What to Know About Possible Clonazepam Side Effects

Learn more about potential clonazepam side effects, its uses, its dangers, and addiction treatment options here.

What is Clonazepam?

Clonazepam, also known by its brand name, Klonopin, is a type of benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are a class of medication that slows down the activity in your brain and nervous system.1

Benzodiazepines like clonazepam are controlled medications that must be prescribed by a medical professional. These medications are controlled because they can have dangerous effects, especially when misused. Continue reading to learn about potential Clonazepam side effects and how to pursue treatment for substance use disorder (SUD).

Why is Half-Life Important?

Clonazepam is a long-acting benzodiazepine. This means that the half-life of the drug is longer than short-acting or intermediate benzodiazepines. Half-life refers to the time it takes for the amount of the drug’s active substance to reduce by half in the body.2

Half-life can help determine how long it will take for the body to completely process the drug. A shorter half-life results in the drug leaving the body more quickly causing more withdrawal symptoms. The average half-life of clonazepam is between 30-40 hours.3

Why is Clonazepam Used?

Klonopin is often used to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. This is because the drug decreases the abnormal electrical activity in the brain resulting in a calming and relaxing effect.4

Some other conditions that Klonopin can be used to treat include:5

How Does Clonazepam Work?

This benzodiazepine works by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is responsible for lowering activity in the nervous system. Decreasing activity in the nervous system results in:6

By using a benzodiazepine like Klonopin, GABA signals the brain to lower the activity in the nervous system. This reduces or stops the overactive response.

Is Clonazepam Addictive?

Benzodiazepines like Klonopin are habit-forming and can be highly addictive. Because of the pleasurable, calming effect of these drugs, misuse can be common. Between 2015 and 2016, 30.6 million adults reported benzodiazepine use. Of those 30.6 million adults, misuse of the benzodiazepines accounted for 17.2% of the overall use.7

Developing Dependence

It is reported that physical dependence on benzodiazepines can occur in as little as three to six weeks of regular use. This dependence may result in addiction. A big factor in developing an addiction to benzodiazepines is the length of time a person has been using the drug.

A 2022 study reported that individuals who had been using their benzodiazepines for 1 year or longer were 1.3 times more likely to have a benzodiazepine use disorder. Anxiety and insomnia were considered the top two reasons for using benzodiazepines, followed by “wanting to get high.”8

Dangers of Clonazepam

The dangers of this substance include clonazepam side effects and the potential for overdose. Mild side effects may resolve within a few days to a few weeks. But some side effects may not resolve or result in serious issues.

Mild Clonazepam Side Effects

These are the symptoms that may go away in a few days after starting clonazepam. But if these symptoms do not go away or become bothersome, it’s important to talk to a medical provider. The common clonazepam side effects include:

Severe Clonazepam Side Effects

Though less common, there are some serious clonazepam side effects that can occur. If you experience serious side effects, contact a doctor immediately. The serious clonazepam side effects reported are:9

Addiction and dependence are serious side effects that can have a negative impact on your emotional and physical well-being. It can also cause financial and relationship problems because of changes in personality and spending money on getting the drug.

Long-term Clonazepam Side Effects

Regular, chronic use of this benzodiazepine can result in long-term effects. Some reported long-term clonazepam side effects include:10

Clonazepam Overdose

Clonazepam overdose can occur when excessive amounts of the drug are taken at once. Though fatal overdose on benzodiazepines is fairly uncommon, there is still a risk of life-threatening symptoms. The symptoms of benzodiazepine overdose include:

Can Overdose Be Fatal?

Death is still possible with benzodiazepine overdose even though it is uncommon. But when combined with other central nervous system depressant drugs, like alcohol and opioids, that risk increases significantly. Nearly 14% of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines. If you experience any clonazepam overdose symptoms, contact emergency medical support immediately.11

Clonazepam Withdrawal Symptoms

A common clonazepam side effect is withdrawal. Even taking the drug as prescribed can result in physical dependence and then withdrawal. Withdrawal occurs when you reduce or stop taking the drug. Because the body has become dependent on clonazepam, you are likely to experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Among chronic benzodiazepine users who were using the drug for 6 months or longer:12

Withdrawal Symptoms

Possible clonazepam side effects and withdrawal symptoms include:

The best way to avoid experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms is to taper off the drug under the supervision of a medical provider.

Treatment for Clonazepam Addiction

Since the clonazepam side effects can include dependence, addiction, and withdrawal, it’s important to know treatment options. Depending on your reasons for using Klonopin in the first place and the reasons for quitting, you may need an alternate plan for managing your condition.

Standard Use

If you were using Klonopin to manage a psychiatric condition or seizure disorder the best course of action may be a combination of:

  • Therapy: Therapy can help to understand and learn coping skills to manage symptoms of a mental health condition.
  • Pharmacologic support: Using a low dose of a benzodiazepine agonist called flumazenil may help with managing withdrawal symptoms.13

Misuse and Abuse

If your reason for stopping clonazepam use is due to you abusing them or being unable to stop use, then substance abuse treatment might be best. This could include:

  • Detox: A medically assisted detox can help to safely get off the drug and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
  • Rehab or residential treatment: An inpatient program can provide a safe and supportive environment that provides a variety of therapy to help learn about functioning without the drug.
  • Outpatient programs: An outpatient program can provide support and therapy for managing addiction while still able to remain at home.
    Self-help groups: Self-help groups like 12-Step meetings can provide peer support and help.
  • Self-help groups: Self-help groups like 12-Step meetings can provide peer support and help.
Clonazepam Side Effects

Receive Addiction Treatment at Essence Healthcare

If you are struggling with clonazepam side effects or managing your use, Essence Healthcare can help. At Essence, we provide comprehensive treatment programs focused on substance use and mental health. Our programs focus on establishing a personalized treatment program for each individual. We meet you where you are in your recovery process.

What We Offer

At Essence Healthcare, we understand that every person’s journey to recovery is different. Our team of caring and compassionate professionals will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. We offer:

Contact Essence Healthcare Today

Recovery can be difficult, but you do not have to go through it alone. Find out how Essence Healthcare can assist you with clonazepam side effects by contacting us today at 818.491.7288 or https://essencehc.com/contact-us/.

Table of Contents

Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.