How do I use Clonazepam and not develop an addiction?

Clonazepam, also known as Klonopin, is a long-acting Benzodiazepine. It slows down brain activity which allows patients to feel relaxed. Although it was originally formulated to help manage symptoms of seizures, it is most commonly used to treat panic attacks. The drug is quick acting and has very persistent calming effects. Similarly, Clonazepam is often prescribed for the alleviation of anxiety as well as withdrawal symptoms. However, like any other medication, Clonazepam has various side effects. One of the most prevalent one is dependency. Although the drug is prescribed for withdrawal symptoms of substances and alcohol, one can develop an addiction to Clonazepam. 

Addictive potential

The addictive potential is one of the main reasons Clonazepam is never generally recommended for long-term use. In addition to this, the drug has an exceptionally long half-life, or the length of time the drug’s effects stay in the body.

People can develop an addiction to Clonazepam in as little as a few weeks after starting a course of the said medication. This is because the drug works by blocking special receptors found in the brain. This, in return, helps reduce anxiety, stress, as well as one’s difficulty in relaxing. However, long-term use or addiction can cause one to not feel the effects of calmness or relaxation without the aid of the medicine anymore. This disrupts the normal routine of life. There are a few signs you can watch out for that may indicate that you are developing a dependency on the medication:

  • Never-ending cravings for Clonazepam
  • Continuing to use Clonazepam even after the short-term timeframe has passed
  • Using the medicine despite experiencing negative consequences
  • Having the desire to quit taking the medicine but being unable to do so
  • Sudden loss of interest in social or professional responsibilities
  • Developing legal issues
  • Developing financial issues

Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting Clonazepam cold turkey can lead to severe complications. You will experience withdrawal symptoms, which will force you to take another dose of Clonazepam, and then another. Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Headaches or a migraine
  • Stomachaches
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Excessive sweating
  • Hallucinations or delusion
  • Vertigo
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulting concentrating or focusing
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Increased panic
  • Frequent disassociation
  • Bursts of anger
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sudden seizures
  • Thoughts of suicide or tendencies

While you may experience acute withdrawal symptoms after stopping the use of Clonazepam for about two weeks. It is vital to note that it is common for one to continue to feel withdrawal symptoms for nearly a month. In addition, some rare symptoms of Clonazepam withdrawal include catatonia, vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration levels, and body temperature may jump to unhealthy levels.

However, in order to avoid developing an addiction or experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it is crucial to ensure that you do not take the medication for a day more than the intended time. Similarly, it is advised to wean off the medication by gradually lowering the dosage of the drug until you do not require its assistance. A qualified pharmacist or your GP can help you avoid dependency.