News:

Are you in the IGI Yearbook?

Main Menu

Clonazepam

Started by Kiahanie, July 26, 2015, 08:41:02 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Kiahanie

I have had an unfortunate medical experience I?d like to share partly as a ?community service? and partly as apology and explanation.

For about 13 years I?ve been taking various medications for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). I began with Klonopin (clonazepam) and used it for 2 ? 2 ? years, then carbidopa-levodopa for a couple years, then some others, some of which did not work, then back to carb-levo and lastly clonazepam again. The problem was that tolerance to these meds would build up after a while, my legs would begin twitching again, and the decision would need to be made about increasing the dosage or changing meds.

In the late spring of 2014 I had been taking clonazepam for 2 ? years and that time had come again. I read up on clonazepam and realized that I not only did not want to increase the dosage, but the stuff was nasty enough I didn?t want to take it anymore at all, even though I wasn?t suffering from any noticeable side effects. Most of the other meds also had objectionable side-effects and were all being used ?off-label,? primarily prescribed for Parkinson?s patients and other tremor / spasm inducing illnesses, but the mechanisms through which they work were not understood.

My research indicated a growing number of people using cannabis for RLS, a lot of anecdotal success and little anecdotal failure. So I applied for an Oregon Medical Marijuana card and received it last September. I checked with my doctor and he said that at the low dosage (.5mg clonazepam) I was taking there shouldn?t be any withdrawal problems, particularly because I had no withdrawal problems the first time but if I was concerned I could cut the dosage in half for a week before entirely quitting.

On Sept.5 I started taking ? dose. Toward the end of the first week things got a little weird. Further research showed that clonazepam was not intended for long-term use (just a few weeks at a time) and that withdrawal could be pretty nasty. I also discovered that there was no certainty that the withdrawal symptoms would go away even after 6 months. I stayed on ? dose for another few days before stepping down to ? dose for 2 weeks. Things got bad pretty quick. I have since been told (by a shrink) that a 6 month titration would have been more appropriate even at that low dosage.

There is an arm?s-length list of clonazepam withdrawal symptoms, and I had maybe half of them: anxiety, aphasia, appetite loss, cognitive impairment, difficulty concentrating, confusion, depression, disorientation in time and space (I was once almost ?home? to a house I haven?t lived in for a decade), dizziness, fatigue, headaches, hot spells, insomnia, irritability, short-term memory impairment, nausea, blurred and double vision. Somewhere in there I also lost the ability to make connections between things / events / ideas, became unable to complete the expression of a single thought, unable to follow a conversation and to make sense of sequences of thoughts or ideas expressed (spoken or written) by others.

I did not have any homicidal / suicidal ideation, seizures, or hallucinations.

I am much better now. The remaining symptoms are primarily depression (adequately addressed with citalopram), anxiety, insomnia, appetite/weight loss (40 lbs, which would be pretty good if I was trying, but I think it?s cheating to lose it by getting sick), cognitive impairment (better, I can usually adequately express a single thought or idea, but not in relationship to other ideas), memory. A couple months ago I came back to the forum both for the company and to see how my cognitives are working. There has been some improvement.

In conversation I can usually follow a dialogue but cannot hold up my end of it very well, and get pretty lost when more than 2 people are involved. Right now there is no certainty that things will significantly improve, although there is a good chance the depression may resolve itself in time. I am seeing a counselor to deal with changing self-image, reduced capacities, anxiety, etc.

There are two things I?s like to leave with you:

First, my doctor seriously f**ked up, but I did not do due diligence in participating in my own medication regime. I was about 12 years too late. Know what meds you?re taking, what it does, and what might happen of you stop taking it.

Second, I used to write reasonably cohesive posts that expressed a train of thoughts. The switches on those tracks have been largely disabled. As mentioned above, I can usually express one thought or (simple) idea. I guess I?ve become kind of a one-trick pony. My reading comprehension is better than it was, but I still have trouble getting words off a page and into coherent ideas. If I seem to miss your point in a thread, it is very likely that I did miss it (especially if it was convoluted), so please feel free to tell me and I?ll try again. I also have trouble getting my ideas onto a page, so again, please tell me if you miss my point and I?ll try again.






"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

SkunkButt

I had a similar experience with clonazepam after being on it for over a year for anxiety disorder. My withdrawal was only a few days in duration so I consider myself lucky in that respect. I also heard voices for one night only. Seems you have had it much more problematic experience than i had.

Good luck with it all.
That's just my opinion, I could be wrong. 

Dennis Miller

Jezzebelle

I'm so sorry to hear that K. I know some friends on that for anxiety reasons and it can be nasty stuff. I wish you all the best in your recovery and I always enjoy your posts on the forum, in whatever capacity that may be.
It's so damn easy to say that life's so hard

FGOH

How grim. So sorry to hear about that. Glad to see you back.
I'm not signing anything without consulting my lawyer.

Teaspoon Shallow

I am sorry, I have nothing to offer except a +1 for sharing your experience and I hope things continue to improve for you.

"If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.    That's the difference between me and your God." Tracie Harris

Airyaman

Welcome back Kia, extending best wishes towards you and your recovery. Your post looked very coherent to me though! ||tip hat||
Please take a moment to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks in Bowling Green, Atlanta, and Sweden.

Augusto

If I had Alzeimer, for instance, I would explore the symptoms with curiosity and seek to compensate the situation with walking out to see nature, having pleasure experiences in general, and enjoying the love of my family.

The other possible angle is self pitty. Never choose self pitty, under any circumstance. It's worst than being sick.

Kiahanie

Quote from: Airyaman on July 27, 2015, 11:41:08 AMWelcome back Kia, extending best wishes towards you and your recovery. Your post looked very coherent to me though! ||tip hat||
Thank you. It took me a couple three days to write it. One day at a time, one thought at a time.

That simplicity may turn out to be a positive thing. Nothing wrong with being able to deal with only one thought at a time, if I can do it well.

And thanks to everyone offering encouragement and support.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Kiahanie

Quote from: Augusto on July 27, 2015, 01:02:23 PMIf I had Alzeimer, for instance, I would explore the symptoms with curiosity and seek to compensate the situation with walking out to see nature, having pleasure experiences in general, and enjoying the love of my family.

The other possible angle is self pitty. Never choose self pitty, under any circumstance. It's worst than being sick.
It's true that self-pity is dis-empowering, but it is definitely not worse than being sick.

Thanks for the suggestion, Augusto. Oregon is a great place for nature and other pleasure experiences. I haven't done enough fishing this summer. Think maybe I'll trade my keyboard for a fly rod soon.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

GratefulApe

This is kind of scary. I have been prescribed 2 1mg. Clonazepam a day. I was just prescribed this in the last 2 months. I was having anxiety attacks and was first given Xanax but it didn't really do much. I guess it's a short acting anti anxiety med. The Clonazepam is more long acting. Plus I was taking Xanax to sleep. The Dr. didn't like that. So I take Clonazepam to sleep. One every night...lights out!. I don't need 2 a day but that's what they give me. I would much prefer to take Lunesta for sleep but with my insurance it doesn't cover anything except  generic and there is no generic for Lunesta. So if I was to use Lunesta it would cost me $325.00 a month. The Clonazepam is about $20.00 a month. I don't really want to stay on the Clonz but I think lack of sleep causes me to feel anxious. Sometimes if I have a bad day I will take half of a Clonazepam during the day.

Kiahanie

#10
I am really sorry about your situation, GA.

Clonazepam is the longest-acting benzodiazapine, with a half-life of 20-50 hours depending on an individual's metabolism. With a half-life of 24 hours clonazepam will accumulate to twice your daily dosage.

My withdrawal left me with depression and anxiety, of which I had no history. I found that my anti-depressant (citalopram) at full strength works well for the depression, but not the anxiety. Cannabis -especially the CBD [cannabidiol] fraction- is good for that. I don't know if you live in a Dr. Mary state, but I highly recommend cannabis. The THC/CBN fractions are helpful for sleep -just stay away from the High-THC low-CBD -CBN stuff. You would want as much of all 3 as possible for sleeping. I use the high-CBD stuff when in publicly anxious situations. CBD does not produce much of a high, so I can function with a reasonably clear head.

Good luck with your meds. All I can suggest is being very careful when you get off the clonazepam. A friend who is a retired shrink told me that at my low dosage (.5mg/day) he would have recommended a 6-month titration. An advantage of replacing it with cannabis is that there is no interaction between the drugs, and you can start cannabis before withdrawing from clonazepam. I did it that way, but my doctor at the time misled me on the titration. I tripled his timeline to 3 weeks, but Irwin says it should have been 6 months.

Peace and Light be with you.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

GratefulApe

Quote from: Kiahanie on July 31, 2015, 09:21:35 PM
I am really sorry about your situation, GA.

Clonazepam is the longest-acting benzodiazapine, with a half-life of 20-50 hours depending on an individual's metabolism. With a half-life of 24 hours clonazepam will accumulate to twice your daily dosage.

My withdrawal left me with depression and anxiety, of which I had no history. I found that my anti-depressant (citalopram) at full strength works well for the depression, but not the anxiety. Cannabis -especially the CBD [cannabidiol] fraction- is good for that. I don't know if you live in a Dr. Mary state, but I highly recommend cannabis.

Good luck with your meds. All I can suggest is being very careful when you get off the clonazepam. A friend who is a retired shrink told me that at my low dosage (.5mg/day) he would have recommended a 6-month titration.

Peace and Light be with you.

Wow, really 6 months titration for .5mg a day. It sounds like I am on a high dose of this stuff. I do live in a Dr. Mary state, funny my Dr.'s name is Mary. lol. but I intend to talk to her about this as I have been reading about Clonazepam and I read some about it before I took it. I have been sort of worried about how I would get off of this stuff. I don't know why they won't just give me Xanax. I think the reason it didn't work is because it was such a low dose. .25/2 times a day. I would suffer the anxiety during the day and take two to sleep but it didn't really help me sleep. I never really considered the medical marijuana option. Best of luck to you too with your meds. Scary stuff sometimes.

Kiahanie

"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Mooby the Golden Sock

FYI the medical literature suggests tapering clonazepam by 0.125 mg per day every 3 days.
History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.--BÖC

Kiahanie

Thanks, Mooby. I hadn't run across that before. Next time I get addicted to something I'll look harder for the titration protocol. Cutting back by a set amount seems like a better idea than reducing by percentages.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Kiahanie

Latest update:

Just had an MRI scan, which came back negative for stroke. I'll post a photo here when I get copies.

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal syndrome are still with me, although most have either dissipated or attenuated. Aphasia, appetite loss, cognitive difficulties, depression, anxiety, night sweats, insomnia, restlessness all continue. I have difficulty assembling sentences into meaningful paragraphs, speaking and listening. With effort and time I can read and write coherently.

The most bothersome symptoms are the aphasia, depression and anxiety which really have taken a big bite out of what used to be my life. I'm finally getting referred to a neurologist. I'm going fishing next week to reclaim a piece of it.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Teaspoon Shallow

May the waters be calm and fishy.   Have a good time mate.
"If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.    That's the difference between me and your God." Tracie Harris

meAgain

Sorry to hear this Kiahanie.  Sounds like you are handling it all better than to be expected.   

I think stories like this are what make me skeptical of all the supposed ?wonder drugs? out there to help us and a lot of the medical field?s attempt to treat the symptom and not the patient, but I realize that is a topic for another thread.   

I guess I am also always surprised how often I hear on this website alone how many people suffer anxiety and are on medications to treat it.  I know your problem was RLS, but I mean those who have mentioned in the past on this forum that they are taking this or that for anxiety/panic attacks or depression.  Again, topics for another thread, but do people think there is more anxiety/depression today then there use to be or think people today just take a more pro active approach in dealing with it?   

Kiahanie

We understand a lot more about anxiety and depression than our parents. Or more than we ourselves did 30 years ago. We understand the distinctions between being sad, unhappy, "depressed about ..." and the condition of ongoing depression. We also understand that being anxious about something (finals, impending death, etc) is different from generalized anxiety.

Not long ago, these conditions  were thought to be personal failures of some sort, the solution being to suck it up and keep moving forward. People would self-medicate, primarily with alcohol (Winston Churchill being a prominent example, Richard Nixon another) but also with other often not-legal drugs: heroin, opium, marijuana, etc.

We now understand now that anxiety and depression are associated with neuro-chemical imbalances that can be re-balanced through drug therapy, we have the drugs to do it, and we have doctors willing to prescribe them -to over-prescribe in some cases.

Altogether, I think we're ahead of the game. One major problem is that many doctors -even younger ones- seem to be a decade behind current research onh the neurological effects of many drugs. The first time I was prescribed clonazepam 12 years ago, it was already known that it was to be used only for brief intervals, not long-term use. I was prescribed it for 2 1/2 years. The second time around 8 years later, also for another 2 1/2 years, is what undid me.

But the short answer is I think these disorders have always been with us (life is a precarious thing) and yes, I think we are more medically proactive about these conditions in the past because we now have medical and psychological therapies available to supplement the age-old self-medicated remedies.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

meAgain

QuoteAltogether, I think we're ahead of the game. One major problem is that many doctors -even younger ones- seem to be a decade behind current research . . . .

Yes, seems to me the medical profession is often behind.  I still believe that much of what is viewed as good medical practice is sometimes influenced heavily by ideology and therefore one ought to question certain practices if their senses find them odd/questionable/unreasonable/or too good to be true.  Of course if one?s ideology is similar to the current popular culture, then it is doubtful they would foresee a problem.  This is why an entire generation of women did not think it odd to stop breastfeeding and give their baby formula instead.  This is why it could have actually been standard practice at a time to put a woman under during childbirth and then use forceps to deliver her baby and no body questioned it.  Actually, I take that back ? some did question these things.  Of course at the time they were labeled as kooks/anti science/extremists, etc.   Currently our culture seems to place a big emphasis on ?quality of life?, as evidenced by the current movie, Me Before You.  The worldview that any level of pain/discomfort serves no purpose and ought to be eliminated drives the medical profession and affects our lives, especially when we are convinced we want a quick fix for everything and are so enthusiastic about the quick fix we overlook the long term consequences.   


QuoteWe understand a lot more about anxiety and depression than our parents. Or more than we ourselves did 30 years ago. We understand the distinctions between being sad, unhappy, "depressed about ..." and the condition of ongoing depression. We also understand that being anxious about something (finals, impending death, etc) is different from generalized anxiety.

Not long ago, these conditions  were thought to be personal failures of some sort, the solution being to suck it up and keep moving forward. People would self-medicate, primarily with alcohol (Winston Churchill being a prominent example, Richard Nixon another) but also with other often not-legal drugs: heroin, opium, marijuana, etc.

We now understand now that anxiety and depression are associated with neuro-chemical imbalances that can be re-balanced through drug therapy, we have the drugs to do it, and we have doctors willing to prescribe them -to over-prescribe in some cases.

This article from Psychology Today actually shows there has been a rise in mental health issues and not simply more of a willingness to talk about it or seek help.  Infact, the article stated that there is still a stigma to mental health issues and people are just as likely to not admit having a problem as they were years ago.  But when people were not asked directly whether they were depressed or not and rather just asked about what symptoms they were experiencing they found in fact it does seem more people are depressed today then in the past.

*******************************************************************************************************

I found that teens in the 2010s (compared to the mid-1980s) were 38 percent more likely to have trouble remembering, 74 percent more likely to have trouble sleeping and twice as likely to have seen a professional for mental health issues. College students were 50 percent more likely to say they feel overwhelmed, and adults were more likely to say their sleep was restless, they had poor appetite and everything was an effort ? all classic psychosomatic symptoms of depression.

But when people were asked directly if they ?felt depressed,? that didn?t change much between the 1980s and the 2010s.

How can that be? Most people don?t realize that having trouble sleeping and remembering are symptoms of depression. Many people admit to being stressed or overwhelmed but don?t consider themselves depressed. The problem is that stress (psychologists usually call it anxiety) is a risk factor for depression, and depression doesn?t always appear as extreme lethargy and sadness ? it often shows up in bodily symptoms.

This also means that the rise in mental health issues isn?t caused by people being more willing to admit to being depressed. It actually looks like fewer are admitting to being depressed, because more say they have the psychosomatic symptoms. So it seems to be a true increase in problems, and not just a decline in stigma.

The tougher question is why people seem to be suffering more. I have three theories (I go into these in more depth in Generation Me, which was just published in a revised and updated edition).

1. Our relationships and community ties are weaker.

2. We?re more focused on goals such as money, fame, and image, which Tim Kasser?s work has shown is correlated with anxiety and depression.

3. Our expectations are too high, probably because of the emphasis on ?you can be anything you want to be? and highly positive self-views.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-changing-culture/201410/why-so-many-people-are-stressed-and-depressed

*******************************************************************************************************************************************

The author?s theories as to why were interesting and one?s I think I would agree with.  I might even add a rise in less practicing of religion/belief in God/and an understanding of man?s purpose.  Well, just a theory anyway.   ||smiley||

Kiahanie

Update.

Last week I spent a day getting neuro-psych tested. I had been kinda hoping the problems were now psychological, but it turns out I have moderate cognitive impairment. The NeuroPsych doctor had no firm diagnosis, but suspected the  sub-cortex is involved.  Some executive functions are also impaired. My memory seems OK, I just don't have normal access to large parts of it. I'll be seeing my neurologist next, who will look at all the blood tests and shrink tests, etc, to make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment protocol.

I had been hoping that maybe the remaining symptoms were psychological, but apparently not. Up until this spring I was noticeably improving, but I've been pretty stable at this sub-optimal level. So far there is no opinion on whether what remains is reversible, can be mitigated, or will deteriorate. Hope to get that info by early next year.

Before Tuesday I was thinking it would be nice to just slip into my senescence and go with the flow as long as I could keep an oar in the water. But it looks like I'll need to saddle up and ride again.
"If there were a little more silence, if we all kept quiet ... maybe we could understand something." --Federico Fellini....."Silence is the language of God, all else is poor translation" -Jellaludin Rumi,

Teaspoon Shallow

Damn Kiahanie

That must be so taxing, I hope some good news is around the corner.
"If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would.    That's the difference between me and your God." Tracie Harris

GratefulApe

#22
Wow this med is freaking me out. I had read some of those side effects and that it can be hard to get off of this stuff. I've been on it for 17 months and feel that is too long and it really is overkill for me to use it as a sleep aid occasional panic attacks in the past, situational panic I guess. So I Had been thinking for a while that I should drop it. I just started my taper from taking 1mg pill every night. According to Moobs  taper schedule it will take me 12 days to reach .5 tablet a day and then 24 days to get completely off of it. After that I hope I don't have too much trouble.
I'm on day 2. I've just been cutting the tablet down with a knife.


Quote from: Mooby the Golden Sock on August 01, 2015, 06:16:20 AM
FYI the medical literature suggests tapering clonazepam by 0.125 mg per day every 3 days.

GratefulApe

I made up envelopes that have the pill cut and labeled  days 1-3,4-6,7-9,10-12 and so on.

SkunkButt

Good luck with that GA    ||tip hat||
That's just my opinion, I could be wrong. 

Dennis Miller

Mooby the Golden Sock

Please to note that you should not use a forum post as a substitute for medical advice and you should discuss any med changes with your physician and not sue me if something goes wrong.
History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.--BÖC

GratefulApe

#26
Quote from: Mooby the Golden Sock on December 13, 2016, 10:08:22 PM
Please to note that you should not use a forum post as a substitute for medical advice and you should discuss any med changes with your physician and not sue me if something goes wrong.

No worries I did talk to my Dr. my last visit. She suggested somewhat the same as was posted here and I have read about it on the internet. I have appointments with my Dr. every 3 months. She knows and we have discussed a taper.

GratefulApe

It's just reading about K's journey posted here made me take a second look at my own use of Clonazepam. I sure wasn't going to stay on it for years and years.

Kusa

I have restless penis syndrome. What should I take for it?

none

how long after I type amen do I get the money?
I'm lost, if you see me you are lost also
If Jesus believed in himself he wouldn't have been Jewish.