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How Clonazepam Addiction Affects the Brain

How Clonazepam Addiction Affects the BrainMany of the most common emotional and psychological disorders are caused by imbalances in the brain’s fragile chemical system. A complex network of these substances interacts with various receptors in the brain to regulate the following:

  • Mood
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Optimism
  • Motivation
  • Attraction


The brain controls all of these functions and many more. When brain chemicals become imbalanced, individuals can experience a wide range of disorders. Many of these conditions are treated with a drug called clonazepam which is also sold under the brand name Klonopin. While clonazepam has brought relief to many patients, this drug creates both physical and psychological addiction.

What Clonazepam Does and How It Is Abused

Clonazepam functions as a benzodiazepine receptor agonist. It enhances the effect of some neurotransmitters and provides a sedative effect. It can be used to treat the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Spasms, seizures or convulsions

In addition to its calming effect, clonazepam often gives the user a mild euphoria that can be especially appealing to a person who has been wrestling with anxiety or distress. This euphoric effect fades relatively quickly, as the brain adapts to the presence of the drug. If a user desires to repeat the euphoric experience, he or she may take more than prescribed or may combine clonazepam with alcohol or other drugs. Any use other than strict adherence to a doctor’s prescription greatly increases the likelihood and speed of addiction. When benzodiazepines like clonazepam are present, the brain slows or stops the production of its own naturally occurring mood-regulating chemicals. Once this physical dependency is established, users will experience a range of potentially severe symptoms of withdrawal if and when they stop taking the drug.

Psychological Addiction to Clonazepam

The area of the brain that is most affected by clonazepam is also responsible for behavior reinforcement, impulse control, mood and memory. The relief it brings to a brain wrestling with anxiety or another mental health issue is significant. The brain will want to maintain that relief on an emotional level. Many people mistakenly believe the psychological aspects of addiction to be less of a challenge to overcome than the physical. The impact psychological addiction has on the brain is often much deeper than physical addiction. The brain uses all of the tools at its disposal to ensure the continued use of clonazepam. These tools may include the following:

  • Compulsion
  • Obsession
  • Denial
  • Justification
  • Inaccurate memories

It can be extremely difficult or even impossible to rehabilitate the mind from this disease without significant outside help. Getting clean from clonazepam is further complicated by the fact that it was most often first used to treat a psychological condition. Underlying or co-occurring mental health issues lead to dependency and undermine an individual’s attempts to quit the drug. The most effective treatment programs employ a therapeutic practice known as Dual Diagnosis treatment to identify and treat any of these co-occurring conditions.

Freeing the Brain from Clonazepam Dependency

Because of the complicated nature of clonazepam addiction the most successful path to recovery often involves professional treatment facilities specially equipped to deal with this addiction. Medical supervision during detox allows for the relief of the worst symptoms of withdrawal, while integrated rehab for the psychological symptoms of addiction happens through counseling, education and reorientation. It can be extremely dangerous for a clonazepam user to attempt to get clean on his or her own.

Get Clonazepam Addiction Help

If you are concerned about your use of clonazepam or that of a loved one, call our toll-free helpline today. Our specially trained staff is ready any time of day or night to answer questions and help you find the recovery care and support you so desperately need. A drug-free future is available to you. Call today.