated, especially when addiction to other drugs simultaneously is a factor, as it often is. Detoxification from all drugs has to take place, which means intense and often painful withdrawal symptoms may be experienced by the user. In some cases, withdrawal from K-pin can lead to severe problems, including coma and death. Detoxification from drugs should be done under the supervision of medical professionals who can assess the situation and provide emergency medical intervention if needed.

What are the treatments for Klonopin addiction?

Drug addiction treatment methods include detoxification programs, counseling sessions, and peer support groups. It is best to enroll in an inpatient rehab facility where medical professionals can effectively manage the dangerous withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin addiction, as well as the addiction’s underlying conditions.
This is usually more easily accomplished in an inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation facilities. Once detoxification has taken place, counseling and peer support is offered in a safe environment to help promote lasting change that will help users stay clean and sober over the long-term. These are usually followed by outpatient support groups and counseling with drug and alcohol addiction counseling specialists.

Page Sources

  1. Wang S. M,. Kim J. B., Sakong J. K., et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Clonazepam in Patients with Anxiety Disorder Taking Newer Antidepressants: A Multicenter Naturalistic Study. Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience. 2016; 14(2): 177–183. doi:10.9758/cpn.2016.14.2.177. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4857865/.
  2. Kacirova I., Grundmann M., Silhan P., Brozmanova H. A Case Report of Clonazepam Dependence: Utilization of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring During Withdrawal Period. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016; 95(9):e2881. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000002881. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4782857/.
  3. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration. KLONOPIN TABLETS (clonazepam). 2017. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/017533s059lbl.pdf.

Published on: October 2nd, 2015

Updated on: December 18th, 2019

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.


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