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  • Mixing Alcohol With Klonopin | Effects & Dangers

    Mixing Alcohol With Klonopin | Effects & Dangers

    Klonopin is used to treat symptoms of anxiety disorders but can also be used to control seizures. It is a benzodiazepine, which is a class of medications that can be used to treat panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and epilepsy. 

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises against mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines because of the risk of life-threatening consequences. Drinking alcohol while taking Klonopin can cause slowed breathing, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and loss of consciousness. 

    Effects Of Klonopin & Alcohol

    Klonopin, the brand name for clonazepam, is a benzodiazepine (benzo) and central nervous system (CNS) depressant. 

    CNS depressants, including sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics, slow brain activity. They can be useful for treating seizures and symptoms of a variety of anxiety disorders. 

    When taken alone, Klonopin can cause the following side effects:

    • drowsiness
    • dizziness
    • impaired coordination
    • cognitive impairment
    • muscle/joint pain
    • blurred vision

    Alcohol is also a CNS depressant and can produce effects similar to benzodiazepines. Drinking too much can result in alcohol intoxication and a wide range of side effects. 

    The effects of alcohol may include:

    • slurred speech
    • impaired motor skills
    • memory problems
    • slowed reflexes
    • behavioral changes
    • drowsiness
    • dizziness
    • nausea/vomiting

    Dangers Of Mixing Klonopin & Alcohol

    Central nervous system depressants stimulate the activity of a brain chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

    GABA suppresses brain activity and can cause relaxation and drowsiness, which is why benzos are commonly used to treat panic attacks and sleep disorders. 

    Taking too much Klonopin or mixing it with other CNS depressants can have adverse effects on important bodily functions, like breathing and heart rate. Mixing benzos and alcohol also increases the risk of mood changes and mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts. 

    Even if you are prescribed Klonopin, it is considered abuse if you:

    • take more than the prescribed amount
    • take it more frequently than prescribed
    • take it to feel the effects of the drug
    • mix it with other CNS depressants (including alcohol and opioids)

    It is important to take benzodiazepines or any other prescription medication as prescribed to avoid dangerous drug interactions. 

    The dangers and adverse effects of mixing Klonopin and alcohol include:

    Overdose

    Mixing Klonopin with alcohol may cause an overdose, which can result in death or life-threatening symptoms. 

    An overdose causes breathing to be slowed, which can limit the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. When the brain is not getting enough oxygen, a condition called hypoxia can develop. This condition can cause a coma or irreversible brain damage. 

    Symptoms of an overdose can include:

    • slowed breathing
    • unresponsiveness
    • extreme sedation
    • confusion
    • coma
    • death

    If you recognize these signs of overdose, please seek medical attention from a healthcare provider immediately.

    Alcohol & Klonopin Dependence

    Prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse increase the risk of developing a dependence on one or both substances. Dependence means your body adapts to having that substance in its system. If you suddenly stop or reduce the amount, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. 

    Benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal symptoms may include:

    • seizures
    • shakiness
    • anxiety
    • irritability 
    • difficulty sleeping
    • increased heart rate
    • high blood pressure
    • sweating
    • hallucinations
    • intense cravings

    Both benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous and should be treated in medical detox. Detox facilities can help you manage withdrawal symptoms with medication and support from trained professionals. 

    Alcohol & Klonopin Addiction

    Excessive alcohol use or drug abuse increases the risk of developing a substance use disorder, also known as addiction. Addiction is a complex disease that results in intense cravings and a loss of control over substance use. 

    Without treatment, addiction impairs quality of life and increases the risk of overdose and death. A treatment center offers a wide range of services to help you learn to manage cravings and improve coping skills. 

    If there is alcohol addiction, medication may be recommended that can help reduce cravings and prevent relapse. These medications include acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone

    Polysubstance Abuse Treatment

    Addiction treatment options for alcohol use disorder and benzodiazepine addiction may include:

    Inpatient/Residential Treatment

    Residential treatment programs involve a highly structured program of activities and therapies. Depending on your unique needs, you may be offered behavioral therapy, group therapy, and individual counseling

    Many treatment centers also offer healthy activities, like yoga, to encourage whole-patient care.

    Outpatient Treatment

    Outpatient treatment programs offer services similar to inpatient programs but with a more flexible schedule. Your treatment provider will help you develop an individualized plan that allows you to travel to the treatment center several times a week. 

    Outpatient care is beneficial for people who have mild addictions and a strong support system. 

    If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, please contact our helpline today to learn more about treatment options. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    Food And Drug Administration (FDA) - Drug Safety Communications
    International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health - Suicidal Behavior and Alcohol Abuse
    National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Prescription CNS Depressants DrugFacts
    National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) - What Is Drug Addiction Treatment?
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Clonazepam

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on May 21, 2022
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