Klonopin and Xanax are very similar drugs, but it is important to know the differences and similarities in the addictions and withdrawals of each. Understanding how these drugs work can promote a higher chance of recovery without relapse.
The Ways Klonopin And Xanax Are Similar
Klonopin and Xanax are forms of benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. They are central nervous system depressants. These drugs increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. This acid reduces activity in the parts of the brain that control emotions and rational thoughts. When someone is suffering from anxiety, these drugs will suppress the high emotions and prevent a panic attack.
People who use Klonopin or Xanax often experience similar side effects. Blurred vision, dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, loss of coordination, nausea, and vomiting are common side effects.
Benzodiazepines Are Commonly Abused
Klonopin, Xanax, and other benzodiazepines are the second most commonly abused drugs. The first most-abused drugs are opioids such as Oxycontin. People abuse benzos regularly for several reasons. They are the most-prescribed pharmaceuticals in the country, and thus easily accessible. Teens often get them from their family medicine cabinets. These drugs also help ease withdrawal symptoms of other drugs and alcohol. People going through withdrawal often develop an addiction to benzodiazepines as they attempt to recover from other addictions.
People often abuse benzodiazepines for their calming effect. They often use benzos with other drugs and alcohol and are especially dangerous when used with alcohol. Drinking alcohol causes or exacerbates most benzodiazepine overdoses.
Klonopin Is Also Known As Clonazepam
Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam, which came to the market in 1975. Klonopin helps treat anxiety and panic attacks. Doctors may also prescribe it to treat bipolar disorder, seizure disorders, Tourette’s syndrome, acute psychosis, mania, sleeping disorders, alcohol withdrawal, and pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia. However, the longer someone takes Klonopin, the higher his or her tolerance becomes to the drug, making it less effective in controlling seizures.
Klonopin has a half-life of 20 to 80 hours. Users feel the peak effects between one and four hours of taking it. Klonopin’s potency makes it an addictive drug. One-third of patients taking a prescription of Klonopin for four weeks display addiction symptoms of built-up tolerance.
Xanax, aka Alprazolam
Alprazolam is the generic name for the brand of benzodiazepine known as Xanax. Physicians prescribe Xanax to treat anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, agoraphobia, severe PMS symptoms, and pain caused by some cancers. Xanax is a faster-acting benzodiazepine than Klonopin. A user feels its peak effects an hour or two after taking the drug. The half-life of Xanax is 11 to 16 hours. Due to its fast-acting nature, a user can develop a tolerance very quickly. Some people struggling with Xanax addiction take 20 to 30 pills a day.
Withdrawal From Klonopin And Xanax
Klonopin withdrawal is like that of Xanax, but due to their different half-lives, the withdrawal timeline is slightly different. Withdrawal also depends on the dosage is taken, length of time, and whether the user takes it with other drugs or alcohol. Every person and every withdrawal is different.
Benzodiazepines are dangerous to quit cold turkey. You should always go through withdrawal in a medically supervised detox program. Withdrawal symptoms can be fatal in some instances, so it’s important that medical professionals monitor patients during detox.
The major difference in withdrawal symptoms for Klonopin and Xanax is the time frame. Klonopin is a long-acting benzodiazepine, meaning that withdrawal will last longer in general, even up to years from start to finish. Xanax is a fast-acting benzo; the withdrawal symptoms of short-acting benzos are often more intense and begin sooner after the last dose.
Stage 1: Early Withdrawal
The first stage of withdrawal begins after the half-life period runs its course and the drug is out of the person’s system. This is the most dangerous point in withdrawal, and patients can experience rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and seizures. We definitely advise medical attention during this time. In addition, the person will experience anxiety and panic attacks return with the lack of medication. Early withdrawal typically lasts a few days.
Stage 2: Acute Withdrawal
This is the most physically and emotionally painful part of withdrawal. This phase typically lasts from a couple of weeks to a couple months. People experience withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, panic attacks, nausea, dizziness, headaches, insomnia, hallucinations, seizures, irritability, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Medically assisted detox can help relieve these symptoms.
Stage 3: Post-acute Withdrawal
Not everyone goes through the final stage of withdrawal, but for some people, it lasts for years after the detox process. Post-acute withdrawal features the resurgence of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. When someone is addicted to benzos, the brain becomes used to having the effects every day. As a result, when someone quits benzos they revert to old issues.
Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Medications
The safest way for someone to quit using drugs like Xanax and Klonopin is to taper down their usage. Quitting cold turkey has many health risks. By tapering down the dosage over time, someone in recovery can protect their physical and mental health.
Physicians use several medications to ease the withdrawal process while someone tapers their benzodiazepine intake. Buspirone is good for people with anxiety who are struggling with benzodiazepine addiction. It doesn’t cause physical dependence and treats anxiety. The downside is that it takes two to three weeks to kick in. People will often start taking Buspirone before they start tapering benzo intake. Flumazenil treats benzo overdoses and withdrawal symptoms of long-acting benzos like Klonopin. Doctors also use it for rapid detox, as it expels benzodiazepines from the system. This can be very dangerous.
Benzodiazepine Half-Life Comparison
Although the withdrawal processes for Klonopin and Xanax are very similar, the amount of time they spend in the system is different. Klonopin has a half-life of anywhere from 20 to 80 hours, while the half-life of Xanax is about 11 to 16 hours. Other variables, such as dosage, length of abuse, and severity of addiction will change the withdrawal timeline as well.