How Does Klonopin for Alcohol Withdrawal Work?
Quitting alcohol cold turkey can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms. However, rehab centers prescribe Klonopin for alcohol withdrawal that can reduce the severity of symptoms and provide additional safety.
Klonopin (clonazepam) is a benzodiazepine drug that acts as a sedative on the central nervous system. The medication is commonly prescribed to prevent and control seizures, but it can also be effective for reducing symptoms of anxiety.
What Happens to the Brain During Alcohol Withdrawal?
When a person has been drinking heavily or consistently over a period of time, the substance can affect the brain’s chemistry and interfere with normal communication pathways.
Alcohol acts as a sedative on the central nervous system, affecting the brain’s GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors, which causes a person to feel relaxed or drowsy after drinking.
Exposing the GABA receptors to alcohol over a long period of time eventually causes them to increase activity in an effort to overcome the effects of the alcohol. As a result, the brain begins overproducing adrenaline and a variety of other hormone and neurotransmitters in an effort to return to normal functioning and counteract the sedative effects of the alcohol.
When the person stops drinking abruptly or tries to quit by going cold turkey, the GABA receptors are still functioning at abnormally increased levels and can’t adapt to the lack of alcohol in the system. With no alcohol to produce sedative effects, the over-functioning GABA receptors continue to flood the system with abnormally large amounts of adrenaline and hormones, which causes the brain to enter into a hyper-excitable state.
The person experiences the sudden cessation of alcohol as a range of withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Some of the more common symptoms associated with the ‘cold turkey’ alcohol withdrawal protocol include:
- Tremors and shaking
- Nausea and vomiting
- Agitation and irritability
- Heavy sweating
- Rapid breathing rate
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Delirium tremens (DTs)
Reducing Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
It’s strongly advised that anyone who has developed a dependency on alcohol seeks professional treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction at a rehab treatment facility. Addiction specialists may prescribe Klonopin for alcohol withdrawal or other types of benzodiazepine medications.
Why Treat Alcohol Withdrawal with Klonopin?
The objective of using specific prescription medications during the alcohol withdrawal protocol is to reduce the severity of any withdrawal symptoms that may emerge during detox. Treating alcohol withdrawal with Klonopin provides a level of safety for the recovering person and reduces the risk of experiencing some of the more dangerous symptoms that can occur.
As Klonopin is also a central nervous system sedative, the medication helps slow down the over-active GABA receptors in the brain and reduce the amount of adrenaline that is released into the body. Using Klonopin for alcohol withdrawal helps to stop the brain from entering into the type of hyper-excitable state that causes such potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Take?
If a person who has developed a dependency on alcohol stops consumption suddenly, the symptoms associated with withdrawal can occur within 8 hours of the last drink. Symptoms usually peak between 24 and 72 hours, depending on the severity of the person’s addiction.
However, while the worst of any physical symptoms associated with detox subside within a week, some people may experience psychological symptoms that can extend for weeks or months. By comparison, seeking professional rehab treatments for the alcohol withdrawal protocol can reduce the length and severity of the duration.
Going through alcohol withdrawal with Klonopin in the system keeps the brain’s GABA receptors controlled under careful medical supervision. Over a period of time, the dosage of Klonopin is gradually tapered down.
Aside from helping to make the alcohol withdrawal protocol much safer for the recovering person, drug and alcohol rehab facilities such as WhiteSands Treatment also provide a comprehensive program of treatment that addresses the underlying psychological aspect of addictive drinking behaviors. With the correct combination of behavioral therapy, individual counseling, group support therapy and a variety of alternative therapies, it’s possible to make a successful recovery from alcohol abuse and addiction and stay clean and sober over the long term. For more information on alcohol detox and rehab, contact us today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.