Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms | Timeline & Detox
Klonopin (clonazepam) is a potent, long-acting benzodiazepine that is habit-forming if used for more than a short period. Likewise, Klonopin withdrawal symptoms can be prolonged, distressing, and even dangerous in the absence of medical supervision and treatment.
Benzodiazepines are a widely prescribed class of prescription drugs that include brand name medications like Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Halcion (triazolam), and Klonopin (clonazepam).
Klonopin is an especially potent and long-acting benzo that acts as an anxiolytic (an anxiety-reliever), muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and sedative/hypnotic (a drug that promotes calm, drowsiness, and sleep).
It is often prescribed for the treatment of conditions like anxiety and anxiety disorders, seizure disorders like epilepsy, restless leg disorder, and panic disorders.
While Klonopin can be effective as a short-term intervention, it can also be extremely habit forming when taken regularly for more than a few weeks. Frequently diverted for drug abuse, Klonopin withdrawal symptoms may also occur when you stop using.
Symptoms Of Klonopin Withdrawal
Benzodiazepine withdrawal, or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, can be unusually severe and even life-threatening in some cases, especially when it comes to an extended period of Klonopin use or Klonopin abuse.
Acute withdrawal symptoms of Klonopin may include:
- blurred vision
- changes in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and body temperature
- mental confusion
- muscle spasms, tremors, or twitches
- nausea and vomiting
- panic attacks
- grand mal seizures
- stomach or abdominal pain
- thoughts of suicide
- and others
These symptoms are sometimes compared to those of severe alcohol withdrawal, as alcohol is also a strong central nervous system depressant when taken in high doses.
Like other benzos, clonazepam works by binding to specific receptors and increasing the effects of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter, decreasing central nervous system activity across the entire body.
However, if Klonopin is used too regularly for too long, the body will adapt to its effects, quickly making changes to balance out the drug’s effects and becoming more and more dependent on it to maintain one’s normal internal functions.
This, along with the positive feelings of pleasure and well-being that Klonopin may cause, can lead directly to withdrawal symptoms when it is eventually discontinued.
Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline
While everyone’s experience with the withdrawal process is unique, producing different physical and mental symptoms that may linger for shorter or longer periods of time, there is a common progression:
Initial Symptoms: 1-3 Days After Last Dose
Because clonazepam has a long elimination half-life of 30 to 40 hours, those discontinuing it may not experience withdrawal symptoms until 1-3 days after their last dose, as the level of the medication in the body drops off.
These early withdrawal symptoms often involve mood swings and rebounding symptoms of anxiety and insomnia.
Acute Withdrawal: 4-14 Days After Last Dose
Acute withdrawal symptoms will begin as clonazepam is fully removed from the body and its effects come to an end, severely throwing off the body’s recent internal chemical balance.
As acute withdrawal intensifies and peaks during the second week of withdrawal, a person may experience a wide range of mental and physical symptoms ranging from drug cravings to headaches, severe fatigue, agitation, sleep disturbances, sweating, mental confusion, and difficulty with movement and coordination.
For those attempting to quit cold turkey, acute withdrawal may also produce medically dangerous symptoms like hallucinations, seizures, and suicidal thoughts or impulses.
Healthcare professionals strongly urge those considering withdrawing from Klonopin to do so with the help of professional tapering and medical detoxification programs.
Post-Acute Withdrawal: 14+ Days After Last Dose
While the length of any one person’s acute withdrawal symptoms can vary, most experience significant improvements in mood, energy, memory, and mental clarity after the second week.
However, some may also experience lingering psychological symptoms that persist or unexpectedly reemerge weeks, months, or years after acute withdrawal has passed, including symptoms like drug cravings, anxiety, fatigue, sleep problems, and unusual feelings of depression or anxiety.
Fortunately, these protracted withdrawal effects can be managed with counseling and mental healthcare, and they do tend to improve and resolve over time, even in severe cases.
While detoxification is no replacement for a substance abuse treatment program, it is the first step towards addressing Klonopin addiction and other forms of substance use disorder.
In a medical detox program, those working through physical dependence and drug withdrawal symptoms are closely monitored by healthcare professionals and supported with a safe, secure environment, counseling, peer support, creature comforts, and comfort medications if needed.
Tapering is a process in which a medical professional gradually lowers a patient’s medication dosage over time to reduce or entirely avoid serious withdrawal symptoms.
For Klonopin detox, tapering is generally recommended for anyone who has used the medication for more than two weeks.
A typical Klonopin tapering schedule involves an initial dosage reduction of 20-30% with additional 10% reductions every week. This rate can be adjusted up or down depending on how well the reductions are tolerated, and counseling may be provided to help a patient cope with this very gradual process.
Klonopin Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one have become dependent on Klonopin or addicted to it, we can help.
At Ohio Recovery Center, we provide a wide-range of professional, evidence-based behavioral health and addiction treatment services in our comfortable inpatient treatment center located in Van Wert, Ohio.
To learn more about our treatment options, please contact us today.
- National Center for PTSD https://www.va.gov/painmanagement/docs/OSI_6_Toolkit_Taper_Benzodiazepines_Clinicians.pdf
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682279.html
- National Library of Medicine: StatPearls https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556010/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma10-4554.pdf