Klonopin Abuse & Addiction

Written by Melissa Carmona

& Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD

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Last Updated - 08/09/2023

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Updated 08/09/2023

Klonopin is prescribed to treat conditions like anxiety but has the potential for abuse and addiction. Klonopin addiction signs and symptoms should not be ignored.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin, the brand name for clonazepam, is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, panic disorders and seizures. It’s the brand name of the generic drug clonazepam, and it was initially introduced to the marketplace in the mid-1970s as a treatment for seizures from epilepsy. The benzodiazepine drug class also includes commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium.

Klonopin is considered a prescription sedative. It slows the central nervous system when it’s taken, which is how it also calms the brain’s activity to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Klonopin is intended to be a short-term treatment option because it is a Schedule IV controlled substance and can be habit-forming.

Understanding Klonopin Addiction

Because Klonopin is a controlled substance, a person can become physically dependent, addicted or both. With physical dependence, your body may be so used to having the drug that you don’t feel normal without it, and you experience withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop taking it.

How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted to Klonopin?

The answer is that it depends. An addiction is defined as the continued use of a substance despite harmful consequences. It can take people different amounts of time to reach the point where they compulsively use Klonopin despite being harmful.

Some of the factors that may play a role in whether you become addicted to Klonopin include:

  • How long and how often you use the drug
  • Whether you’re prescribed Klonopin, or you buy it illicitly
  • Whether you abuse Klonopin in ways like crushing it and snorting it
  • Your personal and family history of substance abuse

Younger people who use Klonopin may also be at a greater risk of addiction because their brains are still developing, and that leaves them vulnerable to addiction in general. Of course, these aren’t all the factors that play a role in whether or not you’ll become addicted to Klonopin, but they are some of the most significant.

Addiction to any drug, including Klonopin, is a disease made up of genetic and environmental components, so there’s no way to determine how long it would take someone to become addicted to Klonopin or even if they will. Still, it’s extremely important that you use caution with Klonopin, even if it’s prescribed to you by a doctor.

The best thing to do to avoid an addiction to Klonopin is to not take the drug, but if you are prescribed it, make sure you follow instructions from your doctor exactly and take it for the shortest time possible. You can also look for local Colorado resources if you believe you already have an addiction. There are statewide resources to help people with addiction to drugs like Klonopin.

Klonopin Side Effects

Klonopin is prescribed to people to help treat anxiety and panic disorder, but there are potential side effects to be aware of even if you’re taking it as prescribed. The side effects of Klonopin can be more pronounced if you take high doses of the drug or abuse it.

Because both Klonopin and alcohol are central nervous system depressants, their side effects can be similar. The following are some of the common Klonopin side effects that may be possible in the short term:

  • Feeling very tired or fatigued
  • Feeling depressed
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Memory impairment
  • Confusion
  • Problems with balance and coordination
  • Headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Dry mouth

Long-Term Effects of Klonopin

As with so many other benzodiazepines, Klonopin carries long-term side effects as well.

Klonopin Physical Dependence

Being a Schedule IV controlled substance means that Klonopin carries a risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. This means that when you take Klonopin for an extended period of time, your body may become physically dependent on it. If you were to stop taking it suddenly, you would go through withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms from benzos like Klonopin can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Muscle aches

It’s important for people dependent on Klonopin to seek treatment at a qualified detox center because benzo withdrawal symptoms can range from uncomfortable to dangerous.

Rebound Symptoms

When people take Klonopin and then suddenly stop taking it, they also may experience rebound symptoms. The symptoms they originally took this medicine for come back and are usually stronger than they were before. For example, if you took Klonopin to treat anxiety for an extended period and then stop, you may experience more severe anxiety than you had initially. The Klonopin dose should be tapered to avoid rebound symptoms when you stop. Tapering a drug should always be done under your doctor’s supervision.

Addiction to Klonopin

Klonopin is intended to be a short-term panic or anxiety treatment, but people may nonetheless develop an addiction, which is a chronic disease. At that point, you are out of control when it comes to your use of the drug. Following your doctor’s instructions precisely can help you avoid becoming addicted.

Signs of Klonopin Overdose

If you have a loved one who abuses Klonopin, you may wonder what the Klonopin overdose signs are. Klonopin overdose can occur when it’s the only drug someone is using. Still, more commonly, this scenario happens when someone mixes multiple substances, such as pairing Klonopin with alcohol or opioids.

Klonopin can slow down the respiratory system if too much is taken at once. Klonopin overdose signs can include a bluish tint to lips and fingernails, feeling cold and clammy or seeming extremely disoriented. Klonopin overdose symptoms may also include losing consciousness.

Drug overdoses can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, administer naloxone (Narcan) if you have it available and call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Colorado Poison Center for online assistance.

Signs of Klonopin Abuse

How do you know if someone is abusing Klonopin or simply taking it for a condition as prescribed? The following are some important signs of Klonopin abuse:

  • Taking Klonopin without a prescription is always considered abuse of the drug, even if they feel they need it or they’re taking it in a controlled way.
  • Doctor shopping for prescription medications like Klonopin is frequently one of the first signs of abuse, as is feigning symptoms in an attempt to get prescriptions.
  • If they have a Klonopin prescription but take it more often than they’re supposed to or take higher doses than your doctor tells them to, this is a sign of abuse.
  • They may steal from loved ones to fuel their Klonopin habit.
  • They may start to act secretively or start isolating themselves from friends and family.
  • They seem very tired or groggy frequently. They have trouble moving around from place to place, or they may seem drunk.
  • They cannot stop using Klonopin even when you try, or even in the face of negative consequences stemming from drug use.

Klonopin abuse doesn’t necessarily have to mean you’re addicted, but the longer you abuse Klonopin, the more likely you are to develop an addiction.

Klonopin addiction signs and Klonopin addiction symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. If you think you or a loved one may have a problem with Klonopin, it’s important to locate resources either in Colorado at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake or somewhere else in the nation.

Klonopin Treatment in Colorado

Most Klonopin treatment begins with an initial medically-assisted detox, then includes a residential treatment period that integrates various forms of group and individual therapy. Near the end of the program, the rehab team creates an aftercare plan for long-term recovery.

Another option for Klonopin treatment is to do outpatient treatment. While this can be less expensive than inpatient care and doesn’t require you to leave your daily life, it may not be adequate to address a severe addiction to Klonopin. The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake in Colorado offers inpatient treatment, outpatient care and multiple levels of care in between to meet each patient’s unique needs.

Rehab For Klonopin Addiction

One of the things that holds many people back from receiving Klonopin treatment is that they don’t know what to expect in rehab, so having a clear understanding of what rehab for Klonopin addiction is like is important.

Rehab for Klonopin addiction begins with an intake process, where you’ll speak to a coordinator who will help you determine what Colorado rehab option is best suited to your needs. You go through some questions that will be used to create an individualized treatment plan, taking into account your addiction to Klonopin and any other addictions to substances or co-occurring mental health needs you might have.

The detox period for Klonopin can be difficult, and there can be severe symptoms, so interventions during this period may include medications and a supervised program. Once you’ve completed detox, you’ll move on to the actual rehab for Klonopin addiction.

To offer the best chances of a successful recovery, treatment should address the whole person, not just the addiction. Our rehab facility takes a holistic approach, addressing why a person began using Klonopin in the first place to create a more satisfying, successful long-term recovery.

While multiple elements of therapy are integrated into Klonopin addiction rehab, one of the most critical is behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy for Klonopin addiction usually includes a combination of individual, group and family therapy.

Once you have completed rehab for Klonopin addiction, your treatment team creates an aftercare plan. Addiction is a chronic disease, so recovery requires lifelong management. Some patients may move from residential treatment to outpatient therapy or a sober living facility, depending on the situation. Aftercare can include additional therapy, support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and other local and online resources.

Does Insurance Cover Klonopin Rehab?

Many private insurance companies cover the cost of addiction treatment. They tend to see it as better to pay for treatment than to pay for the years of healthcare that can result from an ongoing addiction. Coverage may be full or partial, and our Palmer Lake intake coordinators can work with you to determine what’s covered by your insurance.

There are also public health insurance options available. Outside of insurance, many financing options are available to people who need treatment for Klonopin addiction throughout Colorado and nationally.

If you or your loved one struggles with Klonopin addiction, help is available. Contact us today to discuss treatment options that can start you on the path to a healthier, Klonopin-free life.


Kang, Michael; Galuska, Michael A.; Ghassemzadeh, Sassan. “Benzodiazepine Toxicity,” November 15, 2020. Accessed May 26, 2021.

Drug Enforcement Administration. “Benzodiazepines.” December 2019. Accessed May 26, 2021.

Drugs.com. “Clonazepam.” August 14, 2020. Accessed May 26, 2021.

American Psychiatric Association. “What Is a Substance Use Disorder?” December 2020. Accessed May 26, 2021.

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Manag[…]e in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed May 26, 2021.


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