Many psychiatric professionals recommend certain benzodiazepines for patients who are suffering from anxiety. While these benzodiazepines are effective, they also come with certain risks.
Two of the most common prescriptions are Klonopin and Xanax (otherwise known as clonazepam and alprazolam, as their generic names). The psychiatrists weigh the dangers of Klonopin and Xanax and rarely prescribe them together, but that doesn’t mean that some people don’t find ways to use both in tandem.
If you’ve been prescribed one of these benzodiazepines, or if you’ve been seeking out such a prescription to help you manage your anxiety, it’s important that you do your research ahead of time. This way, you can make an informed decision on your health.
Our brief guide can give you an overview of both medications and the dangers of abusing them and using them together. Keep reading to learn more.
Xanax: An Overview
Xanax, otherwise known as alprazolam, is a common variety of anti-anxiety medications. It’s taken orally and psychiatrists generally begin with a low dose to see how patients respond.
Because of how commonly it’s abused or used as a recreational drug, many psychiatrists prefer other options to Xanax unless the anxiety resists other forms of treatment.
Why Is It Prescribed?
Xanax is tended to treat anxiety and panic disorders and may also be used for mood disorders, personality disorders, and trauma disorders that present with signs of anxiety.
It’s a short-acting medication, making it effective for patients who experience sudden bursts of anxiety or panic attacks. It reaches maximum effectiveness between one and two hours.
What Are The Risks?
Because it’s short-acting, many people use Xanax as a recreational drug. Even in popular media, celebrities write songs and perform in videos including Xanax used as a party drug.
Using Xanax in ways that aren’t prescribed by your psychiatrist carries risks. Aside from common side-effects (drowsiness, dizziness, and dry mouth), Xanax is dangerous when used in certain situations.
Xanax shouldn’t be prescribed long-term unless it’s necessary for the patient to function. Long-term use of Xanax leads to dependence and overuse.
You shouldn’t take Xanax in conjunction with anything else that calms or depresses the nervous system. This includes other benzodiazepines and alcohol.
Klonopin: An Overview
Klonopin (or clonazepam) is another of the more common anti-anxiety medications. It’s less common for people to abuse Klonopin, so many psychiatrists feel more comfortable with prescribing it.
Like Xanax, it Boosts the amount of GABA in the brain, meaning that it slows down your central nervous system.
Why Is It Prescribed?
Like Xanax, Klonopin is popular for anxiety, panic disorders, mood disorders, and PTSD. The primary difference is that it’s a long-acting medication with a half-life of 30 to 40 hours.
This makes it good for people who have chronic anxiety that lasts all day instead of anxiety that comes in short, but intense, bursts. It’s also used as an anti-seizure medication.
It comes in quick-release and slow-release varieties. The slow-release varieties are more common, as they have a lower potential for abuse.
What Are The Risks?
Klonopin is still a risky medication that carries all of the same problems as other benzodiazepines.
It’s not as popular or well-known, so it isn’t a common party drug. That said, it carries the same side-effects as Xanax, and it can still be abused. When combined with other things that depress the nervous system, such as other benzodiazepines or alcohol, it exacerbates the effects.
Klonopin And Xanax Used Together
While psychiatrists will not prescribe Klonopin and Xanax together, some people choose to get them both through their own means. Whether it’s to use them recreationally or to try to hit their anxiety harder, this isn’t safe.
Some people combine them due to their difference in treatment. Because the Xanax acts fast and the Klonopin lasts for a longer period of time, they’re under the impression that taking both will give them all-day relief without the wait.
While this is true, it also means that the bad effects compound. Any potential for harm or abuse gets doubled.
When combined, the effects are similar to taking too much of one or the other. They can cause gastrointestinal issues like nausea and vomiting. They may cause blurred vision, slurred speech, memory loss, and poor focus.
Taking too much of both at the same time leads to a depressed respiratory system, stupors, difficulty breathing, and a severe drop in blood pressure.
Severe (though uncommon) symptoms of a benzodiazepine overdose include respiratory arrest and death.
Klonopin vs Xanax: Final Comparison
Klonopin and Xanax are good choices for anxiety treatments. On their own and when used correctly, both are safe medications for short-term use (or long-term use if deemed necessary and overseen by a psychiatrist).
Klonopin is valuable for its long duration of action and lower potential for abuse, while Xanax is valuable for how quickly it works.
Xanax is easier to abuse and it’s more common for it to be sold as a street drug.
When used in combination with each other or with alcohol, neither are safe. The potential of abuse for benzodiazepines of any kind is high and the outcomes are dangerous, if not deadly.
Have You Been Prescribed a Benzodiazepine?
If you’ve been considering requesting a benzodiazepine for your anxiety, or if your doctor has already made that suggestion, it’s great that you’re doing your research before committing.
Both Klonopin and Xanax are valuable for their intended purposes, but you need to be careful and follow all of your doctor’s instructions.
If, on the other hand, you’re worried that you or a loved one may be abusing these substances by using them together or in conjunction with alcohol, it may be time to seek help.
If this sounds familiar, we’re here to help. At Healthy Life Recovery, our compassionate team wants to help you break away from medication abuse. Reach out today to begin your journey towards healing.