Clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) and Chlordiazepoxide (also known as Limbitrol or Librium) both belong to a group of medicines called benzodiazepines.
Both drugs are commonly used to treat alcohol withdrawal in alcohol rehab centres as part of treatment programmes.
As the medicines act like sedatives, they help alleviate many of the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. Clonazepam and Chlordiazepoxide help reduce anxiety and panic, assist with sleep, lessen muscle spasms and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and help control seizures—some being very common when people come off alcohol.
How Do The Drugs Work?
Both drugs are part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines, known as sedatives or, the outdated name, tranquilisers. Other medications in this group include Zanax and Valium.
When you drink alcohol, it increases the level of a neurotransmitter called GABA in your brain. When people stop drinking, GABA levels decrease, creating unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
Benzodiazepines target your central nervous system, slowing down your body, calming your brain and lessening the impact of withdrawal. Benzodiazepines enhance GABA receptors, passing information to the body to make it feel relaxed.
Your doctor will usually start you on a low dose and adjust to find a level that works for you over the coming weeks. You’ll likely split the medication throughout the day or take it in one larger dose.
Help With Alcohol Withdrawal
Patients are often prescribed benzodiazepines (nicknamed ‘benzos’) when they have a supervised alcohol detox at a registered alcohol rehab clinic. If you choose to stay at a clinic as an inpatient, you’ll live there for a few weeks to three months. Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for up to three days during detox. After your detox, they could be issued in a lower dose for anything up to six weeks.
As an outpatient, you can receive addiction treatment at home or at venues to suit you. Outpatient treatment serves those who have work or family commitments or a mild addiction. In cases of mild addiction, you can detox at home in combination with regular checks ins with your addiction specialist.
Alcohol withdrawal is a challenging process, and it can produce unpleasant mental and physical sensations.
Some alcoholics have been chronic drinkers for over 20 years, whilst others have had a short term but intense addiction. If the body consumes regular and excessive amounts of alcohol, it reacts when alcohol is taken away. Mental health tends to plummet during a detox, as the brain relies on alcohol to help lessen anxiety, depression, anger, or other mental health conditions. When you remove the prop of alcohol, many people need the temporary help of Clonazepam or Chlordiazepoxide.
You will experience side effects when you complete alcohol detox, and the severity depends on the level of your addiction. Possible impacts on your body and mind include feeling sick and vomiting, uncontrolled movements of the body, increased heart rate, convulsions, hallucinations, anxiety, depression and tiredness.
Are Clonazepam And Chlordiazepoxide Addictive?
Both these medications are addictive, so doctors usually prescribe them for a short amount of time, from two to four weeks, six weeks being the maximum. Your doctor will gradually reduce your dose so your body gets used to being without the medicines.
Tell your doctor right away if you feel that you’re becoming addicted to Clonazepam or Chlordiazepoxide. They may prescribe alternative medicines or a lower dose.
Call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website if you suspect you’ve taken too much. Your symptoms could include feeling overstimulated, weak muscles, irregular or slow heartbeat, unusual eye movement, difficulty speaking and feeling very sleepy.
Can Anyone Take Them?
Talk through your medical history with your doctor or alcohol before taking Clonazepam or Chlordiazepoxide, as they aren’t suitable for everyone. Your doctor will suggest alternative medications that will work for you. Make sure you inform your specialist if you:
-have a muscle weakness called myasthenia gravis
-experience sleep apnoea (breathing problem when you sleep)
-suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts
-have been diagnosed with a personality disorder
-have kidney, liver or lung conditions
-are pregnant, trying for a baby or breastfeeding
-have had allergic reactions to medicines in the past
Clonazepam And Chlordiazepoxide are only legally available through prescription.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Most people report feeling sleepy throughout the day. Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery if you’re taking these medicines. It’s important not to drink any alcohol when taking Clonazepam and Chlordiazepoxide, as you’ll likely go into a deep sleep and find it hard to rouse yourself. In some extreme cases, combining Benzodiazepines with alcohol can lead to death, so make it a priority to avoid alcohol.
-Lightheadedness and tiredness
-Slurred speech, fatigue and lack of coordination
-Feeling clumsy or unsteady on your feet
-Difficulty moving and balance problems
Need Help With Alcohol Addiction?
There is no shame in admitting you have an alcohol addiction; realising you have a problem is the first step in your recovery.
Seeking help for alcohol addiction can be daunting, but the team at Rehab Clinics Group are here for you. We run private alcohol rehab clinics throughout the UK and offer tailored treatment plans to help you conquer your alcohol addiction. Our staff are all addiction experts, and they’ve helped thousands of people to live alcohol-free lives.
You’ll receive a warm welcome at our clinics and enjoy the very best accommodation, meals and facilities.
Our treatment plans include alcohol detox, rehab treatment and intensive counselling and therapies to help heal your mind and body. You’ll also receive 12 months of free aftercare when you leave our clinics, meaning that you’ll always have support when you need it most.
If you choose to stay with us, you’ll benefit from the support of others, just like you, who are determined to beat alcohol addiction.
Call us today on 0800 470 0382 to speak to our admissions team or text HELP to 83222.