Many people fail to realize the dangers of combining depressant substances.
Klonopin and alcohol are both central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which help calm people down by slowing brain function. However, these CNS depressants also slow breathing and other nerve functions.
What is Klonopin?
Klonopin is the brand name for the drug clonazepam. It is a benzodiazepine primarily prescribed to treat certain seizure and panic disorders in adults and children.
Klonopin can also help relieve anxiety and muscle spasms as well as help with sleep. The drug works by increasing the effects of the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter, which essentially slows brain and nerve function.
What Is A Benzodiazepine?
Benzodiazepines – or “benzos” – are one of the most commonly prescribed medication types in the United States. Doctors most often recommend them as treatment for patients suffering from anxiety, insomnia, seizures and panic attacks.
Considering that over 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety, anti-anxiety medications are understandably widespread. Unfortunately, increased popularity of a substance can also make it an easy target for abuse.
Some popular benzos, like Xanax and Valium, are known to be especially addictive. The likelihood of dependence leading to addiction increases if someone starts taking them to achieve a recreational, euphoric high.
Potential Klonopin Side Effects
Benzodiazepines have a variety of unpleasant general side effects, including:
- Impaired coordination
- Vision problems
- Feelings of depression
Klonopin has additional, specific side effects, such as:
- Loss of orientation
- Sleep issues
- Problems with thinking
- Memory problems
- Dry mouth
- Slurred speech
- Diarrhea and constipation
Benzos and Alcohol Withdrawal Treatment
Since individuals in alcohol addiction treatment often experience seizures and anxiety, the calming effect of benzodiazepines can make the whole ordeal more manageable.
Doctors may prescribe Klonopin or other benzos to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, the fact that benzodiazepines have a potential for addiction all their own puts recovering individuals at risk of developing dependence upon another substance.
Is Klonopin Addictive?
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedules, or categorizes, thousands of drugs based on their potential for abuse and medical use. Clonazepam (Klonopin) is categorized as a schedule IV drug. According to the DEA, a schedule IV drug has “a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III.”
This means the DEA considers Klonopin to be “somewhat addictive and dangerous”. In 2016, the American Association of Poison Control Centers indicated that there were 74,050 cases involving some type of benzodiazepine along with 14 deaths reported. While Klonopin is not considered to be as addictive as other drugs such as opioids, a dependence can still form in as little as two weeks.
Like most benzos, Klonopin users will develop a tolerance over time, which can be dangerous. A tolerance is the body’s way of adjusting to an outside stimulus. The more an individual experiences something, the more their body becomes accustomed to it.
For drug users, this means the euphoric high they first experienced will likely never occur at that intensity ever again. However, in order to get close to it, users will continuously increase how much they take – possibly leading to an overdose.
Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol
People sometimes combine Klonopin and alcohol in an attempt to experience a stronger effect. Since they both induce a relaxed state, individuals expect a much more powerful feeling from using both. There is more risk than reward, however, in the mix.
Mixing Klonopin and alcohol not only causes serious impairment in performing normal activities, it can also promote dangerous behavior.
Klonopin and Alcohol Overdose
Polysubstance abuse, or the combination of any two drugs, will, infact, usually result in an enhanced effect from both drugs. However, mixing two CNS depressants can lower critical organ function such as breathing – even to the point of stopping it altogether.
When this happens, this usually indicates that someone is experiencing an overdose. Signs of an overdose include slowed and shallow breathing, confusion, unresponsiveness and slow reflexes. In extreme cases, overdose can cause death. Call medical professionals immediately if you think someone is experiencing an overdose.
Klonopin and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Treatment for addiction can be challenging. Addiction is a chronic illness with similar relapse rates as other illnesses such as type II diabetes.
Addiction to multiple substances, like Klonopin and alcohol, can further complicate recovery, but reclaiming a full, normal, enjoyable life is possible.
Reach out and talk to our professional staff today to learn about options and hear the myriad of success stories of those we’ve helped find freedom from addiction.