Klonopin Abuse Information

Understanding Klonopin Addiction

Learn About Klonopin Addiction & Abuse

Klonopin, which is the brand name for the generic drug clonazepam, is a prescription medication that is used to treat panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, and seizure disorders. Falling under the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, Klonopin is also frequently used to treat individuals who have difficulty sleeping or who are experiencing the uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Klonopin essentially works by reducing brain activity and creating a calming effect. While this effect can be extremely relieving for individuals who are suffering from anxiety or any of the other ailments that Klonopin is meant to treat, it can also be an extremely appealing sensation for individuals who do not possess a medical need for the substance.

In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-5), an addiction to Klonopin would be classified as one type of sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder. It can also be referred to as Klonopin use disorder. When an individual has developed a pattern of abusing this substance in such a manner that it becomes problematic and leads to clinical impairment or distress, he or she has likely developed Klonopin use disorder. Once this has occurred, the individual may struggle to function appropriately in all aspects of his or her life. And while it can be a difficult addiction to overcome, there are treatment options available that can help stop the cycle of Klonopin abuse.


Klonopin Abuse Statistics

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) reports that 0.2% of adults aged 18 and older and 0.3% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are affected by sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder. Regarding Klonopin specifically, statistics offering the number of people who abuse it are lacking. However, IMS Health reports that, in the year 2009, approximately 24.4 million Klonopin prescriptions were filled. Another study that was conducted in 2009, this time by the National Survey for Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), reported that an estimated 20.4 million people aged 12 and older reported using different types of benzodiazepines, including Klonopin, for solely recreational purposes.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Klonopin Abuse

The causes and risk factors that can impact why an individual may develop Klonopin use disorder are discussed briefly in the following:

Genetic: The APA reports that an individual’s hereditary background is an especially prominent factor when considering the origins of an addiction to an anxiolytic like Klonopin. If someone has a family history of Klonopin abuse, or the abuse of another type of benzodiazepine, his or her risk for developing a similar substance abuse problem is heightened.

Environmental: The widespread use of pharmaceutical medications, such as Klonopin, is believed to lie predominantly in the fact that they are so readily available. It is not difficult for an individual to obtain a prescription for Klonopin, nor is it difficult to find someone else who may already possess the medication, so the chances of someone beginning to abuse the substance are increased when he or she is immersed in that type of environment.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of benzodiazepine abuse
  • Family history of other types of substance abuse and addiction
  • Suffering from a condition that warrants receiving a prescription for Klonopin
  • Possessing an impulsive personality
  • Having a novelty-seeking temperament
  • Being surrounded by family members or peers who use Klonopin or other substances
  • Ease of access with which one can obtain Klonopin
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Being female (The APA notes that females are at a greater likelihood for experiencing the onset of sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use disorder.)

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Klonopin Abuse

The symptoms that may be displayed by someone who is abusing Klonopin can vary from person to person, but may include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Decline in performance at work or school
  • Being repeatedly absent from work or school
  • Engaging in disinhibited behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Visiting multiple doctors in order to receive multiple prescriptions for Klonopin
  • Spending less time with family and friends
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home
  • No longer taking part in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyed

Physical symptoms:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Rapid, involuntary eye movement
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Unsteady gait
  • Sleep disturbances

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Impaired memory
  • Cravings for Klonopin
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Impaired judgment
  • Lack of awareness of one’s surroundings

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Mood lability
  • Periods of emotional detachment
  • Depression
  • Mild euphoria
  • Irritability and agitation


Effects of Klonopin Abuse

There are a number of negative effects associated with the abuse of Klonopin. Examples of such effects can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Drop in academic performance, possibly resulting in academic failure, suspension, or expulsion
  • Drop in occupational performance, possibly resulting in demotion or unemployment
  • Onset of new mental health condition symptoms
  • Worsening of preexisting mental health condition symptoms
  • Obtaining injuries or getting into accidents as a result of engaging in high-risk behaviors while taking Klonopin
  • Legal ramifications from being caught forging prescriptions for Klonopin or for stealing the medication from others
  • Disturbances within important relationships
  • Hypotension
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cognitive decline
  • Beginning to abuse other types of drugs or alcohol
  • Decline in one’s overall physical health

Co-Occurring Disorders

Klonopin Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

Individuals who are struggling with Klonopin use disorder may also simultaneously struggle with the symptoms of other co-occurring mental health disorders. Examples of such disorders can include:

  • Tobacco use disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Panic disorder
  • Other anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder

Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Klonopin Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Klonopin withdrawal: When the use of Klonopin is suddenly ceased, an individual may experience an uncomfortable period of withdrawal as his or her body struggles to become used to the lack of the substance. Various signs and effects of Klonopin withdrawal can include:

  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Excessive anxiety
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Brief auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations

Effects of Klonopin overdose: Overdosing on Klonopin can occur when an individual ingests more of the substance than his or her body is capable of metabolizing. In the event of a Klonopin overdose, emergency medical treatment should be sought immediately. Signs that could indicate that someone has overdosed on Klonopin may include:

  • Depression of the respiratory system
  • Sedation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Complete loss of coordination
  • Blurred vision
  • Losing consciousness

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