If you suffer from anxiety or panic disorders, certain benzodiazepine medications may be available to you to help ease your symptoms. However, when taken over a long period of time, benzodiazepines can be very dangerous to your brain and body. Medications like Klonopin (clonazepam), while helpful to those who need them, must be taken with precautions.
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin, as already mentioned, is a type of benzodiazepine, or “benzo” for short. These medications decrease abnormal activity in the brain. In this case, Klonopin helps by decreasing the worry and panic that accompanies anxiety disorders. It is also used to ease akathisia (restlessness), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and certain types of seizures, as noted by Medline Plus, a reference site from the National Institutes of Health.
Klonopin's Side Effects
Generally speaking, when one takes Klonopin, he or she will most likely see a reduction in anxiety levels and feel a sense of calm. There are a myriad of short- and long-term side effects of taking Klonopin. Some lesser side effects include:
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Unsteadiness or problem with coordination
- Muscle pain
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty thinking
- Decreased sex drive
- Impaired cognitive functions with memory
- Possible hallucinations
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Any benzodiazepine like Klonopin carries with it the potential for addiction, which is why these medications are only prescribed for short-term use. However, that does not mean one cannot become addicted after using it for a short time. The dosage and frequency of using the drug often correlate to the risk of dependency or addiction. For this reason, it is highly important that a person uses Klonopinas directed by a physician and also pays attention to his or her reaction to the drug. More serious side effects can include rash, hives, confusion, psychosis, seizures, and dsyphoria.
When one becomes addicted to Klonopin, it may be hard for that person to see a way to cope without using the drug. Tolerance can develop, causing the need for higher doses in order to feel the same effect or leading to poly-substance abuse (using other drugs or alcohol in combination with Klonopin). With tolerance and addiction, the user becomes dependent on the substance and will continue using despite consequences with relationships, school or work. There is a certain element of preoccupation about the drug that follows addiction, in such that a person will find they are constantly thinking about the drug and ways to obtain it. This may show in the form of forging prescriptions or buying them illegally.
Long-term Klonopin use also has its share of problems on the body. According to PsyWeb, continued use of Klonopin can result in sexual dysfunction, cognitive impairment, and depression. For those with existing depressive disorders, Klonopin can exacerbate depressive symptoms or cause a person to experience suicidal thoughts or tendencies. It should also be noted that abruptly stopping Klonopin use can carry with it the risk of sudden death and very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like depression, seizures, nausea, vomiting, irritability, and panic attacks, based on information by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
How to Get Help for Klonopin Addiction
If you or someone you know has an addiction to Klonopin, it’s important to NOT stop using the medication due to the problems associated with abrupt discontinuation of use. You may want to wean off the medication but it is crucial to seek the help of a qualified professional. Additionally, addiction can have many psychological side effects and triggers that can be best helped by addiction treatment, such as the program found at Alta Mira. Addiction is a terrible illness and we’re here to help get you through this. Call us now to learn more about our treatment programs and how Alta Mira Recovery can help you achieve sobriety.