What is Klonopin Withdrawal Like?
Klonopin is a benzodiazepine most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorder, although it has other therapeutic purposes as a muscle relaxant, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant.
Anyone who takes Klonopin for more than a couple weeks is likely to get Klonopin withdrawal when they cease using the drug. Even those who use it under strict precautions, as prescribed, will get withdrawals, but, the severity, durations, and symptoms will vary by user.
How Does Klonopin Work?
In order to get a better understanding of Klonopin withdrawal syndrome, it may be helpful to understand how it works.
Klonopin works by enhancing the actions of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a natural brain chemical that slows down or inhibits transmission of messages from one brain cell (neuron) to another. Since about 40% of the millions of all brain neurons respond to GABA influences, GABA is our own natural hypnotic or tranquilizing neurotransmitter and Klonopin boosts those effects.
As Klonopin tolerance develops, GABA receptors become less responsive to the inhibitory actions of Klonopin and GABA. At the same time, secondary systems controlled by GABA restore activation of excitatory neurotransmitters. The increased hyperactivity in the brain and central nervous system can actually worsen anxiety or panic disorder and even cause seizures.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, regarding treatment admissions for benzodiazepine abuse, in 2011, “Compared with all admissions, benzodiazepine admissions were more likely to have a psychiatric problem in addition to their substance use problem (43.4 vs. 24.9 percent).” Profound symptoms of withdrawal are much more likely in these individuals and in those who abuse poly-substances.
Individuals who abuse Klonopin by chewing, snorting, injecting, or taking excessive amounts have a greater potential to suffer more severe and intense withdrawals from the damaging effects these methods have on the brain’s functioning.
Most acute symptoms of withdrawal are relative to the hyperactivity in the brain and high anxiety states, but, Klonopin withdrawals reverse the previously inhibited progress of nerve impulses and can cause nervous system responses throughout the mind and body.
Depending on the person’s Klonopin tolerance and their levels of dependence, the rebound effects during Klonopin withdrawal can become quite severe and possibly, dangerous.
Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms
Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can last weeks, months, or years and symptoms include, but, are not limited to:
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts
- Poor memory and concentration
- Insomnia, sleep disturbances
- Nightmares or vivid dreams
- Intrusive memories
- Muscle symptoms of tension, pain, and spasms
- Hypersensitivity in senses and bodily sensations
- Elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing