Snorting Klonopin: Dangers & Side Effects of Snorting This BenzoAnna Ciulla
Benzodiazepines, called “benzos” for short, besides their therapeutic effects, have another notable effect that quickly captured public fancy among some demographic groups and facilitated a deep dive toward abuse: euphoria. For those looking for a quicker high, the notion that crushing benzos and snorting them, just as recreational or non-medical users of other prescription drugs sometimes do, has become a pervasive habit with wide-ranging real and potentially dangerous long-term effects and consequences.
KLONOPIN: WHAT IS IT?
Klonopin and the generic version clonazepam belongs to the benzodiazepines class of drugs that includes a broad group of central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Benzodiazepines received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1960s and were thought at the time to be a safer alternative to barbiturates. Klonopin, along with other benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan, is a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means that, while there is a medical benefit to its use, there is also the potential for abuse and dependence.
The habit of popping pills to cure every imaginable condition is likely embedded in popular culture. Indeed, many early potions, elixirs, and concoctions were hawked to an unknowing and gullible public, touting the ability to cure conditions as disparate as baldness, gastrointestinal distress, gout, headache, infertility, insomnia, and scores more. Even medically prescribed medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) often are indicated for multiple diagnosable conditions.
Millions of Americans are prescribed benzodiazepines such as Klonopin to treat anxiety disorders. The anti-anxiety prescription drug is also prescribed for those diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, and other ailments. In fact, one in 20 Americans filled a benzodiazepine prescription within the last year. The rate is substantially higher in women than men and increases with age. A 2014 study found that one in every 10 high school seniors in the U.S. had some exposure to benzodiazepines, either medically or nonmedically. Among young adults frequenting the drug scene and who use drugs, benzodiazepine use, misuse and dependence are high.
AFTER THE HIGH: DANGEROUS KLONOPIN SIDE-EFFECTS
No high achieved by snorting Klonopin (or the generic clonazepam) is worth taking a chance on its dangerous side effects, however. Consider the fact that there are increasing risks to continuing to abuse this benzodiazepine via snorting:
- Slowed heart rate. This could lead to cardiac arrest and death.
- The central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory depression. This may lead to unconsciousness and breathing cessation.
- Multiplier effect. When high doses of Klonopin or clonazepam are snorted along with ingestion of other depressive drugs, such as alcohol and/or opioids, the depressive effects on the CNS are intensified.
- Sudden, acute behavior changes. After snorting high doses of Klonopin, the user may begin to exhibit acute changes in behavior, including taking more risks, becoming agitated, and lowering inhibitions.
- Psychological symptoms. Depression, panic attacks, withdrawing from others, violent behavior and suicidal thoughts may follow snorting benzodiazepines.
- Addiction and dependence. Continued high dosage consumption of benzodiazepines, particularly when combined with other drugs of abuse and alcohol, can lead to addiction and dependence.
- Overdose and death. As the user consumes increasingly higher quantities of benzodiazepines, either due to tolerance or by accident, the risk of accidental overdose and death dramatically increases.
DON’T TRY TO QUIT ON YOUR OWN
No matter how your habit of using benzodiazepines began, crossing over from medically-prescribed prescription to dependence or because of long-term nonmedical use for the purposes of getting high, curbing your intake on your own is inadvisable. For one thing, once the euphoric effects of the drug wear off, withdrawal begins to set in. Benzo withdrawal can be quite difficult and is best accomplished through a medical detoxification program.
The lengthy list of withdrawal symptoms for benzodiazepines such as Klonopin include:
- Abnormal skin sensations, such as burning, itching, tickling or tingling
- Difficulty walking and other mobility problems
- Distortion in perception
- Sleep problems, disturbances, insomnia
Other withdrawal symptoms experienced by some during benzodiazepine withdrawal include:
- Depression, uneasiness, dissatisfaction with life
- Disconnectedness, feeling that thoughts or feelings belong to someone else, loss of sense of personal identity
- Experiencing feelings of persecution
- Extreme depression
- Feelings of unreality
- Pain, headache
- Paranoid thoughts
Occasionally experienced by those with long-term benzodiazepine abuse or who ingested high dosages are more extreme benzo withdrawal symptoms:
- States of confusion
Symptoms of Klonopin (and clonazepam) overdose requiring immediate medical attention include:
- Confusion, disorientation, going in and out of consciousness from intoxication
- Clammy skin, weak and rapid pulse, low blood pressure
- Slow, shallow breathing due to respiratory depression
- Loss of or impaired muscle coordination, reflexes and balance
- Drowsiness and sedation due to CNS depression
Note that when combined with other drugs of abuse, an overdose of Klonopin or clonazepam can lead to coma and death.
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR KLONOPIN ADDICTION
There is help for overcoming addiction to benzodiazepines such as Klonopin. The official diagnosis is a benzodiazepine substance use disorder. The first step is making the decision to get treatment. That’s often the most difficult due to denial there’s a problem, feeling like it’s manageable, or confusion about the best approach to take. Treatment choices include inpatient or residential treatment, or outpatient treatment. Both evidence-based treatment options generally include detoxification from the drug and some combination of psychotherapy and various other forms of counseling and other therapies to help in coping with dependency symptoms, such as craving, and any underlying psychiatric symptoms.
- Medically Assisted Detox. After accepting that treatment is required and entering a treatment facility, following an assessment and preparation of a recommended treatment plan, the next step is medically-assisted detox. Sudden withdrawal from Klonopin (going “cold turkey”) is not only inadvisable, it’s also dangerous and potentially life-threatening, including the risk for seizures, especially after 1-66 months of usage. Medically supervised detox includes a gradual and supervised withdrawal from Klonopin, and potentially including other medications to help combat unpleasant benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There is scientific evidence to support the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy in the treatment of benzodiazepine dependence, especially in the short term.
- Family Therapy. When one person in the family is addicted, every family member is affected. Effective treatment to overcome Klonopin addiction, either alone or in combination with other addictions and/or mental health disorders often includes the involvement of the family in a family therapy program.
- Motivational Interviewing. Helping to overcome ambivalence and resistance to change is one of the benefits of motivational interviewing in the overall treatment plan.
- Support Groups. Going it alone is never the solution to living a life post-treatment that’s free of substance abuse. Part of an effective treatment for Klonopin addiction is the introduction of the client to support and self-help 12-Step groups. Participation in 12-Step groups following treatment has been found to yield higher recovery outcomes.
Resolve to get professional help to overcome Klonopin addiction. While the habit may have started innocently enough, once it’s out of control or has led to serious negative consequences, it’s time to put a stop to this hazard to physical and mental health – not to mention the dire consequences addiction can cause to family and loved ones.
If you’re struggling with Klonopin dependency, freedom is possible. Contact us today to explore your treatment options.
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