By nature, Klonopin is not a sinister substance. This brand-name of the prescription drug, clonazepam, can successfully prevent seizures and combat severe anxiety disorders. But when taken over extended periods of time, or when the dosages are left unchecked, Klonopin starts to lose its therapeutic effects. It’s disheartening to watch someone fall into a Klonopin addiction, as many users first take the drug to treat one condition, only to find themselves facing a new host of problems.
How Klonopin Addiction Develops
Klonopin differs from other drugs of abuse because the initial decision to start using is often not a personal choice. Most heavy Klonopin users were first prescribed the powerful narcotic by a doctor. When prescribed and used correctly, Klonopin can quell anxiety from panic attacks and reduce seizures and muscle spasms. The drug works by slowing down parts of the central nervous system, which induces feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Because of its potency, most doctors prescribe the drug to be taken for less than a month. After four weeks, patients may start to experience dangerous symptoms of dependence and withdrawal.
For most users, an addiction to the drug develops gradually, with the medical benefits of the drug decreasing as the physical dependence increases. As users start to use more than the recommended dosage of Klonopin, the body begins to adjust to the drug and develops a tolerance. The user starts to need more and more of the substance to reach the same levels of relaxation, or they may compound their drug use with alcohol to feel the desired effect. Alcohol strengthens Klonopin’s calming properties, but also augments the risk of overdose, coma, and death.
Once a Klonopin addiction has taken hold, it can be incredibly difficult to overcome. Heavy users often experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they cease regular use, including:
- Heart palpitations
- Changes in mood and behavior
- Changes in appetite
- Muscle aches
- Memory loss
Perhaps worst of all, users find it impossible to feel normal without the drug, and rely on the substance just to get through the day without experiencing debilitating anxiety. It’s a Catch-22; users need Klonopin to combat their anxiety, but the Klonopin only exacerbates their condition.
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The Importance of Comprehensive Treatment
Once a person is stuck in a destructive feedback loop of worsening anxiety and addiction, it can be hard to imagine coping without the drug. Many users fear that if they bring up their addiction to a professional they’ll be forced to go cold turkey and deal with the onslaught on anxiety and withdrawal symptoms on their own. Fortunately, that is not the case. It is possible to treat anxiety disorders and Klonopin addiction without the use of other habit-forming drugs. Qualified residential treatment programs will simultaneously address prescription drug abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Good treatment programs focus not just on facilitating addiction recovery, but on remedying the underlying causes of the substance abuse for lasting healing.
If you have any questions about Klonopin addiction or co-incurring mental disorders, please contact us today. We can provide information to help you or your loved one begin the healing process.