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 / Benzodiazepine / Dangers of Mixing Clonazepam with Alcohol

Dangers of Mixing Clonazepam with Alcohol

Most doctors use the generic form of Klonopin - Clonazepam to treat seizures and anxiety disorders. Clonazepam is part of a group of drugs called benzodiazepines, meaning it relaxes your central nervous system and brain when you use it. On its own, Clonazepam is an addictive and habit-forming drug whether you are using it for recreational purposes or have a prescription.

 

When combined with other substances, especially alcohol, Clonazepam produces deadly effects. So, what are the dangers of using this drug mixed with alcohol? Let's find out below.

Alcohol and Clonazepam

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine sedative used to treat anxiety due to its muscle relaxation effects. Clonazepam takes 1 to 4 hours to enter your bloodstream, but when taken in a large amount, you can pass out. This drug is difficult to detect in a drink, and when mixed with alcohol, its effects are much quicker.

 

Alcohol is an ethanol-based drug that causes intoxication when consumed in large amounts and over a short time. Alcohol is present in drinks like beer, hard liquor, wine, malt liquor, and certain medications like cough syrups and laxatives.

 

Both drugs have a highly addictive nature; when mixed, they heighten the risk of dependency and addiction. Combining alcohol and Clonazepam amplifies effects such as depressed breathing and drowsiness and may lead to overdose or even death. However, you can use alcohol and Clonazepam responsibly - Clonazepam through a doctor's prescription and alcohol in moderation.

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Mixing Clonazepam and Alcohol

Mixing Alcohol and Clonazepam can lead to the following effects:

 

Impaired Physical Condition

Alone, both Clonazepam and alcohol cause various physical impairments. But when mixed, these drugs escalate the rate of physical side effects and an increased rate of car accidents and death. Apart from physical impatient, other side effects include confusion, decreased liver function, and drowsiness.

 

According to the report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), in 2019, 4.8 million Americans misused benzodiazepines.

 

Depressed Breathing

Depressed breathing is a dangerous side effect of mixing alcohol and Clonazepam, which causes a lack of enough oxygen reaching the brain. An inadequate oxygen supply causes your brain to concentrate more oxygen on the heart and leave other vital organs. This process begins with removing blood from extremities causing a blue tint on your fingers, lips, and toes.

 

When you don't get enough oxygen, the brain finally begins shutting down vital organs. When you get medical help at this juncture and recover, you may suffer some degree of permanent brain damage. Unfortunately, most people use drugs alone and may overdose when no one is around; if they don't receive immediate medical help, the result is death.

 

Enhanced Intoxicating Effects

Even when you take alcohol and Clonazepam in small amounts, their combination can still cause catastrophic effects. These effects quickly lead to a lack of coordination, increasing risks of dangerous accidents and serious injuries. Prolonged abuse of Clonazepam and alcohol affects memory, mood, and cognition, including memory loss, depression, and loss of motor skills.

Medically Reviewed:

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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Dependency and Addiction to Clonazepam and Alcohol

Medically, Clonazepam helps treat anxiety and ease the effects of substance withdrawal symptoms. However, the drug is still addictive and may cause abuse even when prescribed by a doctor. Both alcohol and Clonazepam depress the central nervous system, and because they are oral drugs, the liver metabolizes them slowly.

 

Combining drugs that affect the central nervous system depress your breathing, slows your heart rate, and increases drowsiness. A slow metabolism means that the effects of both medicines last longer in your system, especially if you mix them. This process quickly leads to dependency.

 

Once you depend on the drug, your body will only perform its regular routines in the presence of the drug. This is risky because quitting the combination leads to harmful withdrawal symptoms. At this point, you continue taking the dosage to avoid these withdrawal symptoms leading to an addiction.

 

Dependency may turn into an addiction depending on a range of factors, including:

  • The length of time you used Clonazepam and alcohol.

  • How much alcohol and Clonazepam you used.

  • How often you’ve used alcohol and Clonazepam.

Can an Alcoholic get Addicted to Clonazepam?

Whether you suffer from alcoholism or not, using Clonazepam can easily lead to dependency and eventually to full addiction. That is why it is essential to use Clonazepam under medical supervision and for a short time so that its medical benefits don't reduce.

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Alcohol and Clonazepam Overdose Dangers

Firstly, both alcohol and Clonazepam affect the GABA receptors in your brain singularly. Combined, they form a combination that produces a much stronger effect than when you use each drug alone.

 

Furthermore, taking alcohol and Clonazepam causes "retrograde amnesia"- experiencing a blackout. When you take Clonazepam and drink alcohol, you forget that you already took Clonazepam. As a result, you take another dose of Clonazepam. Repeating this process leads to an overdose.

 

It is crucial to spot alcohol and Clonazepam overdoses in case of emergencies. The following are some specific symptoms of alcohol and Clonazepam overdose:

  • Decreased heart rate

  • Shallow and slow breathing

  • Low blood pressure

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Blurry or double vision

  • Hallucinations

  • Vomiting

  • Unresponsiveness

  • Disorientation

  • Motor skills loss

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Clonazepam & Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Taking alcohol and Clonazepam has dangerous side effects and fetal withdrawal symptoms after quitting the mixture. Alcohol and Clonazepam withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Extreme anxiety

  • A "Grand mal" seizure

  • Vomiting and nausea

  • Severe depression

  • Aggressive behavior

  • Irritability

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Treatment for Clonazepam and Alcohol Addiction

It is common to find people addicted to alcohol and several prescription drugs, though the treatment procedure is usually the same. The treatment plan intensity will depend on the level of your addiction. A severe addiction to Clonazepam and alcohol requires enrollment at a detox center to get medical support and therapy.

 

Take action today and prioritize your physical and psychological health by consulting a doctor. You may not recover immediately, but you will have taken the first step to recovery; asking for help.

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Dependency and addiction to clonazepam and alcohol
Alcohol and clonazepam
Can an alcoholic get addicted to clonazepam?
Mixing clonazepam and alcohol
Alcohol and clonazepam overdose dangers
Clonazepam and alcohol withdrawal symptoms
Treatment for clonazepam and alcohol addiction

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