Klonopin is a brand name for the medication clonazepam, a benzodiazepine that is used to treat panic and seizure disorders. Like other benzodiazepines, clonazepam is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that increases the amount of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This causes reduced heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety.[1]

Using Klonopin long-term or misusing it can result in the development of physical dependence. When physical dependence develops, the body relies on Klonopin to function normally. If someone who is dependent stops taking Klonopin suddenly, they will experience potentially severe withdrawal symptoms.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What causes benzodiazepine withdrawal
  • The symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal
  • How long Klonopin withdrawal lasts
  • What to expect during the withdrawal timeline
  • How a medical detox center can help

If you or a loved one are struggling with Klonopin addiction, reach out to the caring addiction specialists at First Step Behavioral Health today to discuss your treatment options.

What Causes Withdrawal?

When taken as directed, clonazepam binds to specific receptors on the brain’s neurons, enhancing the effects of GABA. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety and promote relaxation. However, when Klonopin is abused—meaning taken in larger doses or more frequently than prescribed—it can lead to significant changes in the brain’s natural GABA system.

Long-term Klonopin abuse can cause the brain to adapt to the drug’s presence. The brain may start to produce less GABA on its own or reduce the number of GABA receptors it has. As a result, individuals may develop a tolerance to the drug, needing higher doses of benzos to achieve the same effects that they used to experience with lower doses. This tolerance can contribute to the cycle of abuse as individuals seek to replicate the desired effects.

When someone who has been abusing Klonopin suddenly stops or significantly reduces their dose, it can trigger withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur because the brain, which is accustomed to the presence of Klonopin in the system, struggles to maintain normal functioning without it. The CNS becomes overexcited and remains in this excitatory state as the body adjusts to abstinence.[2]

Symptoms of Klonopin Withdrawal

People who abruptly stop taking Klonopin often experience rebound anxiety–anxiety symptoms that were being treated using the medication that return after stopping the drug. This anxiety can feel overwhelming and intense, sometimes worse than they were before starting Klonopin in the first place.

Other Klonopin withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Headaches
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Panic attacks
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Impaired coordination and motor function
  • Blurred vision
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium
  • Suicidal thoughts

Detoxing from Klonopin cold turkey can be life-threatening. Those who need to detox must do so under medical supervision to ensure a safe and effective withdrawal process.

The Klonopin Withdrawal Timeline

Several factors influence how long Klonopin withdrawal lasts and how severe symptoms become. These include length of use, method of administration, metabolism, tolerance level, frequency of use, and concurrent use of multiple drugs. People who have been taking Klonopin in high doses or for long periods of time are more likely to experience more severe and long-lasting withdrawal.

Acute withdrawal symptoms can last two weeks up to a month. After a month, heavy users may experience protracted withdrawal characterized by unpleasant but non-severe symptoms like anxiety and insomnia.

Early withdrawal

Clonazepam has a long half-life of between 18-50 hours, so it can take 1-3 days for withdrawal symptoms to begin after taking the last dose.[3] Early withdrawal symptoms include rebound anxiety, insomnia, cravings, depression, and restlessness.

Early withdrawal lasts 2-4 days.

Acute Withdrawal

Acute withdrawal begins 2-4 days after the last dose. Symptoms peak in severity around two weeks and may last anywhere from three weeks to a month after the last dose. After a month, most withdrawal symptoms should subside, but some users are left with lingering side effects.

Protracted withdrawal (months to a year)

Between 10-15% of heavy benzodiazepine users experience protracted withdrawal, also known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).[4] PAWS can last up to a year or longer and may involve anxiety, depression, a tingling or pins and needles sensation in the limbs (paresthesia), restless legs, and sleep disturbances.

Klonopin Detox and Withdrawal Treatment

Since withdrawal symptoms from Klonopin can be serious and life-threatening, it is always best to detox under medical supervision. Medical detox programs can help individuals safely manage withdrawal by gradually reducing their dose and monitoring their symptoms.

Medical detox for Klonopin involves a series of therapeutic interventions, including:

  • Tapering – Klonopin or another long-acting benzodiazepine will be prescribed. The dose will be reduced over a period of days or weeks. This tapering process can prevent severe withdrawal symptoms such as seizures and delirium. It can also help keep anxiety at a minimum.[5]
  • Medical monitoring – Medical staff monitor clients’ symptoms to ensure their comfort and safety. Additional medications may be prescribed, as needed, for symptom relief.
  • Behavioral therapy – Group and individual therapy can help clients obtain support from therapists and peers and cope with the effects of withdrawal while beginning to address the root causes of their addiction.
  • Nutritional support – Healthy meals, drinks, vitamins, and supplements are provided to boost immunity and support the body’s natural detoxification process.

Once stable, clients may transition to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program where they continue receiving treatment for their addiction.

Factors That Influence the Length of Withdrawal

Several factors can affect the severity and duration of withdrawal. These include:

  • Duration and dosage of Klonopin use – The longer someone has been taking Klonopin and the higher the dosage, the more likely they are to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Individual physiology – Each person’s body responds differently to medications and withdrawal. Some may metabolize Klonopin more quickly, leading to shorter withdrawal periods, while others may experience more long-lasting symptoms.
  • Tapering method – Gradually reducing the dose of Klonopin under medical supervision can help minimize the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms compared to abruptly stopping the medication.
  • Underlying health conditions – Co-occurring mental health disorders or physical health issues can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms and prolong the withdrawal process.
  • Polydrug use – concurrent use of other substances, including alcohol or illicit drugs, can complicate withdrawal and increase its severity and duration.
  • Stress levels – High levels of stress can worsen withdrawal symptoms. Techniques such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness, and stress management strategies may help alleviate symptoms.
  • Overall health – Factors such as diet, exercise, sleep quality, and overall lifestyle can influence the body’s ability to detox itself. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle may contribute to a smoother withdrawal process.

Regardless of your situation, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be unpredictable, and symptoms can get worse quickly. For your safety, you should always seek professional detox treatment.

Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

Once mentally and physically stable, individuals move from the detox phase of treatment to the rehabilitation phase. They participate in various therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) to treat the root causes of their substance abuse and develop healthy coping skills for relapse prevention.

If you or someone you love is addicted to Klonopin, you don’t have to suffer any longer. First Step Behavioral Health is a licensed dual-diagnosis long-term addiction treatment facility that is accredited by the Joint Commission. We focus on the physiological rebalancing of the individual through medical, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual care.

To learn more about our treatment programs or get started with a confidential, risk-free assessment, please contact us today.


  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Klonopin (clonazepam)
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH): A Case Report of Clonazepam Dependence
  3. Hindawi Hub: Clonazepam as Agonist Substitution Treatment for Benzodiazepine Dependence: A Case Report
  4. Science Direct: Benzodiazepines and Addiction
  5. National Institute of Health (NIH): Tapering clonazepam in patients with panic disorder after at least 3 years of treatment

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