Mixing Alcohol and Klonopin is a dangerous form of substance abuse. It can cause long-term brain damage and sudden death.
Alcohol is one of the oldest known central nervous system depressants. It is also very commonly mixed with sedatives, depressants, stimulants, and other prescription and non-prescription drugs.
Klonopin (clonazepam) is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat mental health conditions like panic disorders, anxiety, and seizures. Klonopin works similarly to prescription medications like Xanax to suppress nerve activity and calm the central nervous system.
As a therapy, benzos are used as an addiction treatment to ease withdrawal symptoms of opioids and alcohol.
However, when benzodiazepines are used recreationally or abused against medical advice, it complicates the recovery process. It also compounds dangerous side effects like coma, low blood pressure, heart failure, and cardiac failure.
Abuse of either Klonopin or alcohol can have serious side effects, but when combined, these effects can be dangerous or even fatal. Treatment for prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse can help people manage their alcohol use or Klonopin use to avoid these potential consequences.
Side Effects Of Mixing Klonopin And Alcohol
The effects that alcohol has on the body are wide and well-documented. It acts on gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors and ultimately works as a CNS depressant to create a sedation feeling.
Short-term side effects of alcohol abuse include:
- loss of coordination
- impaired judgment
- dulled perception
- blurred vision
- mood swings
Long-term effects of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction are varied and impact almost every major system. With chronic alcohol addiction, people may experience effects on the brain, liver, and heart.
- memory loss/attention span issues
- trouble learning
- liver fibrosis/ hepatitis
- high blood pressure
- excessive sedation
- cancer of major systems
Like alcohol, Klonopin also works to depress the central nervous system.
General side effects of Klonopin include:
- loss of motor skills
- fatigue and dizziness
- upper respiratory infection
- sexual dysfunction
Whether combined for recreational purposes or because of dependency, mixing Klonopin with alcohol is highly dangerous. The depressant effect of both alcohol and Klonopin combine to reduce nerve activity and vital functions like breathing and heart rate.
Dangers Of Mixing Klonopin And Alcohol
Since both Klonopin and alcohol have depressant effects, the combination of these substances intensifies their effects. In a mixture, Klonopin acts as a central nervous system depressant, while alcohol strengthens this calming effect and reduces nerve activity even further.
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The dangers of mixing alcohol and Klonopin include effects such as:
- movement impairment
- shortness of breath
- reduced liver function
- memory loss
- increased overdose risk
Klonopin And Alcohol Overdose
Because of the combined effect that benzo and alcohol use has on the system, overdoses can happen easily. When a person with a substance abuse history drinks too much, they might take more drugs or alcohol because they are too impaire to realize that they shouldn’t take any more.
Klonopin and alcohol act very similarly, so the combined impact of this substance use may lead to overdose. When under the influence, “blackouts” or retrograde amnesia can increase the danger of accidental overdose.
Overdose symptoms include:
- decreased heart rate
- blue skin/fingernails
- low blood pressure
- loss of consciousness/unresponsiveness
Long-Term Effects On The Brain And Liver
Both Klonopin and alcohol are processed in the liver. Mixing the two can stress the liver and prevent it from processing the substances efficiently. Klonopin and alcohol cause the liver to scar (cirrhosis) and increases the risk of cancer.
People who drink even moderately should be careful if they are prescribed Klonopin. Abuse of either substance can result in serious, lasting damage.
In the long-term, drug abuse of benzos like Klonopin has been linked to permanent memory problems. Klonopin is linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The use of alcohol with Klonopin can prevent the brain from self-regulating anxiety. This can lead to increased seizures and panic attacks.
Withdrawal Symptoms Of Benzodiazepines And Alcohol
Withdrawal from severe Klonopin and Alcohol addiction can be fatal. Because of how Klonopin and alcohol work on the central nervous system, withdrawal from both substances shocks the system.
People undergoing withdrawal may experience:
- extreme depression
- anxiety and irritability
- vomiting and flu symptoms
- aggressive behavior
Because of the severe withdrawal symptoms, a supervised detox from both substances may be necessary.
Detox From Klonopin And Alcohol
Medical detox often incorporates the use of benzodiazepines to help with negative withdrawal symptoms of alcohol abuse. A supervised taper off alcohol means that vital signs are supervised and food and water are provided.
When a person is addicted to benzos, they will detox from alcohol first. Long-lasting Klonopin stays in the system and helps ease anxiety and restlessness. Tapering from use of Klonopin happens after symptoms from alcohol withdrawals have ceased.
Treatment For Alcohol And Klonopin Addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription benzodiazepines or alcohol, treatment is available. Polydrug abuse, or abuse of two substances like Klonopin and alcohol, can be dangerous or life-threatening. But recovery is possible.
Reach out to one of our treatment specialists to learn about outpatient and inpatient treatment options for alcohol and drug addiction. There are numerous treatment centers that can fit your needs or those of a loved one.
Recovery centers are equipped with compassionate medical professionals to see you through the process of sober living. Give us a call today to get started.
Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.
These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.
- Medscape—Benzodiazepine Toxicity
- Medscape—Drugs and Diseases: clonazepam
- Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research—Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome: Benzodiazepines and Beyond