How Effective Is Clonazepam for Anxiety?

Susan Abe

Benzodiazepines are a type of medication that essentially mimics the effects of alcohol. Not only do benzodiazepines result in approximately the same degree of relaxation as a couple of alcoholic drinks, they utilize the very same chemical pathway as alcohol does to produce their effect. Clonazepam is a type of long-acting benzodiazepine used to treat panic attacks, social phobias and generalized anxiety disorders. In most sufferers, using clonazepam for anxiety is an effective tool for managing their distress and much more productive than self-medicating with alcohol. Due to the similar effects, alcohol should never be used in combination with clonazepam for anxiety under any circumstance.

Benzodiazepines like clonazepam, are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.
Benzodiazepines like clonazepam, are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.

An anxiety disorder is not simply worry. It is an intrusive mindset of obsessive thoughts or flashbacks, coupled with varying physical symptoms of fear, such as a rapid heart rate, sweating and tension. The efficacy of clonazepam for anxiety disorders and panic attacks has been demonstrated in clinical studies to decrease their incidence and severity. Regular doses of clonazepam for anxiety may help those who take it avoid the mounting discomfort and increasing emotional pressure that culminates in a full-blown panic attack.

Because of their strong potential for addiction, benzodiazepines such as clonazepam and Xanax should be used only as a last option when treating social anxiety.
Because of their strong potential for addiction, benzodiazepines such as clonazepam and Xanax should be used only as a last option when treating social anxiety.

Side effects of using clonazepam for anxiety range from a false sense of well-being to difficulties with coordination, walking and speech. Short-term memory may be affected and amnesia has even been reported. Rarely, a rapid deterioration in expressed emotions is noted, with accompanying thoughts of suicide or self-harm. The prescribing physician should be notified immediately of any such changes. Drowsiness is to be expected and headaches, nightmares and gastrointestinal complaints may also be present.

In rare cases, clonazepam may cause thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
In rare cases, clonazepam may cause thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Clonazepam and other benzodiazepines can interact with many different types of drugs, supplements and even food. Patients should inform any new doctor, ophthalmologist or dentist of their prescription. Additionally, patients should avoid taking clonazepam with St. John's Wort, erythromycin, calcium-channel blockers and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications, among other drugs.

An anxiety disorder is an intrusive mindset of obsessive thoughts coupled with symptoms like fear.
An anxiety disorder is an intrusive mindset of obsessive thoughts coupled with symptoms like fear.

Taken regularly, this benzodiazepine is habit-forming and a physician must supervise patients when stopping the medication. Clonazepam should never be abruptly discontinued if the medication has been taken regularly for longer than six weeks. Rather, a supervised taper program should be instituted wherein the dosage is slowly decreased over a period of many weeks. This form of discontinuing the medication can help avoid the rather unpleasant side effects of stopping the medication cold turkey such as visual hallucinations, uncontrollable shaking, stomach complaints and difficulty sleeping.

Clonazepam is also marketed and sold under the brand name Klonopin®.
Clonazepam is also marketed and sold under the brand name Klonopin®.
Unlike antidepressants, clonazepam is prescribed to provide immediate relief of anxiety symptoms.
Unlike antidepressants, clonazepam is prescribed to provide immediate relief of anxiety symptoms.
Exercise can also help alleviate anxiety by spurring the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood stabilizers.
Exercise can also help alleviate anxiety by spurring the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood stabilizers.
An anxiety disorder can manifest physical symptoms that include a rapid heart rate, sweating and tension.
An anxiety disorder can manifest physical symptoms that include a rapid heart rate, sweating and tension.
An anxiety disorder is an intrusive mindset of obsessive thoughts or flashbacks coupled with varying physical symptoms of fear.
An anxiety disorder is an intrusive mindset of obsessive thoughts or flashbacks coupled with varying physical symptoms of fear.

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