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What You Need to Know About Klonopin: The Major Side Effects

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The editorial staff of American Addiction Centers is made up of credentialed clinical reviewers with hands-on experience in or expert knowledge of addiction treatment.
What are The Major Side Effects of Klonopin?

Benzodiazepine medications like Klonopin work by altering electrical activity between the cells of the brain. For people with anxiety disorders, Klonopin can mean the difference between feeling frightened and feeling calm. But major side effects can include:

  • Birth defects
  • Seizures
  • Accidental falls
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Weak or shallow breathing
  • Unusual heartbeat
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Bruising easily
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Slurred speech

Using or abusing Klonopin is not without side effects. Like many prescription drugs, this benzodiazepine is no safer than an illicit street drug when it’s abused. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 20.4 million people are lifetime abusers of benzodiazepines like Klonopin. If you’re one of them, you may already be experiencing adverse consequences of the medication.


Klonopin brings various side effects that impact users’ behavior, such as:

  • Visual, tactile or auditory hallucinations
  • Worry that other people can read one’s thoughts
  • Irrational thoughts that others have control over one’s behavior
  • Paranoia that other people are watching the user</l
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Inability to harness control over uncomfortable thoughts or behaviors
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Out-of-character behavior
  • Emotional coldness toward others
  • Unprovoked excitability
  • Unexplained rage and anger
  • Emotional numbness
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Suicidal thoughts


Users of Klonopin may feel extremely fatigued and unable to keep up with daily life. They might be struggling with insomnia that keeps them up all night, tossing and turning. Likewise, it’s hard to keep their eyes open during daylight hours.

Other Klonopin users are tired no matter how much sleep they get. Fatigue plagues not only the mind, but also the body. Klonopin has also been associated with muscle fatigue and joint stiffness.


Klonopin dependency can also cause:

  • Anxiousness
  • Feelings of loss or sorrow
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Depression
  • Depersonalization
  • Memory loss

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes 18 percent of American adults are afflicted with anxiety disorders, and many of those individuals seek relief from anti-anxiety drugs like Klonopin. Ironically, anxiety is a common side effect of using or abusing Klonopin — a drug that is primarily prescribed for the treatment of the very same symptom.

In addition, some individuals may feel depressed and lack any kind of compassion or sympathy toward others.

Depersonalization can occur with abuse and make individuals feel like they aren’t connected to their own bodies. Furthermore, both short-term and long-term memory can be significantly impaired, and some people have failed to show improvement in this department even after medical detox.

Cardiac Consequences

Heart palpitations are among the last things any anxious person wants to experience, but they’re quite common when withdrawing from Klonopin. Breathing practices and moderate exercise may alleviate some of the tension that builds with heart palpitations.

Additional Issues

The list of neurological side effects associated with Klonopin abuse is often overlooked, even by some prescribing physicians. Some individuals will endure seizures that can cause lasting damage.

Other things that come in tow with a dependency on Klonopin include:

  • Pain and inflammation
  • Cough, sore throat, and sneezing
  • Laryngitis
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Fainting spells
  • Numbness and tingling in the limbs
  • Stiff muscles and joints
  • Paralysis
  • Trembling
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Urinary issues
  • Brain damage, in rare cases

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Ending the Cycle

getting treatment

As with all benzodiazepines, it’s imperative to undergo medical detox when attempting to get off the drug. The majority of the above side effects will dissipate completely within the 60-90 days it takes most people to fully detox from Klonopin.

Some people will continue to encounter lasting withdrawal symptoms that linger even after they are completely detoxed. Those individuals may be at an increased risk of relapsing. Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome occurs for a small percent of people who detox and continue to experience symptoms. Psychology Today notes this syndrome can persist for six months or more.

The standard form of treatment for an addiction to any benzodiazepine is to taper the dose until the person is completely withdrawn from the drug. Combining this treatment approach with other mental wellness applications, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or equine-assisted therapy can greatly improve the chances of a successful outcome. A Canadian Medical Association Journal study on CBT in conjunction with a tapering schedule for people dependent on benzodiazepines supported the use of the therapy technique, touting 77 percent of the combined treatment group completing detox while only 38 percent of the tapering-only group did.

Many people who abuse this drug started out misusing their own prescription in attempts to better treat their anxiety. Taking advantage of a stable treatment approach that includes medical detox can reduce the length of the withdrawal period associated with Klonopin.

Last Updated on July 21, 2021
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The editorial staff of American Addiction Centers is made up of credentialed clinical reviewers with hands-on experience in or expert knowledge of addiction treatment.
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