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Going through Klonopin (clonazepam) taper withdrawal - now in 3rd cut..
  1. #1
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    Default Going through Klonopin (clonazepam) taper withdrawal - now in 3rd cut..

    Like so many others, I was put on this by a well-meaning dr who didn't know how addictive it was.

    This was 23 years ago, when I was going through a rather traumatic divorce. The amount was 1 mg.

    I have tried to get off with the help of drs but the impact on my emotional behavior threatened my professional life to seriously.

    For various other medical reasons, I am now on medical leave for several months and I have chosen this time to get off klonopin.

    I am cutting 1/8mg every 10 days. I am on my 3rd cut, i.e., I am currently in the 3rd day of taking 5/8 mg of klonopin.

    The first 3 days after a cut have been pretty horrible. Terrible insomnia, very little patience and blowing up a lot. by the 9th day, I ma feeling pretty normal and then on 10th I do another cut.

    I have a partner who is going through his own decline and though he now lives in a continuing care community nearby, his needs still consume about 30% of my waking time and has been for 5 years now. It has caused me to go through a lot of physical, emotional and professional decline. We are both pretty high level professionals -- though he has been retired for a several years; I am not.

    So I feel extremely stressed -- and getting off klonopin doesn't help. But this is the only shot I have at getting off this without making a total wreck of my life.

    The feelings I am going through are horrible. I feel depressed, sad, frustrated, having little motivation and lots of despair. I have had a lot of suicidal thoughts. My poor partner is bearing the brunt of my mood changes.

    I do see a therapist - a psychiatrist- former psycho-analyst. I am on an anti-depressant (have been of 10 years.)

    But this is really rough. But I am determined to see it through as it is my only shot. They now know that klonopin has very bad and damaging side-effects for older individuals -- and I am now older.

    So I am posting this here because I need some place to share what is going on with my feelings. I hope people don't mind.

  2. #2
    iloerose is offline Platinum Member
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    Keep posting. Benzo w/d is TOUGH. No other word for this. Are you doing this under a doc's care? If you are you should ask for an anti-seizure medication. Benzodiazapine's effect the gaba receptors mainly. Yes, w/d does effect your sleep and cause insomnia: don't fight it. You can try some melatonin for sleep. EXERCISE, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Try meditation, I use a book called "Wherever You go There You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn, but there are others. This is not mediation in a religious sense, it's learning how to use breathing technics to calm yourself (I am very serious about this as it WILL help). You are going to have added anxiety until your body balances itself. It seriously takes awhile to get off of these and to recover, I'm not going to lie to you about that. But it can be done. Slow and steady wins this race. Please keep posting here. Your story is so important. Many people come here wondering how to get off of benzos, but there are not many stories for people to follow. Your story is important. This is your thread and your journal.

    Peace,

    Iloerose

  3. #3
    melindau is offline Member
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    OH MY!!! I been there before...I was not very smart and pretty much did a C/T off of them... It took me a couple months but I made it!!! I had no idea what I was in for...so glad you are doing a taper...my oldest son was put in jail and he was on a lot of Xanax and he had many seizures on them... keep posting let us know how you are doing!
    Melinda

  4. #4
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    Default lway through the taper off klonopin.

    Here it is 2 weeks later. I went on my 4th cut and am now at 0.5 mg of Klonopin. Roche has still not restarted manufacturing of the brans Klonopin and the generics are weak.

    After a web search the most commonly mentioned generic as being the closes to the brand is manufactured by TEVA. So I have 30 0.5 mg of those tablets for when I run out of the brand. I think I have enough of the brand to get through most of the taper but not all.

    I am on a different computer and I don't have this site bookmarked on this one. So I did a Google search with Klonopin and my User name Justitia to see if I could find this board.

    And Lo and behold another thread came up that I started in 1999 trying to get off Klonopin then. I remember having tried to before -- I don't remember posting on a thread and I though it was more in the mid-90's that I tried. But it is definitely me.

    The symptoms I had then were considerably worse than what I am having now. I had nightmares, physical problems with my hearing and other stuff. The anxiety seemed much worse. Some replies were discussing discussing then about the possibility of going on an anti-depressant Wellbutrin to assist in the symptoms. I don't think I took that but I know my meds dr did put me on something -- but it didn't help.

    What triggered the effort then was that my insurance no longer covered the brand without a huge steep co-pay. When I switched ot he generic I started terrible withdrawal symptoms.

    Obviously, I gave up. I do recall deciding to pay the co-pay for the brand b/c I was suffering so much under the generic.

    My withdrawal is nowhere near as bad as I described then. Still terrible sleep and high irritability and impatience. But no nightmares.

    But guess what! I am now on Wellbutrin. Something I was put on in 2004 because of another rather traumatic situation and I became clinically depressed -- and I am not prone to depression per se. My meds dr said it takes about two years to come through a situationally-induced depression and when I couldn't push forward on my own I agreed to the Wellbutrin.

    Well 10 years later, I am still on it -- and on the brand Klonopin.

    Yesterday I forgot to take my morning meds -- and I take 1 tablet of Wellbutrin SR 150 twice a day and so I hadn't taken it. I was so depressed by the end of the day.

    I am on medical leave for surgical recovery but I still so some work. And I've committed to some stuff I just haven't been able to get myself to do. This particular item involves writing that would take me 4 hours max. I have it all worked out in my head. But I haven't been able to get myself to do it. And people are waiting for it.

    Another project I committed to do -- much larger but something I really want to do -- I had to back off of.

    I thought this week I was handling the withdrawal better but my work problems -- which I've had all my life -- just kept getting worse and worse.

    And Yesterday -- which sort of was the last day I could do this smaller project without embarrassing myself too much professionally -- is when I forgot my morning meds and along with that the Wellbutrin.

    I a feeling a bit better today -- but I still can't work. My partner, who is in a long term decline both physically and cognitively -- who used to be a source of support but is now more of a drain -- lives in a facility. But I still bring him back on the weekend a 1 day during the week. I couldn't do it this week.

    But today he really begged, in his quiet and subtle way, to come over. Even though the facility he is in is one of the best in the US -- it's still pretty awful. Most of the people there are in a vegetative or semi-vegetative state -- mostly mentally but for many also physically. And staff are very mixed in quality. Some care, some are just collecting a pay-check and rely on the fact that patients are not able to report and family members just don't want to see.

    But I am there all the time -- I am on top of everything plus I pull him out and we hang around normal people which perks him up and slows the rate of his decline.

    Well, I went to get him this evening -- and he was angry with me for being late -- which I always am and he is the exact opposite always early and zero emotional tolerance for waiting due to his own childhood trauma. So he was pretty angry and I got angry at him for being angry with me etc. But we got back home. He sat down to watch some Jon Stewart and for the first time in over a week I began to work. Not on the stuff I needed to do immediately but other stuff I also needed to do.

    And I had enough motive to find this site and report how I was doing.

    So he still makes me feel better -- even with all his limitations. And I love him so much. We are late in life relationship and when we first met both in incredible health and incredibly youthful looking (especially me :-) ) We both took extremely good care of our bodies, I worked out, l lifted weights, we both had two parents who lived into their 90's. Our interest so much the same, we are both academics -- we actually write on the same topic but in different fields. We love to travel to more unusual places - and strong interest in art and culture. And emotionally we each had really good strong stuff to offer each other.

    So we both though we had at least a couple of decades if not more, of a really exciting and pleasurable life ahead and then my partner started showing symptoms that something was wrong. And for the last 5 years, it has been a steady battle to slow down his decline and to make sure he has the best of everything and the best care.

    And it has been unbelievable drain for me -- and I regressed emotionally and declined physically -- started showing my age and then I got hit with 2 surgeries -- which is why I am on medical leave.

    People keep telling me this is not my responsibility and it was relatively early in our relationship when his illness started to become apparent. And frankly that is a position I would have taken myself with other people.

    But there is a difference if you love someone and you commit yourself to them and they to you. And it has cost me a huge amount to undertake all this -- and it was a lot more than medical issues -- his personal, financial and professional affairs were in chaos and needed to be straightened out -- which took two me years along with a number of hired assistants. And there were of course the emotional battles as more and more was taken away from him because he was no longer able to handle it -- like his car - etc.

    But there is absolutely nothing I would do differently if I had to do it over again. I know he would do the same for me if the situation was reversed and in fact in the early years he did when I had some medical issues -- though they were ones to recover from. I don't think he would have as able to do as I am in these things- but I am really good at this - but he still would have done well and put his effort into to it.

    Part of the effect of going off the Klonopin is that it puts me more in touch with the sadness and melancholy of our situation. That neither of us have anything positive to look forward too -- and I am getting older, a little too old to start all over again -- which I have done many times before.

    But I have to be grateful -- we are very comfortable in our lives -- we do not have any external cares -- I still have my job which I love even though I am not doing it right now and haven't for 8 months. But I have to believe that something positive will emerge form all this.

    And right now - my focus is getting off the Klonopin.

    So I am at the half way mark. I am switching from 10 days to 2 weeks between cuts. Because I seem to be a bit normal on the 9th and 10th day and then I do a cut. I think I need a longer time of normalcy before I go through the next emotional and physical upheaval form the next cut.

    So on that basis I have 7 weeks until my final cut.

    Best to everyone,

    Justitia
    Last edited by Anonymous; 10-17-2014 at 10:17 PM. Reason: typo error

  5. #5
    iloerose is offline Platinum Member
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    It's probably good for you to get very stable at a drop. So going 2 weeks as opposed to only 10 days is good and gives your brain time to catch up. Particularly that you have work that you need to motivate yourself to get finished. Keep moving forward, that's what counts. With benzo's slow and sure is the best way out.

    Peace,

    Iloerose

  6. #6
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    I have decided, on the advice of my doctor to hold off on continuing the taper. My life has really started to disintegrate and I was having a difficult time just getting out of bed.

    So I am "resting" at the halfway mark -- it's been 4 weeks since the last cut and I suspect it will be a couple of months more. Getting back to normal has been extremely hard.

    I have a feeling that I will be waiting at least 2 more months if not longer until my next cut. And then I will try doing 1 cut every 2 months. With 4 cuts left -- that pretty much means I have another 9 months ahead of me before I am off.

  7. #7
    iloerose is offline Platinum Member
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    Slow and steady is the key here. If you need to slow down or hang back for awhile, you need to do so. Benzos work differently and the w/d is hard to predict and basically is an individual thing. Stay strong, exercise does help, as does meditating and relaxation exercises. Do what you need to do. Benzos are beastly things. Do not get discouraged: find your own pace.

    You're doing fine.

    Peace,

    Iloerose

  8. #8
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    It's been 6 weeks since my last cut and I am still on an upward trend to feeling normal. I've actually felt some motivation to get stuff done this week for the first time in a couple of months. The depression is less often and less severe. The suicidal thoughts are gone.

    As I am "finding" myself again -- I realize I am quite afraid to continue the cut in the future. Part of me now wishes I hadn't done what I did in September - the cost was so high.

    But I have to remind myself that I tapered off way too fast and that next time I will keep the amount smaller and have at least a couple of months between cuts.

    This was an absolutely horrible drug for me to be put on. It accomplished nothing at the time I was prescribed it -- and it has created all kinds of problems in the nearly 25 years that I have been on it -- solely because I couldn't get off it.

    But I do want to end on an encouraging note. I am getting back to my old self -- that is -- the person I was 2 1/2 months ago before I started the cut.

    And though at the moment I am reeling a bit about the huge amount the taper cost me in terms of functioning and sense of well-being -- I believe I will want to continue the taper at a later date. I feel a clarity in my mind that has not been there for the last 25 years -- and I believe that is due to the reduction in Klonopin.
    Iluv2smile likes this.

  9. #9
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    I meant to include the information that I started out on 1 mg of Klonopin and tapered by 1/8mg every ten days to two weeks. After 4 cuts, I was (and still am) down to taking 0.5 mg daily and then I stopped cutting 6 weeks ago and am maintaining taking 0.5 mg nightly (before I go to sleep.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Justitia View Post
    It's been 6 weeks since my last cut and I am still on an upward trend to feeling normal. I've actually felt some motivation to get stuff done this week for the first time in a couple of months. The depression is less often and less severe. The suicidal thoughts are gone.

    As I am "finding" myself again -- I realize I am quite afraid to continue the cut in the future. Part of me now wishes I hadn't done what I did in September - the cost was so high.

    But I have to remind myself that I tapered off way too fast and that next time I will keep the amount smaller and have at least a couple of months between cuts.

    This was an absolutely horrible drug for me to be put on. It accomplished nothing at the time I was prescribed it -- and it has created all kinds of problems in the nearly 25 years that I have been on it -- solely because I couldn't get off it.

    But I do want to end on an encouraging note. I am getting back to my old self -- that is -- the person I was 2 1/2 months ago before I started the cut.

    And though at the moment I am reeling a bit about the huge amount the taper cost me in terms of functioning and sense of well-being -- I believe I will want to continue the taper at a later date. I feel a clarity in my mind that has not been there for the last 25 years -- and I believe that is due to the reduction in Klonopin.

  10. #10
    iloerose is offline Platinum Member
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    Justitia: It's a good opportunity to let your mind heal at this drop. As you pointed out, you have been on this drug for 25 years. Benzos are the devil to taper from. It does take a LONG time to heal from the effects of this drug. When you begin your taper again, you need to move really, really slow. Small cuts and a larger time period between them.

    I am sorry that you are dealing with the decline of your partner. I dealt with that around 7 years ago. He had early onset parkinson's, was a PHD in Chemical Engineering and loved Mathematics, Rock Climbing, writing, reading, music. It was hard to see a 47 year old go through this.


    Hope you are well and that you have a good Thanksgiving!

    Peace,

    Iloerose

  11. #11
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    Here it is August 11 2015. I never continued the taper. I am still on 0.5 mg. The depression, suicidal thoughts etc have been over-whelming. And it doesn't help that my partner's cognitive decline is continuing - in part because I am not able to be there as much.

    I feel constantly like going to bed. I have never felt that way before -- even when I was clinically depressed. I am fighting against it as best as I can. I went back to work in the spring -- I teach in a university and for one of the courses this past spring I did terribly. The other went excellently but it is more structured.

    I don;t know when -- if ever -- I am going ot be able to get off the last 0.5 mg. It's been almost a year. My guess is I will not start anything before next spring.

  12. #12
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    No it does not sound like a good time to get off it now, not if you are having suicidal thoughts. Do your bad feelings happen at certain times of the day? If they occur close to your evening dose, have you thought about splitting your dose into two per day?

  13. #13
    Justitia is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thisweekforsure View Post
    No it does not sound like a good time to get off it now, not if you are having suicidal thoughts. Do your bad feelings happen at certain times of the day? If they occur close to your evening dose, have you thought about splitting your dose into two per day?
    The suicidal thoughts are not at any particular time of day.

    A couple of weeks ago, I had to get something ready for one of my courses. it normally takes a day and a half. I decided I was going to push against my desire to go to bed. it was hard to get me started but after a couple of days of doing what I use to do when I procrastinate. I start to work on other stuff that needed to get done but not the immediate priority, given my impending start of school. but was stuff that I had procrastinated on in previous weeks. After a couple of days of that, I finally started on my most immediate project but it ended up taking much longer because the data base I was working with had been messed up and I had to work with the company that creates the data base to get them to understand the problem and then figure out what they had done wrong and then corrected it.

    I ended up working 12 hour days for about 4 straight days on that -- after spending 2 12 hour days working on the stuff I had procrastinated on the previous week or so and was doing now to procrastinate on the stuff I needed to get done now.

    That must sound crazy but that's the way I've worked most of my life -- which has allowed to have a fair bit of success but still an under performer.

    Well something weird happened after I decided to push through that desire to climb into bed. By the end of the 6 twelve hour days, I felt totally hyper. I couldn't really stop. I mean I did but that feeling of wanting to climb into bed was gone. My sleep pattern was (and still is) a mess (I am writing this at 3 AM after I woke up from 4 hours of sleep).

    And I just wanted to keep going. Some of my old self-sabotaging behavior started creeping back in (doing other stuff that I needed to do bu no the highest priority now) but when I woke up just now, I turned on a movie in Netflix that was about two young people who were about to commit suicide - independently of each other -- and I started to relate to that feeling and then I suddenly realized - I don't have that feeling any more. That suicidal feeling seems to be gone. And I want to wake up tomorrow and be more self disciplined in my work - tho I have other demands (medical appts with my partner) that will make it difficult.

    But it is great to feel and realize that the impulse to go to bed, the suicidal feelings seem to be gone. It took 10 months for my body to adjust - but they are gone - and my energy is extremely high, almost hyper & excited -- and thinking about my ideas to write about -- and wanting to do it.

    I can't believe that I feel this way. I keep waiting for it to subside but it hasn't so far.

  14. #14
    Thisweekforsure is offline Advanced Member
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    This may seem weird but if it took you ten months to stabilize down from 1 mg to .5 mg that is actually not uncommon. When you think how many years you were on it. I think it is safe to say that if you want to resume tapering down you should do it real slow with miniscule cuts and plan to take another year to get off of it. Or you could stay where you are and make sure this good feeling lasts. Not sure this is exactly where you want to be, maybe come down a bit to more regular sleep but without the suicidal depression would be about right. Only then resume a taper.

    I do think you need to keep in touch with your therapist. You've a roller coaster life here with your work demands and your partner's situation. I wish the best for you.

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