Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can be psychologically and physically distressing, however, they are necessary for your recovery. Klonopin withdrawal symptoms arise when you suddenly stop taking Klonopin after regular, long-term use because your body develops a high tolerance for the drug.
Knowing what to expect, what will happen to your body, and how to ease some of the discomfort will help you rid yourself of this controlled substance. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of Klonopin withdrawal syndrome, its symptoms, and the different options to help ease them. We’ll also discuss how to stop Klonopin withdrawals, how to start your journey of long-term recovery from substance abuse, and how to avoid relapsing after completing your Klonopin withdrawal treatment.
What Is Klonopin Withdrawal?
Klonopin or clonazepam belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. They are tranquilizers and depressants that work on the central nervous system by producing a sedative effect on the brain.
Benzodiazepine drugs are generally prescribed to treat mental health problems like panic disorders, seizures, and insomnia. Klonopin helps battle these disorders by slowing down the brain and bodily functions linked to stress and anxiety.
They are supposed to be consumed in small doses for a short period as long-term drug interactions can cause Klonopin dependence that can either be physical, psychological, or both. Even when consumed in prescribed doses, patient dependency on the drug can develop.
Abruptly discontinuing Klonopin intake can result in adverse Klonopin withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening and dangerous. Drug Abuse Warning Network stated that in 2011 over 60,000 people who used Klonopin for non-medical, recreational purposes had to seek emergency medical care when they attempted to discontinue its use.
Though the severity of the symptoms varies from person to person, you must always seek medical help instead of quitting Klonopin cold turkey at home.
Effects Of Klonopin on Your System
Benzodiazepines like Klonopin have a tranquilizing and calming effect on your brain. With regular and prolonged use, your brain and body get used to the constant presence of Klonopin in your system. Over time, the chemical balance of your brain changes so that it can adapt to the altered and increased sensitivity of your neurotransmitters and ensure the optimal functioning of your brain. Subsequently, this can lead to Klonopin dependence and addiction such that your body ceases to perform without its presence in your system.
Side Effects of Klonopin
Although Klonopin is a benzodiazepine prescribed for treating clinical anxiety and insomnia, it also has some side effects. Some of them include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Dizziness and drowsiness
- Loss of appetite and weakness
- Upset stomach
- Sore gums
- Dry mouth and runny nose
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor memory
- Blurred vision
Causes of Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
When you abruptly decide to quit using Klonopin, your brain is thrown off balance. Klonopin withdrawal symptoms are your brain’s way of coping with the sudden loss of Klonopin in your body. However distressing and difficult they may get, these symptoms are an essential part of your recovery from Klonopin addiction. Depending on the amount and duration of drug intake, symptoms could be brief and mild or long-lasting and severe.
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Klonopin consumption must never be stopped abruptly without medical guidance as it can cause fatal seizures, coma, and other life-threatening symptoms.
Generally, the symptoms begin to wean off after two weeks, but in some cases, prolonged withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin can persist, especially in people who undergo post-acute withdrawal syndrome.
While the intensity and severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary based on several factors, they usually happen in two stages: prolonged and acute withdrawal.
Prolonged Withdrawal Symptoms of Klonopin
- Anxiety and restlessness
Acute Withdrawal Symptoms of Klonopin
- Headache, vomiting, and nausea
- Trouble focusing
- Anxiety and irritability
- Numbness, stiffness, or muscle pain
- Rapid heartbeat and palpitations
- Weight and appetite loss
- Panic attacks and hand tremors
- Nightmares and disturbed sleep
Although rare, patients can also experience short-term memory loss or problems with hand-eye coordination.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms of Klonopin
Your body struggles whenever there is a sudden excess as well as an abrupt decrease of Klonopin in your body. Physical withdrawal symptoms are a consequence of your nervous system adapting to the sudden decline in Klonopin.
Here are some physical manifestations of benzodiazepine withdrawal:
- Dizziness or unsteadiness
- Headaches, tremors, and sweating
- Muscle spasms, aches, and pains
- Blurred vision
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of appetite and weight
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Drug cravings
- Nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms of Klonopin
One of the main reasons for Klonopin addiction is the euphoric feelings the drug causes. After experiencing such highs, it can be hard to stop or reduce the dosage as it would mean the end of the calming and relaxing sensations it provides.
Cutting down on the dosage can lead to psychological withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin which include:
- Hallucinations, anxiety, and panic attacks
- Confusion and irritability
- Irrational anger and hostility
- Lack of motivation and drastic mood swings
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulties concentrating
- Panic attacks and depression
- Drug cravings
Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms
Here are some common Klonopin protracted withdrawal symptoms:
About 10-15% of heavy benzodiazepine users go through protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). They generally occur after acute withdrawal and can go on for months or even years.
Anxiety can continue for many months after withdrawal and can even go on for 1 to 2 years. Users might find it hard to cope with stressful situations post-withdrawal and may need other coping mechanisms and non-pharmacologic interventions to manage their anxiety.
Depression is one of the commonly experienced clonazepam withdrawal symptoms which can persist for months.
This refers to a feeling of numbness or tingling sensations in the arms and legs. It generally occurs as an after-effect of hyperventilation. This can persist for months or years after withdrawal, especially in heavy benzodiazepine users. Some major symptoms associated with this are restless legs or violent muscle jerking while sleeping or while awake.
Gastrointestinal symptoms include irregular and irritable bowel movements or upset stomach. While in some cases, these can disappear after a few weeks. In other cases, they can continue to trouble the user for longer periods.
It’s also common to experience rebound symptoms while undergoing recovery from withdrawal. If the reason for taking Klonopin was to treat an anxiety and panic disorder, you might notice them coming back. Rebound symptoms are generally severe during the initial withdrawal stage. Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons for relapse in most people, making them stop their withdrawal attempts too early.
Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline
The timeline of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms depends on the type of drug used and the quantity and duration of the dosage. Since Klonopin has a relatively long half-life, the symptoms generally peak after two weeks before subsiding.
Here’s a general timeline of Klonopin withdrawal symptoms:
The first signs of symptoms appear 1 to 3 days after the last dose. They include difficulty sleeping, mood changes, and anxiety. You may also experience some rebound symptoms like insomnia.
During this time, the symptoms tend to peak in intensity. Higher anxiety and irritability levels are the most noticeable ones. People who quit cold turkey may experience hallucinations, seizures, and body tremors.
In three to four weeks, withdrawal symptoms will usually start to taper off. However, symptoms like anxiety and headaches can persist. While some days may be harder than others, the worst is generally over at this point.
Mild withdrawal symptoms can continue for up to 3 months after your last dose. People with severe addictions may continue to experience noticeable symptoms. In such cases, tapering off the doses can help prevent prolonged withdrawal symptoms.
Factors Affecting Klonopin Withdrawal
The duration of Klonopin intake is the primary factor that affects the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The longer the drug was consumed, the harder and more complicated the symptoms.
The amount of Klonopin consumed is the second factor affecting withdrawal. The smaller the doses, the easier the recovery process is going to be. Apart from these, a person’s body type, biological make-up, or earlier medical condition make up additional factors affecting recovery. Here are some of the prominent individual variables:
Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders
Co-occurring mental health issues could be insomnia, anxiety, and Klonopin addiction. In such cases, all the symptoms must be treated simultaneously by giving equal attention to each of the disorders.
Older individuals have higher chances of experiencing more severe symptoms.
To recover from any illness, you must be in the best of health. This is true for Klonopin detoxification as well. If you have any pre-existing physical or mental health problems, recovery may be more difficult and prolonged.
Other Substance Abuse Issues
If you’re battling an addiction to other substances, your recovery can be more complicated. Some patients drink alcohol and take Klonopin to magnify the drug’s effect. Whether it’s alcoholism, an addiction to other prescription drugs, or both, you should talk to your doctor and provide a complete and honest account of your mental and physical state. Be open about all medication, substance abuse issues, and other health-related concerns you have. Your recovery depends on it.
Some people are sensitive to certain medicines. Before beginning any form of treatment, inform your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies so that they can make necessary and appropriate adjustments.
Genetics plays a huge role in the severity of your symptoms. If you have a family history of substance abuse and addiction, there are high chances of developing Klonopin withdrawal symptoms even if you only consume prescribed doses. If you have a predisposition for addiction, the recovery process can be more challenging.
The more times you relapse and take Klonopin, the more difficult recovery will be. Your patient history can also include past traumas or illnesses which could negatively impact your recovery.
How Long Does Klonopin Withdrawal Symptom Last?
Although the exact duration and severity of Klonopin withdrawal symptoms depends on various factors and varies from person to person, it can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months.
Acute withdrawal lasts between 2 to 4 weeks while post-acute withdrawal can last for 18 to 24 months. The intensity of the symptoms changes during recovery. They are generally mild in the beginning, gradually increase until they peak, and eventually subside.
What is Klonopin Detox?
Klonopin detox refers to the process of recovering from Klonopin addiction which involves distressing withdrawal symptoms.
A medically supervised detox process usually entails reducing the dosage slowly and in batches to lessen the impacts of withdrawal and delay its symptoms.
Doses are initially reduced by 10-25% every 1 or 2 weeks until the person recovers completely. The tapering off process can take weeks or even months to complete.
Can You Undergo Klonopin Detox at Home?
Suddenly stopping benzodiazepines like Klonopin can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. Never undergo Klonopin detox at home as the consequences can be dangerous or fatal.
Even if you don’t notice any harmful symptoms like seizures, the likelihood of encountering depression and suicidal thoughts is high. These conditions can lead to self-harm if you haven’t placed yourself under medical supervision during detox.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome
If you’ve been habitually abusing Klonopin, there are high possibilities of experiencing benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which is even riskier and more unpredictable than general Klonopin withdrawal symptoms. This can cause your condition to deteriorate quickly and unnecessarily prolong your recovery.
These are some of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome:
- Heart palpitations
- Memory loss
To avoid unwanted health complications, it’s always best to undergo withdrawal and addiction treatment at designated treatment centers. They not only lessen the impacts of withdrawal but also lower the chances of a relapse.
Klonopin Withdrawal Treatment
Klonopin withdrawal must always be undertaken in a medically supervised detox center or a rehab program. Not only does this increase your chances for recovery and lessen the discomfort of withdrawal, but it can also help prevent chances of relapse. Many detox programs and treatment methods are available to assist people struggling with Klonopin withdrawal symptoms.
Additionally, you can also join support groups like Narcotics Anonymous or start individual therapy during your recovery or after detox to figure out and find solutions to the issues that caused addiction in the first place.
Here are some treatment options and available detox programs:
Inpatient treatments provide 24-hour support and supervision as you go through withdrawal. Substance abuse treatment can last anywhere between a month to 3 months or sometimes even longer. Group therapy, individual therapy, aftercare treatments, and rehabilitation activities are some of the services offered during inpatient treatment.
While some rehab programs offer detox facilities along with therapies, others only take in patients who have already undergone detox at a previous addiction center. These treatment programs can help patients stay away from the environment and situations that may trigger drug use. Most inpatient treatment centers also offer medications to assist with Klonopin Withdrawals.
Detox centers have trained and dedicated medical professionals to supervise and monitor the patients throughout their recovery process. These professionals not only assist patients undergoing withdrawal symptoms, but they are also vigilant about their patients’ conditions and provide immediate care in case of complications. Most detox centers don’t offer services beyond the detox process.
Outpatient treatment programs allow patients to go about their daily life and responsibilities while undergoing treatment. Patients can live in their houses during outpatient treatment. The intensity of treatment depends on many factors.
The only requirement is that patients should be available for treatment for a few hours a week on specific days. Certain outpatient treatment centers even assist people with mild withdrawal symptoms during detox.
In dual diagnosis treatments, mental health issues and substance abuse are treated simultaneously to prevent relapse during sobriety.
Sometimes, the road to recovery can be a long process that lasts for months after the initial treatment is completed. In such cases, support groups can be great options for long-term and aftercare treatment. Since support groups gather together people who are going through similar situations, they can be great places for discussing treatments and sharing goals and challenges.
Is Klonopin Withdrawal Deadly?
If not treated appropriately in a medically supervised detox center, the risks of death from acute Klonopin withdrawal symptoms like seizures and hallucinations are high.
Conclusion: Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms Are Necessary for Recovery
For complete healing and recovery from Klonopin addiction and dependence, patients must go through the painful process of dealing with its withdrawal symptoms. Since Klonopin has a long half-life, there are high chances of undergoing withdrawal symptoms even when consumed in prescribed doses. It therefore pays to be extra vigilant for any signs of addiction while taking it.
Never attempt to go cold turkey at home as withdrawal symptoms can be potentially life-threatening if not done in a medically supervised rehab program. Now that you’re aware of the challenges and treatments involved, you’re in a better position to handle detoxification and ultimately, recovery.