Klonopin Addiction and Abuse

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

It’s frightening to think that you or a loved one might be facing a drug addiction. Terrifying, even. Recovery is a road with many ups and downs, one that doesn’t always follow a straight line. 

But when you get down to it, the cost of living with drug addiction is too high, fiscally and emotionally, for you or your loved ones to keep running the risk. 

Keep reading for everything you need to know about Klonopin addiction and abuse, including abuse demographics, signs of abuse, and the risks of Klonopin addiction. 

Klonopin Addiction Statistics

Klonopin is the trade name for clonazepam, a minor tranquilizer used to prevent and control seizures.

It’s also used to prevent and control panic attacks, on the same basic premise as Xanax. Unlike antidepressants, which are taken daily, these drugs are taken to spot-treat oncoming attacks. Because of this, Klonopin is only prescribed on a short-term, as-needed basis. 

It’s part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, or benzos. These drugs are highly addictive, which is why they’re classified as a schedule IV drug by the DEA and only prescribed for short-term use. 

Nonetheless, addiction to Klonopin is still a very real problem. Let’s take a closer look at the addiction statistics for Klonopin. 

General Statistics on Addiction to Klonopin

According to the 2013 National Survey for Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2 million people first tried psychotherapeutic drugs within a year of completing the survey. 

That’s about 5,500 new users each day. 

Demographics

Those are scary numbers, but when you break it down, who exactly is abusing Klonopin? 

Young adults aged 18 to 29 report the highest rates of benzodiazepine abuse, primarily those who participate in club scenes. However, adults aged 45 to 54 had the most emergency department visits for benzodiazepine abuse. 

That said, some abusers are younger. About 6.9% of high school seniors reported abusing a minor tranquilizer like Klonopin in 2015, and that the drug does sometimes make an appearance at raves, parties, or even at school. 

In addition, benzodiazepine abusers were more likely than others to report abuse of a second substance. Of all those abusers who reported abuse of a second substance, most of them stated that benzodiazepines were their secondary drug, while a different substance was their primary drug of choice. 

Signs of Klonopin Abuse

If you’re worried that you or a loved one has a drug problem, it’s important to understand and spot the signs of abuse when they arise. After all, it’s often easier to handle an addiction if it’s caught in the early stages. 

Klonopin is an immediate-acting benzodiazepine, which means it takes effect right away and can hold off a seizure for several hours after taking the drug. This is because of the active ingredient, clonazepam. 

How Clonazepam Works

The elimination half-life refers to how long it takes for half a dose of a drug to leave your system. Clonazepam has a long elimination half-life running around 30 to 40 hours, which can vary based on your age, dosage level, weight, the frequency of use, and other factors. 

This means it takes one to two days for half a dose of clonazepam to leave your system. It takes about six to nine days to leave your system entirely. However, some doctors think clonazepam has a wider-ranging half-life, which means it could take up to 14 days to leave your system. 

Clonazepam’s half-life is part of why the drug is a popular choice for abuse. Users feel the effects within an hour of taking the drug, and the high lasts anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. 

Effects of Klonopin

Like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin provides a feeling of euphoria and relaxation (remember, it’s prescribed as an anti-seizure and anti-anxiety medication). 

This can create major sleepiness throughout the day, difficulty remembering things that happened after taking the drug, lack of coordination, delayed reaction time, and slurred speech. 

Unfortunately, it can also create feelings of depression, as the brain stops producing as much of the neurotransmitter GABA once abuse starts. It can also create increased aggression when off the drug as mood regulation slips out of hand. 

Prolonged abuse can even create psychotic symptoms such as paranoia or hallucinations. 

These symptoms may be subtle at first but will become more obvious over time as drug use increases to make up for rising dependence and tolerance. 

Am I Addicted?

If you’re wondering whether you or a loved one might be addicted, you’re probably facing a frightening question. There’s a chance that you started taking this medication for legitimate medical reasons and didn’t notice when it started to get out of hand. 

Start by asking (and honestly answering) one simple question: does this drug control you? 

Do you structure your days around your next hit? Do you spend most of your time thinking about when or where your next high will come? Do you neglect your responsibilities and break promises in favor of getting high? Do you need the drug to get through the day? 

The key is to be honest with yourself. 

Many addicts sustain their addiction for so long because they convince themselves that they’re the ones in control. They could stop if they wanted to. They will stop…tomorrow. 

You know, deep down, whether you’re lying to yourself about your state of affairs. You know whether you’re really in control. The first step to regaining control is being honest with yourself. 

Dangers of Klonopin Abuse

When you get down to it, the dangers of prolonged Klonopin abuse are too great to ever be worth the high. 

One of the major risks of Klonopin abuse is depression, both psychological and physical (the drug acts as a central nervous system depressant). This can create respiratory issues which put the user at serious medical risk. 

Ironically, prolonged Klonopin abuse can even cause a major rebound in anxiety or seizures. This is because the drug is no longer effective in treating the original problem and the body reacts as though there isn’t any drug in effect at all. 

That’s on top of withdrawal syndrome, which will only get worse the longer you continue taking the drug. 

Are You Fighting Klonopin Addiction and Abuse?

If you or a loved one are fighting Klonopin addiction and abuse, you’ve taken an important first step in reading this. You’ve acknowledged that there may be a problem. 

That’s a frightening first step, but you don’t have to walk the road to recovery on your own. 

Click here to find drug and alcohol recovery centers near you. Or get in touch with one of our addiction specialists to see how we can help. 

You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Don’t give your addiction the power to hold you back. 

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.