One drug can be dangerous when you take it by itself, but the danger increases when you take more than one drug at the same time. Even though this is a perilous thing to do, people willingly do it because the interaction between the two drugs increases the effects of them both. This action also increases the risk of an overdose. One of the popular drug combinations is Xanax and Klonopin.
What Are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are depressants that cause the user to become sedated or fall asleep. They also relieve anxiety and prevent the person from experiencing seizures. These medications increase the activity that occurs at the receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that slows down the actions of the brain’s neurons, so it slows the brain and the nervous system down.
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that doctors prescribe to control seizures. Physicians also prescribe it to relieve panic attacks.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax is also a benzodiazepine that physicians prescribe to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorders.
What Are Panic Attacks?
When someone is having a panic attack, they suddenly begin to experience fear, but there isn’t necessarily anything tangible to fear at that moment. They feel as though they aren’t in control of the situation, and they begin to experience several symptoms. The physical symptoms include the following:
• Tingling or numbness in the hands
• Cold chills
• The sensation of heat
• Difficulties breathing
• Pain in the stomach or chest
• A rapid heartbeat
People may not know when or where these attacks are going to occur, so they develop a fear that these attacks can happen at any time. In order to prevent attacks, they may alter their lives in highly inconvenient ways. For example, if they experienced a panic attack in one portion of the city, they may avoid that area even if the alternative route takes them out of their way. Some people are so fearful that they don’t ever leave their homes.
Many people are receiving benzodiazepine prescriptions in the United States. In 1996, 4.1% of adults received a prescription for this medication, and this number increased by 2013 to 5.6%.
Mixing Xanax and Klonopin
Both Xanax and Klonopin are benzodiazepine tranquilizers. When people experiencing anxiety take these medications, they decrease the abnormal electrical activity that exists in the brain.
When people take Xanax, they report feelings of being sedated. They also describe a calming feeling. This is not the high that people get when they take a stimulant like cocaine; it is a relaxing feeling. They could also fall sleep after taking this drug. Klonopin and Xanax both cause users to experience similar feelings, so a user might decide to take both of them at the same time so that they can create even stronger feelings.
Of course, there are differences between these two drugs. People feel the effects of Klonopin for a longer period of time than those of Xanax. Since the half-life for Xanax is so short, users will feel its effects sooner than they feel the effects of Klonopin.
These two medications are often mixed to give users the relaxed feeling they crave or to relieve tension. People may combine these drugs because they want the pleasant feelings they experience to last longer than either medication can provide.
Benzodiazepines cause users to become tolerant over time. This is what is occurring when the user starts to experience less of a reaction to the medication than was experienced the first time that the drug was ingested. When this occurs, the user must increase the amount of Xanax or Klonopin to feel what was felt the first time. Tolerance for one of the drugs may have started, so people may combine these medications so that they can increase the feelings again.
When People Misuse Xanax and Klonopin
Misusing Xanax causes people to experience nausea, vomiting, confusion, a lack of focus, impaired memory, loss of muscle coordination, blurry vision or double vision, sleepiness and slurred speech. When people misuse Klonopin, they experience the same negative side effects. If the user decides to take both of these drugs together, these side effects will be even more pronounced.
In most cases, benzodiazepines are not dangerous, but if the user decides to take more than one at a time, the combination can become much more hazardous. The symptoms of an overdose on Xanax include the following:
• Loss of consciousness
• Loss of coordination
If a person who takes Xanax also takes Klonopin, the possibility of overdosing increases. That is because Klonopin is a sedative as well, and sedatives inhibit CYP3A, a pathway that allows Xanax to be broken down. Because it is harder for the body to break down the Xanax when this occurs, it increases the risk of an overdose.
Severe Symptoms of an Overdose
The most severe symptoms of an overdose when mixing benzodiazepines include the following:
• Abnormal heart rhythm
• Chest pain
• Slower breathing
• Lower blood pressure
Suicide and Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines often cause people to experience extreme mood swings, and this leads some users to attempt to take their own lives. Some people also use these drugs when they want to kill themselves by overdosing on purpose. In 2013, 3,724 people died by use of alprazolam or Xanax, and three years later, this number increased to 6,209.
Long-Term Risks Associated with Mixing Xanax and Klonopin
When you mix Xanax and Klonopin, there is a higher risk of severity for long-term consequences if you ingest this mixture on a regular basis. For example, brain damage results when people indulge in Xanax and Klonopin repeatedly, and it may lead to serious psychological disturbances.
What Is Psychosis?
Psychosis means that someone is experiencing a break with reality. Several mental disorders have this as a symptom. When people are experiencing psychosis, it means that they are either having delusions or hallucinations.
A delusion is a belief that the affected person holds strongly, but it isn’t true and may be a contradiction of reality. One example of a delusion is known as a “somatic delusion.” With somatic delusions, people wholeheartedly believe that they are in the middle of a terminal illness, but the reality is that they are healthy.
A hallucination is a sensory perception that is not stimulated by an actual event. This means that people see, smell, hear or feel something that isn’t really there. For example, people experiencing auditory hallucinations may hear other people talking in the room with them when they are actually alone.
Delusions and hallucinations can be very disconcerting to the people experiencing them, and individuals may try to hurt themselves. They may even hurt other people, so delusions and hallucinations are considered medical emergencies.
Mixing Xanax and Klonopin may cause psychotic disorders, including the following:
• Schizophrenia: This is a mental condition that usually causes psychotic symptoms.
• Psychotic depression: Psychotic depression is major depression, but the person experiencing the condition also has psychotic symptoms.
• Delusional disorder: Delusional disorder causes people to believe things that are entirely untrue.
• Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings that go from very high to very low and back again. During the times when people with bipolar disorder are experiencing positive moods, they tend to also experience psychotic symptoms. These people feel great and believe that they have the power to do anything. Depression can also cause psychotic symptoms, and these people may believe that people are out to get them.
• Other mental disorders: Along with psychosis, people can experience many other mental disturbances when they mix Xanax and Klonopin. Users have been known to experience panic attacks, mood swings, irritability, depression, tension and anxiety.
Withdrawal symptoms for two benzodiazepines are much worse than those for just one medication. When these withdrawal symptoms begin, they can be very dangerous. Both Xanax and Klonopin reduce the brain’s activity, but when people stop taking these drugs, the brain becomes overactive. This may cause seizures, convulsions or death. As people’s moods change at this time, it can lead them to think about suicide. Withdrawal symptoms can begin in as little as five hours after the last use of the drugs.
Stopping the use of Xanax and Klonopin together can cause several other withdrawal symptoms, including the following:
• Sleep disturbances
• Mood swings
• Panic attacks
• Pain in the muscles
• Memory loss
• Heart palpitations
Treatment at Granite Recovery Centers
If you or a loved one has been mixing Xanax and Klonopin, stop what you have been doing and get help. As was mentioned above, refraining from mixing Xanax and Klonopin after repeated use can lead to worrying withdrawal symptoms, so it would not be a good idea for you to detoxify on your own.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer a drug detox program that will allow you to go through the detoxification process as comfortably as possible. Our trained doctors and nurses can administer medications that will ease the withdrawal symptoms and allow you to detoxify without the danger of relapse. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.
It would be extremely uncomfortable for you to go through the detoxification process without the help of a medical professional. Withdrawal symptoms are the signals that your body sends to remind you to give it more of the drugs. If you cannot tolerate these symptoms until your body stops sending them to you, you will have no choice but to return to your drug use. We will prevent this by administering FDA-approved medications during the withdrawal process.
Discomfort is not the only thing that may concern you. As was mentioned above, the possibility of experiencing psychotic symptoms may worry you enough to avoid detoxifying from substances on your own, but you may not be convinced that you should enter a drug treatment center. The safest thing for you to do is come to Granite Recovery Centers so that you will be cared for in our detox program and remain for treatment so that you avoid substance misuse in the future.
Contact Us Today
Granite Recovery Centers offers substance use disorder and addiction treatment. Depending on the severity of your drug misuse, we can place you in a 30-day, 60-day or 90-day program for treatment in our inpatient treatment program.
If you or your loved one is ready to embark upon a new chapter of reclaiming your life, call us today at Granite Recovery Centers. We’re here to lend a compassionate ear and help you find the right help to overcome drug misuse.