Klonopin vs. Xanax

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are prescription drugs approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating anxiety and panic disorders. Certain benzodiazepines are also FDA-approved anti-seizure medications for children up to 10 years old.

In the United States, benzodiazepines are Schedule IV controlled substances due to their risk of dependence and abuse.

Benzodiazepines are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that work by influencing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity and levels. Increasing and regulating GABA activity causes a calming effect to prevent or stop anxiety or panic attacks.

The powerful sedative effects of benzodiazepines make them popular among people who abuse them to experience feelings of euphoria. Benzos are also a favorite of people who mix multiple drugs and substances to enhance or create new side effects, known as polysubstance abuse.

What Is the Difference Between Klonopin and Xanax?

There are almost equal differences between Klonopin and Xanax as there are similarities; however, those differences can be the key to successfully treating mental health disorders or developing a substance abuse problem.

Klonopin is the brand name for the drug clonazepam, and Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam. Neither drug is better nor worse than the other; just different and appropriate for different people.

The similarities between Klonopin and Xanax include their risk of dependence and addiction, how quickly they cause tolerance, their side effects, and their withdrawal symptoms.

Below are some of the critical differences between Xanax and Klonopin:

  • Onset time. There are long-acting and short-acting benzodiazepines; the difference is the amount of time it takes for effects to kick in. Klonopin is a long-acting benzo that can take up to several hours before becoming effective. Xanax is a short-acting benzo that takes effect as quickly as ten minutes after its taken.
  • Half-life. The half-life is how long it takes for a drug to leave the system and for the effects to stop. As the name indicates, short-acting benzos like Xanax wear off relatively quickly. Long-acting benzos like Klonopin stay in the body longer, and the effects last longer than Xanax.
  • Uses. Both Klonopin and Xanax treat disorders that cause anxiety and panic attacks. However, Xanax only treats anxiety and panic disorders. Klonopin effectively treats panic disorders, anxiety, seizure disorders, Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, and Tourette’s Syndrome.

Is Klonopin Addictive like Xanax?

Klonopin can be as addictive as Xanax. The ultimate mechanism of action for both drugs is similar, giving them equal addiction potential; the difference is how quickly those addictions can develop.

The primary reason that Xanax addiction develops faster is because of how people abuse it. Because the effects of Xanax wear off quickly, people using it will take higher or more frequent doses to sustain their high. Even when taking Xanax as prescribed, some people take three to four daily doses.

Because Klonopin stays in the body longer, users don’t need as many doses to feel the effects for extended periods. As prescribed to treat disorders, Klonopin users typically require one to two doses in 24 hours. Many people develop a Klonopin addiction from chasing the intense and long-lasting high it gives.

When people begin to manipulate either drug by snorting, smoking, injecting, or mixing them with other medications, it increases the addiction risks. Doctors only prescribe Xanax and Klonopin on an as-needed or short-term basis; long-term abuse of either increases the likelihood of addiction.

Is Klonopin Stronger Than Xanax?

Klonopin is technically stronger than Xanax because it stays in the body longer than Xanax, and once it kicks in, it causes more pronounced side effects that last a long time. However, some people consider Xanax more potent simply because of the quick high, and intense feelings of euphoria it produces.

Can You Mix Klonopin and Xanax?

You should never mix Klonopin and Xanax under any circumstances.

Both are central nervous system depressants that can cause fatal side effects and respiratory distress. Unfortunately, just because you shouldn’t combine Xanax and Klonopin doesn’t mean people don’t do it. People who have developed a tolerance to one or the other will often take both medications to achieve their desired effects. Others mix them recreationally, utterly unaware of the risks of an accidental overdose.

Benzo’s depressant effects on the central nervous system, especially in combination with each other or other CNS depressants like alcohol, cause extreme drowsiness, and many people experience an overdose while they sleep. By the time anyone notices, it is usually too late.

mixing klonopin and xanax

Common Side Effects

Klonopin and Xanax are both benzodiazepines that share common side effects. Benzodiazepine side effects vary based on the amount taken, other substances in the system, the physical and mental condition of the person taking them, and the type of benzo.

Common side effects of benzos are:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Lightheadedness
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusions
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Respiratory depression
  • Withdrawal symptoms

These side effects can vary for people taking Xanax or Klonopin, though each has additional specific side effects.

Side Effects of Klonopin

The side effects of Klonopin take longer to set in but tend to be intense and long-term because of how long it stays in the system.

Side effects of Klonopin include:

  • Impaired motor skills
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Intrusive thoughts of self-harm and suicide
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sleeping for long periods
  • Memory loss

Side Effects of Xanax

The side effects of Xanax kick in quickly and intensely and stop just as fast when the drug leaves the body.

Side effects of Xanax include:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Lethargy
  • Increased feelings of depression
  • Muscle twitching
  • Urinary retention, or not registering the need to empty your bladder
  • Agitation

Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be intense and life-threatening. The intensity and severity of the withdrawal symptoms will vary but generally range from really uncomfortable to unbearable.

If you want to quit taking Klonopin, Xanax, or any other benzo, you should seek medical advice. Medically supervised detox provides medical support to manage and ease the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Rebound anxiety, or anxiety symptoms and panic attacks returning
  • Headaches
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Twitching and ticks
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Dehydration
  • Coma
  • Death

Frequently, people who attempt to quit taking benzos alone become overwhelmed and take Klonopin or Xanax to stop the withdrawal. Unfortunately, benzo tolerance decreases quickly, and a previously tolerable dose can lead to a fatal benzodiazepine overdose.

klonopin xanax withdrawal symptoms

Benzodiazepine Addiction Treatment in Northridge, California

If you or a loved one is struggling with benzodiazepine addiction, Northridge Addiction Treatment Center provides experienced, compassionate, and meaningful help to live substance-free.

Our residential treatment facility offers onsite medical detox with 24-hour medical care and support to ensure safety and expertly manage withdrawal symptoms. NATC’s team works closely with you to create an individualized treatment plan that uses evidence-based treatments to help you overcome the challenges to your recovery and reach your personal goals.

The path to a lasting recovery full of joy and fulfillment is just a phone call away. Reach out to us today.

Find Meaningful Recovery

Our caring and compassionate specialists are eager to help you comfortably navigate this journey to recovery. Our individualized treatment plan, programs, and therapies may be a perfect match for you or your loved one. Let us assist you in living the happy life you deserve. It starts with a phone call.

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