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I'm in desperate need of advice and encouragement. I'm' currently taking 2mg of klonopin daily. I've been on benzos for 24 years. I'm now in the midst of tolerance withdrawals causing severe anxiety. How am I going to cope with the withdrawals of tapering on top of the current symptoms? I really think I'm screwed. I don't know how I'm going to make it. Please help.  :'(
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Hi there. Sorry that you're struggling.

 

What I'll tell you is that for some people who had the same worries that you are having, it actually gets easier into the lower doses. I was in a similar position. How could I hope to reduce the dose if I can hardly function as it is? Well I did it, today I'm on 0.75mg diazepam, first day below 1mg. Down from 10mg diazepam (actually I would sometimes use more) daily use. If you are like me, you will be forced to go slowly and take breaks otherwise symptoms will become unmanageable. Well, every time you do that and recover, your brain is healing. It's still not nice a lot of the time but along the way, I have noticed things returning to me that I had lost at one point. I have flashes where I feel like my old self, before diazepam. I can't describe it any other way than that. It's great because I'd forgotten what that was like.

 

If you manage to taper off... which given enough time is an inevitability if you want it... and make a full recovery, you will have the sense that you can deal with anything. The anxiety you have now, yeah, it's probably going to be worse a lot of the time. If you manage your taper well, it won't be so bad that you can't get through it. Most people with our sensitivity in benzo withdrawal make the mistake of going too fast too soon at some point in their taper. I'm not going to lie, it's really horrible when it happens, but you recover, learn your lesson and move on. Stick at it and you'll start to hit the milestones. As you gain experience, it'll be more in your control and more predictable. Don't get me wrong, things crop up that you don't expect, but you even get a feel for how to deal with the unexpected stuff after a while.

 

Perhaps some practical advice may be of help before and during your taper. If you are not yet dividing your dose, this is the first thing you should do. If you are only taking one dose, try splitting it into two doses separated by roughly 12 hours. One before bed and one in the late morning, perhaps. If you're already doing this, then four doses of 0.5mg spread through the day should help. If you can do some light exercise, try to do it most days. I do mean light exercise, like a 30+ minute walk. Hot baths can be very good when symptoms are bad or at any time really. You want it hot enough so that you have to get in gingerly but obviously not burning. I once read about why this works but I don't remember. The important thing is it does work IME. If sleep is not a problem now, it likely will be during your taper. Consider taking melatonin for that. Most people don't need much, 1mg is usually enough. I don't recommend taking it every single night or most nights. I think it works best if you use it when you are desperate after having two or three bad nights in a row. Some people take it daily and they seem to be alright with that. I think I took it for about 10 days in a row one time but I didn't like how it made me feel in the daytime, as there was some residual tiredness. I also had extreme insomnia for a couple of days after I stopped taking it.

 

I'm sorry I got a little carried away with advice there. It does seem daunting at first and it is one hell of a journey for most people who find themselves on this board. But lots of people have come off long term benzo use for the same reason that you are. They never thought they'd make it but they do. You could easily be one of those people.

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Hi Quest

 

You can still taper and heal.  Know that.  Tolerance withdrawal and taper withdrawal feel about the same.  You won’t necessarily feel worse tapering.  Tolerance just means you’re now in withdrawal without having reduced dose.  Once tolerance has occurred, your best bet is to begin a very slow gradual taper.  In fact, it’s even possible that you’ll feel better at lower doses.  So please, don’t despair.  You will absolutely make it. 

 

Another option is to updose until you feel stable.  Then taper from there. However, that is a slippery slope.  You’ll still have to face the taper.  And up doses don’t always work. 

 

Some people cross over to Valium.  It can be easier to taper in a liquid form.  You can make smaller reductions, it has a longer half life.  Again, crossovers aren’t perfect and not everyone can tolerate Valium.  It’s better to taper off the benzo you’re currently on.  You can get Klonipin compounded in a liquid, as well.  Compounded prescription make 5-10% reductions much easier to achieve. 

 

This rate of reduction is advised, with a 10 day to 2 week hold between reductions.  This allows your system to catch up and heal a bit before the next reduction. 

 

You can and will heal. 

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I just want to add, that splitting your dose isn’t really necessary.  If you’ve always taken it once a day, continue with that.  Klonipin has a very long half life, and I don’t hear you saying interdose withdrawal is your problem.  Any dosing changes you make can create other symptom concerns.  Try to make as few changes as possible, other than very small reductions. 
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I just want to add, that splitting your dose isn’t really necessary.  If you’ve always taken it once a day, continue with that.  Klonipin has a very long half life, and I don’t hear you saying interdose withdrawal is your problem.  Any dosing changes you make can create other symptom concerns.  Try to make as few changes as possible, other than very small reductions.

I think interdose withdrawal looks like tolerance withdrawal if you haven't investigated dividing doses. It could help somebody a lot and surely there is more to gain in trying it than there is to lose, if someone is already struggling? Someone can correct me if I am wrong but my understanding is that splitting your dose throughout the day is perhaps one of the easiest ways to make an improvement for some people. If it works, the gains are huge. If it doesn't, you're still taking the same amount as you would have throughout the day so it's not going to hurt too bad, and you can move back to the old schedule and be fine.

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Crossovers and spitting doses work for some and not others. 

 

Making changes to dosing schedule can be a problem or may help.  It’s always wise to make as few changes as possible, other than slow taper. 

 

Any such changes to dosing need to be advised by a doctor.

 

Our suggestion on BB are meant only as supportive ideas to be considered. 

 

Withdrawal is a struggle.  Changes can hurt.  Switching back and forth can be a problem.  It’s not always so easy to switch back to the previous schedule.  Not all benzos behave in the same way. 

 

Each person is in charge of their own taper strategies, hopefully well advised by a doctor and with support for ones choices found here on BB. 

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Hello Questman: It can seem daunting at the onset, but like many things in life like pursuit of university degree, it is a commitment towards a goal that requires time and diligence. As both previous authors wrote, it can be done successfully as this forum proves. I'm on a second taper in 4 years. Both from small doses of hospital prescribed meds. Though not your history or duration, the two surgeries followed by WD have been a challenge. Almost finished on 2nd.

 

I always advocate adding key supplements to assist with the WD. I am female and drug sensitive anyway so it has been difficult. To me, it is logical to give the system what it may be lacking to help overcome the side effects of the process. I've really benefitted from them. Some report adverse reactions to supplements, but I often read through and they seem to be dosage related or outside my core list. Many disagree and believe in the bare knuckled approach. To each his own. I stick with items that have lots of physiological backing and explanation for why they work. You can query my other posts for details.

 

Whatever path you choose, the forum has a wealth of help and information available. Advise you first do your homework, and if possible, get one trusted person involved that understands what you're doing. I'm blessed to have a loving spouse. I'm in turn that guy for a friend WD from SSRI. We can all help one another. Good luck moving forward.

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I have found it to get more difficult the lower I go.  However, I learned CBT from a great self help group called Recovery Inc. before I ever started.  If you have anxiety or panic disorder before you were put on medication it will still be there when you get off.  You have to find some coping skills to deal with the original problem.  It can help with withdrawal symptoms also.  Please look at RecoveryInc.org.  They have online meetings (no one will see you and you can just listen) and i some areas they have live meeetings also which you can find out about on their site.  But please go look at their website and if you have tried CBT before and found it useless as many have, that has nothing to do with how you would do with the Recovery method.  Their method of teaching is much different than normal CBT from a therapist and I can’t recommend them highly enough.  Their meetings are free.  What more could a person ask?  Lol.  Seriously, check them out.  And tell them Christine from Florida sent you. But please don’t mention what site you found me on.  I’d like to keep this part of my life private. 
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