How to Get Through Clonazepam Withdrawal

Klonopin stimulates production of the neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA. The chemical compound inhibits the effects of neurotransmitters that speed up brain processes, and so slows brain activity, which causes calmness and relaxation. Depriving the body of the drug puts the brain in a tailspin while the organ works to normalize function, which causes a wide range of effects. When stopped abruptly, individuals may experience dangerous side effects that include hallucinations, seizures or death. However, even when quitting the medication by gradually tapering dosages, people endure withdrawal.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Once detoxification begins, anxiety develops, increases and may seem overwhelming. Some people experience breathing difficulties, increased heart rate, uncontrollable shaking and cold sweats. When these instances occur, calm yourself by thinking that there is nothing physically wrong and death is not imminent. Consider distracting your brain by doing something pleasant. Focus on creating a craft, write, play a musical instrument or enjoy a video game. Physical exercise or mindful meditation have also been shown to help.

Mood Swings

No longer inhibited by the calming effects of clonazepam, the flood gates of neurotransmitters open, which causes irritability, obsession, hysteria or hyperactivity. Some may find these symptoms unbearable and feel powerless. Recovering addicts must continually remind themselves that these symptoms too are short-lived and ease over time. Many find comfort by attending recovery support group meetings. By visiting with others who experienced similar circumstances, individuals gain more knowledge about the process while feeling relief that overcoming is possible.

Mental Malfunction

The disruption of brain chemicals may also cause brain fog, memory loss or an inability to concentrate. Performing basic mental tasks may seem difficult. Thought processes, matching emotions or thoughts with words may become impaired. Take recovery one day at a time. Engage in simple tasks that might include going for a walk, learning a new basic skill, drawing or painting, which all help the brain repair connections and communication between neurons.

Flu-Like Symptoms

During detox, individuals commonly suffer from a number of physical symptoms that include muscle and bone aches, muscle spasms and vibrating sensations along with nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. Warm baths or showers help relax muscles and slow the messages sent by overactive nerves. Avoid restrictive clothing, and take OTC anti-inflammatory medications to ease the discomfort. Sip clear liquids until the gastric symptoms subside.

Suicidal Thoughts

Having suicidal ideations is one of the more serious clonazepam withdrawal symptoms. Some entertain the thoughts of self-harm in order to achieve symptomatic relief. Others may not believe that recovery is possible and cannot image living without the medication. For whatever reason, when these thoughts occur, individuals should consult with a counselor, a physician or go to the emergency room. Simply visiting with a qualified professional often has a calming and reassuring effect.

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "How to Get Through Clonazepam Withdrawal," in PsychologyDictionary.org, February 18, 2016, https://psychologydictionary.org/article/how-to-get-through-clonazepam-withdrawal/ (accessed September 22, 2019).
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