Klonopin and Xanax are prescription anti-anxiety benzodiazepine medications often used for the treatment of similar conditions.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax (alprazolam) is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines (benzos) and is used primarily for its sedative and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. Xanax can be prescribed to treat or manage a few different conditions. However, the most common symptoms it is used to treat are related to anxiety and panic disorders.
Anxiety disorders involve anxiety with various causes and severities. This includes generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other situational anxieties.
Panic disorder involves recurring, often unexpected panic attacks that are triggered by certain people, places, or things.
It can also be used to treat insomnia or seizures in some cases.
Xanax Side Effects
Typical to benzodiazepine users, those using Xanax may experience side effects including the following:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty focusing
- New or worsening depression
- Muscle twitching
What Is Klonopin?
Klonopin (clonazempam) is also medication in the benzodiazepine family.
Similar to Xanax, Klonopin is commonly prescribed to treat symptoms associated with anxiety and panic disorders. However, Klonopin is more widely prescribed than Xanax for its anti-seizure and anticonvulsant properties. Conditions benefiting from this include the following:
Seizure Disorders – Clonazepam is used to treat a range of epileptic disorders, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and absence and myoclonic seizures.
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome – Some benzo medications are commonly prescribed to treat side effects associated with alcohol withdrawal.
Tourette’s Syndrome – Klonopin has been used as a second-line treatment for Tourette’s.
Multiple Sclerosis – Klonopin is used in the treatment of convulsions and spasticity.
Commonly identified side effects of Klonopin are comparable to those experienced with other benzo medications. In addition to the aforementioned effects associated with Xanax, other symptoms may include the following:
- Loss of libido
- Impaired balance/coordination
Other Similarities and Differences
Another significant difference between Klonopin and Xanax is the time of onset of effect on the body. Klonopin has a more extended onset period, meaning it typically takes longer to experience by the body. However, it also has a longer half-life, so its effects are usually present over a more extended period.
While this may not directly affect other considerations, it significantly influences how frequently the medication must be administered and how rapidly and intensely its effects are experienced. Some have reported that Xanax is more likely to induce a high than an equivalent dose of Klonopin, although getting a high from Klonopin is also possible.
Abuse, Dependence, and Addiction
While the medical use of Xanax and Klonopin vary in terms of prescription, they do share similar risks in their use. Therefore, while prescription use may vary, warning signs regarding their consumption have several.
Drugs in the benzo family have a demonstrated potential for abuse. Those prescribed benzos over an extended period may find themselves at risk for increased tolerance, dependence, or related drug-seeking behavior.
Due to the risk of dependence, benzo prescriptions are typically prescribed to treat short-term (acute) symptoms. However, it may be recommended for those suffering long-term symptoms to switch to a line of treatment that is less risky in terms of the potential for substance abuse.
Although Xanax or Klonopin may provide effective relief for anxiety symptoms, those who experience chronic symptoms may ultimately be transitioned to a different line of treatment to avoid dependence or withdrawal.
Both Xanax and Klonopin may result in significant withdrawal symptoms for those who discontinue use after long-term use. Withdrawal symptoms may include the following:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Agitation and restlessness
- Blurry vision
- Dry mouth
- Mood swings
- Increased blood pressure
- Impaired memory
- Poor concentration
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tremors or shakiness
Whether prescribed to treat anxiety, panic, or other conditions, approved treatment with Xanax or Klonopin can have valuable outcomes. However, the risk for developing emotional and physical dependence and addiction is significant.
Getting Treatment for Drug Dependence
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery offer residential and partial hospitalization programs that feature a wide variety of therapeutic services intended to address all aspects of mental and physical health and wellness for those we treat. Methodologies and activities we offer include the following:
- Individual counseling
- Family counseling
- 12-step programs
- Substance abuse education
- Health and wellness education
- Relapse prevention techniques
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
- Alumni events