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Clonazepam, which also goes by the names Rivotril, Rivta, and in some cases, Kclone, is a prescription drug used to treat panic attacks, anxiety, and other conditions that cause high levels of stress.
The drug is commonly prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication but has been misused or abused as a recreational drug.
Even when used as recommended, Clonazepam has the potential to cause dependence and addiction in some users. As with all prescription drugs such as Xanax and Valium, those who take Clonazepam risk developing a dependency on the medication if they continue to take it longer than recommended.
Read on to learn more about these risks and the common signs and symptoms of clonazepam dependency and withdrawal that may indicate you should stop taking this medication.
What is Clonazepam?
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine that works as a GABA inhibitor. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps to regulate relaxation levels. While taking clonazepam, you may experience the following:
- An increased sense of calm and ease
- Decreased feelings of panic and anxiety
- Increased feelings of relaxation and drowsiness
- Increased feelings of security and reduced fear of something going wrong
- An improved ability to focus and pay attention to tasks
- An enhanced sense of social confidence
- A reduction in feelings of irritability and aggressiveness
Common Signs and Symptoms of Clonazepam Abuse
If you take clonazepam as prescribed and experience some of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are abusing the drug. However, seeking medical attention is essential if you notice several of these signs.
A High Tolerance to Clonazepam
You may develop a tolerance to clonazepam if you are taking more than the recommended dose. If your doctor prescribed one mg of clonazepam per day and you notice that a dose of one mg doesn’t seem to be working, you may have developed a tolerance to the drug.
Taking Clonazepam More Frequently Than Prescribed
If you are taking clonazepam as recommended and you find that you have to increase your dosage to receive the same effects, you may be abusing the drug.
Feeling Cravings for Clonazepam
If you have cravings for clonazepam and find that you can’t stop thinking about taking the drug, it is possible that you are abusing clonazepam.
How Is Clonazepam Withdrawal Like
Like all other benzos, Clonazepam withdrawal is a difficult process that can last several days or even weeks. The intensity of your withdrawal symptoms will depend on how long you’ve been taking the drug, how much you’ve been taking, and your individual biology.
While many benzos can be difficult to quit, Clonazepam withdrawal is often considered one of the worst, so be cautious as you go about your Clonazepam taper strategy.
Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe and last as little as one or two weeks or up to several months, sometimes even years, to disappear completely.
Common clonazepam withdrawal symptoms include:
- A high level of anxiety – often at the same level or higher than before taking clonazepam
- A return of panic attacks – which may be more intense than before
- Mood swings – often between extreme levels of anger, sadness, and anxiety –
- Physical and mental fatigue – as if you have the flu
- Sleepiness and an inability to stay awake – Abnormal dreams or a change in your sleeping habits
- Feeling depressed and a lack of motivation – A loss of focus and an inability to concentrate on tasks
- A loss of sexual desire can lead to sexual dysfunction
To Sum It Up
Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine that can cause both physical and psychological dependence.
Clonazepam has a high potential for abuse and can cause physical dependence after long-term use. This means that even when using the drug as recommended, you may experience clonazepam withdrawal if you try to stop taking the drug.
As such, quitting benzos should be done under professional supervision. If you notice that you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is important to seek medical attention and stop taking clonazepam immediately.