If you’re taking any sort of prescription medications, it’s always a good idea to steer clear of combining them with any other substances. Many people don’t want to change their lifestyle even though they’ve been prescribed medication. Parties, work happy hours, and holidays still go on while they are taking the medicine their doctor has prescribed. This all happens despite most medication bottles being clearly labeled with “do not take with alcohol”.
People taking these warnings lightly can become very dangerous. They may not see a problem combining alcohol with medications such as antibiotics, but the alcohol can cause other medications to have much stronger effects. This is the case when it comes to combining alcohol and Klonopin.
Klonopin is a prescription anti-anxiety medication. The generic name of the drug is clonazepam. This particular medicine is from a family of drugs known as benzodiazepines. A popular example would be Valium. They are very strong sedative-hypnotic drugs and should never be misused, abused, or combined with other substances.
It may be possible for someone to use both Klonopin and alcohol responsibly, but both substances can be highly addictive and present the opportunity for misuse or abuse. Both substances can have negative physical and mental side effects on their own, and combining them will only enhance those negative effects.
Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol is known as a depressant. It slows down the activity of the central nervous system (CNS). In the short term, users of alcohol experience side effects like slurred speech, euphoria, aggression, depression, loss of coordination, irregular breathing or heart rate, loss of memory, and nausea or vomiting. These side effects, while uncomfortable, will generally wear off in 1 or 2 days.
Prolonged alcohol use, however, can lead to much more serious side effects. Over time, if someone continues to abuse alcohol, they may experience a stroke, liver problems, pancreatitis, weakened immune system, and high blood pressure. Drinking alcohol for an extended period of time can even cause higher risk for certain types of cancer.
But, the most serious side effect of prolonged alcoholism has to cirrhosis. Each time someone damages their liver by drinking alcohol, the liver tries to repair itself. Over time, if someone continues to abuse alcohol, the liver has been asked to repair itself so many times that scar tissue starts to build up on the liver. This creates a “gradual hardening” of the organ.
Your liver has the important job of filtering out toxins from your blood. If healthy tissue is constantly replaced with scar tissue due to cirrhosis, the liver gets prevented from doing its job. This makes it more challenging for toxins to leave the body, and more challenging to fight off infection.
Effects of Klonopin
Klonopin is a prescription medication, which means the dosage will be monitored by your doctor. But, patients may choose to misuse or abuse the drug by taking more than the recommended dosage. This usually occurs if anxiety symptoms are particularly bad. A patient may decide to take more of the drug to deal with particularly challenging symptoms. Over time, this person may build up a tolerance to the drug and need to take even more to have the same desired effect. This will eventually lead to misuse, abuse, and addiction to Klonopin.
When taken irresponsibly, a user may experience drowsiness. They can also experience blurred vision, slurred speech, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, memory problems, loss of coordination, or sleep problems like insomnia.
Klonopin and Alcohol
Both Klonopin and alcohol can be used responsibly, but they are both addictive and have the tendency to be misused. It’s very important not to mix these substances as they can enhance each other’s effects suddenly. This increases the risk of hospitalization, overdose, and maybe even death.
Both substances are depressants on the central nervous system, which means they work together to magnify each other’s depressive effects. The fact that these substances are both ingested orally may also add to the problem. Since they are both introduced to the body orally, they may take longer to metabolize in someone’s system.
At the beginning, people may feel no effects at all. But once everything in their system metabolizes, they may be hit with intense effects of the Klonopin and alcohol working together all at once. These two substances working together can drastically increase a person’s loss of coordination and drowsiness. This increases the person’s risk of falling and experiencing a serious injury in the process. This increased drowsiness can also make it difficult to wake someone up, and could possibly lead to a coma.
Mixing Klonopin and alcohol can also slow down a person’s breathing. This slowed breathing can cause someone to not receive enough oxygen. A sign of this decreased oxygen would be pale or clammy skin. It can also show up as a person’s lips or underside of the fingernails turning blue. If someone is experiencing this lack of oxygen, and isn’t given medical attention, they could stop breathing and possibly die. Even if it’s not fatal, decreased oxygen to the brain could cause mental health problems over time. Brain damage and memory loss are two common examples.
Klonopin, in addition to being an anti-anxiety medication, may also be prescribed to fight the symptoms of alcoholism withdrawal. If someone were to relapse, or struggle with quitting alcohol, and they were prescribed Klonopin, you could see how it would be easy to misuse the two substances together. For this reason, it’s very important that a doctor monitor the recovery closely. They will keep close watch, and be mindful of any signs of benzodiazepine addiction.
Since both of these substances can be addictive, and can have such dangerous side effects, a medically-assisted detox program would be the best option. Having counselors and clinical staff on-hand 24/7 will help to deal with the dangerous side effects of both substances. Benzodiazepine addiction can take hold quickly, and be quite strong, so it’s a good idea to attempt to catch it as early as possible.