48.5 million Americans misuse or abuse both illegal and prescription drugs. While the opioid epidemic may receive the biggest headlines, it’s far from the only medication that gets misused.
Klonopin is a prescription medication that is used in the treatment of many common conditions. It’s also a drug that many Americans have become addicted to.
In this guide, we’ll learn about this medication in more detail. We’ll discuss how it’s taken, look at more detail about the effect it has on the body and mind.
Read on to get better acquainted with Klonopin.
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a tranquilizer and that’s a very descriptive term. They help to restore calm and alleviate anxiety.
Klonopin belongs to a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines.
Other well-known drugs in the same family include Valium (diazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam). They work by affecting the central nervous system. They can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders and even control muscle spasms.
Klonopin is effective at controlling panic attacks and seizures. It does this by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in the body.
GABA is a neurotransmitter? these are sometimes called the body’s chemical messengers. They’re responsible for the signals sent between neurons. GABA works by reducing the anxiety-causing activity of these neurons.
Klonopin increases GABA levels, leading in turn to reduced anxiety.
How Is It Taken?
The dosage of Klonopin you are prescribed will depend on whether you have taken in before and the severity of your symptoms.
A standard course of action is for your doctor to start you on a low dose and gradually increase it, monitoring your response to the drug.
An initial dose may be 1.5mg per day. This could be spread over three doses of 0.5mg and gradually increased as needed. Children may also be prescribed clonazepam for the treatment of seizures.
Unlike other medications, Klonopin can be taken with or without food. There is also a fast dissolving version of the tablet on the market.
Who Takes It?
People suffering from anxiety attacks, panic attacks, or epilepsy are commonly prescribed Klonopin to help them control their symptoms.
As it also lessens the effect or seizures and can prevent them in less severe cases, it is also prescribed to both adults and children who have a history of seizures.
Mental health professionals may also choose to prescribe clonazepam in conjunction with other treatments. This can include using it alongside anti-psychotic medications to control symptoms, including restlessness and insomnia.
It is also used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. For patients with this condition, it can help to reduce the symptoms of tremor, pain, and spasticity.
As these conditions can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, Klonopin users come from all sections of society.
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A Brief History of Klonopin
The history of the benzodiazepine family of drugs can be traced back to the 1950s. A search for safer medications was underway, to replace drugs previously prescribed that were highly addictive and often caused breathing difficulties.
As part of this research, Klonopin was first developed and patented by the company Hoffman-LaRoche in the 1960s. It has been available as the generic drug clonazepam since the late 1990s.
Consequences of Klonopin Misuse
Klonopin is clearly a powerful sedative and it’s important to understand how it’s affecting your body and mind. Let’s have a look at this in more detail.
Effects on the Mind and Body
As we’ve seen, Klonopin has a variety of uses. It’s used to treat physical symptoms with neurological causes such as seizures and tremors, and also feelings of anxiety and insomnia.
Common effects of Klonopin include:
- Feeling drowsy
- Lack of coordination/poor motor skills
- Relaxation of muscles
- Inhibited emotional responses
Sometimes, there are other less common side-effects that users encounter. These can include:
- Low libido
- Extreme tiredness
In rare cases, breathing difficulties, chest pain and suicidal thoughts can also be a side-effect. In cases like this, you should seek immediate medical help.
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Short-Term and Long-Term Health Effects
In the short term, Klonopin is very effective. These benefits include:
- Prevention of seizures
- Less severe seizures
- Better sleep
- Reduced anxiety
While initially, Klonopin is effective in the treatment of seizures it cannot be used as a long-term solution. This is because the body develops a tolerance to the drug over time, and it is no longer effective.
However, if Klonopin is used in the long-term there are risks, including:
- Dependence or addiction
- Illegal behavior to obtain Klonopin
- Impaired cognitive skills
- Memory problems
- Tolerance, requiring higher doses
The side effects of coming off the drug can be severe, leading users to start using it again. This cycle can be very difficult to break, and treatment at an addiction center may be required to overcome this.
Using Klonopin With Other Drugs
Klonopin can be used safely with some drugs but will interact with others. Before being prescribed Klonopin by your doctor, it’s very important to tell them all the drugs you are currently taking.
This includes telling them about any illegal drugs that you take, as these could interact with Klonopin and lead to serious side effects.
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Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With Klonopin?
It’s unwise to combine alcohol and Klonopin. That’s because they both work on the same parts of the brain, and when combined can cause the side-effects of Klonopin to be stronger.
There is also a greater risk of taking an overdose of Klonopin while under the influence of alcohol. For these reasons, it’s safer not to drink while taking Klonopin.
If you’re experiencing side-effects including depression, it can be tempting to self medicate with natural remedies such as St John’s Wort. However, this can cause an interaction with Klonopin. Seek medical advice before taking any treatment in conjunction with Klonopin.