On Clonazepam For 7 Years -- Help With Withdrawal?

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Sarah Ben-Abraham Says:


I have been prescribed Clonazepam (Klonopin) for 7 years, first for Restless Leg, then for ALS. The ALS was diagnosed at Columbia Presbyterian 3 months ago. My symptoms are clear but not completely incapacitating yet. In 7 years I have either lost or taken too many pills 3 times and each time nobody would help me, so I would go to the hospital, where I was always admitted (of course). This time I took too many pills and I just don't want to go to the Emergency Room again. It's ridiculous. They'lll keep me 2 weeks when prescribing the drug would do it... Is there another way?



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Jenna Says:

Hi Sarah,

Usually for drugs like this the safest way to stop taking them is to tapper off them, if possible. Some medications can be taken in fractions (actually cut into pieces) and these smaller pieces can be taken in place of the regular dose for a period of several weeks until the body is no longer dependent upon them.

In addition to that, I'd also suggest making yourself a tapering schedule on a calendar to track your progress and keep you on the right path to complete your goal within a specific time frame. Without a way to track your progress, tapering can sometimes be much more difficult than it needs to be.

Also, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables while staying hydrated throughout the day will significantly aid your body in detoxing quicker. Besides getting plenty of rest each night I'd also recommend getting at least an hour each day of exercise in to help sweat out any toxins and get your lymphatic system flowing (which will significantly aid in detoxification as well).

I hope this advice helps!

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Andrew Says:
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It seems we have had some of the same hardships in running short and even in some cases having to go cold turkey from clonazepam or similar. Let me first say I often used/use a greater dose than prescribed. But I do not define myself as an abuser or use this for recreational use. More than once, a pharmacist who was irritated with me, in my unprovable opinion, being 99% sure, intentionally shorted me 20 of 60 tabs because I would always request a refill 4-7 days early, and at least twice was over-ruled by a different pharmacist or my own doctor. My problem is a hormonal imbalance that becomes acute at times due to a genetic bone morrow mutation known as Polycythemia causes my metabolism to go into hyper-active mode. On one occasion I finally had to drag myself into an ER with a BP of 185/157. Another ER had sent me away without even checking my BP assuming I was "just in withdrawal". Ironically a my root "disease", thought to be caused by over work, lack of sleep, and stress was met with no empathy by my employer who resigned me from my position as a professional engineer while I was on approved med leave and in the hospital mistakenly told I had bone cancer. There is little sympathy to be found anywhere if a bottle of Advil doesn't fix all. As I even lost my job over missing work, having been "resigned" from my job as a professional engineer because it took nearly 2 years to get a correct diagnosis. I'll spare you the details of how my employer "resigned" me while on company approved medical leave and in the hospital.

Let me see if some of my experiences might help someone in acute benzo class drugs (Clonazepam, Valium, Xanax, Ativan) There are a number of things to try, some seem to work on one person and not others. Going from what seemed less effective for me, first go to any herbal or drug store and get ridiculous amounts of Valerian root capsules. To get any relief generally make a small amount of tea by simmering the contents of the Valerian root (without capsule, just powder) and about a bottle for 2-3 cups until you have basically a solute. This will absorb by the same receptors as Valium, unfortunately Valium is a benzodiazepine like clonazepam, but not as strong or long acting. If you aren't a complete mess, you can generally get some small amount of one of the real drugs from a family doctor. If the truth isn't good enough, say you were just made aware of a death in the family or as bad as it sounds, tell 'em your wife just lost your baby in the 8th month. I have to say, these are deplorable actions. But I have lost all faith in medical professionals. My problem creates excess red blood cells. The doctor who turned me away because he "guessed" I was a low life selling him a story, what I see because of his lack of interest in my condition cost me the incredible pain of a ruptured spleen before I got myself to another hospital. So, forgive my mindset on these things! The next possible help that has become more and more available in the last couple of years is the Asian root properly referred to as "Maeng Da" but commonly known as kratom.

Usually you'll have to venture to a "head shop" where some kid is likely to have the real drug you need or will of course suggest you just consume marijuana. Which I don't look down on but didn't want to besmirch the professional record I had spent years building and didn't want to end up where I did anyways, in an ER where within 20 minutes they'd see marijuana on a tox report and classify you as a "druggie" anyway. Which, as I reflect back on that 2 year hell and the 3 more it took to find the right diagnosis and treatment to get me to where I am now, trying to rebuild the life I lost, which for me did in fact involve the loss of my 8 month old unborn son in the midst of all of this, what more could I have lost by smoking a joint to get through the pain since I ended up losing everything anyway? Sorry to have added such long winded commentary to what I only intended to perhaps help you or someone else who may legitimately need what you don't have or can't get, so I'll conclude by suggesting, if you find yourself in acute withdrawal from lack of a benzodiazapine such as clonazepam, get a good supply of kratom powder or capsules and get yourself out of misery. But remember, you have to take the dosage down or you'll trade one addiction for another. And I can't stress enough especially coming off of clonazepam; hydrate, hydrate, then hydrate some more! Preferably water or fruit juice, but if you can't eat add in some caffeine free sugar water sodas so you can at least get some simple carbs in you. Best wishes and good luck. In the end self reliance, if possible, is the best route. You'll be better for it!!

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TODoubleD Says:

Dear Sarah,
Jenna is right on the money. I'd just like to add that to start your tapper, you should calmly and clearly explain to your PCP your situation, and ask him/her to scribe you Ativan 1 or 2mg tabs, as it's the weakest one in that horrible benzodiazapine family. That way your body is still getting the Benzo it needs and has become accustomed too, it's just alot lighter than K-pins, which in my opinion should be banned or at least seriously scrutinized when docs are scribing them cuz most people I know are seriously addicted to them. And it sucks. I wish you luck.
Sincerely Yours,
TODoubleD in Boston

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1stChoice Says:
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Hi. Idk if this will help, but just tryin to throw u more suggestions/options. 1st off when u were originally prescribed was it for anxiety or something else bc some of the time dr's give klonopin/clonazepam as an anti-seizure medication so if that is the case like if u have had any history of a mild form of epilepsy in the past then in that case straight up quitting cold turkey could be harmful.... Also, just if it were me and I was trying to break a habit or stop taking a certain drug then Idk how smart it would be to introduce myself to another form of the same class of drug (benzodiazepines/barbiturates) bc then u my end up trying to have to get it outta ur system too. Other than asking ur dr to give u something else similar maybe just lower the dose and try to "taper" off. Or if you go to the Vitamin Shoppe ask for this stuff called GABA. It is all natural but i can speak from experience it wks the same but isn't as intense and u could substitute those for the other plus if u accidentally slip up and give in (it happens). It's not as dangerous as taking 3 or 4 klonopin at once, if u add 1 or 2 gaba with a small dose of klonopin. All natural. There's also some stuff u can get pretty much anywhere called "Dream Water", it has GABA in it if u want to try that b4 the other stuff. But only a half a bottle in a 24hr period is suggested. It is great too though. God bless and take care.

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Halo Says:

Benzodiazepínicos, todos eles são uma 'maravilha', quando estamos exageradamente tensos, e temos o 'dia seguinte', livre de compromissos. Particularmente,acho o Lorazepam, Bromazepam e Alprazolam, os melhores, nesta condição 'Stress incapacitante', e, no máximo,por cerca de 3 meses. Se proibir, fica pior. Logo estará 'se já foste dependente', ou hábito criaste, comprando-os no Mercado Negro, a preços abusivos, e sem nenhuma garantia de estar 'batizado', ou alterado.Após o hábito criado, só serve para a abstinência física deles mesmos.Não sei se nos entupirmos de 'anfetaminas', ou outros estimulantes, pode ser pior do que se fizermos o mesmo com os 'benzos'. Anfetaminas,em doses terapêuticas, não costumam causarem nenhum mal, quando tomados em baixas dosagens.Não existe dependência física, ao contrário dos benzodiazepínicos. Melhor e separá-los, e deixar guardados, somente para quando precisamos dormir, ou relaxar de vez em quando.Quanto menos, melhor.

Google Translate (may not be 100% accurate):

Benzodiazepines, all of them are a 'wonder', when we are exaggeratedly tense, and we have the 'next day', free of commitments. In particular, I find Lorazepam, Bromazepam and Alprazolam the best, in this 'Disabling Stress' condition, and at most for about 3 months. If you ban it, it gets worse. It will soon be 'if you were already dependent', or habit you created, buying them on the Black Market at abusive prices, and with no guarantee of being 'baptized', or altered. After the created habit, only serves for their physical abstinence. I do not know if we get clogged with 'amphetamines' or other stimulants, it could be worse than if we do the same with the 'benzos'. Amphetamines, at therapeutic doses, do not usually cause any harm, when taken at low dosages. There is no physical dependence, unlike benzodiazepines. Better and separate them, and leave them stored, only when we need to sleep, or relax from time to time. The less the better.

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Halo Says:

Eu não digitei o texto acima.Já havia um bom tempo em que não precisar esdcrever isto.Meu endereço de e-mail,não é exclusivo.Outras pessoas possúem acesso,e ainda não tive como ajustá-lo,somente em meu nome.Me admira ter que 'repetir esta frase',após 1 ano,sem 'intervenções' de terceiros'.Repetirei isto quantas vezes for necessário,mas se continuarem a 'aparecerem',textos que não digitei,serei obrigado a fazer uma 'nova pausa',e não usar por m curto período de tempo,este site.É o máximo que posso fazer a este respeito,atualmente.Mais que isto,é 'perda de tempo'.

Google Translate (may not be 100% accurate):

I did not type the text above. There was a long time when I did not need to write this. My email address is not exclusive. Other people have access, and I still had no way to adjust it, only in my name. I wonder if I have to repeat this phrase after 1 year without 'third-party interventions'. I will repeat this as many times as necessary, but if they continue to' appear ', texts that I have not typed, I will have to make a' , and not use for m short period of time, this site.It is the most I can do in this respect, currently.More than this, it is 'waste of time'.

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Lydia J Says:

Re: Jenna (# 1)

I agree with Jenna, I was cold turkey'd off of them at a DETOX, and for me, it was 18 months of undescribable, unrecognizable (from the med. community) and unimaginable horrid withdrawals. It really should only be used for 2 weeks to a month, this is a psychotic medication.

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Lydia Says:

You need to taper and taper very very slowly. Google the Ashton Manual by Heather Ashton. I went to a Detox to get off of Clonazepam after taking them 4mg a day for over 6 yrs. They rapidly withdrew me and within 7 days I had the most horrific, unimaginable unexplainable withdrawals that lasted over 2 yrs. Lisa Ling on CNN Oct 6th will be airing a show on Benzos.

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