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Klonopin Addiction and Abuse

Klonopin, or clonazepam, is a highly addictive prescription drug used to treat panic attacks, anxiety and seizures.

Addiction to Klonopin

Blue Klonopin pillsKlonopin is a potentially habit-forming benzodiazepine, with some people becoming addicted to it in as little as a few weeks. Many people have become addicted to Klonopin taking only the amount prescribed by their doctor.

Klonopin blocks special receptors in the brain to reduce agitation and stress.

Once a person is addicted to Klonopin, their brain can no longer produce feelings of relaxation and calmness without it.

This is why people addicted to Klonopin struggle to quit and are unable to function normally when they don’t have it.

Some signs that you may have a Klonopin addiction include:

  • Persistent cravings for Klonopin
  • Continued Klonopin use despite negative consequences
  • Having a desire to quit but being unable to do so
  • Losing interest in social or professional obligations
  • Developing legal or financial issues

Klonopin addiction starts when the user builds a tolerance to the drug, which means they need larger doses to get the same effects they once had with smaller doses. Some users then start taking more than they were prescribed, or using the drug just to get high.

Singer and songwriter Stevie Nicks publicly shared her struggles with a Klonopin addiction. Because the drug was prescribed by her doctor, Nicks said she had a false sense of security about using it.

“I didn’t really understand right up until the end that it was the Klonopin that was making me crazy. I really didn’t realize it was that drug because I was taking it from a doctor and it was prescribed.”

Stevie Nicks, SFGate, 2001.

Eventually, users with a tolerance will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking Klonopin. Klonopin withdrawal symptoms range from intense anxiety to seizures. These symptoms can be deadly, making it dangerous for Klonopin users to quit without medical supervision.

Understanding Klonopin (Clonazepam)

A fast-acting benzodiazepine, Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam. Klonopin slows down brain activity to help users feel relaxed. It was initially formulated to help people with epilepsy manage seizures. Later, the drug’s rapid and powerful calming effects were also recognized as a way to treat panic attacks.

Klonopin is sometimes prescribed to ease anxiety and mental withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other addictive substances. Doctors may also prescribe Klonopin for short-term insomnia.

The drug is swallowed as a blue tablet or taken as a quick-dissolve tablet placed on the tongue as often as three times a day. Slang terms for Klonopin include k-pins, tranks, downers or benzos.

Klonopin isn’t generally recommended for long-term use because of its addictive potential. The drug has a relatively long half-life, or length of time the drug is active in the body.

How Long Do Benzos Stay in the Body?
Length of ActionShort-actingIntermediateLong-acting
Time10-20 hours10-30 hours19-60 hours

Once Klonopin’s effects wear off, addicted users start to experience symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. Many people attempting to quit Klonopin relapse when withdrawal symptoms become unbearable.

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Klonopin Effects and Abuse

Although Klonopin is effective in treating severe medical problems like epilepsy, it is also a potent drug that is likely to be abused. Any use of Klonopin without a prescription is considered abuse.

At higher than prescribed doses, Klonopin greatly depresses the central nervous system. This causes a short, euphoric “high” followed by a hazy, intoxicated stupor. Some people crush Klonopin tablets up into a fine powder and snort them to intensify the drug’s effects.

One user described the effects of abusing Klonopin as being immersed in peace with a feeling of strong euphoria.

Some people abuse Klonopin because it can produce hallucinatory effects when taken in large enough doses.

However, large doses of Klonopin can put users at risk of overdose. Klonopin is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. As the drug slows the central nervous system, functions like heart rate and breathing are slow and can lead to coma or death.

Signs of a Klonopin overdose include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unsteady walking
  • Reduced attention span
  • Memory impairment
  • Lack of coordination

Common Klonopin Drug Combinations

Polydrug use is common among Klonopin users hoping to mask or amplify the drug’s effects. Some people take cocaine or other stimulants to counteract the sedative effects of Klonopin. Others may take alcohol to enhance Klonopin’s calming effects, whether it’s for the sake of trying to sleep or get a better high.

The worst consequence of combining Klonopin with other drugs, especially CNS depressants like alcohol, is a fatal overdose. In combination, alcohol and Klonopin can slow down a person’s central nervous system to the point where they stop breathing.

Taking cocaine may help users stay awake, but it may also give them a false sense of how much Klonopin they can handle. Cocaine wears off faster than Klonopin, and when this happens, the user may fatally overdose.

Klonopin Abuse Statistics


Over 75,000 people were admitted to the emergency room in 2011 due to complications caused by Klonopin.

60Kusers in rehab

There were approximately 60,000 admissions to treatment centers in 2008 for addiction to benzodiazepines such as Klonopin.


Fifteen percent of Americans have a bottle of some type of benzodiazepine in their medicine cabinet.

An addiction to Klonopin can leave you feeling isolated and alone, but you don’t have to go on without the help and support you need. Enrolling at a treatment center with addiction professionals and recovery experts on hand can make all the difference in overcoming your addiction.

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Sources & Author Last Edited: April 12, 2016

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2010). Clonzepam. Retrieved on September 7, 2015 from:
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2013). Clonzepam (Klonopin). Retrieved on September 7, 2015 from:
  3. Klonopin: More Deadly Than Coke. (2009). Retrieved on September 6, 2015 from:
  4. Tans, Kelly R. et al. Trends in Neuroscience. (2014). Hooked on benzodiazepines: GABAA receptor subtypes and addiction. Retrieved on September 6, 2015 from:
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