How Can You Tell If Someone Is Using Klonopin?

Benzodiazepine abuse, such as Klonopin, is a growing problem in America. According to an article published in The Mental Health Clinician, most people take benzodiazepines like Klonopin as directed by their doctor, with less than 2 percent escalating to a higher dose and even less meeting the criteria for abuse or dependence.

Last Edited:

04/06/2022

Clinically Reviewed:

03/24/2022

Medical Reviewer:

Dr. Tasnova Malek

However, people who abuse the drug typically do it for deliberate or recreational abuse with intentions of getting high or unintentional abuse that starts as legitimately needing the medication but later develops into inappropriate use.

According to a study published in  Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal, around 5 million people abuse sedatives and tranquilizers such as Klonopin. Among respondents with past-year non-medical use of sedatives or tranquilizers, 22.6 percent of users abused Klonopin. As of 2019, Klonopin is the 46th most prescribed drug overall in the United States. 

Klonopin drug abuse can result in sedation, psychomotor slowing, and amnesia and contribute to many car accidents and falls, which are two of the most common causes of death across the age spectrum. When combined with alcohol abuse, the effects of this drug are magnified, and withdrawal from Klonopin can result in life-threatening seizures.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing an addiction to Klonopin include being non-Hispanic white, young adults ages 18 to 35 years, having a comorbid psychiatric disorder, and having a personal or family history of substance use disorders. The article mentioned above that was published in The Mental Health Clinician stated that around 40 percent of people who develop a benzodiazepine addiction have a comorbid psychiatric disorder. Also, people who have a history of alcohol abuse or dependence and antisocial personality disorder tend to have a higher risk of developing benzodiazepine abuse.

How Much is Too Much Klonopin?

How much Klonopin is too much? According to the Mayo Clinic, this medication should only be taken as directed by your doctor. You should not take more of it, not take it more often, and not take it longer than prescribed by your doctor. The dosing for Klonopin will be different for every patient.

However, the Mayo Clinic stated that adults and children 10 years and older could safely take 0.5 mg, 3 times a day for seizures. The dose should not exceed 20 mg per day. For children up to 10 years or 30 kilograms (kg) of body weight, it is safe to take 0.01 to 0.03 mg per kg of body weight in 2 or 3 divided doses per day. Adults can take 0.25 mg of Klonopin 2 times a day those who have panic disorder. Your dose should not exceed more than 4 mg per day.

Therefore, taking more than 20 mg per day of Klonopin is too much. Taking more than 20 mg of Klonopin per day can result in addiction and dependence. It can also result in an overdose. Overdosing on Klonopin will depress the central nervous system and result in slurred speech, respiratory depression, and death.

Klonopin Abuse Symptoms

Taking Klonopin anyway other than prescribed by your doctor is abusing the medication. Determining whether or not a loved one is abusing Klonopin can be difficult. Below lists a few ways to help you determine whether or not your loved one is abusing Klonopin.

Physical Symptoms

A loved one abusing Klonopin may display some physical symptoms that they are using too much of the medication. Klonopin abuse symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, unsteady walking, slurred speech, poor concentration, dizziness, memory problems, and slowed breathing. Also, a person abusing Klonopin will often experience withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, tremors, and life-threatening seizures when attempting to reduce or abruptly stop using the medication.

Doctor Shopping

Also, your loved one may exhibit other Klonopin abuse effects such as stealing from you or other people or places, forging, or selling prescriptions. They might also be requesting early refills or constantly “losing” their prescriptions so more can be written. A loved one who is abusing Klonopin might also doctor shop. Doctor shopping is seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor to obtain multiple prescriptions. These behaviors can be seen in people with prescription drug addiction because a person who is addicted to a drug will constantly try to maintain a stash of it.

Changes In Behavior

Other signs that point to a loved one suffering from Klonopin abuse are that the person might experience constant mood swings, hostility, poor-decision making, or even increased or decreased sleep patterns and has a sedated appearance. Also, if your loved one takes higher doses than prescribed. Your loved one might be taking more medication than prescribed because, over time, a person will need to take a higher dose of the medication in order to obtain the origin, desired effects. This is known as tolerance because a person has developed a tolerance for medicine.

Klonopin Abuse Effects

Abusing Klonopin can be very dangerous. Klonopin abuse side effects include tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Klonopin Tolerance

Tolerance is when your body gets used to the drug and needs more of it to obtain the original desired effects. This is why people who have a substance use disorder use more and more of the drug to get the high they want.

Klonopin Dependence

Dependence is when your body cannot function properly without the drug. Attempt to reduce or abruptly stop taking the medication results in withdrawal effects. Withdrawal effects are physical and mental symptoms ranging from mild to life-threatening. Many people who take prescription medications such as Klonopin every day over a long period of time can become dependent when they stop using the drug. It is important to note that people who have a tolerance or are dependent on a drug aren’t necessarily addicted.

Klonopin Addiction Signs

Addiction is a complex brain disease that appears as compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences, unlike tolerance and dependence. A loved one who has become addicted to drugs might have an intense focus on using a certain substance to the point where it takes over their life. Klonopin addiction symptoms include having a strong urge or craving to use the substance and a desire or failed attempt to reduce Klonopin intake. It also can cause social issues such as Klonopin use causing failure to complete major tasks at work, home, or school and giving up leisure activities because of drug use. Klonopin addiction can result in risky medication use, such as using Klonopin in risky settings and continuing to use despite problems.

Klonopin Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from a Klonopin addiction, finding a high-quality rehabilitation center can help. An active rehabilitation approach combines entry into a substance abuse treatment center with support, education, and lifestyle changes. A rehab clinic can help you slowly detox to reduce your dosage and wean you off the medication gently. This will help reduce your likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms. However, tapering off Klonopin alone is not enough to produce long-term abstinence. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you learn the underlying reasons behind why you abuse Klonopin and can teach you coping strategies to avoid Klonopin use in the future. Medications can also be supplied to target specific withdrawal symptoms, such as melatonin for insomnia.

Sources

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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