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Klonopin and Xanax Addiction

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What to Know about Klonopin and Xanax

Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam while Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam.

Klonopin vs. Xanax, Are Withdrawal Symptoms More Severe With Xanax?, What Feels Better: Xanax or Klonopin?, What is the Strongest Benzodiazepine for Anxiety?, What Drug Can Replace Klonopin?, Which Benzo is Best for Sleep?, How Long Does It Take for Klonopin to Kick in?, How Long Does a Klonopin High Last?, Will Klonopin Calm Me Down?, Is It Better to Chew or Swallow Klonopin?, Can Klonopin Worsen Anxiety?, Rehab is Your Best Chance


Klonopin and Xanax are both benzodiazepines. Klonopin is the brand name for clonazepam while Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam. Although they work in the same way, there are a few important differences that change the way they affect the user.

As benzodiazepines, both Xanax and Klonopin can boost the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that reduces nerve cell activity while providing a calming effect. They are typically used to reduce anxiety and muscle tension, although they are also used to stop seizures in some cases. Klonopin and Xanax may also be used to help people who are suffering from insomnia.

Some benzodiazepines are more likely than others to make users feel sleepy. Others are better at reducing anxiety or stopping seizures. There are also benzos that have the ability to disrupt short-term memory. For example, Xanax is approved by the FDA for anxiety-relief. Compared to other benzos, it is less likely to make a person fall asleep. On the other hand, Klonopin is used for panic disorders. It also has a stronger anti-seizure effect compared to Xanax.

The problem is that both Klonopin and Xanax may potentially cause drug dependence and addiction. In fact, all benzodiazepines are controlled substances because of their high potential for abuse. If someone becomes addicted or dependent on these drugs, it can be incredibly difficult to quit or even cut back on your intake.

Addiction affects everyone in different ways, and the possibility of getting addicted depends on a number of factors such as dosage taken, type of drug used, regularity of intake, the person’s environment, history involving drug use, and genetic factors. With that said, it is not yet clear whether some benzodiazepines are more likely to cause dependence than others.

It is possible to become dependent on certain benzodiazepines in as little as 14 days because some of these medications are very potent. For those who are dependent on these substances, it is important to go through a detox process in order to slowly reduce their intake. Benzodiazepines will cause withdrawal symptoms if you quit suddenly. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with benzos include: seizures, tremors, irritability, and vomiting. Withdrawal may last anywhere between a few weeks to several months.

In a detox program, the patient’s progress can be monitored by healthcare professionals who will manage their withdrawal symptoms and cravings—usually with the help of medications.

While treatment is the ideal situation for someone who is addicted, it is still important to be aware of the potential dangers of benzodiazepines so that you don’t develop this condition in the first place. It all starts with understanding the differences between these medications. Here we will be focusing on Klonopin and Xanax. We will also answer some of the most common questions about these potent benzodiazepines. Let’s take a closer look.

Klonopin vs. Xanax

There have been very few trials that directly compare Xanax with Klonopin. One study actually reported no significant difference between these two drugs when it comes to their effectiveness or side effects. However, a few differences have been noted over time based on their usage and effects on patients with anxiety, insomnia, etc.

One of the biggest differences between Klonopin and Xanax is that Klonopin’s effects last longer than Xanax. This has an added benefit for users because it means they don’t have to take Klonopin as often throughout the day. Users have to take Xanax regularly.

Although both substances may potentially cause dependence, Xanax is known to cause more severe withdrawal upon discontinuation. People who take these medications at high dosages for a long period of time are at great risk of becoming addicted or dependent.

In terms of how quickly the body absorbs each drug, it varies from one person to another. However, Klonopin may take 1 to 4 hours in order to be absorbed, while Xanax usually takes only 1 to 2 hours after administration.

The effects of Xanax last an average of 4 to 6 hours, however, it may still vary from person to person. The effects of Klonopin may last for up to 12 hours, depending on the individual.


Are Withdrawal Symptoms More Severe With Xanax?

Xanax has been shown to produce more serious withdrawal symptoms in those who have developed dependence. This means it is more difficult to quit Xanax once a person has become dependent. Xanax withdrawal is not only associated with intense withdrawal but also with rebound effects.

This is because Xanax has a significantly shorter half-life compared to Klonopin. Half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for half of the administered drug to leave a person’s body. Xanax has a half-life of 9 to 20 hours, while Klonopin’s half-life is around 19 to 60 hours. Half-life is not the same as duration of effect.

Drugs with longer half-lives tend to produce much less severe withdrawal symptoms. Drugs with shorter half-lives create a much more dramatic fluctuation within the body, which leads to intense withdrawal effects.

Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax may include: convulsions, tremors, hallucinations, abdominal cramps, and muscle cramps. Those who have been taking Xanax for a long time or for much larger doses may experience more severe symptoms.

What Feels Better: Xanax or Klonopin?

Benzodiazepines may have euphoric effects while also making the person feel calmer and less anxious. This pleasant experience may encourage some people to keep taking their medications outside of their prescription. Others take it recreationally in order to get high.

The abuse of Klonopin and Xanax can be dangerous because of how potent these drugs are. If these two prescription medications were to be compared, Klonopin may be considered more addictive. That is because Klonopin produces a more intense feeling of euphoria. The more the brain is exposed to this sensation, the more it wants to repeat the action that caused the pleasant experience.

Addictive drugs tend to trigger the brain’s reward system, and that also applies to benzodiazepines. The brain will want to keep taking Klonopin or Xanax again and again because of its positive effects. This is how addiction begins to form. For potent benzos like Klonopin and Xanax, addiction can set in very easily.

It doesn’t take long for the effects of Klonopin and Xanax to wear off. This is why some users eventually start taking larger doses. They build up a tolerance for the drug because their body now needs more of the substance just to experience the same effects. That’s how they become addicted.

Addiction is characterized by the compulsive use of a particular drug even if the person is already suffering from its adverse effects.

It goes without saying that taking these substances for a long time will lead to drug dependence, wherein the body has already adjusted to the constant presence of the drug to the point where it can no longer function without it. The person will have to keep taking the substances just to feel normal.

What is the Strongest Benzodiazepine for Anxiety?

Clonazepam—also known as Klonopin—is considered the most potent out of all the benzodiazepines. It is typically used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and seizures.

But in terms of treating anxiety, Xanax may be considered more potent. Also known as alprazolam, Xanax is considered one of the strongest short-acting benzodiazepines. It’s worth noting that alprazolam is also the only benzodiazepine that has an extended-release formulation despite being considered high-potency.

Both of these medications may be deadly. In fact, Xanax has been listed as one of the top 10 drugs responsible for the most overdose deaths in the United States. Even if it is prescribed by a doctor, patients should be careful about using it.

Other high-potency benzodiazepines that are worth mentioning are Lorazepam (also known as Ativan) and triazolam (also known as Halcion).

Benzodiazepines that are considered “low-potency” include diazepam (Valium), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), temazepam (Restoril), clorazepate (Tranxene), and flurazepam (Dolman). Despite being low-potency medications, abusing or misusing them can still lead to dependency. Benzos can be highly addictive no matter their strength.

Benzos may be prescribed for different purposes. Xanax is very popular because it creates a strong effect quickly. It is a highly-potent, short-acting benzodiazepine.

Abusing these substances can be dangerous because of the way they affect the body and brain. These medications slow down brain activity. It may reach a point where the person may struggle to breathe because of the drug. Overdose is another possibility and it may lead to coma or even death.

What Drug Can Replace Klonopin?

For some patients, looking for an alternative for benzodiazepines like Klonopin may be a good idea, especially because of the risk of addiction and dependence. The best thing to do is to ask your doctor about potential replacements for Klonopin. Talk to your doctor before stopping your Klonopin or Xanax intake. They may be able to recommend other medications or treatments that can help with anxiety, insomnia, panic disorder, or seizure disorders.

For those who suffer from seizure disorders, the doctor may prescribe less potent benzodiazepines as a replacement for Klonopin, such as clobazam (Onfi), diazepam (Valium), or lorazepam (Ativan). Other anti-seizure drugs that may be given to the patient include carbamazepine (Tegretol), gabapentin (Neurontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), levetiracetam (Keppra), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal, Oxtellar XR), and topiramate (Topamax).

Potential alternatives for Klonopin for those with a panic disorder include benzos like chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and oxazepam (Serax). Other options include venlafaxine (Effexor XR), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil).

Again, it is important to consult your doctor before quitting Klonopin and Xanax or taking any medication for anxiety or panic disorder.

In some cases, medications are not the best solution for the problem. Alternative therapies may be used for patients with anxiety disorders. Therapy, for example, may help address the root causes of this mental health condition. Some people benefit from exposure therapy, individual counseling, or even group counseling. In therapy, the person may learn to control the way they respond to anxiety or stressful situations. By learning healthy coping mechanisms, they can deal with their anxiety without letting it impact their daily life.

Which Benzo is Best for Sleep?

Benzodiazepines are typically used for anxiety, seizures, and panic disorders. But because of the way they slow down brain activity, they can also help patients who struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. After taking Klonopin or Xanax, the person may feel relaxed, calm, and ready to sleep. Since the 1970s, benzodiazepines have been used for the treatment of insomnia.

However, now that we know how addictive and potentially dangerous these substances are, they are no longer recommended for long-term use.

Benzodiazepines do more than just help patients sleep. They affect the quality of sleep, promoting long and restful sleep by binding to the GABA receptors in the brain. These drugs relax the muscles, calm the nervous system, and induce sedation.

These medications may cause side effects like fatigue and mental fogginess for a certain period after they are taken. For instance, if you intend to drive in the morning, you should not take these medications too late in the evening. The sedative effects may affect your driving and lead to an accident.

Other potential effects of benzodiazepine use include dizziness, difficulty thinking, and amnesia. Some people even complain about feeling a “hangover” effect after taking Klonopin or Xanax.

The best benzodiazepine for your insomnia is the one prescribed by your doctor. Whether it’s Xanax, Klonopin, or some other medication, be sure you stick with your prescription. If you encounter some side effects, make sure you inform your doctor.

They may even prescribe a hypnotic medication that is not a benzodiazepine such as Ambien, Lunesta, or Sonata. These medications have a short half-life and so they are less likely to cause addiction.

Keep in mind that sleep medications like Ambien and Lunesta are not right for everyone. Pregnant women should not take these medications. People with restless legs syndrome or sleep-related breathing disorders may not benefit from these hypnotics because they don’t do anything about the underlying medical conditions. It is best to get your doctor’s recommendation if you have these conditions before taking any sleep medication.

How Long Does It Take for Klonopin to Kick in?

The effects of Klonopin may take 1 to 4 hours to kick in. Afterwards, it will produce a calming effect that relaxes the user’s body. They will feel less anxious and more relaxed.

Compared to other benzodiazepines, Klonopin’s effects last longer. Klonopin even has a longer half-life of 19 to 60 hours. It stays in a person’s system longer than other benzos.


How Long Does a Klonopin High Last?

Klonopin may be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders and panic disorder because it has a more intense sedating effect compared to Xanax. There are even cases wherein Klonopin is used to treat epilepsy, mania and social phobias.

But as helpful as this drug may be, it also has a high potential for abuse because it causes a euphoric high. This is why there are recreational users who take this substance to get high. As a prescription medication, any time a person uses Klonopin outside of a prescription, it is considered drug abuse.

Some people attempt to secure multiple prescriptions of Klonopin or other benzodiazepines by visiting different doctors. This is called doctor shopping.

The effects of Klonopin start to wear off after a few hours. However, the drug stays in the body for 6 to 9 days. Traces of the drug can be detected in urine tests for up to 1 month after the last dose.


Will Klonopin Calm Me Down?

As a benzodiazepine, Klonopin can calm a person down by attaching to the GABA receptors in the brain and slowing down brain activity. It can also slow a person’s heart rate and breathing, which is why it is dangerous when abused. Although the drug is known for its calming effects, Klonopin can also be dangerous when misused.

It is possible to develop an addiction even if you are using it as prescribed. Taking larger doses or taking Klonopin more often than you are supposed to can increase the risk of developing an addiction.

Is It Better to Chew or Swallow Klonopin?

If you have been prescribed Klonopin, make sure you follow your doctor’s prescription carefully. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Occasionally, the doctor may change a patient’s dose in order to produce the best results.

Normally, the clonazepam tablet needs to be swallowed whole. However, there is also an orally disintegrating tablet that needs to be dissolved in the mouth without chewing.

Do not share your prescription medication with anyone else, especially if the person has a history of drug abuse or substance abuse. Their risk of developing addiction is higher. Keep your prescription medications in a safe place where others cannot access it.

It is possible to overdose on Klonopin, and in some cases, the overdose could be fatal.

Even for anxiety and insomnia, Klonopin should only be prescribed for a short time. This medication should not be taken for longer than 9 weeks. Patients who have been taking Klonopin for a long time should not suddenly quit the substance as this may cause severe withdrawal.

During withdrawal, the person experiences uncomfortable symptoms and intense cravings. This is the body’s way of responding to the drug’s absence now that it has become dependent on it. The person needs to go through proper detox in order to quit Klonopin.

Medical detox involves gradually lowering their intake while their symptoms are managed by healthcare professionals. Their progress can be monitored by doctors and addiction experts as they are slowly weaned off of the drug.

Can Klonopin Worsen Anxiety?

Although Klonopin is meant to help patients with anxiety, it can actually make the symptoms of anxiety worse. Klonopin and other benzodiazepines may work wonders for the short-term treatment of anxiety by reducing feelings of panic and worry. However, the body quickly adapts to it, becoming tolerant in no time. Ironically, if the person suddenly stops taking benzodiazepines, they may experience rebound anxiety.

Rebound anxiety is when a person stops taking their medication and the symptoms of anxiety return. Oftentimes, the symptoms return with greater intensity. The symptoms of rebound anxiety are mostly physical, but the person may also feel increased worry, fear, and irritability.

So even though these benzodiazepines can potentially help you with anxiety, the fact that the brain learns to tolerate it rapidly can lead to rebound anxiety if you suddenly stop taking them. This mostly happens if a person has been taking Klonopin for a long time. It may also happen for people with anxiety who suddenly started taking Klonopin recreationally to get high.

Rebound anxiety is most commonly associated with benzodiazepines. In fact, it can happen even if you just reduce your dose quickly.

Keep in mind that a rebound effect is not guaranteed from these medications. It is only another possibility. This rebound effect is most likely to happen with a short-acting or intermediate-acting benzodiazepine such as Xanax. This means longer-acting benzos like diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), and clonazepam (Klonopin) are more likely to produce this effect.

If you or someone you love is struggling with Klonopin addiction, Xanax addiction, or any other type of substance use disorder, the best thing to do is look for an addiction treatment facility near you. Learn about the different programs they are offering.

Medically-assisted detox is only the first stage of a complete addiction treatment program. The exact process will vary from one person to another because addiction affects everyone differently. A personalized treatment program will work best for an addicted individual. Their specific needs have to be addressed for rehab to be effective. Rehab is not just about getting sober again, but also learning healthy ways to cope without abusing dangerous substances. With a proper addiction treatment program, the patient will be able to maintain long-lasting sobriety. The journey to sobriety begins today.


Rehab is Your Best Chance

Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take alcohol again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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