Clonazepam, with a trade name of Klonopin, is an anxiolytic drug prescribed to treat seizure disorders and also panic disorders by slowing down some of the bodily and brain functions related to anxiety and stress. Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines are often abused and even taken with other drugs and/or alcohol, which may increase the withdrawal side effects
How Does It Affect Your System?
Clonazepam is thought to increase the presence of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which helps to slow down heart rate and blood pressure, and calmemotional disturbances. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants, or sedatives and tranquilizers.
What Are The Symptoms & Risk
Clonazepam, when taken or abused for any length of time, can produce chemical changes in the brain. Parts of the brain that are normally suppressed by the drug may become accustomed to the interaction of the drug and stop functioning normally without it. This is when a dependence on the drug has been formed. When clonazepam is removed, these functions that were being dampened are suddenly not, and a kind of rebound may occur. The symptoms that Clonazepam may have been managing, such as anxiety, panic, seizures, and insomnia, may then be magnified.
Detoxing Symptoms (Withdrawl)
Clonazepam should not be stopped suddenly or without the direct supervision and guidance of a medical professional. Potentially fatal seizures or a coma may occur with the sudden cessation of Clonazepam. Withdrawal from clonazepam can be dangerous and even even life-threatening.
Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms can include:
Thoughts of suicide
Acute withdrawal symptoms peak two weeks after stopping use of clonazepam, but subtle signs can last anywhere from a week to a month.
Catatonia is also a rare, but documented, side effect of clonazepam withdrawal, as noted by the journal Psychosomatics. Vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration levels, and body temperature may need to be observed during withdrawal, as they can jump to unhealthy levels rather quickly as the brain and body attempt to restore order without clonazepam. Physical symptoms of clonazepam withdrawal may include:
Nausea and vomiting
Short-term memory loss
Irregular heart rate or heart palpitations
Increased blood pressure
Muscle spasms and cramps
Impaired coordination and motor functions
Benzodiazepine withdrawal is also known for the debilitating psychological side effects that may occur after a drug such as clonazepam is stopped. Perhaps one of the most serious emotional side effects of Clonazepam usage is the increased risk for suicidal thoughts and actions, as the FDA even made a point to add warning signs about the potential risks for increased suicidal ideation to Clonazepam labels in 2009. Psychological symptoms of withdrawal from clonazepam may also include:
Short-term memory lapses
Drastic mood swings
Trouble feeling pleasure
Lack of motivation
Feeling “out of it” and disconnected from reality
Anger and hostility