Klonopin (A complete guide)

Klonopin, or clonazepam, is a sedative drug that is used to control seizures, panic disorder and anxiety. 

What is Klonopin?

 Klonopin belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. It is known as an anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug. 

Who should take Klonopin? 

Klonopin is usually prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Also, to prevent and control seizures that manifest in epilepsy. Be sure not to confuse normal, everyday anxiety with an anxiety disorder.

If you are experiencing a problem at work, have a big exam coming up, or an important decision to make, you are probably having a normal anxious reaction to life stressors.

Anxiety disorders, however, are chronic and usually center around irrational fears and worry. 

There are many different types of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, to name a few.   

Symptoms of GAD usually include: 

·      feelings of restlessness or being on edge

·      difficulty concentrating and racing thoughts

·      muscle tension

·      irritability

·      trouble sleeping

·      difficulty controlling feelings of worry

·      easily fatigued.

Klonopin is commonly prescribed to people suffering from panic disorders because the calming effects help make panic attacks subside.

Symptoms of panic attacks include:

·      heart palpitations or accelerated heart rate 

·      sweating, trembling, shaking

·      shortness of breath 

·      feelings of impending doom.

Klonopin belongs to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines

Phobia-related disorders are another set of anxiety disorders that are characterized by an intense fear or aversion to specific situations or objects.

This fear is usually out of proportion to the actual danger imposed by the situation or object. 

Symptoms of phobia-related disorders include: 

·      irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation 

·      intentional avoidance of the feared object or situation 

·      intense and immediate anxiety upon exposure to the object or situation 

Specific phobias can be related to situations such as flying or heights, or related to animals such as birds or spiders.

Some people also have phobias of receiving injections or of blood.

 

Agoraphobia is another type of anxiety disorder where people have an intense fear of two or more of the following situations: 

·      being in open or enclosed spaces

·      standing in lines

·      crowded areas

·      using public transportation

·      being outside of their home.

People with agoraphobia often avoid these situations out of fear that they will not be able to escape.

Some have an intense fear that they will panic or have other embarrassing symptoms.

In severe cases, people may avoid leaving their house altogether. 

If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, do NOT start taking Klonopin from a non-reputable source, such as a friend.

Consult a psychiatrist immediately. It is strictly a prescription-only drug.

Agoraphobia can bring fear of being outside the home or in open or enclosed spaces

Klonopin should be taken in combination with the right kind of psychotherapy, such as talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

These therapies teach the patient active coping mechanisms to manage anxiety symptoms. 

How does Klonopin work?

Klonopin works by calming the brain and nerves. It increases levels of a calming chemical, gamma-aminobutyric acid, in the brain.

It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may lead to anxiety or other psychiatric disorders.

What are the common side effects of Klonopin?

 

A common side effect is feeling sleepy or drowsy during the day. It is not likely to be addictive if taken for a short time.

However, if taken for more than two to four weeks, the dose needs to be reduced gradually before stopping. It is strongly advised not to drink alcohol while taking this medication.

There is a risk of sleeping very deeply and having difficulty in waking up. Other side effects can include:

·      feeling of depression

·      loss of orientation

·      unsteadiness

·      sleep disturbance and/or vivid dreams

·      lack of inhibition

·      fatique

·      amnesia

·      confusion

·      irritability.

What is other important information I should know about taking Klonopin? 

In a very few cases, more severe side effects include fainting, respiratory depression, enlarged liver, increased heart rate, low blood pressure or blood disorders.

Also withdrawal symptoms if medication is suddenly stopped, such as seizures, mental/mood swings, shaking, stomach or muscle cramps.

When this medicine is used for a long time, it may not work as well.

Very serious reactions have been recorded as an increased risk of suicidal thinking. If antiepileptic drugs are considered, this must be balanced against the, albeit low, risk of these more serious outcomes.

Patients starting this therapy should be closely observed for worsening symptoms.

Mothers who are breastfeeding should not take Klonopin as benzodiazepines are secreted in breast milk.

In very rare cases, Klonopin can cause a serious allergic reaction – anaphylaxis.

Side effects can include mental/mood swings, feeling of depression and confusion

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Klonopin:

What does Klonopin do to you?

Klonopin, or clonazepam, is an antiepileptic drug used to prevent and control seizures.

It is also used to treat panic attacks. Klonopin works by calming the nerves in your brain.

It is a central nervous system depressant. As the drug slows the central nervous system, functions like heart rate and breathing are slowed down.

You should not use Klonopin if you have narrow-angle glaucoma, severe liver disease or are allergic to Diazepam or similar medication.

2.    Is Klonopin a narcotic?

Klonopin is not a narcotic. It is part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. 

3.    What does Klonopin do for anxiety?

Klonopin is part of the benzodiazepine class of drugs. It is prescribed to treat seizures, panic attacks, and anxiety.

Sometimes it is used in combination with other medications to treat manic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder. 

4.    How long does it take for Klonopin to kick in? 

Klonopin usually takes effect within an hour of oral administration, and the effects last anywhere from six to 24 hours.

5.    Is Klonopin used as a sleep aid?

Because of the calming effect, Klonopin is sometimes used as a sleep aid whether directly or indirectly.

After years of continued treatment, some moderate limb twitching and sleep talking, and potentially more complex behaviors can emerge.

The drug should never be taken without a doctor’s prescription and guidance.

6.    Does Klonopin make you gain weight?

When a person takes Klonopin, they metabolize it in the liver.

As some Klonopin users become more lethargic, drowsy or experience apathy, they will have reduced activity levels and may engage in mindless eating or even food binges.

Weight gain is also linked to depression and anxiety, which can cause changes in appetite and activity levels.

7.    Is Klonopin safe long term?

Klonopin can have short-term therapeutic benefits when taken as prescribed.

Generally, long term use is not advised because of the high risk of developing tolerance, dependence and addiction. 

8.    Is Klonopin addictive? 

It is very addictive if taken in high doses for a consistent amount of time.

Even people who start taking it as prescribed can find themselves quickly progressing to problematic levels of use.

Like other benzodiazepines, Klonopin causes feelings of relaxation and euporia which can become addictive.

9.    Does Klonopin affect you sexually?

All drugs in the class of medication that Klonopin is in have the potential to cause erectile dysfunction in male patients.

Although in general, Klonopin is prescribed to tackle anxiety, not serotonin, so it tends to have very few sexual side effects.

10.                  Can Klonopin cause dementia?

The association between long-term benzodiazepine use and risk of dementia remains controversial.

However, some studies have concluded that long-term users do have an increased risk of dementia.

Klonopin, along with other benzodiazepines, can damage memory functions and cause lasting damage to the brain when used or abused for a long period of time.

The more and longer the drug is used or abused, the more dependent the brain becomes and the harder this damage may be to reverse.

Even for younger people, benzodiazepines can cause acute cognitive impairment.

Increased risk of dementia is a major concern with long-term use.

In a meta-analysis, heavy cumulative doses of benzodiazepines were associated with a risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Want to learn more about how to manage your use of Klonopin and other benzodiazepines?

Try these books!

I Win: 155 Proven Strategies for Coping, Surviving and Thriving in Benzo Withdrawal and Recovery

What if in the midst of coming off benzodiazepines, you had help available, at your fingertips, 24 hours a day? What if you could learn new ways to manage all of the things you experience day in and day out?

And what if these ways were practical and realistic ideas you could use no matter how you feel?

Whether your mind feels insane, your body is doing strange things or your emotions all over the place, there is help.

Elizabeth Gallagher has been there, she went through benzodiazepine use, tolerance, withdrawal and recovery three times in 10 years.

The Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Journal

A therapy journal, by Jennifer Austin Leigh PsyD, for people who have stopped taking benzodiazepines and are recovering while no longer using this medication.

Spaces are provided for information about your sleep, diet, exercise, distractions, spiritual practices, and more.

A page of prompts helps you fill in your information quickly, and the proceeding blank page gives you room for your thoughts, sketches, doodles, etc. Be as creative as you’d like.

There is also a section for doctors, therapists, and friends and family should you wish to share.

Klonopin Withdrawal & Howling Dogs: Maybe it was God

At age 28, Audrey Wagner gradually moved off Klonopin, the tranquilizer she’d taken for 14 months.

Unable to sleep and days away from her last dose, she moved in with her parents and their nine pets in California.

Her mum thought she could heal her with raw food and holistic clinic trips. Family members tried to get her back on drugs.

She was losing the faith that had been introduced to my family through unusual circumstances.

Her parents planned a cross-country move, and she didn’t believe she’d be alive to make the trip. This is her story.

The Mindfulness Journal: Daily Practices, Writing Prompts, and Reflections for Living in the Present Moment

Journaling is a great way to give yourself a stress release. Whether you are dealing with mental health issues, heartbreak, a problem at work, or any other life stressor, this journal is for you.

This Mindfulness Journal can easily be added into your daily routine and can serve as an outlet for stress-reduction that will help you appreciate every single day and moment.

It includes 365 daily writing prompts divided into 52 weekly mindfulness topics. The prompts are extremely unique, fun, and engaging, so you will never get bored while journaling.

Additionally, each prompt is on its own separate page so you will have more than enough room for reflection and to write down all of your thoughts, big or small.

Although it is suggested to journal once a day, you can spend as much or as little time as you want on each prompt. 

I am not in recovery. I am in discovery: Journaling my mental illness

Journaling is a great way to help process and keep track of your experiences and feelings while you are going through anxiety or any other mental illness.

This journal contains 94 daily templates to aid in your discovery process. 

What we recommend for Panic disorder

Panic Courses

  • Panic courses are a cost-effective way to seek help for panic attacks. A panic course such as this may help you alleviate those feelings of fears as it has with over 50,000 people.

Professional counselling

  • If you are suffering from a panic disorder, then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Weighted Blankets

Weighted Blankets may help you sleep better if you are having panic attack and they are affecting your quality of sleep. Weighted blankets apply enough weight on you that they make you feel much more relaxed and calm at night.

References:

NHS – January 2020

Alzdiscovery.org – April 2016

WebMD – February 2020

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