Klonopin High

Klonopin High

Authored by Pin Ng PhD

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Michael Por, MD

Klonopin High – What Are the Dangers

 

Clonazepam, also known by its brand name Klonopin, is a benzodiazepine drug used medically as a sedative to help epilepsy seizures, panic attacks, and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other substance abuse. It is powerful and you should only use it as a short-term prescription and only under careful observation by medical professionals.

 

Despite this over the last few years, it has become more commonly used recreationally. As s result, addiction levels to Klonopin and the highs that it induces are at dangerously high figures. The Klonopin high provides and the resulting side effects and withdrawal symptoms are dangerous for many reasons, and the increasing abuse of Klonopin is becoming a problem, which if not stopped, will rival the opioid epidemic.

What is Klonopin

 

Before we can understand why misuse of Klonopin is such a dangerous issue, we must also understand how it works in the first place, and why it is so often prescribed by medical professionals for legitimate reasons. Klonopin is designed to make users feel relaxed and calm, easing seizures, panic attacks, and withdrawal symptoms, and is sometimes prescribed to help with short-term insomnia. It is widely known for being a powerful drug and should only be prescribed and taken for 2-3 weeks at a time.

 

As a benzodiazepine, Klonopin works by interacting with the receptor in brain cells for the Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) protein. By interfering with the GABA receptor, Klonopin increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA at that receptor. In other words, Klonopin alters the way that the neurotransmitters in the brain work, and, as a result, cause the user to feel calm. After taking Klonopin for a few weeks, a patient’s tolerance to its effects increases, and so a higher dose is needed to achieve the same effect on the body.

 

However, because of the immense power of Klonopin even at the minimum dose, it is possible to become addicted to it only by taking the dose prescribed by your doctor. This is because a Klonopin high can have an active effect on the body for anywhere between 18 and 50 hours – a maximum of over 2 whole days, meaning Klonopin can still be in the system from the previous dose when taking another dose. By considering this, it is easier to understand how it can be so dangerous and become so addictive so quickly.

Klonopin Addiction

 

Klonopin is quickly addictive, and as a result, side effects of taking it and withdrawal symptoms from it can wreak havoc on the body. When taken at higher doses than it is prescribed, the drug depresses the central nervous system and causes a short euphoric high, which precedes an intoxicating, hazy stupor. Some abusers crush their Klonopin tablets up into fine powder and snort them in the same way users of other substances like cocaine might.

 

Those who use Klonopin recreationally often obtain the drug from friends or family who have legal prescriptions.  This fact is even more alarming once you realize that an estimated 15% of Americans have some type of legally prescribed benzodiazepine in their medicine cabinets, making it easily accessible for abusers. Some also get prescriptions from multiple doctors just to sell their extra prescriptions on the black market.

 

However, as it is a legally prescribed medication, many who begin using it recreationally think that it is, therefore, weaker and less addictive than other, illegal, street drugs such as heroin or cocaine. In reality, the side effects of withdrawal and ease of addiction can be at best as bad as those of illegal drugs, and at worse more dangerous due to the ease of dependency.

Side Effects of Klonopin

 

Short-term side effects can typically be drowsiness, dizziness, loss of concentration and coordination, shallow breathing, and slurred speech. Longer-term effects include memory loss, cognitive problems, weakness, and risk of overdose. Long-term abuse can specifically impair the brain’s ability to record new information, impair learning, and stop the brain from adapting as quickly as it should. Not only are these serious problems, but the withdrawal symptoms are equally as bad, if not worse, especially when done without medical rehabilitation support.

 

Klonopin Withdrawal

 

Intense panic attacks are a particularly common withdrawal symptom, as GABA levels decrease and neurons in the brain fire more rapidly since they are no longer being suppressed by the Klonopin. Other withdrawal symptoms include confusion, mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, seizures, sleep disturbances or insomnia, coma, and in worse cases, death. Recovery from any benzodiazepine is difficult,  and medical supervision is always recommended.

 

Due to Klonopin’s long half-life of activity in the body, the risks and resulting need for monitoring are even higher. Symptom easing medication can be given during detox while in rehab, alongside CBT or DBT therapies, and withdrawal symptoms can last in total anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. Going ‘cold turkey’ on any benzodiazepine is highly discouraged, especially as withdrawal is extremely painful, and quitting suddenly or having severe withdrawal symptoms can be fatal, to an extent that far outstrips opioid withdrawal.

 

Klonopin High – The Dangers

 

Although Klonopin is a useful drug in helping to calm and relieve issues of the central nervous system, it is very powerful and can remain active in the body for an incredibly long amount of time, longer than many other benzodiazepine drugs. The power and the ease of addiction, with patients being able to get addicted only from taking a physician prescribed amount for 2-3 weeks, is especially concerning.

 

Klonopin can rapidly impact the way brain chemistry functions, triggering dependency, while the relatively short-lasting euphoric high (in comparison to the active half-life of it) can easily cause psychological need in addition. The wide range of withdrawal symptoms is also extremely dangerous.

 

All of these factors mean that increased recreational use of Klonopin is a huge problem and one that can be fatal if not treated with medical supervision. Medical and rehabilitation help is always available. You should seek a doctor’s advice or help if you are concerned about their Klonopin usage or how it makes them feel.

References: Klonopin High

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  • Veall RM, Hogarth HC. Letter: Thrombocytopenia during treatment with clonazepam. Br Med J. 1975 Nov 22;4(5994):462. [PubMed]
  • Razeghinejad MR, Pro MJ, Katz LJ. Non-steroidal drug-induced glaucoma. Eye (Lond). 2011 Aug;25(8):971-80. [PubMed]
  • Tesar GE, Rosenbaum JF, Pollack MH, Otto MW, Sachs GS, Herman JB, et al. Double-blind, placebo-controlled comparison of clonazepam and alprazolam for panic disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. []
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  • Teboul E, Chouinard G. A guide to benzodiazepine selection. Part I: Pharmacological aspects. Can J Psychiatry. []
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Dangers of Klonopin High
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Dangers of Klonopin High
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Clonazepam, also known by its brand name Klonopin, is a benzodiazepine drug used medically as a sedative to help epilepsy seizures, panic attacks, and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other substance abuse. It is powerful and you should only use it as a short-term prescription and only under careful observation by medical professionals.
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