Clonazepam is a drug that reduces anxiety, relaxes muscles, lowers your risk for seizures, and triggers sleep. Since it’s a benzodiazepine drug, it works by increasing the amount of Gamma-AminoButyric Acid (GABA) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows brain activity, bringing about the relaxing effects previously noted.
This drug is one of the long-acting benzodiazepines, meaning its effects last for more than a few hours. It has a half life between 18 and 50 hours, so you don’t have to take it very often. It also has more potency than some other benzodiazepines, making small doses effective.
What is Clonazepam Used to Treat?
The main use of clonazepam is the treatment of acute seizures, but it can also control panic attacks. Due to its fast-acting nature, clonazepam is especially helpful when treating these unpredictable conditions. The drug is also used to help with other anxiety disorders and can initially treat mania. In infants, it is used to treat dangerously exaggerated startle responses. This drug can also be used in the treatment of sleep disorders like restless legs syndrome, rapid eye movement disorder, and unconscious clenching of the teeth.
Clonazepam’s properties can help with your back pain in a number of ways. Its anti-seizure effects can help prevent muscle spasms caused by pain, while its anti-anxiety properties help you cope with the pain you’re experiencing. It can also make it easier for you to fall asleep. Like all benzodiazepines, clonazepam should not be taken for longer than a few weeks. This is because tolerance develops quickly. For this reason, clonazepam should only be used to relieve short-term discomfort.
The usual clonazepam dosage is taken orally. The amount taken depends on the reason the drug has been prescribed. For instance, to prevent seizures and treat bipolar disorder, the usual starting dose for adults is a maximum of 1.5 milligrams taken three times a day. For the treatment of panic attacks, the starting dose is just 0.25 milligrams twice a day. Over time, your doctor may increase your clonazepam dosage if the starting amount does not provide relief.
Common Clonazepam Side Effects
Common clonazepam side effects include drowsiness, euphoria, problems with coordination, and trouble thinking. Although uncommon, you may experience irritability, aggression, agitation, and lack of motivation. If you take it before bed, you may wake up to the feeling of a hangover. The hangover effect is a result of its interference with the slower brain waves during sleep and its long half life. In higher doses, it can also cause psychological effects like hallucinations and short-term memory impairment.
Clonazepam overdose produces extreme tiredness, low blood pressure, excessive clumsiness, nausea, and confusion. If the clonazepam dosage is too high, coma may result. Sleeping pills, alcohol, and barbiturates are dangerous when taken in combination with clonazepam. This is because these substances work to slow your system’s normal functions. The combined effect may cause a clonazepam overdose.
Taking clonazepam or other benzodiazepines for too long can cause cognitive impairment. If this occurs, it can take six months or longer to normalize brain function. Benzodiazepines can also cause depression if taken for extended periods. Therefore, it is important to stop taking these drugs when your doctor recommends that you do so.
Some of the most notable clonazepam side effects are related to withdrawal. Clonazepam withdrawal effects include insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and the possible worsening of panic disorders. If excessively high doses are taken for a long time, you can also suffer from seizures even if you were not originally epileptic.
The development of tolerance and addiction is the cause of harsh clonazepam withdrawal effects. To minimize your chances of becoming addicted, you should only take this drug for a short period of time. Even low doses can be addictive, so it’s important to change drugs before tolerance has developed. Sudden stoppage of this or other benzodiazepines is very likely to bring on psychiatric symptoms ranging from increased anxiety to psychosis. When withdrawing from the drug, you should taper your clonazepam dosage off slowly instead of stopping suddenly. This allows your body time to readjust to functioning without the drug.
Deciding if Clonazepam is Right for You
You should always consult with your doctor before starting clonazepam or any other drug. This consultation allows your doctor to look at your past and current medical condition to determine if the drug is right for you. If clonazepam turns out to be a good choice, your doctor will decide the dosage and duration of treatment that is most likely to be beneficial without causing undue side effect