Klonopin (the most common brand name for Clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine drug that is often abused and can become both physiologically and psychologically addictive. Classified as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, Clonazepam is a prescription drug that may be used medicinally or recreationally.
Doctors prescribe Clonazepam for the treatment of panic disorders, epilepsy and some of the pain associated with multiple sclerosis. When acquired on the street, the tablets may be called K-Pins, Tranks or Downers. Those who take the drug typically report sensations similar to those induced by Xanax, including relaxation, enhanced well-being and euphoria. Some describe the high as similar to being drunk.
Whether acquired for a medical use or for recreational purposes, Clonazepam causes users to build up a tolerance to its pleasant effects fairly quickly. Consequently, 1 in 3 people who take the drug start increasing the dosage in order to induce the euphoria they enjoyed at lower doses in the earlier stages, and from here it is not difficult to see how an addiction develops.
Klonopin addiction causes many of the same warning signs associated with other drugs of abuse, especially those in the benzodiazepine class. For example, loved ones may be distressed by the user's mood swings, notice new reclusiveness, and observe that the person seems disconnected at times. Meanwhile, addicts themselves may notice symptoms like insomnia, increasing obsession with taking the drug, and reliance on Clonazepam for confidence or interest in socializing.
Anyone who abuses Clonazepam can experience problems with physical and mental health, whether or not an addiction has developed. Studies show that it only takes about two weeks of continued abuse to induce lethargy, low sex drive, bursts of anger, impaired motor control (sometimes leading to dangerous driving), and slowed cognitive function.
Eventually, the drug often stops causing euphoria and starts causing dysphoria--i.e. the direct opposite experience. The anxiety and low mood associated with dysphoria can then dramatically impact on one's career, relationships and social life.
Klonopin addiction is also linked to increased risk of cardiovascular problems and liver disease. There are also reported cases of accidental overdose in which respiratory depression, coma and death may result.
If a Clonazepam users becomes worried about addiction, there can be a strong temptation to try and detox from the drug in the privacy of the home environment. However, it must be stressed that detoxing at home is rarely successful, as withdrawal effects are often too intense to tolerate (leading to almost immediate relapse).
In addition, there are risks associated with rapid withdrawal, including psychosis, aggression and seizures. Therefore, the only smart way to detox from Clonazepam is in the safety of a drug treatment center, where a dedicated team of doctors and nurses will conduct an inpatient medical detox. This process involves slowly and steadily reducing drug intake in order to minimize withdrawal symptoms, and medications may also be administered to control some of the worst symptoms.
Following detox, all Klonopin addicts are strongly encouraged to continue inpatient treatment in the form of a customized therapy plan that addresses the reasons for addiction and the development of coping strategies that guard against relapse. The goal of this treatment is for the recovering addict to emerge from the facility armed with the self-knowledge and skills that maximize the chances of long-term sobriety.