Drug and Alcohol - Dual Diagnosis

Klonopin Vs. Xanax: Differences, Similarities & Effects

Klonopin vs. Xanax: Do You Know the Difference?

Klonopin vs. Xanax: know the differences between these two popular (and addictive) benzos. Our blog shows you the differences and dangers. Learn more.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Dual Diagnosis

March 14, 2023

Why are Klonopin and Xanax so common? Let’s answer that with a question:

Do you know that one in five American adults suffers from a mental health disorder?

The spectrum of the illness is so broad that millions of people around us come under the scope of such health conditions. Many people think that mental health problems are solely connected to adulthood, but you will be surprised to find that children also experience mental health challenges. It is nothing but a myth that they don't struggle with it. Even kids at a very young age may show warning signs of dealing with mental health problems. 

According to various experts, the signs are actually visible and diagnosable before the person turns the age of 14. So, we must protect and pay attention to the unspoken plight of the young ones. Although a lot more awareness and importance are now laid on mental health, there was a time when people did not think much about them. It was not considered as equally important as a person's physical health.

Due to increasing awareness, mental health cases, scientific studies, and suicide rates, mental health is finally seen as vital. As mentioned, the spectrum and scope of mental illnesses are vast. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 200 types of mental health conditions and disorders. Some common mental health challenges people face include:

And more.

According to the CDC's National Health Interview Survey data, around 9.5% of American adults showed symptoms of a mild form of anxiety disorder. They also noticed that women are more vulnerable and prone to experiencing mild, moderate, or severe anxiety symptoms than men. The National Institute on Mental Health has estimated that as many as 31.1% of American adults deal with anxiety.

Fortunately, there are many treatments and medications available for mental health problems. There is a possibility that there is no cure for the disorder, but they help stabilize, reduce, and manage the symptoms.

Two medications often prescribed for treating anxiety and panic disorders are Klonopin and Xanax.

These leading prescribed medications are given because they have shown rapid results in quite a short amount of time. Even though they both are different forms of benzodiazepines, there are still many differences between them.

What Is Klonopin?

Being a leading drug, Klonopin is used for managing and treating conditions like seizures, panic disorder, anxiety, and even akathisia, which is a movement-related disorder. Klonopin is a brand name of an anxiolytic and anticonvulsant medication generally known as Clonazepam. Anxiolytics reduce anxiety, and anticonvulsant drugs help prevent seizures or convulsions.

Klonopin is an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved benzodiazepine that helps with all the conditions above by balancing the chemicals in the brain. This drug is given to people experiencing mood disorders and even agoraphobia because it's designed to help calm the individual. Klonopin helps in smoothing the distress situation by stimulating the brain.

Anxiety and panic attacks only happen when there is a chemical imbalance, and Klonopin increases the brain's Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity. This means that by increasing the activity, Klonopin inhibits the sudden elevation of the nervous system. The GABA receptors that are stimulated by Klonopin block the neurotransmitter. The drug prevents the brain from being aroused in a stressful situation, and if our brain activity is decreased, we are less likely to become stressed. 

Klonopin is a substance that is controlled under Schedule IV as it is highly addictive and has the potential to be abused and addicted. The FDA approves it because Klonopin is one of the leading medications for many severe conditions. The DEA has reported that more than 11,000 people have illicitly used Clonazepam. It is potent and should only be taken under any physician's guidance. In addition, many side effects are related to Klonopin abuse. 

Some Klonopin side effects are:

  • If a person continues to take Klonopin even after the completion of their prescription, it can impair the motor coordination of a person

  • It can cause drowsiness in an individual, so doctors recommend people stay clear of driving vehicles and using heavy machinery

  • There have been reports of Klonopin giving the user suicidal thoughts and can lead to fatal consequences.

  • Many users try to enhance the effects and end up combining it with alcohol and other drugs that can lead to overdose, over-sedation and respiratory depression, and more 

  • Other common side effects include confusion, dizziness, slurred speech, memory loss, depression, cognitive impairment, sexual dysfunction, cardiac pulse, and more

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is one of the most popular medications sold in the United States of America. Talking about what Xanax is used for, like Klonopin, Xanax is also a benzodiazepine prescribed to individuals struggling with anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It is also known as alprazolam and belongs to the same drug class as Klonopin.

Xanax has been widely used since the 1980s and is considered a very effective treatment for the abovementioned conditions. Unlike Klonopin, Xanax is not an anticonvulsant drug and cannot prevent seizures from happening. But similar to Klonopin, it also binds the GABA receptors and works by increasing the effects of GABA, the inhibitory neurotransmitter. Hence, giving the effect of calmness by reducing stress at work or home.

There are two broad reasons why so many people use Xanax. First, it provides the user with a good night's sleep and intensifies the feeling of relaxation and sedation. Secondly, it is a fast-acting drug that can produce consequential effects in two hours. This is why many people end up abusing Xanax with severe long-term and short-term effects. Let's talk about these effects in detail. 

Some Xanax side effects are:

  • To gain pleasure, euphoria, and a relaxing effect, many people abuse Xanax by either swallowing it or crushing and snorting the pills. Unfortunately, this can lead to bodily dependence and tolerance development for the drug

  • Xanax abuse can lead to an overdose, resulting in confusion, lower muscle reflexes, drowsiness, and even coma

  • Combining Xanax with other substances like alcohol and marijuana can result in dangerous side effects like impaired oxygen exchange, respiratory arrest, coma, and even death

  • Some common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, slurred speech, difficulty concentrating, impaired memory, lower blood pressure, lightheadedness, forgetfulness, muscle weakness, depression, slowed breathing, and more

  • Xanax has also been associated with depressive episodes that can cause suicidal thoughts and feelings to an individual.

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Klonopin Vs. Xanax: Differences & Similarities

In most cases, with people are getting treated for anxiety and panic attacks, the physicians most probably prescribe one of the two medicines, Klonopin or Xanax. Both of them are almost similar medications and belong to the drug class of benzodiazepines. These leading prescriptions effectively treat and relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. Both work by binding themselves to the GABA receptor and boosting their activity in the brain. GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an inhibitory neurotransmitter vital in slowing down the activities in the central nervous system.

By slowing down brain activity, these medications decrease stress and mood swings.

Benzodiazepine medications are widely used in treating mental health-related conditions, and Klonopin and Xanax are no different. The problem arises when people use them not for the intended purpose but to gain pleasure and euphoria. As stress relieving medication, they have a particular effect of calmness and joy. Rather than consuming them to elevate their panic and anxiety, many use them for recreational purposes only. The euphoric feeling produced by these medications can be very addictive, and one can easily depend on them. The problems do not end there.

These benzodiazepines are very potent and powerful; they can have devastating consequences if used in more than one dose daily or without a prescription. Let's now talk about some main differences and similarities between the two.

A Few Differences Between Klonopin and Xanax

  • Besides treating panic, anxiety, and depression, Klonopin can also help prevent convulsions and seizures. Xanax can only help in treating the abovementioned mental health conditions only

  • Where Klonopin peaks within 1 to 4 hours of its consumption, Xanax is much quicker. Xanax produces the effect within two hours, so its dosage limit is higher, up to 4 doses per day. In contrast, the patients can be prescribed only two doses of Klonopin daily

Some Similarities Between Klonopin and Xanax

  • Both Klonopin and Xanax belong to the similar drug classification of benzodiazepine medications

  • Klonopin and Xanax are very similar medications that doctors prescribe for treating medical conditions like depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and more

  • They both work by binding on GABA receptors and increasing their activity in the brain. By this, the chemical imbalance gets corrected, and the mood and anxiety faced by an individual in any stressful situation are handled with calm and composedness.

  • Klonopin and Xanax are highly potent and can produce the intended effect in a few hours of consumption

  • Both of them can potentially be abused by people for their euphoric effects

  • Klonopin and Xanax have a highly addictive nature and can create dependence among their users

  • If a person abuses them, there is a high possibility that they experience severe health effects as they both can have serious side effects

Klonopin Vs. Xanax What's Stronger? 

There have not been many comparative studies on the potency of Klonopin and Xanax. They are very effective drugs that can potentially cause physical and psychological dependency on the user. With only the significant difference of Klonopin being a preventive seizure medication, the two have no significant differences. Even though they both reach their peak within different durations, it does not affect their potency or power.

There are high risks involved if the patients are irresponsibly using them. The susceptibility of the addiction can only be based on the number of doses used by someone. The higher the frequency of use, the more danger of being dependent and abusing them. The most crucial thing to remember here is that if you are in danger or are already addicted to either of the benzodiazepines, rehab treatment is a must. On top of that, the treatment has to be highly individualized due to the volatile nature and varying withdrawal symptoms of benzos.

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Klonopin Vs. Xanax: Treatment & Recovery 

Whether you or someone close to you are suffering from Klonopin or Xanax addiction, your primary step should be to seek a drug detox facility. These medical institutions are designed for patients suffering from addiction to drugs and alcohol. Klonopin or Xanax is a highly potent and addictive drug that can cause serious physical and psychological dependence. The only way to treat such a condition is by getting comprehensive treatment.

However, this treatment has to be highly individualized, and not many rehabs offer that. So, ensure that the rehab you seek offers individualized care and recovery plans. 

Leave Klonopin and Xanax Addiction Behind Today with The Edge Treatment Center

Benzo addiction is dangerous. Both Klonopin and Xanax are easy to overdose on. The Edge Treatment Center treats Klonopin and Xanax abuse using proven evidence-based techniques. Our outpatient drug rehab features a dedicated dual diagnosis program. With us, you'll receive treatment for both Klonopin and Xanax abuse along with any co-occurring mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

Don't risk benzo addiction. Get treated for Xanax and Klonopin abuse today with The EDge Treatment Center. Contact us today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.