A Thin Line
Sometimes there is a mighty thin line between the proper use of a medication and the dangerous misuse of the drug.
Take, for example, clonazepam.
Clonazepam is a medication with not just one, but two extremely beneficial uses. First, the drug (which is also known by the brand name Klonopin) is often prescribed to those with panic disorders. Second, clonazepam is useful in the treatment of epilepsy because it is effective as an anticonvulsant. One pharmaceutical with two important uses seems like a good thing, right?
And it is a good thing. Many, many people are helped by the proper use of clonazepam, leading better lives because their panic disorder or epilepsy is under control.
Unfortunately, however, some people—including some who first took the drug for legitimate reasons under the care of a physician—misuse clonazepam.
When that happens, the drug quickly changes from something beneficial to something quite dangerous.
It doesn’t take much to slide from proper to improper use. All you have to do is decide that maybe you don’t need to strictly follow the instructions given to you by your doctor and pharmacist. Once you have made that decision, you are well on your way to trouble.
Clonazepam: Use Only As Directed
You might be wondering why anyone would deviate from the instructions for safely taking clonazepam. After all, if the drug is effectively treating a problem—tamping down the panic or keeping seizures at bay—why would you mess around with a good thing?
The answer is related to the way the drug does what it does. Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine, and like other drugs in its class, it works by slowing the amount of activity in your brain. Imagine your mind is a racing car and clonazepam is a brake pedal. That is a fair comparison to how clonazepam and other benzos work to lessen anxiety or limit the likelihood of seizures.
For a person who has been experiencing persistent panic over a long period of time or who is finally getting some relief from seizures, this slowing of the brain can be extremely pleasurable. And that can make it extremely tempting to take more clonazepam than has been prescribed or to try to find ways to keep taking it even if a physician is no longer prescribing it.
When it comes to clonazepam, taking too much of the drug, taking it too frequently, or taking it over too long a period of time are all dangerous. And once you have headed down that road, trying to stop taking the drug becomes dangerous, too.
Take Care to Taper Off Clonazepam
When a person stops taking clonazepam—even if they have followed their doctor’s instructions to the letter—they may have to deal with several negative side effects. These can include seizures, mood changes, and difficulty with mental processing. As a result, the best approach to getting off of clonazepam is to taper.
Tapering is a process of slowly reducing the amount of the drug you are taking over time so that your body can adjust to the change without causing a bunch of problems. If you have been following your prescription, the tapering process should not be too difficult to manage.
But if you have been abusing clonazepam, you may find that it is difficult to manage the tapering process on your own. And given that the side effects of withdrawal can include life-threatening problems like seizures, you probably do not want to take the risk and go it alone.
Instead, you should seek out help at a fully accredited residential treatment center so that you can safely go through the detoxification process and through rehabilitation designed to help you stay off of the drug going forward.
Wooded Glen Recovery Center Can Provide the Help You Need
Whether you are struggling with a substance use disorder centered on clonazepam or some other substance, the team at Wooded Glen Recovery Center is ready and able to help. We will develop a personalized treatment plan that includes medically supervised detoxification and a rehabilitation period built around both individual and group therapy.
We can also help you address any co-occurring mental health disorders—like the panic disorder that may have led to your use of clonazepam in the first place. This is essential because sobriety and good mental health go hand in hand.
Misusing clonazepam is a mistake, but it doesn’t have to define you or your future. Get the help you need to put it behind you so that you can rebuild your life free from the influence and dangers of drugs.