Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

Clonazepam is a drug known for addressing seizure disorders, anxiety, and panic attacks. Considered a controlled substance, the misuse of this drug may cause withdrawal symptoms, negative side effects, and even addiction. Learn more about withdrawal timelines, effects, and available treatment for clonazepam abuse.

Similar to Lamictal and Valproic Acid, Clonazepam is classified under anticonvulsant drugs. The nature of clonazepam is to suppress the activity of certain centers in the brain, especially parts where electrical neural activity is on overdrive.

For people with epilepsy (seizure disorders), having medications such as clonazepam is crucial to avoid attacks. Abnormal electrical activity in the brain may cause loss of neuronal cells, which may brain problems and even death. The same mechanism for clonazepam works for people with anxiety and panic attacks. Its sedating effects can help those anxiety sufferers feel calm and reduce instances of panic attacks.

Developing Clonazepam Dependency

Some users of the drug may eventually become dependent, which can show up as clonazepam withdrawal symptoms when they are trying to cut down use. Thus, many people are looking for information on clonazepam withdrawal, its timelines, effects, and treatments for substance abuse.

Signs of clonazepam abuse

  • Continued use of the drug above the recommended dosage or past the dosage timeline
  • Using clonazepam even when noticing negative side effects
  • Losing interest in other life pursuits and relationships
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities
  • Experiencing withdrawal from clonazepam when trying to quit

If you are weaning off clonazepam but are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, below are some things you should know on signs, timelines, and how to get help.

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Symptoms of Clonazepam Withdrawal

The first thing you need to know about clonazepam withdrawal is that it is potentially life-threatening. Trying to quit the drug abruptly can cause severe effects that lead to dizziness, seizures, suicide ideation, and possibly death. Do not attempt to stop taking the drug abruptly without medical supervision.

Some of the common symptoms of clonazepam withdrawal include:

  • Stomach discomfort: Users may experience nausea, stomach pain, or any other digestive problem related to the withdrawal.
  • Headaches: Tension and migraine headaches are common withdrawal symptoms of clonazepam.
  • Seizures: There is an increased chance of developing intense seizures when quitting the drug, especially for those diagnosed with epilepsy.
  • Dizziness: The body is trying to adjust without clonazepam in the system, and the user may experience occasional dizziness or a general feeling of being unwell.
  • Depression and thoughts of suicide: As the drug also brings calm and pleasurable feelings, a user without it may experience intense emotions at the other end of the spectrum. This may lead to a depressed state and thoughts of self-harm.

Clonazepam Withdrawal Schedule

How long does clonazepam withdrawal last? The schedule of clonazepam withdrawal depends on the person’s amount of intake, age, weight, gender, and other lifestyle factors. Typically, the withdrawal from the drug follows an observable timeline which is as follows:

1-3 days

At days 1-3 of weaning off clonazepam, the person will experience mild and moderate withdrawal symptoms. At this point, users will feel discomfort but it is generally managed with ease. Some of the symptoms that first occur in the early days include headaches, malaise, or low energy.

2 weeks

Users will experience the peak of clonazepam withdrawal symptoms within 2 weeks. The physical and emotional effects at this stage may be difficult to manage without professional help, and may even be dangerous when the individual isn’t supervised. The person may experience seizures, increased anxiety, frequent panic attacks, and severe levels of the symptoms earlier mentioned.

3 weeks and beyond

After the peak wave of clonazepam withdrawal, people may experience milder symptoms, but it can persist for months or years when no medical intervention is done. For those experiencing symptoms beyond 3 weeks, a proper drug detox may be necessary.

Side Effects of Clonazepam Withdrawal

As clonazepam is also considered a benzodiazepine, this type of drug is known to have withdrawal side effects that are on top of the symptoms.
When proper treatment isn’t given during clonazepam withdrawal, these side effects can last for years as well.
As the brain is trying to adjust without the drug, some common side effects can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Dissociation from oneself
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Extreme moods
  • Bouts of irritability and rage

How to Quit Clonazepam

Quitting clonazepam can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are various resources and treatment options available for you. To better understand the medical and evidence-based processes of clonazepam addiction treatment, you can take a look at the outline below:

Medical detox

Medical detoxes are done to remove the remnants of the drug in your body. The benefits of performing a professionally-supervised detox are round-the-clock care and providing proper treatment measures.

During the detox process, healthcare experts will provide you with lodging, nutritious meals, as well as IV and medications when necessary. This is done to ensure that the effects of withdrawal are significantly reduced and there are minimal to no traces of the drug in your body.

Treatment

The next step of the process once withdrawal symptoms wane is to get the addiction treatment you need. These are custom-made programs made to address the issues that triggered substance abuse in your life.

Each person is different and will receive a personalized approach to addiction treatment. Some of the well-known strategies to help in substance abuse include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Meditation
  • Fitness and Nutritional Support
  • Nature Therapy
  • Spiritual Approaches
  • Peer Support

Your therapists and other healthcare experts will work alongside each other to help you address issues and recover from substance abuse.

Aftercare

Intensive treatment is done within 1-3 month timeframes, and after that, the individual can receive maintenance sessions or referrals to local support. They can also be given an aftercare program to be followed at home. Aftercare instructions are important to help the individual stay sober and prevent relapse.

Clonazepam Withdrawal: Understanding Timelines and Getting Help

Clonazepam withdrawal is uncomfortable, to say the least, and can potentially be life-threatening when not done with medical help. Thus, understanding the timelines, effects, and knowing when to get help is vital to one’s recovery success.

Sources:

  • Medlink.com – “Anticonvulsants”.
  • Afsp.org – “Risk factors and warning signs (Suicide)”.
  • Drugabuse.gov – “Benzodiazepines and Opioids”.
  • Apa.org – “Different approaches to psychotherapy”.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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