- Knolpin Withdrawal Symptoms
- Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline
- Clonazepam Withdrawal Risks
- Tapering Off Klonopin
- Klonopin Addiction Treatment
While benzodiazepines like Klonopin are medically useful, these prescription drugs are also known to be habit-forming, with physical dependence developing after only a few weeks of continuous use.
Once dependence develops, you may experience a variety of uncomfortable or even potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms when you do stop using the drug.
For this reason, healthcare providers routinely advise that benzodiazepine-dependent patients participate in a tapering program, instead of detoxing cold turkey.
Benzodiazepines like clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) are central nervous system depressants and sedatives that act by increasing the activity of the inhibitory gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain.
This makes them an effective short-term treatment option for seizure disorders, panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and acute alcohol withdrawal.
Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
Clonazepam withdrawal can trigger both physical and psychological effects, some of which can be dangerous or, in rare cases, life-threatening in the absence of medical supervision.
Potential physical symptoms of withdrawal from clonazepam include:
- blurred vision
- feeling lightheaded
- impaired coordination and motor functions
- increased blood pressure
- irregular heart rate or heart palpitations
- muscle spasms and cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- stomach pain
Potential psychological symptoms of withdrawal from clonazepam may include:
- anger and hostility
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulty feeling pleasure
- mood swings
- drug cravings
- feelings of detachment from yourself or reality
- feelings of panic or panic attacks
- lack of motivation
- mental confusion
- nightmares and sleep disturbances
- short-term memory loss
- suicidal thoughts and actions
Clonazepam Withdrawal Timeline
Benzodiazepine withdrawal typically involves three distinct phases: early withdrawal, acute withdrawal, and protracted withdrawal.
While experiences vary greatly, these stages likely progress over the following generalized timeline.
1-4 Days After Last Dose
Because clonazepam has a relatively long elimination half-life of 18-50 hours, early withdrawal symptoms do not usually emerge until 1-3 days after an individual’s last dose.
These initial symptoms, which result from the medication’s effects wearing off, may include short-term rebound anxiety and insomnia or difficulty sleeping.
4-10 Days After Last Dose
Varied acute withdrawal symptoms, listed above, may begin and intensify during this time as the drug is fully eliminated from the body. Symptoms may be more or less severe depending on the individual and their level of dependence.
These acute symptoms generally peak around one week after clonazepam discontinuation, before gradually easing off as the body establishes a new internal balance.
10-14 Days After Last Dose
In many cases, withdrawal symptoms will likely resolve within two weeks after discontinuation. However, symptoms of anxiety or panic may reemerge without an alternative treatment.
Benzodiazepine Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome (PWS) or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) refer to uncommon situations in which certain withdrawal symptoms persist or recur after tapering/detox has concluded.
These intermittent symptoms, which may include cravings, gastrointestinal discomfort, feelings of pins and needles, or other psychological symptoms of withdrawal, likely resolve within 6 – 18 months depending on the individual.
PWS/PAWS is thought to be caused by the effects of high doses of benzodiazepines causing functional changes to receptors in the brain.
It is also more likely to occur after abuse of clonazepam and other long-acting benzos like diazepam (Valium) rather than short-acting alternatives like alprazolam (Xanax).
Risk Factors For Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
There are certain factors which increase the risk that you will experience withdrawal symptoms that are unusually severe or dangerous while detoxing or tapering from clonazepam.
- age and overall health
- clonazepam dosage
- how long you’ve taken clonazepam
- clonazepam/Klonopin addiction
- other alcohol/drug abuse
- co-occurring mental health disorders
- genetics and personal factors
- environment and support
Clonazepam Withdrawal Taper
Benzodiazepine withdrawal is a potentially dangerous undertaking, which is why medical professionals recommend a slow, steady tapering program to spread out the withdrawal process over a longer period of time, or to avoid major withdrawal symptoms entirely.
As a general rule, clonazepam tapering schedules involve reducing a participant’s dosage by .25 mg/week until the drug is fully eliminated.
However, each individual is different, and treatment providers should closely monitor participants for withdrawal effects and overall comfort.
Some people may benefit from a faster and more aggressive discontinuation schedule, while others may need a much more gradual dose reduction in order to remain comfortable and confident during the process.
Medical Detox & Addiction Treatment
Because benzodiazepines like clonazepam are often abused with other drugs to increase or moderate their effects, it’s common for those seeking treatment for clonazepam dependence to also need professional substance abuse treatment.
Clonazepam addiction, a type of substance use disorder, is a treatable medical condition that begins with medical detox and/or a tapering program.
Treatment services may include:
- behavioral therapy
- individual or group counseling
- peer support groups
- medication-assisted treatment (for alcohol or opioid use disorders)
- contingency management
- aftercare support
If you or a loved one struggles with clonazepam abuse or addiction, please consider reaching out to the experts at Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today.
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.