A report in 2018 showed that among people 18 and older in the US, approximately 14.4 million had alcohol use disorder. It is not an uncommon problem to struggle with alcohol abuse. Part of achieving recovery is going through the withdrawal process. Some medications can be used to aid you with this process, including Klonopin.

What is Alcohol Withdrawal?

When someone is dependent on alcohol, the way, their brain functions are altered. It is essentially a rewiring that becomes more severe the longer alcohol addiction lasts. Eventually, your brain needs alcohol to keep functioning. When you stop drinking, the brain goes into disarray.

The first part of the rehabilitation process is detox, which includes withdrawing from alcohol. Without management, uncomfortable symptoms can develop when you are trying to stop drinking. The symptoms that may occur during withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • High blood pressure

In the most severe cases, delirium tremens is possible during withdrawal. It is characterized by the severe nervous system and mental changes. People who have consumed alcohol for over a decade are at a higher risk of experiencing delirium tremens. When someone experiences this during alcohol withdrawal, the symptoms may include:

  • Severe and sudden confusion
  • Mental function changes
  • Deep sleep lasting at least 24 hours
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Sound, light, and touch sensitivity
  • Body tremors
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Fear or excitement
  • Energy bursts
  • Restlessness
  • Sleepiness, fatigue, and stupor
  • Seizures

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is largely prescribed for anxiety disorders, but it can also be beneficial for alcohol withdrawal. This medicine works by altering the electrical activity that occurs between the cells in the brain. Exactly how it helps to reduce seizures and stabilize mood is unknown. However, experts say that it likely involves gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) getting enhanced to reduce abnormal electrical activity and produce hypnosis.

How Does Klonopin Help with Alcohol Withdrawal?

Klonopin is used to help to treat and prevent certain symptoms of withdrawal. This can help people to be more comfortable when they are going through the withdrawal process. The symptoms that it may help with include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweats and chills
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Irritability and aggravation
  • Seizures

How Klonopin is Used for Alcohol Withdrawal

Klonopin for alcohol withdrawal can be administered in different ways. There are three primary methods that a doctor might consider.

Fixed Tapering Dose Regimen

  • This method is best when symptoms are mild
  • They do not adjust the dose based on how severe your symptoms are
  • It is often used in an outpatient setting

Loading Dose Regimen

  • ¬†This is the preferred regimen for people who are experiencing seizures
  • It uses benzodiazepines, such as Klonopin, that remain in your body for more than a day
  • Since it requires monitoring, it is usually only considered in an inpatient setting

Symptom Triggered Regimen

  • This regimen can be used for mild or severe withdrawal symptoms
  • Your pain level determines the dosage with higher doses being given for higher pain levels
  • You must be medically supervised for this regimen
  • Inpatient settings are required to use this regimen

Whether Klonopin is used for alcohol withdrawal will depend on the protocol of the treatment center. Your doctor will also determine if Klonopin for alcohol withdrawal is the best option for you based on your overall health and personal medical history.

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