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Klonopin (Clonazepam) Withdrawal Symptoms – Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

April 4, 2019

Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can include memory problems, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, heart palpitations, and seizures. Withdrawal from Klonopin may last one to four weeks, but depends on several factors.

Klonopin (clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine drug prescribed for panic disorders and seizures. If someone uses this drug for a prolonged period, they may develop a physical dependence, which means that their body needs the drug to properly function. If a person who is physically dependent on Klonopin abruptly stops taking it, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Long-term Klonopin use also causes the brain to rely on the drug more and more. It actually changes brain structure, preventing the brain from naturally regulating its own activity levels. This leads to mental cravings for Klonopin, and a person will experience psychological withdrawal symptoms without it.

Klonopin (Clonazepam) Withdrawal Symptoms

Klonopin (clonazepam) enhances the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which prevents over-excitement in the brain. It depresses the central nervous system and decreases brain activity so the body can relax, rather than having seizures and panic attacks.

When someone stops taking Klonopin, brain activity levels may skyrocket, and this instability can cause seizures. Though not all seizures are fatal, they are very dangerous and can lead to death if untreated. Other Klonopin withdrawal symptoms may range from moderate to severe.

Physical withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin (clonazepam) may include:

  • tremors
  • sweating
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • muscle cramps
  • heart palpitations (fluttering heartbeat)

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Psychological withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin (clonazepam) may include:

  • memory loss and confusion
  • depersonalization (loss of identity)
  • hallucinations or psychosis
  • mood changes
  • dysphoria
  • suicidal thoughts
  • depression
  • irritability

Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline

Klonopin (clonazepam) stays in someone’s system for an average of five to 14 days. One to three days after a person’s last dose, they may begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This is called early withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms during this phase are often effects that the drug is supposed to prevent, like rebound anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia.

Once the Klonopin has completely left the body, the acute withdrawal phase begins, and symptoms will likely become more severe.

Klonopin withdrawal may last one to four weeks, but this depends on a few factors:

  • Length of time: The longer someone has been taking Klonopin, the more likely it is to build up in their system. When this occurs, it takes longer for the body to metabolize the drug, which may delay the withdrawal process.
  • Dose: Higher doses of Klonopin also take longer to break down. When a person abuses Klonopin, they may take frequent, high doses of the drug, which causes it to build up quickly. The body has more difficulty processing and excreting Klonopin in this case.
  • Tapering: Many people taper off of Klonopin to avoid or reduce withdrawal symptoms. This means that their dose is slowly reduced until they are able to function without the drug. This can help tremendously with withdrawal symptoms, but it can also make the process last longer—three to five weeks or so.

Some individuals, especially those who heavily abuse Klonopin, may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), which is also called protracted withdrawal or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. When this occurs, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive or schizophrenic tendencies. PAWS can last for a few months to two years.

Klonopin (Clonazepam) Tolerance, Dependence, And Addiction

Individuals who take benzodiazepines like Klonopin (clonazepam) are likely to develop a tolerance to them. When someone is tolerant to Klonopin, their body does not respond as well to the drug’s effects as it previously did. This often leads people to increase their dosage, whether recommended by a doctor or not.

When someone takes Klonopin for more than a few weeks, they may develop a physical dependence on it. This is even more likely if a person abuses the drug by taking it in higher doses or more frequently than prescribed.

Benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short-term relief. Because tolerance develops so quickly, they are not effective as a long-term solution for many people. In most cases, the longer someone takes Klonopin, the lower its effectiveness and the higher the risk of dependence and addiction.

How To Safely Detox From Klonopin

Withdrawal symptoms keep many people dependent on Klonopin (clonazepam). The easiest way to avoid these symptoms is to continue taking Klonopin, but that can harm a person’s physical health and fuel their addiction. Following a tapering schedule mapped by a medical professional can help people through the withdrawal process, as can medically supervised detox programs.

Medical detox programs take place in an inpatient setting, where individuals are monitored closely to ensure their safety. Medication may be administered to ease the withdrawal process. Some medically supervised detox programs also offer counseling and various therapies to prepare individuals to enter a formal treatment program.

Find Treatment For Klonopin Addiction

Detoxification is often the first step toward healing from addiction. An individual can begin treatment for Klonopin addiction once the drug has been cleared from their body. Comprehensive addiction treatment programs implement a range of therapies to address issues that can cause and worsen addiction.

Many people who become addicted to Klonopin (clonazepam) began taking it for anxiety, panic attacks, or seizures. To prevent relapse, drug rehab programs deal with these problems, using natural relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation, stress management, and coping skills to help individuals deal with emotions in a healthy way. Nutrition and recreation are often integrated into addiction treatment as well, with the goal of improving overall health.

Treatment for Klonopin addiction may take place in an outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, or inpatient program. Inpatient—or residential—treatment works best for many people because it takes them out of their usual environment. This allows them to be surrounded with support and bond with other people who are seeking recovery.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Protracted Withdrawal

U.S. Food and Drug Administration - Klonopin Tablets

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