Many Americans struggle with anxiety disorders and insomnia, two conditions that can impair normal daily functioning. The most common treatment for these maladies is a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which includes diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), and clonazepam (Klonopin). Clonazepam is unique among the benzo class due to its rapid onset along with a long half-life. Clonazepam can stay in someone’s system for up to three days.
Clonazepam is usually only prescribed for a short duration, such as two weeks, as the drug has a high risk of dependence and addiction. The lingering effects of the drug, staying in the body for days, can increase the risk of increased tolerance. The sedative effects, as well as mild euphoria, make it a popular medication. It is possible to become physically dependent on clonazepam in just a couple of weeks time.
As the individual begins to ramp up dosing to continue to experience the initial effects of the clonazepam, the brain becomes accustomed to the higher levels of the drug in the system. Clonazepam affects the GABA receptors, with is how the nerve cells transmit messaging throughout the brain system, slowing brain activity. Over time, neural pathways become altered in response to the impact of dopamine, and the body now requires the drug. This is physical dependence.
Making the decision to get help for a clonazepam dependency or addiction is a difficult one. The individual is keenly aware that clonazepam withdrawal will be an unpleasant experience, keeping many from taking that first step toward recovery. But it should be understood that in a medically supervised detox environment, clonazepam withdrawal symptoms are closely monitored and medical interventions will be provided ongoingly.
Effects of Clonazepam Use
It is hard to imagine that the innocent looking little pill could have such devastating effects of some individuals. But, as with all benzos, clonazepam is a powerful sedative that can quickly develop into a dangerous habit, leading to both physical and psychological dependence. Some of the effects that can be experienced from long-term or excessive clonazepam use may include:
- Impaired cognition
- Vertigo, dizziness
- Mental confusion
- Sleep problems
- Short-term memory disruption
- Numbness or heaviness in arms and legs
- Reduced sex drive
- Slowed reaction time
- Suicidal ideation
Because benzos are habit forming, increased tolerance to the drug may lead some to double up on dosing or take the drug more often than is prescribed. Of the benzos, clonazepam has a higher risk of overdose due to its longer half-life. Signs of a clonazepam overdose may include:
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Clammy skin
- Profound confusion
- Slowed respiratory rate
Breaking Free From a Clonazepam Addiction
It is a dangerous mistake to believe that one can just stop taking these drugs cold turkey. Benzodiazepine addiction is one of the most dangerous to detox from, and must be accomplished under the medical care of a trained detox team. Abruptly stopping the clonazepam use will swiftly bring on intense rebound effects, meaning intense symptoms of anxiety and agitation, convulsions, and potential seizures. For this reason, clonazepam withdrawal must be a gradual process, conducted through a scheduled tapering process of the drug.
Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Shakiness, tremors
- Shortness of breath, hyperventilation
- Muscle spasms, aches, and pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Unable to concentrate
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Blurred vision
- Panic attacks
- Feelings of bodily detachment
- Memory problems
- Grand mal seizures
A medical detox professional will assign a tapering schedule that will basically trick the body into thinking it is not in withdrawal. This process takes time, but the clonazepam withdrawal symptoms will be greatly diminished. Generally, clonazepam detoxification can take 1-3 weeks, depending on the length of history of the drug abuse and other factors. Lingering psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or agitation, do occur for a small number of individuals, which may last for months.
Rehab for Benzo Addiction
Transitioning from detox over to treatment is an essential aspect of achieving a lasting recovery from the addictive behaviors associated with benzo dependence. Without making fundamental shifts in thoughts and behavior patterns, the drug use will likely return as soon as a triggering incident occurs. Rehab teaches clients how to manage these triggers and to rely on alternative responses using the recovery skills taught in therapy.
Addiction treatment can be obtained in either an outpatient or residential environment, with pros and cons to consider for each option. Generally, more entrenched addictions, poly-drug addictions, and dual diagnosis (both a drug addiction and a mental health disorder) are best treated at a residential program.
Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety Without Drugs
In addition to rehab providing psychotherapy, group therapy, 12-step groups, and addiction education, it also utilizes several holistic methods to teach clients how to manage stress without medication. These holistic practices can be accessed at home, and some are accessible anywhere. These practices include:
- Mindfulness training. This teaches the individual to focus their attention on the moment while also concentrating on breath work.
- Yoga. Yoga classes can be accessed at gyms, yoga studios, or online videos and teach individuals the practice of slowly posing the body to help induce relaxation.
- Exercise. Regular exercise, especially cardio, can help individuals reduce stress levels, improve sleep quality, and enhance mood while also benefiting physical wellbeing.
Golf Drug Rehab Provides Clonazepam Addiction Treatment in Orange County
Golf Drug Rehab is an upscale golf-centered rehab program located in a coastal community in Southern California. Our unique program utilizes an evidenced-based approach to treating benzo addiction and dependency, offering the most effective psychotherapies for profoundly changing addiction behaviors and replacing them with positive, constructive ones. By providing our clients with access to three stellar golf courses, recreational golf therapy helps balance the work of therapy with the relaxation-inducing properties of engaging in an outdoor activity. For more information about our program, please contact Golf Drug Rehab today at (877) 958-5320.