What is Clonazepam (Klonopin) Used For?
Clonazepam is a prescribed medication in the benzodiazepine class.
Clonazepam is used as an anti-seizure or anti-epileptic drug for the treatment of seizure disorders in adults and children, and to treat akathisia, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders. Klonopin is a tranquilizer with sedating effects. It belongs to the benzodiazepine class of medications. These drugs have been considered harder to withdraw from than even heroin or other opiates. Klonopin is prescribed to treat the following:
- PANIC DISORDER (a psychiatric mental disorder characterized by unfounded terror episodes that can occur frequently and unexpectedly).
- SEIZURE DISORDERS (any of a number of epilepsy conditions characterized by seizures)
- AGORAPHOBIA (an anxiety disorder characterized by something in the environment that triggers fear, where a person feels unsafe and unable to escape such as in a mall, subway, outside the home, etc. )
- LENNOX-GAUT SYNDROME (a type of epilepsy characterized by repeating seizures)
- ABSENCE SEIZURES (a type of epilepsy, also called petit-mal seizures: short-lived seizures that cause a temporary blank-out, or staring into space for a few seconds)
- ANXIETY DISORDERS (a group of mental disorders characterized by episodes of stress, worry and fretting, includes seasonal affective disorder, social anxiety disorder, etc.)
- OCD (a psychiatric condition where a person feels compelled to repeat actions or words or patterns to avoid the anxiety that presents if these actions are not performed).
- PTSD (a word formed from post-traumatic stress disorder, after an event characterized by terror, the threat of death or similar, where these past events can be triggered in the present by certain environmental reminders, recreating the sense of terror or shock, etc., from the past experience).
- MANIA (a psychiatric condition characterized by a flight of ideas, illusions, feelings of superhuman ability, euphoria, power, etc.)
Clonazepam (Klonopin) Alternative Names and Slang
In street jargon, Klonopin is referred to as “KPins,” or simply “tranks.” Klonopin is also nicknamed “K,” “Pin,” or “super Valium” when sold on the street.
The drug has become somewhat popularized not only as a sedative drug, but also for its fast-acting euphoric effects, and is considered high risk for abuse and addiction. The drug should only be taken for short-term use.
Many people have become inadvertently addicted to benzodiazepines such as Klonopin, and may even resort to obtaining them off the street in a desperate attempt to prevent drug withdrawals which can be extremely hard to tolerate.
Clonazepam Side Effects
The side effects of Klonopin can be quite severe and can discount any perceived benefits of the drug. It should only be used short-term for anxiety, as the side effects can become more formidable over time.
Common side effects of Clonazepam (Klonopin) can include:
- Increased anxiety
- Flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, fever, diarrhea, etc.
- Insomnia, disturbed sleep, strange dreams
- Difficulty speaking, slurred speech
- Slowed or difficult breathing
- Unsteady or slow movements
- Motor movement disorders, akathisia, restlessness, pacing, marching, rocking, etc.
- Tiredness, drowsiness
- Vision becomes blurred
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
- Sore gums
- Loss of orientation
- Memory loss
- Cognitive impairment
- Becomes disoriented
When mixed with other CNS depressants, these effects can become more severe, requiring medical intervention to avoid a potentially life-threatening event.
Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms
Clonazepam needs to be tapered carefully and gradually enough to give the body time to adjust to a decreasing dose over time. Some of the common symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Increased anxiety
- Increased depression
- Restlessness, pacing, marching, etc.
- Stomach pain
- Appetite changes
- Confusion, mental fog
Discontinuing/Quitting Clonazepam (Klonopin)
Klonopin belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs. These should never be discontinued abruptly, or “cold turkey.” When this drug, like other similar medications, is withdrawn too abruptly, the withdrawal symptoms can become harsh and difficult to tolerate. The result of coming off too fast is that some symptoms will linger far longer than necessary (as in protracted withdrawal) and can lead to relapse because of their intensity.
Unless directed by a hospital or physician, never abruptly stop benzodiazepines that have been in regular use, but do a gentle taper from the drug under medical supervision. Benzodiazepines can cause seizures and even death from suddenly stopping, especially if the person has acclimated to using this medication over a long duration.
When the time comes to begin the detox or tapering process, a clinic or setting that can provide close and careful medical monitoring is recommended.