Treating Klonopin and Anxiety
Klonopin, also known as clonazepam, is a benzodiazepine. It is effective in treating panic disorders, general anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD). SAD affects 15 million adults in the United States and typically begins around age 13, while GAD affects around 6.8 million adults in the United States.1
Some people begin using Klonopin as prescribed by their doctor, but others may find it illegally on the street. This is dangerous, and Klonopin should only be used as prescribed by a doctor. If you have been prescribed Klonopin, then it is important to understand how it works, and the risks involved.
This article will discuss the connection between Klonopin and anxiety. We also discuss treating Klonopin and anxiety as a dual diagnosis at an addiction treatment center. With that roadmap in mind, let’s start by learning about Klonopin.
What is Clonazepam?
Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that can be found in either a tablet that you swallow or a tablet that disintegrates orally under your tongue. It is usually taken one to three times per day depending on the dose of medication and level of anxiety. It works by reducing electrical activity in the brain known to cause anxiety. Clonazepam has a very fast-acting effect on social anxiety symptoms. So, the link between Klonopin and anxiety is that clonazepam is used to treat anxiety.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed?
Excessive anxiety and worry that happens on multiple days over a six-month period, is a symptom of different types of anxiety disorders. If the excessive worry affects work, or school performance, or causes you to tire easily or feel constantly on edge, you may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Typically, you must have these symptoms regularly for the last six months, which makes it a long process to diagnose.
Who Should Not Take Klonopin?
Some people who have medical conditions or belong to high-risk categories should not take clonazepam. If you belong to one of the following categories, you should not take Klonopin:
Under the age of 18
Have a history of sensitivity to benzodiazepines
Live with liver or kidney disease
Have been diagnosed with acute narrow-angle glaucoma
Have been diagnosed with hepatic porphyria
Side Effects of Klonopin
The most adverse effects people feel when taking clonazepam are extreme tiredness, feeling dizzy, and having cognitive impairment. If you are older there is an increased risk of running into these side effects. Additionally, the higher your dose, the higher risk of side effects appearing.
Common side effects of clonazepam include:
Changes in sex drive
Needing to urinate more often
Larger amount of saliva production
Pain in muscles or joints
More serious side effects can also happen when taking Klonopin. These serious side effects increase when combining clonazepam with alcohol, illicit drugs, or opioid pain killers.
Loss of consciousness
Rashes or hives
Swelling of your face, throat, and eyes
Risks of Klonopin and Anxiety
There are both physical and psychological risks when taking Klonopin. This is primarily the risk of dependency, which can occur after taking Klonopin daily for only two weeks. After the body develops a dependence on Klonopin, if you stop using the drug suddenly, it can cause withdrawal symptoms. Once you stop Klonopin and anxiety treatment hasn’t begun yet, your anxiety problems may worsen.
Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
Thoughts of suicide
You Must Taper Your Dose to Discontinue
If you want to stop using Klonopin you will need to slowly taper down or reduce your dose. This should be done while supervised by a doctor for greater success and to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms.
If you suddenly stop using Klonopin you are also at risk for more dangerous side effects such as seizures. Tapering off Klonopin is the only safe way to stop using the drug.
Examples of a Klonopin tapering schedule:
Decrease dosage by 0.5mg every two weeks, until you reach 1mg per day. Then decrease by 0.25mg every week
Decrease dosage by 25 percent during week one, and then decrease by 10 percent each following week
Decrease dosage by 0.25mg per week until it is no longer needed
You can also slowly taper by decreasing your dosage five to ten percent every two to four weeks
Your Coordination Might Be Affected
When you first start taking Klonopin, you will need to avoid certain activities such as driving. This is because it can be dangerous to you, or others, while your body gets used to the medication. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you have adjusted to the medication.
You Might Lose Interest in Life
Because Klonopin can cause personality changes, mood swings, and even depression, it might create a lack of motivation for life. This means you may begin to feel numb and no longer enjoy the same relationships, hobbies, or pastimes you did before.
You Are at Risk For Drug Interactions
If you are taking Klonopin, then you should not mix it with alcohol or opioid medication. This can increase fatal side effects. This is because central nervous system depressants can interact with Klonopin. They will change the way that Klonopin works, and cause bad side effects. Common central nervous system depressants that can cause interactions with Klonopin include:
What Is the Difference Between Klonopin and Xanax?
Although both Klonopin and Xanax are benzodiazepines that are used to treat anxiety, they are very different drugs. Klonopin is also used to treat seizure disorders, while Xanax can also be used to treat panic attacks. It is good to note that Klonopin also stays in the body longer than Xanax. The half-life for Xanax is between 6 to 25 hours, while Klonopin has a half-life of 22 to 54 hours.
Although using Xanax might help one person, it may bring another person into a depression. The same goes for Klonopin. Although you may have a friend who is prescribed Klonopin for their anxiety, it does not mean that it will work for you.
Treating the misuse of Klonopin and anxiety at the same time can be difficult. If you need treatment for misuse of Klonopin and anxiety, make sure to reach out to professionals in the addiction treatment industry to begin your recovery.
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Klonopin Withdrawal Coming Soon