Klonopin and Alcohol Withdrawal

Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Klonopin can help with some of the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and doctors may prescribe this drug to people going through alcohol detox. It reduces anxiety, helps with sleep, and prevents seizures. Keep reading to learn more about Klonopin and alcohol withdrawal.

What Is Klonopin?

Klonopin is a brand name of the generic drug clonazepam. This drug is a benzodiazepine, or benzo, most commonly used to treat anxiety. But people also use it for seizure disorders. Benzos can help with insomnia, muscle spasms, and involuntary movement disorders. 

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Some people experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit drinking. Alcohol withdrawal can include: nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate, and abnormal movements. You may also feel anxious, depressed, and tired, but struggle with insomnia at the same time. In severe cases, people have hallucinations, fevers, and convulsions

Quitting on alcohol addiction your own can be dangerous. If you’re physically addicted, you should reach out for help. An addiction counselor can help set you up to go through with alcohol detox. Most people going through alcohol detox don’t need hospitalization, but others may need to stay at the hospital during this process. 

How Benzos Help With Alcohol Withdrawal

People have been using benzos for alcohol withdrawal symptoms since the 1960s.

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Alcohol increases GABA levels in your brain. 
  • When you quit drinking, GABA levels fall.
  • Low levels of GABA cause panic, seizures, and other withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Benzos activate GABA receptors. 
  • This slows down your central nervous system and creates a calming effect. 
  • You get relief from alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Usually, you take Klonopin for 3 days during detox. Your doctor may give you other medicine as needed. 

Most Common Benzos for Alcohol Withdrawal

Klonopin is not the most common benzo for alcohol detox. Doctors usually recommend Librium or Valium. Librium stops convulsions very effectively. Valium is less likely to cause an overdose than other benzos. In addition, both of these drugs are long lasting. Short lasting benzos are not as helpful during detox. 

Although benzos help with alcohol withdrawal, these drugs can be dangerous. They have a high potential for abuse. They are also physically addictive, and they can cause withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms are similar to alcohol withdrawal. If you mix alcohol and benzos, you can face serious health issues. 

Klonopin Withdrawal

If you take Klonopin for a long time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

Typically, these symptoms occur:

  • If you have been taking a therapeutic dose for 4 to 6 months. 
  • Or if you’ve been taking double or even triple that amount for 2 to 3 months. 

Symptoms may include hallucinations, seizures, shaking, and muscle cramps. Don’t quit taking this drug suddenly. Talk with your doctor and taper off your dosage. Keep in mind that physical addiction is not the same as abuse. You can become physically addicted to this drug without abusing it. 

Because alcohol detox only lasts a few days, you don’t have to worry about Klonopin withdrawal. However, if your doctor has you take this drug for an extended period of time, you should be aware of this issue. 

Side Effects of Alcohol and Klonopin

Klonopin may cause the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Blurry vision
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping issues
  • Memory problems
  • Slurred speech
  • Sore gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea

As you know, alcohol has very similar side effects—mixing these drugs can be dangerous. 

The side effects of other benzos can be different. Talk with your doctor to ensure you choose the right medication for your situation. 

Klonopin can interact with sleeping pills, cough medicine, and muscle relaxers. It also interacts with other anti-anxiety and seizure drugs. All these drugs slow your breathing and make you sleepy. Mixing them stacks the side effects, which can potentially be lethal. Always let your doctor know about all your medication. 

Using Klonopin During Alcohol Detox

You may take Klonopin at a hospital during detox or your doctor may give you Klonopin to take home. You quit drinking, and this drug helps with the symptoms. If you take Klonopin at home, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders. Do not drink while taking this drug. Make sure you have the support you need to stop drinking. 

Note that you may experience other symptoms when you quit drinking. Klonopin cannot help with everything. You may need additional support for feelings of depression or low motivation. 

Quitting drinking can be very hard. Klonopin can help, but you need to work with a doctor to ensure the best possible outcome. Do not take this drug on your own. For further assistance call Bedrock Recovery Center. We can explain your options to you and help you take the next step toward sobriety.

  1. Benzodiazepines | Johns Hopkins psychiatry guide https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787140/all/Benzodiazepines
  2. Librium vs. Klonopin for anxiety and alcohol withdrawal: Differences & side effects https://www.rxlist.com/librium_vs_klonopin/drugs-condition.htm
  3. Management of Withdrawal: Alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids https://www.aoaam.org/resources/Documents/2018%20Convention%20Slides/Saturday%20-%2010-6-2018%20-%2011am%20-%20Management%20of%20Withdrawal%20-%20Alcohol%20Benzodiazepines%20Opioids%20-%20Kmiec.pdf
  4. Top medical treatment options for alcohol withdrawal https://www.verywellmind.com/medical-treatment-for-alcohol-withdrawal-symptoms-80192

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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