Klonopin is the brand name of the prescription drug clonazepam, which is prescribed by health care providers to treat seizures, panic disorder, and certain types of anxiety disorders. Klonopin is of the drug category benzodiazepines, which include the drugs alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan).
Benzodiazepines create a feeling of calm by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain that cause nerves to interact with one another. The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), works to suppress how nerves communicate with each other, and benzodiazepines such as Klonopin work by increasing the activity of GABA in the brain, which then in turn suppresses nerve communication. The theory is that rapid nerve communication in the brain is what causes anxiety, so when the GABA activity is increased by taking benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, the communication of the nerves is suppressed, and a feeling of sedation and relaxation results.
The most common side effects of taking Klonopin include feeling tired or depressed, drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, and problems with balance and coordination. Because of the relaxing, somewhat intoxicating feeling and euphoria that one experiences from taking Klonopin, it has the potential to be abused, and people who take it excessively without supervision from a healthcare provider often become addicted. For this reason the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified Klonopin, and every other benzodiazepine, as Schedule IV controlled substances in accordance with the Controlled Substances Act.
Klonopin, as with any other benzodiazepine, has a potential to be abused and become addicted to, and users who have been using benzodiazepines for an extended period of time can expect to experience terrible withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. “Physiological dependence on benzodiazepines is accompanied by a withdrawal syndrome which is typically characterized by sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty in concentration, dry wretching and nausea, some weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness and a host of perceptual changes.” (The Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome, Petursson H). Withdrawal is a tell-tale sign of addiction, and anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical help, as benzodiazepine withdrawal can be life-threatening.
If you are addicted to Klonopin, there is a way out. There are countless programs that exist solely to help people recover from an addiction, and there is no shame in admitting that you need help. Programs that utilize the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are generally relatively successful in helping people to overcome their addictions, but the battle is tricky. You must be willing to admit that you have a problem, and be willing to accept help of a spiritual nature. It is possible to recover, however, if you are steadfast and believe that you can. No situation is too hopeless, and people will help you if you only reach out and ask.