Substance abuse can happen with far more than illegal drugs. Too often, legally prescribed medications used in excess can lead to addiction.
Take the drug type benzodiazepines as an example. Many doctors prescribe medications within this category, like Klonopin and Xanax, for patients suffering from anxiety, panic disorders, and epilepsy. But at the same time, overuse of these medications can have devastating consequences.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40 million Americans suffered from a substance use disorder in 2020. More than 350,000 of these individuals died from overdoses. Legal drugs are not any less dangerous than illegal ones; if anything, the easy initial access can increase the harm caused by abuse of the medication.
Still, not all medications are the same. Klonopin and Xanax may both be benzodiazepines, but their differences are important to keep in mind. Knowing these differences can go a long way toward identifying the symptoms and seeking the right treatment for yourself or a loved one.
What is Klonopin?
As one of the most common benzodiazepines, Klonopin works by stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain that increased gamma-aminobutyric acid activity in your brain. This acid slows down your breathing and creates a calming effect. Klonopin is the most common name for this drug, but its generic name is actually clonazepam.
What is Klonopin Used For?
Because of the calming effect it produces, Klonopin has three common use cases in treating disorders:
As with most benzodiazepines, the effects are nearly immediate. In other words, the best use for Klonopin against a panic attack is right at the onset of the attack, producing the calming sensation to fight against it as it happens. However, it also has a longer release option that requires more time to take effect.
Symptoms of Klonopin Addiction
Klonopin has the potential to be immensely beneficial. Unfortunately, its calming effects can also be addicting. Overdoses can be fatal because they don’t just have the potential to slow down the heartbeat, but stop it altogether.
That’s what makes a Klonopin addiction so dangerous. Detecting symptoms early can help to prevent the worst. Some of the most common symptoms of a Klonopin addiction include:
You can also spot the symptoms of a Klonopin addiction in a loved one. They become more irritable and anxious, and more prone to panic attacks. Mood swings to euphoria, frequent dizziness, and muscle tension also become more common. Finally, seizures and difficulty breathing along with suicidal thoughts are urgent calls for immediate help.
What is Xanax?
Like Klonopin, Xanax is a benzodiazepine that produces a calming effect by stimulating the brain’s neurotransmitters. Also known by its generic name alprazolam, it is the most commonly used medication to treat anxiety-related disorders in the United States.
What is Xanax Used For?
Xanax and Klonopin are also similar in the disorders they treat. Its most common use cases include:
Unlike Klonopin, it is a fast-acting medication with a short half-life. In other words, it’s most effective when treating immediate anxiety attacks, but is only effective for a few hours before the effects begin to dissipate.
Symptoms of Xanax Addiction
Because of its fast-acting nature, Xanax can easily lead to addiction. The quick effects that wear off quickly can easily prompt someone to take more medication than prescribed. It has even become a popular recreational and party drug.
Unfortunately, those uses are exactly what makes a Xanax addiction so likely. Long-term or recreational use is especially likely to turn into an addiction. Spotting the symptoms of addiction is vital to seeking appropriate treatment.
The signs of a Xanax addiction align closely with Klonopin substance use disorder. Taking it more frequently or longer than prescribed, and using it recreationally or pre-emptively, are all common signs. So is obtaining the medication from a second doctor or non-medical professional.
From the outside looking in, signs of a Xanax addiction include oversleeping and drowsiness, along with sluggishness and cognitive impairment. Slurred speech, muscle weakness, and vertigo are also common side effects of Xanax overuse.
How Dangerous are Klonopin and Xanax Together?
Both Klonopin and Xanax are inherently beneficial for treating common disorders and seizures, but also dangerous when used in excess. That danger only becomes worse when both drugs are used together.
Because their biggest difference is the quickness with which the medication takes effect, some people take Xanax for the immediate effect and Klonopin for its longer-lasting benefits. Unfortunately, doing so can have a major impact on the risks of both drug overdoses and long-term abuse.
Taking Xanax and Klonopin together impacts your body as if you would take double the dosage of either one of them. The results are typical of medication overdose: nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and difficulty breathing all become common.
In the worst cases, these symptoms can lead to the respiratory system stopping altogether, resulting in death. It’s why medical professionals never prescribe both, but always choose one or the other.
How to Find Treatment for Klonopin and Xanax
When you or someone you love suffer from a Klonopin or Xanax addiction, getting the right help becomes crucial for their long-term health and well-being. Whether taken alone or in combination, the consequences of untreated substance use disorder can be devastating.
Seeking that treatment means finding professionals who are both experienced in leading the road to recovery, and optimizing the comfort and well-being of everyone being treated in the process.
Villa Oasis offers a benzodiazepine addiction treatment program in San Diego. Our luxury treatment options are ideal for both the immediate recovery and long-term treatment of Klonopin and Xanax addictions, and we’re happy to extend that service to anyone across the country. If you or someone you love suffers from a substance use disorder, contact us today to learn more.