Clonazolam withdrawal can be serious, leading to hallucinations and seizures.
Talk to a medical professional about the best way to stop taking any benzodiazepine, whether you take it as prescribed or recreationally.
Clonazolam is a potent designer benzodiazepine (benzo). It is a drug that is underregulated both in the United States and abroad.
Designer benzodiazepines are sedatives, as are prescription benzodiazepines, that are frequently abused for the excitement and happiness they can cause. They are also used to commit date rape by slipping a potent and dangerous dose into someone’s drink.
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Clonazolam is understudied, making exact data on the drug and its effects lacking.
Benzodiazepines as a group are widely studied, especially prescription benzodiazepines. These drugs are similar in effects and addiction and dependence risks, although they have different potencies. A small dose of one may be a high dose of another.
Clonazolam is more poorly regulated than many prescription benzodiazepines, and it is especially potent. As little as 0.5 mg of clonazolam is enough to elicit serious amnesia and other effects related to unwanted overdose.
If you abuse clonazolam — which has no currently accepted medical use — this is dangerous. Consult a medical professional about the best way to stop taking the drug. Clonazolam can cause dependence as well as addiction.
Clonazolam withdrawal will be similar to withdrawal from other benzodiazepines. When discussing prescription benzodiazepines, RxList notes they all can cause physical dependence.
Due to the lack of data, it is fortunate some parallels can be drawn between prescription benzodiazepines like Xanax and designer benzodiazepines like clonazolam. It is believed that relatively serious withdrawal symptoms and addiction risks of benzos are amplified when abusing the more potent clonazolam.
Signs of benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- Anxiety and irritability.
- Muscle tension.
- General sleeping difficulties.
More rarely, symptoms can also include:
- Tremors, twitches, and spasms.
- Sleeping problems, including vivid nightmares.
- Hallucinations and delusions.
- Ringing in the ears.
If these problems get serious, especially regarding any involuntary muscle movement, hallucinations, delusions, or seizures, seek medical attention right away.
Clonazolam Withdrawal Timeline
Clonazolam hasn’t been extensively researched, and it hasn’t been approved for therapeutic use because of its adverse effects. Its withdrawal symptoms and timeline might be unpredictable. However, the drug is a benzodiazepine, and it’s likely that it would follow the withdrawal timeline of other similar drugs.
Clonazolam is known for its potency, which means that relatively small doses can cause intense effects compared to other benzos. If you get used to a moderate-to-high dose of clonazolam and then quit cold turkey, you might experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
It’s not a good idea to quit a powerful depressant like clonazolam cold turkey. If you do, you may encounter some life-threatening symptoms.
The timeline on which you experience clonazolam withdrawal will depend on a few personal factors like how long you’ve been taking the drug, the size of the dose you’re used to, and the size of your last dose. Though your timeline may be unique, it may follow a general pattern that looks something like the following:
- 10 hours. Your last dose will be effective for up to ten hours before the effects start to wane. If you took a smaller dose than normal, the effects might be shorter than that.
- 12 hours. After 12 hours, you may start to feel your first symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms generally start out mild and slowly worsen over time. You may experience general discomfort, anxiety, and insomnia as withdrawal begins.
- 2 days. Symptoms will most likely reach their peak around two days, and you will experience some of the worst symptoms of withdrawal, including nausea, tremors, seizures, increased heart rate, nausea, and delirium tremens. These symptoms can be worse and even fatal without medical treatment.
- 1 week. After your first week, most of your symptoms will have dissipated, especially intense physical symptoms. However, you may still be experiencing psychological symptoms like anxiety and irritability. In some cases, these symptoms need to be addressed in treatment, or they could last indefinitely.
- 2 weeks. Symptoms such as anxiety and drug cravings may continue. You may also have post-acute withdrawal symptoms that happen after your initial withdrawal is over. These symptoms can come on suddenly and may need quick medical treatment.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is when symptoms linger or return after you go through the initial withdrawal phase. Alcohol and other depressants like clonazolam can cause fairly serious symptoms during and after withdrawal. For that reason, it’s important to go through addiction treatment with medical help, so professionals can help determine your health and risk of serious complications.
Depressants are capable of causing deadly symptoms during withdrawal-like seizures and delirium tremens. Seizures can come on suddenly and cause serious injuries, especially if you are standing up, driving, or in some other precarious position.
Delirium tremens is a condition that causes sudden and extreme confusion, terror, and tremors. You may also experience chest pains, heart failure, coma, or death. The safest way to get through withdrawal is in a medical detox program or to detox in a hospital setting.
The Trouble With Illegal or Uncontrolled Benzos Use
Withdrawal from benzodiazepine can usually be controlled via tapering off the drugs. A doctor decides how this tapering schedule should proceed, so the prescribed dose is slowly lowered rather than immediately stopped.
The difficulty of uncontrolled benzodiazepine use, such as with clonazolam, is that the withdrawal process can be especially hard.
Clonazolam specifically has no medically accepted use, so people are often hesitant to discuss tapering from an illicit drug with their physician. Treatment facilities will use a different and less potent benzodiazepine for the taper if they decide tapering is the best course of action.
An article written by the Australian government’s HealthyWA notes that diazepam is often used for this process. This drug is longer acting, so less has to be taken to avoid withdrawal. It can help to wean a person off stronger benzodiazepine use.
Clonazolam is a serious drug to abuse.
Kicking an addiction to clonazolam on your own is extremely difficult, between the dependence it can cause and its addictive qualities. Professional assistance is needed to ensure your safety and comfort.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a helpful tool to help users find assistance for substance abuse issues. They also offer a helpline to call.
The Nature of Your Treatment
The exact nature of your treatment program will depend on your level of addiction and dependence.
If you are suffering from serious withdrawal and dependence issues, you likely will need an inpatient treatment facility where you can be closely monitored for your own safety and to prevent relapse during withdrawal. In medical detox, you may receive a long-acting benzodiazepine drug to avoid the worst withdrawal symptoms.
Outpatient treatment may be more appropriate for those who have a strong support network at home and less severe cases of addiction.
Talk therapy will be a big part of recovery. Through counseling, either with a group or one on one with a therapy (often through a combination of the two), the goal of most programs is to help you identify the reasons you abused drugs.
By identifying the reasons, you can work to avoid your triggers that might prompt relapse. These are whatever things you associate with drug use and might push you to abuse again.
You will learn healthy alternatives to drug abuse and discuss ways to improve your quality of life in healthier ways. There is no shame in admitting you have problems that led you to drugs. The goal is to change things, so you no longer feel you need substances.
A Serious Drug That Requires Serious Effort
Clonazolam is a serious sedative. Most people will not find it easy to quit if they have grown addicted.
Various programs and resources exist to help you overcome addiction. Comprehensive treatment is needed to address the issue.
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