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Advice/support for jumping off at .25 clonazepam end of taper
  1. #1
    Quitting321 is offline New Member
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    Default Advice/support for jumping off at .25 clonazepam end of taper

    Hi all,

    First I'd like to say thanks to all the posts in this section. It's been invaluable over the last year to read the struggles of others, to not feel so alone, and to benefit from the experience and knowledge of so many kind people.

    I can't talk about this process with anyone in my real life so any advice or support would be sincerely greatly appreciated. I'll try to make the background short: I have struggled with anxiety intermittently probably most of my life, usually managed by talk therapy. In graduate school over 10 years ago I was prescribed Xanax and Ambien, along with Paxil. I stopped the latter and, I only later realized, continued taking the benzodiazepines to mute difficult feelings. I was able to taper off those without too much trouble that I can remember. More recently, I was prescribed clonazepam starting in 2010 during a stressful period in which I was working my first job in management, and expecting the birth of our first child (I'm the father). I was taking .5mg morning and evening, but when the doctor made a mistake and raised it to 1mg twice per day I was happy to take more. I stayed on that dosage (four years) until a year ago in February. I forgot my refilled prescription when I went on vacation and tried to space out taking the remaining few pills I had, not taking any for 3-4 days, then experiencing severe symptoms, found this site, learned about withdrawal, and reduced to .5 mg twice per day immediately. I know that wasn't slow enough but it was necessary. Then last summer and fall, after going down to .5mg only at night for several months, I went down to .25mg. It was pretty terrible, with frequent severe headaches, nausea, increased anxiety, irritability, and sweating. I've been stable since about February and decided to jump off last week. Yesterday the withdrawal symptoms set in. I only have about 6-7 .5mg pills left. For reasons I can't talk about, I cannot go back to a psychiatrist so I'm going to have to make a go of this. I cannot talk about this process with anyone. I have a job that depends on perceived psychological stability, even a show of confidence and strength, which is not really me to begin with. Last night I was crawling out of my skin, with itching everywhere, cold sweats, nausea, and a feeling like my muscles are contracting of their own will throughout my body. I was very tempted to take .125mg, but I was able to sleep through most of the night, waking only 2-3 times.

    I'm sorry this is taking so long but if anyone's still reading I really could use a kind word and any experience or knowledge. My questions are: am I better off at this point just not taking any more, and will I be able to survive the symptoms? I'm pretty sure I'm not at risk for seizure. I'm pushing 50, and out of shape, which I imagine doesn't help. My idea is that I'll start walking this off in the morning and evening, and drinking tons of water, and trying Benadryl for sleep. My hope is that the worst of it will subside after a week or so, and that even if I feel generally sort of >>>>>> with periodic headaches and routine insomnia, that I may stabilize and be free of this drug for good. I've quit smoking several times, for good about two years ago, but I'm still wearing the lowest dosage patch. I don't really drink alcohol and don't tolerate it well. I feel better today than last night, except for my eyes hurting which is a little troublesome. I have to go project an image of confidence and be in charge of a bunch of stuff and I most definitely cannot seem anxious or unsure in any way. I cannot talk about what I'm going through with anyone. My wife needs me to be strong and support her for some things she's going through, and I want to do that for her. I want to be a mentally present and playful father to my now 4 year old daughter. I think I can make it from here if I know it won't get much worse than this, and if I can have some hope that things will get better. I need to be completely done with this drug, and I'm hoping that not taking any at this point is better than taking the handful of .125mg doses I have left.

    Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. Already this is a huge relief. I didn't realize a lot of what I was feeling until I wrote it down now. As I said in the beginning, any advice or support would be a huge help. Sorry if this has been too long post, I just really need some help and can't turn anywhere else.
    oldschnitzel likes this.

  2. #2
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    Let's see, you got stable about February after making a big cut last fall. If last fall was November, it took you about 3 months to stabilize from a 50% cut. This is pretty much what I remember when I did a similar cut. I got to be honest with you, I think you're in for a lengthy withdrawal. You were on them for many years and it will take time to adjust.

    IF IT WERE ME I believe I would go back to a taper using the remaining 6 pills.

    One possible plan:

    Tonight at bedtime take 1/4 pill plus 1/8 pill. This is .1875 mg which is a 25% cut from your usual dose of .25 mg and still too big a cut for a benzo but since you have been off for a week you might do well on it.

    Then taper as follows. This requires you to cut the pill into 1/16 at the end, which will get crumbly but do the best you can:

    For one week take 1/4 plus 1/8
    Second week take 1/4
    Third week take 1/8
    Fourth week take 1/16


    Let's see if you have enough pills to do this:

    First week 2 1/2 plus 1/8 a little more than 2 1/2 pills
    Second week 1 3/4 almost 2 pills
    Third week 7/8 or less than 1 pill
    Fourth week 7/16 or less than half a pill

    Which should total just about your 6 pills, if I did that right.

    If you can't manage the 1/16 chunk, you can go to liquid titration.

    That is just one suggestion, you can make another plan. It helps to write everything down and do the math to make sure you have enough remaining pills to follow your plan.

    Now again, this is just what I would do. If you wish you can try to tough it out and see how it goes, but this isn't like opiates where you know you will feel much better physically in just a few days. Benzo withdrawal can be dicey and unpredictable. I can't tell you that you will feel better in X number of days, it just doesn't work like that unfortunately. But I agree you are likely not in danger of seizure, your dose was not that high. However, with benzos, being on a "low" dose unfortunately does nothing to shorten the withdrawal period. I think it may have more to do with how long you were on them.

    For now you should keep your patch the same. Trying to reduce it at the same time will only make things worse, but do not up that either. Just keep it steady.
    Last edited by Anonymous; 06-23-2015 at 12:19 PM.
    oldschnitzel likes this.

  3. #3
    Quitting321 is offline New Member
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    Thanks for this. It's very helpful,and means a lot. I can't write much for now due to feeling pretty horrendous. Somehow after a good nights sleep and a long walk I felt pretty great for a while yesterday afternoon, wanting to believe I was on the mend. Then last night the crippling symptoms set in. I went back to take .125mg. I have about .5mg pills so I should be able to do .125mg every other day for some time. I know it'll be hard but I can mostly tough it out. The headaches do me in though, and today my workday is 15 hours. I just couldn't face it with full withdrawal symptoms. Thank you again, Thisweekforsure, this has been hugely informative, and I think gave me permission to use the remaining small amount I have to taper. I have done opiate detox a long, long time ago, post-surgery, and I guess I was hoping it would be like that--a defined period of pain that clears up. But you're right this benzo withdrawal is so much longer and more unpredictable. It made me feel not so alone with it. I'm going to mathematically map out a plan as you described, probably this weekend. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Eniwla is offline New Member
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    Default Relax

    Hi,

    Couple years ago I was in a similar situation. I put myself under a lot of pressure, while I took the clonazepam and then again when I tried to get off. I can see this now, back then I could not.
    From what you describe I think you are on the right track tapering off. You can also check at Benzo.org if you haven't done yet.
    Don't go back to taking the medication - you got this far and you do not need it anymore. What you are dealing with now is withdrawel which at your stage and tapering off rate is not dangerous. But it is frightening to you because anxiety is your problem. Try to accept that anxiety is your problem for now. Anything and everything scares you to a certain point, this is unfortunate and inconvenient but it is o.k. Learn to accept the symptoms for what they are and don't interpret at all.
    Then get active: I started walking my dog every day! from 6 to 7. Brisk walking has a very calming effect which you will notice after a week or so. But do fit it in every day.
    The symptoms will vanish in a couple weeks, it's a fairly gradual process, although some moments are better then others. Hang in there.
    In my case the learning process was crucial. Although I am in a visible position in my professional and private life, I have learned to step back and not take myself so serious (I take my work serious though). I am off any medications now for 4 years and my walking routine plus taking a few supplements like fish oil, B-vitamins and magnesium help me feeling good and strong.
    I hope you'll feel better soon!





    Quote Originally Posted by Quitting321 View Post
    Hi all,

    First I'd like to say thanks to all the posts in this section. It's been invaluable over the last year to read the struggles of others, to not feel so alone, and to benefit from the experience and knowledge of so many kind people.

    I can't talk about this process with anyone in my real life so any advice or support would be sincerely greatly appreciated. I'll try to make the background short: I have struggled with anxiety intermittently probably most of my life, usually managed by talk therapy. In graduate school over 10 years ago I was prescribed Xanax and Ambien, along with Paxil. I stopped the latter and, I only later realized, continued taking the benzodiazepines to mute difficult feelings. I was able to taper off those without too much trouble that I can remember. More recently, I was prescribed clonazepam starting in 2010 during a stressful period in which I was working my first job in management, and expecting the birth of our first child (I'm the father). I was taking .5mg morning and evening, but when the doctor made a mistake and raised it to 1mg twice per day I was happy to take more. I stayed on that dosage (four years) until a year ago in February. I forgot my refilled prescription when I went on vacation and tried to space out taking the remaining few pills I had, not taking any for 3-4 days, then experiencing severe symptoms, found this site, learned about withdrawal, and reduced to .5 mg twice per day immediately. I know that wasn't slow enough but it was necessary. Then last summer and fall, after going down to .5mg only at night for several months, I went down to .25mg. It was pretty terrible, with frequent severe headaches, nausea, increased anxiety, irritability, and sweating. I've been stable since about February and decided to jump off last week. Yesterday the withdrawal symptoms set in. I only have about 6-7 .5mg pills left. For reasons I can't talk about, I cannot go back to a psychiatrist so I'm going to have to make a go of this. I cannot talk about this process with anyone. I have a job that depends on perceived psychological stability, even a show of confidence and strength, which is not really me to begin with. Last night I was crawling out of my skin, with itching everywhere, cold sweats, nausea, and a feeling like my muscles are contracting of their own will throughout my body. I was very tempted to take .125mg, but I was able to sleep through most of the night, waking only 2-3 times.

    I'm sorry this is taking so long but if anyone's still reading I really could use a kind word and any experience or knowledge. My questions are: am I better off at this point just not taking any more, and will I be able to survive the symptoms? I'm pretty sure I'm not at risk for seizure. I'm pushing 50, and out of shape, which I imagine doesn't help. My idea is that I'll start walking this off in the morning and evening, and drinking tons of water, and trying Benadryl for sleep. My hope is that the worst of it will subside after a week or so, and that even if I feel generally sort of >>>>>> with periodic headaches and routine insomnia, that I may stabilize and be free of this drug for good. I've quit smoking several times, for good about two years ago, but I'm still wearing the lowest dosage patch. I don't really drink alcohol and don't tolerate it well. I feel better today than last night, except for my eyes hurting which is a little troublesome. I have to go project an image of confidence and be in charge of a bunch of stuff and I most definitely cannot seem anxious or unsure in any way. I cannot talk about what I'm going through with anyone. My wife needs me to be strong and support her for some things she's going through, and I want to do that for her. I want to be a mentally present and playful father to my now 4 year old daughter. I think I can make it from here if I know it won't get much worse than this, and if I can have some hope that things will get better. I need to be completely done with this drug, and I'm hoping that not taking any at this point is better than taking the handful of .125mg doses I have left.

    Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. Already this is a huge relief. I didn't realize a lot of what I was feeling until I wrote it down now. As I said in the beginning, any advice or support would be a huge help. Sorry if this has been too long post, I just really need some help and can't turn anywhere else.

  5. #5
    dunny65 is offline New Member
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    Default My Opinion

    I think people make this out to be much worse than it really is. A lot of the withdrawal talk is psychosomatic. I went down from 1.5 to zero in 6 weeks (250 cut at a time). I would get some side effects, but no worse than quiting smoking.

    There is always one bad night when you take a step down, but it will go away. Doing a long drawn out wean is crazy, in my opinion. The drug stays in your system for 50 hours, so one week is enough to stabilize. I did this myself, I think many of these forums are full of people who talk themselves into making this a bigger problem than it really should be.
    My two cents. YOU CAN DO IT...

    Quote Originally Posted by Quitting321 View Post
    Hi all,

    First I'd like to say thanks to all the posts in this section. It's been invaluable over the last year to read the struggles of others, to not feel so alone, and to benefit from the experience and knowledge of so many kind people.

    I can't talk about this process with anyone in my real life so any advice or support would be sincerely greatly appreciated. I'll try to make the background short: I have struggled with anxiety intermittently probably most of my life, usually managed by talk therapy. In graduate school over 10 years ago I was prescribed Xanax and Ambien, along with Paxil. I stopped the latter and, I only later realized, continued taking the benzodiazepines to mute difficult feelings. I was able to taper off those without too much trouble that I can remember. More recently, I was prescribed clonazepam starting in 2010 during a stressful period in which I was working my first job in management, and expecting the birth of our first child (I'm the father). I was taking .5mg morning and evening, but when the doctor made a mistake and raised it to 1mg twice per day I was happy to take more. I stayed on that dosage (four years) until a year ago in February. I forgot my refilled prescription when I went on vacation and tried to space out taking the remaining few pills I had, not taking any for 3-4 days, then experiencing severe symptoms, found this site, learned about withdrawal, and reduced to .5 mg twice per day immediately. I know that wasn't slow enough but it was necessary. Then last summer and fall, after going down to .5mg only at night for several months, I went down to .25mg. It was pretty terrible, with frequent severe headaches, nausea, increased anxiety, irritability, and sweating. I've been stable since about February and decided to jump off last week. Yesterday the withdrawal symptoms set in. I only have about 6-7 .5mg pills left. For reasons I can't talk about, I cannot go back to a psychiatrist so I'm going to have to make a go of this. I cannot talk about this process with anyone. I have a job that depends on perceived psychological stability, even a show of confidence and strength, which is not really me to begin with. Last night I was crawling out of my skin, with itching everywhere, cold sweats, nausea, and a feeling like my muscles are contracting of their own will throughout my body. I was very tempted to take .125mg, but I was able to sleep through most of the night, waking only 2-3 times.

    I'm sorry this is taking so long but if anyone's still reading I really could use a kind word and any experience or knowledge. My questions are: am I better off at this point just not taking any more, and will I be able to survive the symptoms? I'm pretty sure I'm not at risk for seizure. I'm pushing 50, and out of shape, which I imagine doesn't help. My idea is that I'll start walking this off in the morning and evening, and drinking tons of water, and trying Benadryl for sleep. My hope is that the worst of it will subside after a week or so, and that even if I feel generally sort of >>>>>> with periodic headaches and routine insomnia, that I may stabilize and be free of this drug for good. I've quit smoking several times, for good about two years ago, but I'm still wearing the lowest dosage patch. I don't really drink alcohol and don't tolerate it well. I feel better today than last night, except for my eyes hurting which is a little troublesome. I have to go project an image of confidence and be in charge of a bunch of stuff and I most definitely cannot seem anxious or unsure in any way. I cannot talk about what I'm going through with anyone. My wife needs me to be strong and support her for some things she's going through, and I want to do that for her. I want to be a mentally present and playful father to my now 4 year old daughter. I think I can make it from here if I know it won't get much worse than this, and if I can have some hope that things will get better. I need to be completely done with this drug, and I'm hoping that not taking any at this point is better than taking the handful of .125mg doses I have left.

    Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. Already this is a huge relief. I didn't realize a lot of what I was feeling until I wrote it down now. As I said in the beginning, any advice or support would be a huge help. Sorry if this has been too long post, I just really need some help and can't turn anywhere else.

  6. #6
    dunny65 is offline New Member
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    Default benefits

    By the way, the benefits of coming off this horrible drug are worth the short-term struggle. I feel 100 times better now that I am off this mind altering drug. I say this sincerely.I wish that I had I had never gone on it in the first place. It takes your real personailiy away. The scary thing is that you do NOT know your being changed- you only realize that it has effected you months or years later, when you come off of it (in my case 7 years)

    Try replacing this awful drug with jogging, or walking. Anything that gets your hesst rate up ( if you can)
    Last edited by Anonymous; 05-24-2017 at 09:23 AM.

  7. #7
    dunny65 is offline New Member
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    Sorry for the 3-part response. One more thing that really helped me. When I jumped off to the next level (down). The first night wasn't bad because it was still in my system. It got a little tougher in day 2 or 3 (approx. 50 hours). I learned a little trick that helped a lot. If it gets bad, you can go back up to last dosage for one night. For some reason, this helped me stabilize at the new levels. Let’s say I was at .750 going to .500. I would spend 2-3 nights at .5, then one night at .750 which brought relief, then the next night I would go back to .500 (I only did this if it got really bad). For some peculiar reason, this helped me adjust to the new level and I never had any more side effects at new level.

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