Klonopin is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine (benzo) that has relatively long-lasting effects. The effects of most benzos, such as Xanax or Valium, last between 3-4 hours, whereas the effects of Klonopin can last anywhere from 6-12 hours.
Klonopin (clonazepam) is prescribed to treat anxiety, panic, and seizure disorders. Benzodiazepines are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that also includes medications such as Ativan, Xanax, Ativan, and Restoril.
Clonazepam is classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This classification means that while it does have a legitimate medical purpose, there is still some potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction.
Klonopin has a relatively long half-life, which refers to the length of time it takes for half of one dose of a drug to be eliminated from the body. For Klonopin, this time period ranges from 30-40 hours, meaning that it takes between 2-3 days for 50% of Klonopin to be expelled from a person’s system. Based on its half-life, some amount of the drug is likely to stay in the system for about 6-9 days after the last dose.
Some factors that may also influence how long the effects of Klonopin last and the length of time it takes for it to leave a person’s system include the following:
- Height and weight
- Body fat and mass
- Food consumption
- Liver function
- Metabolic rate
- Urinary pH
- Dosage amount
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Use of other drugs or alcohol
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin reduces activity in the CNS and mitigates hyperactive electrical signals in the brain, which are associated with anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, and other disorders. It is also often used to treat seizures in those with neurological disorders like epilepsy.
As an intermediate-acting benzo, it can reduce the risk of seizure activity for many hours after the drug has been administered. Klonopin may also be prescribed to those who suffer from persistent fidgeting, restlessness, or other uncontrollable movements, some of which may be side effects of using antipsychotic medications.
Sometimes health professionals prescribe Klonopin for the treatment of severe anxiety and panic attacks. However, it isn’t prescribed as often for the short-term treatment of insomnia or anxiety as other medications, such as Ativan and Xanax. These other benzodiazepines tend to be more effective at addressing these disorders because their effects onset within minutes and are not as long-lasting as Klonopin.
Klonopin Abuse and Addiction
Like other benzos, Klonopin produces feelings of relaxation and well-being, which give it a potential for abuse and addiction. Even those who take the drug as directed by a physician may find themselves quickly progressing to problematic use. It is these desirable feelings that often compel a person to use Klonopin more often or in higher amounts than directed. Moreover, these coveted effects typically begin within an hour of use and can last anywhere from 6-24 hours.
Klonopin can result in tolerance and dependence if use continues for an extended period. Tolerance is a condition that develops as the body adapts to the presence of a drug and gradually mitigates the effects of that substance. When this occurs, the person may be driven to use more of the drug in order to experience the desired effects.
Dependence develops after long-term exposure to a substance, as the body adapts to its presence and can no longer function properly without it. Once dependence has been established, a person will begin to encounter withdrawal symptoms when they try to discontinue drug use. Tolerance and dependence are telltale signs of addiction, a condition that is also hallmarked by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of negative consequences.
Anyone who uses a dose of Klonopin in excessively amounts or too frequently is at risk for overdose. Although it is difficult to lethally overdose on clonazepam when used by itself, if it is used in conjunction with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, the depressant effects of all substances are amplified and can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a Klonopin overdose include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Stupor or unresponsiveness
- Difficulty breathing
- Impaired coordination
- Low blood pressure
If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms after using Klonopin, please call 911 immediately.
Getting Treatment for Klonopin Addiction
Once a person has acquired a dependence on Klonopin, it can be very difficult to stop. Those who take Klonopin regularly for a long period will likely encounter unpleasant withdrawal effects when they discontinue use. The discomfort of these symptoms is often the prime reason why a person will continue to use Klonopin even if he or she wants to stop.
Recovery from Klonopin addiction is certainly attainable, however, and the first step is admitting that you have a problem and seeking help. Harmony Treatment and Wellness uses a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to addiction recovery that includes psychotherapy, counseling, treatment for co-existing mental health conditions, group support, aftercare planning, and more.
If you or someone you know is dependent on Klonopin or other substances, help is available. You don’t have to suffer alone—contact us today!