Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines can be extremely addictive. A physical dependence on the drug can happen in a short amount of time, even when taken as directed and at a lower dose. It is not recommended for long-term use. Since the body and brain can quickly adjust to the medicine, a higher dose may be required to reach the desired calming effects.
Clonazepam use and abuse can also lead to a psychological dependence. Treatment centers like Turning Point of Tampa can treat the symptoms associated with drug abuse or addiction.
Addiction Treatment at Turning Point of Tampa
Turning Point of Tampa is a drug addiction treatment center that has been helping patients for over 30 years. Our compassionate treatment staff help individuals struggling with addiction and substance abuse.
We understand that letting go of self-defeating behaviors and creating new life skills can be difficult and takes time and effort. Our mission at Turning Point of Tampa is to assist you in finding your new life, every step of the way.
To do this, we utilize a 12-step program in addition to therapy, psychiatric evaluation and care, and other disciplines of treatment.
What is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine drug. It is thought that benzodiazepines work by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
Clonazepam is a controlled substance and is only available with a doctor's prescription. Clonazepam medication comes in the form of either an oral tablet or an orally disintegrating tablet.
What Does Clonazepam Treat?
Clonazepam, also known as Klonopin, is medication used to treat seizure disorders such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, myoclonic seizures, akinetic seizures, and absence seizures.
It may also be prescribed to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorders in patients with mental health problems.
Clonazepam is in the benzodiazepine class of drugs. This type of medication affects the central nervous system and causes a calming effect. Benzodiazepines are most often used to treat problems such as anxiety. They are also often used as a sleep aid.
Struggling with Mental Illness
Benzodiazepine drugs may be used for patients struggling with mental illness such as bipolar disorder and can help treat symptoms such as insomnia, racing thoughts, increased activity or irritability. Other uses for these types of drugs include treatment for alcohol withdrawal, seizures, panic attacks, and restless legs syndrome.
Other drugs in this category include
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
How Does Clonazepam Work in the Body?
Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines work by binding to the GABA-benzodiazepine receptor complex and enhancing GABA or gamma aminobutyric acid in the brain.
GABA, which is a naturally occurring amino acid in the brain, is the most common neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It works by blocking certain brain signals and decreasing activity in the nervous system. This process creates a calming effect which helps reduce feelings of anxiety and reduce panic.
Low levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) are often associated with increased symptoms of anxiety, panic disorder, and seizure disorder.
How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?
If a person takes a 0.5 mg tablet clonazepam it typically begins working within an hour and lasts about 8 to 12 hours. The half-life of a 0.5 mg tablet clonazepam is about 30-40 hours meaning that it can take several days to be completely out of the body.
Taking clonazepam inappropriately, especially at high doses or more than the maximum dose can cause extreme sedative effects. Symptoms of clonazepam overdose may include extreme fatigue, confusion, muscle weakness, coma or death.
It is important not to use opioid medication, alcohol, or other medications that can slow breathing along with clonazepam. Using clonazepam with these drugs may increase these symptoms and further slow or stop breathing.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects of clonazepam include:
- Severe drowsiness
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Increased saliva production
Other adverse effects of clonazepam may also include an increase in depression or suicidal ideation and behaviors.
Stopping clonazepam or significantly decreasing the dose too quickly can lead to negative withdrawal reactions. People may experience withdrawal after one missed dose of the drug. To prevent withdrawal, a doctor may lower the dose slowly.
Signs of clonazepam withdrawal include:
- Muscle pain
- Stomach cramps
- Poor concentration
Severe Withdrawal Symptoms
Severe withdrawal symptoms may also include seizures, hallucinations, psychosis, and unusual behaviors.
Consult with a Doctor
It is important to consult with a doctor before stopping or changing doses of this medication. It is best to slowly decrease each dose with a doctor's supervision.
If there is ever any question of taking your next dose, or if there is a concern regarding seizure disorders, call your doctor.
This drug effects the central nervous system and if the maximum dose is exceeded do not hesitate to call your doctor or the local poison control center.
Although serious allergic reaction is rare, it is still possible.
Symptoms of severe allergic reaction:
- Severe unusual dizziness
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, tongue, or throat
If you notice any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
Clonazepam and Other Drug Interactions
Taking clonazepam with muscle relaxants, opioid drugs, sleeping pills, antipsychotic medications, or other anxiety/seizure medication including phenytoin or valproic acid can be dangerous and life-threatening.
Clonazepam medication when used with other medications can cause adverse reactions such as extreme fatigue, slowed breathing, or even death. Do not drink alcohol while taking clonazepam. Drinking alcohol or taking other CNS depressants can cause health problems.
Other interactions include prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements.
Clonazepam and Disease Interactions
Clonazepam interacts with the following diseases: renal or liver disease, respiratory depression, acute narrow angle glaucoma, seizures, drug dependence, and acute alcohol intoxication.
Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines may also worsen obstructive sleep apnea.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Taking clonazepam can cause unusual or sudden changes to your mental health such as:
- Memory trouble
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
If common side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, loss of coordination continue or worsen, be sure to consult with a pharmacist or medical provider.
Clients who come to our facility are those who need the structure and guidance of a 12-Step program, PLUS the addition of therapy, psychiatric evaluation and care, as well as other disciplines of treatment.
We have never wavered from this belief and never compromised what we believe in for the sake of the next “best quick cure” in the industry.
If you are looking for a facility that adheres to what they believe in and applies those standards and ethics in their organizational culture and lives, then you should consider Turning Point of Tampa.
For more information on our program or treatment services, please contact our staff.
Clonazepam is used to prevent and control seizures. It is also used to treat mental illness problems such as anxiety and panic attacks.
Clonazepam for Anxiety
Clonazepam was approved by the Federal Drug Administration in the 1970’s to be used as an anti-anxiety medicine. Clonazepam can be used short-term to treat anxiety and is known for its calming effect on the brain.
Like other benzodiazepine drugs, clonazepam has a risk for abuse and addiction. Do not take this medication with alcohol or other drugs that cause drowsiness. Serious side effects could occur.
How Long Does it Take for Clonazepam to Work?
When used for treating anxiety and mental illness, clonazepam may start to improve symptoms as soon as within a few hours or a couple of days. When using clonazepam to treat seizures, it may take anywhere from a few days to a week for symptoms to improve. For panic disorders and restless leg syndrome, clonazepam usually starts to work within an hour.