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Urgent help needed; Klonopin has ceased working, just RX'd Xanax instead, need advice
  1. #1
    treadlightly is offline New Member
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    Exclamation Urgent help needed; Klonopin has ceased working, just RX'd Xanax instead, need advice

    I need info quickly/urgently about Xanax (and to a lesser extent Klonopin) and how much I should take to be effective at combating severe anxiety without putting me into a coma or anything...I have SERIOUS obligations both tonight, tomorrow and the next day and my extreme anxiety is currently preventing me from meeting those obligations. I was just prescribed Xanax today and I'm trying to figure out how much to take, but before I go on I think it's very important to know my history with benzodiazepines...I know it's long (sorry), but I believe it definitely plays a role here:

    SITUATION/SUMMARY: Was prescribed Klonopin (1MG) about 4 years ago in 2010 to take *as needed* for anxiety - took it sparingly for the first 3.5 years, only when I really needed it (once or twice a month) and 1MG was enough to eliminate the anxiety every time. I once tried 3MG back then and it made me black out.

    Latter half of 2013 I began to take it more frequently as my anxiety was becoming slightly more severe but still only maybe once or twice a week - I actually made a Word document with a log every time I took it, how much, and how it impacted my anxiety so I know exactly how much I took. I was still taking the same dosage (1mg or 1.5mg), but maybe 3-5 times a month - this continued up until February of this year.

    Then comes 2014, particularly February onward, and my anxiety spikes WAY higher than ever before; my depression gets much worse as well but that's not what I'm posting about. There were no med changes, no events, nothing I know of that precipitated this...just all of a sudden, my mental/emotional health became much worse. So, with increased stress and anxiety I began taking the Klonopin more frequently. I would always purposely not eat so that I'd take it on an empty stomach so it would be more effective...and many times I wouldn't eat anything for the rest of the day in fear of food diminishing the anxiolytic effects of the Klonopin. I increased the frequency to maybe 3 times a week at first. I noticed that the 1 or 1.5mg doses weren't working against my MUCH elevated anxiety so I upped the dose to 2mg or 2.5mg. Then when even that didn't work, out of desperation I tried mixing it with alcohol...mostly hard liquor, shots of vodka etc. I am still a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and when alcohol was involved it usually did not end well and only occasionally improved things/alleviated my anxiety...maybe 15% success rate. I didn't drink with it EVERY time, but from this point on maybe like 1/3rd of the time I took Klonopin for anxiety alcohol would be involved by the end of the night.

    LATE FEB-MID MARCH 2014: So then at the end of February/the beginning of last month, March, my mental/emotional state deteriorated further...I stopped bothering with logs for the most part. From late February to mid March I took the Klonopin with about the same frequency, maybe 3 or 4 days a week, and took 3MG every time which was sometimes effective, sometimes not. In mid March I took 4MG, my max ever dose, and after hours with not nearly enough anxiety relief I added in alcohol to the mix and of course blacked out. It's probably worth mentioning that I live totally alone and any time I've drank anything with the Klonopin in my system (and as mentioned above, nothing else, almost always on an empty stomach) I have been alone at home. I should also mention at this point that I am a 26 year old male, 5 foot 7 and weigh 123 pounds.

    PAST MONTH (mid/late March to now, April 16th)
    After the 4mg dose with the booze and no relief I knew it was time to see a doctor about the meds (and had actually been trying for months) but my doctor had no availability until the beginning of May and every other pdoc wasn't accepting new patients or didn't take my insurance. Started taking some higher doses like 5.5MG or 6MG, although not all at once...spaced out throughout the day when I kept having anxiety so I added more. I kept brief logs of this. 4MG was what I usually took at this point, although I think I cut back on the frequency a bit (twice a week or so).
    Sometimes it would help, sometimes it wouldn't. When it wouldn't I would add booze to the mix, rarely with positive results. Last day of March I started out with 5MG all at once since I knew I had a majorly anxiety-provoking and stressful day ahead of me...5MG wasn't enough so I took another 1MG a few hours later, then that still wasn't enough so 2 hours later I took another 1MG, then 3 hours later the anxiety still hadn't subsided so I took another 1MG, bringing me to my grand total of 8MG Klonopin for the day...and then added booze into the mix. According to what I wrote in my diary, it was only at this point that my anxiety finally reached a manageable level.

    My diary is missing entries from a lot of days since March 30th, 2014 but I know I upped the frequency of the Klonopin again and 5MG was my new minimum and usually did not work. I have an entry dated 4/13/2014 (3 days ago) saying "UGH it has been 3 hours since I took 7mg kpin all at once and everything is practically the same, anxiety just as bad. 7mg kpin on no food and NOTHING in terms of anxiety relief."
    (END OF SITUATION/SUMMARY)

    So basically that's where I'm at now. First of all, I learned my lesson and have cut alcohol out of my life entirely. But 7MG of Klonopin taken all at once doesn't do anything for me and I still need immediate anxiety relief for extreme situations, and badly. I have real-world obligations, serious ones, and my anxiety is severe enough to prevent me from doing them no matter how important I know they are.

    I finally saw a doctor today, told her the Klonopin had stopped working for my anxiety even at high doses, and she prescribed me 0.5mg Xanax instead. I have never taken Xanax before today. I took the first 0.5mg Xanax 2 hrs and 40 minutes ago, felt no different after an hour and a half, and took another 0.5mg Xanax 1 hour and 10 minutes ago...and still feel zero anxiety relief.

    Questions: Xanax is not Klonopin, but they're similar. Does the fact that 7MG of Klonopin has zero effect on my anxiety mean that the Xanax will be equally ineffective? Is the same dose of Xanax equivalent in potency/efficacy to the same dose of Klonopin, keeping in mind I've never taken Xanax before? Can I mix the two together? I feel like 0.5mg is *way* too low of a dose and am more convinced of that now that 1mg has proven to do nothing but then again I don't know that much about Xanax. Can I safely take, for instance, 4mg of Xanax without major repercussions (keeping in mind my tolerance to Klonopin and the severity of my anxiety)? Or 2mg Klonopin and 3mg Xanax or something like that? How likely is it, given this info, that I am essentially screwed in terms of any benzos ever working for me again?

    Like I said, I have HUGELY important obligations to meet both tonight, tomorrow and the next day and my anxiety is currently ruining tonight's and I can't afford to let my anxiety ruin the others as well...so any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Sorry for the length, but I felt including all the details was important and hopefully some kind soul will see this and be able to offer some help or information. Thank you for your time.

    P.S. I have been prescribed and tried almost every other medication under the sun over the last 14 years, seen 20+ different doctors for my anxiety in that time span, and absolutely none of the meds have gotten rid of my anxiety except for the Klonopin...which is now ineffective. SSRIs, SNRIs, Tricyclics, Stimulants, Anti-Psychotics and several other classes of medication I'm forgetting. Non-med routes as well...15+ different therapists, CBT, exposure therapy, aromatherapy, meditation, almost everything. Nothing else works, which is why I'm so desperate.

  2. #2
    Iwantoff2013 is offline Platinum Member
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    Oh my. First, I'm sorry that you suffer from bad anxiety. Benzos are not supposed to be used long-term. They're supposed to be prescribed for acute anxiety during times of trauma. I'm sure you know this, but benzos are extremely addictive in a short period of time. Xanax is literally the devil's drug. I would seriously recommend going back to your doctor. Not to say that Klonopin (or any other benzo) isn't dangerous - it is. But, Xanax is probably the worst, in my opinion. Getting off Xanax is very difficult. The WD can be horrific.

    Did you tell your doc you were taking 7 mg of Klonopin? I know you said you tried other approaches - therapy, meditation, etc. How much time did you devote to those things before giving up on them? Long-term use of benzos can actually cause rebound anxiety and depression. That's why it's crucial to try to find other avenues to deal with your anxiety. Meds only mask the problem, and often make it worse in the long run.

    I'm sorry that I can't offer much help. Your usage of high doses of benzos is alarming. I'm going to ask one of the members here to reply to you. She's a drug counselor and is very knowledgable about benzos and can probably offer up some possible solutions.

    Kat

  3. #3
    trent1990 is offline Banned
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    I am with kat on this. I have ptsd anxiety disorder panic disorder ect.. I myself have also taken all of the benzos andother drugs for my issues. Back to the point you should have never resorted to using alchohol with the meds u were taking you were only setting yourself up for dependence on the alchohol to enhance the effects of the anxolic. I know when anxiety is intolerable it can feel like ur in hell with no escape. Klonopin itself has a high bioavailability about 90% so you are getting the dose you are taking. Also its half life is 18~50 hours which is one of the highest half lifes of the benzo family which the highest being valium I believe. Also you have to know your body is your anxiety very prolonged or does it hit you and last. For a few hours. These are really big factors to play into knowing what benzo is right for you. Personally I take valium 5mg 3x daily because its very long half life and just because it doesn't relieve the anxiety 100% you really shouldn't mess witgh your dose for the simple fact of what I said before its setting your tolerance higher and higher and then like kat said it will rebound and make depression and anxiety worst which at that point your best bet is to stop taking them and set yourself at ground zero where you can have theraputic levels instead of high doses that aren't working. And again I agree xanax is horrible its half life is one of the shortest so your constantly going high anxiety low anxiety high low ect ectthat is why I do not likeativan xanax or any short acting but again its all depends on your type of anxiety. And no I would not reccomend mixing two benzos together even though thay are in the same family doesntmean they are meant to be mixed hence one benzo normally prescried at a time. Btw big example is michael jackson he had valium ativan profotol(another benzo) and I believe ephedrine in his system. My point is he mixed low half lifes with high half lifes and he too had high tolerence and died. I'm not saying you would but it is possible depending on many things. Anyways I hope I helped somewhat and answered a couple questions. And its very possible your tolerence is due to an addictions corrolated with high tolerence. Good luck and hope. To hear from ya

  4. #4
    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    Dear treadlightly,

    Kat asked me to take a look at this thread and see if I can help.

    I'll be honest with you - your benzo use is staggering and out of control - and you need help to address it, before it kills you. Switching benzos is no answer - it's prolonging the problem. You are chasing anxiety relief that is probably beyond what your tolerance will permit. This is what happens in drug addiction to narcotics, as well. Eventually, after abusing a drug long enough, the drug is no longer effective - no matter how much we take.

    More (or other) benzos will not help. And do NOT take both xanax and klonopin together; the half-lives could put you into very dangerous territory. As will alcohol use with benzos - very, very risky.

    In all honesty, you are risking your life right now. This level of use can easily take you from sleep into a coma - and respiratory arrest. That could have potentially happened each time you blacked out. To take the benzos WITH alcohol is playing Russian Roulette with your life.

    This is not simply a result of your own abuse of the drug - but also the nature of these drugs, period. In time, as we take them, they ricochet with ever-increasing, rebounding anxiety ("paradoxical symptoms"). So taking the drug is actually increasing your anxiety - making you chase it into oblivion. That is probably why your anxiety is becoming greater and greater. You can not go on this way for long. You need to recognize what you're doing and take action to turn it around.

    This is much like an opiate addict - the more you take, the more you need more. Until there is no amount of the drug that is effective. So asking how to take more to get more relief is rather pointless. The last thing anyone should do is recommend you take more. Rather, the answer is in stopping the "catch 22" cycle you are now in.

    You need PROFESSIONAL HELP - and soon. You can not - and should not - stop the benzos on your own. You will need to be prescribed an anti-seizure drug BEFORE you begin to taper off them. Withdrawal from benzos often causes seizures, so that medication is essential. Then you need either a doctor's supervision for a slow, gradual, safe taper off the drugs - or you need to go in-patient.

    God bless,
    Ruth


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    You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.

  5. #5
    trent1990 is offline Banned
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    Hi ruth thanks for helping out with this post and I hope the post member gets back to us. Also I re read what I said and have to rephrase what ruth said. I didn't mean to say quit taking the benzos cold turkey just like ruth said you need professional help to guide you through this horrible ordeal and yes anti siesure medicine is a crucial part of this. Tapering along with other meds to get your tolerance back to therpudic levels is huge.these are only meeant for short term use where as if you use them for as long asu have been the masking of the problems is short lived. With care trent.

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    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by trent1990 View Post
    Hi ruth thanks for helping out with this post and I hope the post member gets back to us. Also I re read what I said and have to rephrase what ruth said. I didn't mean to say quit taking the benzos cold turkey just like ruth said you need professional help to guide you through this horrible ordeal and yes anti siesure medicine is a crucial part of this. Tapering along with other meds to get your tolerance back to therpudic levels is huge.these are only meeant for short term use where as if you use them for as long asu have been the masking of the problems is short lived. With care trent.

    One thing you wrote stood out to me, and I feel I must address. We do not - and can not - bring our tolerance back to therapeutic levels. Once we cross the invisible line into addiction, any "self-control" of our drug use is lost. We are not capable of returning to any kind of "normal" drug use. The solution to addiction lies only in abstinence. -Ruth

    You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.

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    trent1990 is offline Banned
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    I agree ruth I am not a expert or a addiction councelor. Even though I take andhave taken almost every benzo rx I have never abused them and in my experience ihave never gotten a (high)out of it. Even though I know I'm physically addicted to them from taking them for over 2 years. Needless to say everyones different and I guess that's a reason I have not had a problem with them. I agree once you have crossed the line of abuse and have high doses the only help is to get offthem. Even though the poster of this threaad has stated he's been on a number of drugs that didn't help the anxiety there could be less addictive drugs out there to try. Anyways hope to hear from u guys

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    ARTIST658 is offline Platinum Member
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    Trent - Benzos do not give a typical "high" - but they are, never-the-less, undoubtedly addictive physically, mentally and emotionally. A person need not "abuse" a drug to become addicted. If you are mentally preoccupied by the drug - and experience cravings for the drug - that's the key signs of addiction.

    I hope we hear back from you, treadlightly - I'm concerned about how you are doing.

    God bless,
    Ruth

    You will know the truth - and only the truth can set you free.

  9. #9
    ellkay is offline New Member
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    I have to agree with what others are saying. However, I'd like to add that you should probably see a psychiatrist. I am NOT in any way suggesting that you are "whacko", but a good psychiatrist can evaluate your situation, take notes of all you have done, the different meds, the alcohol use, etc., etc., and s/he can prescribe you a good medication regime that should help you. S/he will no doubt want to detox you first, which won't be pleasant (I'm only guessing, NOT saying they will do that), but in order for the meds to work properly, you need to be "clean". I take Klonopin. I USUALLY take just half of 0.5 and it works for me. In full blown anxiety, I take the whole dose. I only take when needed because I do not want to become dependent on them, nor do I want them to stop working on me. There are many types of anti-anxiety meds, and it may take a few different ones to find one that works for you. I'm glad to hear you stopped drinking alcohol with it. My sister died from abusing her anti-anxiety/depression medication. I don't want to see this happening to anyone else.

    Please, see a psychiatrist to get the proper medication. It should make all the difference in the world.

    Good luck!
    Ell

  10. #10
    ftm68_99 is offline New Member
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    You say you're 26 and you've been trying medications for the last 14 years? You mean you've been on them since you were 12?

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