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Sitting here waiting for withdrawal to start


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I started tapering from Klonopin 8 days ago.  I had a severe vertigo attack last Friday. I've felt some nausea, slight dizziness, slight headache,etc.  Nothing major yet.  I'm just sitting here paralyzed by fear that something major is going ot happen at any moment.  I've put my life on hold.  Scared to drive for fear of another vertigo attack. I've read so many horror stories about the withdrawal process.  I can't live life like this.  How do you guys handle it? I have been sleeping in really late though.  Until around noon.  I'm getting really good sleep thanks to trazadone and serequel. I know the symptoms usually start around a week out or so.  Do some experience withdrawal later on?  Like a few weeks after the tapering process?
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How long were you on the Klonopin? You only tapered 48 days? I hope you were only on it for a short time. She's a mother
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Hi Corgimom,

 

Did you mean you just started tapering or just finished tapering?

 

I’m only new here and haven’t started tapering yet. I start tomorrow from 10mg valium having switched over from klonopin.

 

What I can tell you - if you have just finished your taper and are awaiting acute symptom stage to begin, is this -

 

When I was on klonopin (short time) 2 x  0.5 mg daily after switching from other benzodiazepines, I made the mistake of going cold turkey, and I didn’t experience any noticeable withdrawals for the first 11 days. I was feeling quite well. But then day 12 arrived and with it came the intense withdrawal symptoms. I toughed it out for another 7 days until I researched, and realised I had done the wrong thing by not tapering and so immediately visited doctor and crossed to valium to stabilise before beginning a taper. So if it’s just a timeline you were after, which I’m sure would be slightly different for everyone, it was 12 days for me. But remember, I went cold turkey, so don’t read anything into my inability to endure the withdrawal symptoms. I sometimes wish I had just pushed through, but I had no knowledge surrounding the withdrawal symptoms I was experiencing at the time, or how long it could potentially last.

I struggle with fear at the moment because I have not yet stabilised 7 weeks after going cold turkey, but I will say this - the more I focus on fear and panic over what I’m experiencing or may potentially experience in my mind and body, the worse the symptoms become. My major concern (having very little support around me) is how I will take care of myself if things get worse, and I have to stop doing that, rather, take each moment as it comes to minimise exacerbating my own symptoms through stress and worry.

 

If you were talking about the tapering process - how long it takes to experience withdrawals from a recent cut, then maybe you’ve already experienced your withdrawal symptoms… and now maybe you are beginning to stabilise.

 

Try not to get caught up living in your head too much. I know it’s difficult. I do it too. We need to learn to let go and know it will pass in time. I guess that’s the main lesson out of this experience.

 

Where ever thoughts go, energy flows.

 

Stay strong, you can do it!

 

Love and healing

 

J

 

 

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Winters Run,  I don't think my original post made sense. LOL. I've been on 2mg klonopin for about 15+ years.  I just started my tapering process about 9 days ago.  I'm now on 1.5mg of klonopin. The only major side effect I've had so far is a horrible round of vertigo. That was last Friday. I've never experienced anything like it before. The room went spinning and I vomited several times. Awful.  That eased up after a few hours.  My doctor called in some zofran and something for the dizziness.  The only side effects I've had so far is slight nausea, headache off and on, some slight dizziness, feeling weird in my head, sweating, etc.  Nothing huge.  But, I'm only on Day 9 of tapering.  I'm going to take 1.5mg for 2 months.  Then we are dropping to 1.25 and he's going to add ativan.  I stay stuck in my head.  Ruminating over it.  Worried that something bad is going to happen at any minute.  I've wasted 2 weeks just sitting in front of the TV or computer trying to keep my mind off the whole withdrawal process.  I know I need to engage and just live.  I feel stuck though. So today, I plan on doing some house cleaning to keep my mind off it. I'm one that really overthinks things.  Drives me nuts.
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Winters Run,  I don't think my original post made sense. LOL. I've been on 2mg klonopin for about 15+ years.  I just started my tapering process about 9 days ago.  I'm now on 1.5mg of klonopin. The only major side effect I've had so far is a horrible round of vertigo. That was last Friday. I've never experienced anything like it before. The room went spinning and I vomited several times. Awful.  That eased up after a few hours.  My doctor called in some zofran and something for the dizziness.  The only side effects I've had so far is slight nausea, headache off and on, some slight dizziness, feeling weird in my head, sweating, etc.  Nothing huge.  But, I'm only on Day 9 of tapering.  I'm going to take 1.5mg for 2 months.  Then we are dropping to 1.25 and he's going to add ativan.  I stay stuck in my head.  Ruminating over it.  Worried that something bad is going to happen at any minute.  I've wasted 2 weeks just sitting in front of the TV or computer trying to keep my mind off the whole withdrawal process.  I know I need to engage and just live.  I feel stuck though. So today, I plan on doing some house cleaning to keep my mind off it. I'm one that really overthinks things.  Drives me nuts.

 

You do realise that Ativan is a Benzo don't you? I'm not quite sure why you would taper K, and add Ativan? You aren't actually gaining anything? You will then just be taking a different benzo which would need to be tapered. You also mention trazadone and serequel. Have these recently been added to help you taper? It sounds like you could be on 3 meds that will need to be tapered, to replace 1? unless I've completely misunderstood which is possible with Benzo brain  :D

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Yes, I do realize ativan is a benzo. My psych doctor used to work in a drug detox center. They would wean people off benzos in a week.  Usually replacing the benzo you've been on with something like ativan. IT helps ease the side effects of withdrawal. They use a very low dose. I will only be taking ativan while I taper off klonopin. Then I'm off.  I'm fine with that.  I've been on klonopin for so long...I just want to get off it.  Main reason being it causes dementia.  I've been on trazadone for around 20 years.  200mg.  I've been on serequel  25mg for about 5 years.  After I get off the klonopin we are going to adjust the sleep meds.  I'm also going to get off of Vyvnase.  70mg  for nearly 15 years.  I'm on some other pysch meds as well.  But, only want to focus on one thing at a time.  Sounds confusing huh?
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Yes, I do realize ativan is a benzo. My psych doctor used to work in a drug detox center. They would wean people off benzos in a week.  Usually replacing the benzo you've been on with something like ativan. IT helps ease the side effects of withdrawal. They use a very low dose. I will only be taking ativan while I taper off klonopin. Then I'm off.  I'm fine with that.  I've been on klonopin for so long...I just want to get off it.  Main reason being it causes dementia.  I've been on trazadone for around 20 years.  200mg.  I've been on serequel  25mg for about 5 years.  After I get off the klonopin we are going to adjust the sleep meds.  I'm also going to get off of Vyvnase.  70mg  for nearly 15 years.  I'm on some other pysch meds as well.  But, only want to focus on one thing at a time.  Sounds confusing huh?

 

Wow yeah, that's some list. Good luck

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Hi corgimom,

 

I feel compelled to respond to the plan your doctor has in store for you, please understand that if you're confident in this approach and trust his judgement then we'll support whatever you do but I want to make sure you're fully informed so you can make the best decision for you.

 

Detox facilities can get their clients safely off the drug by using adjunct medications, many of our members have gone through this and say the process works well until they get home.  Most members I've worked with through the years will reinstate when they get home because they're in so much pain.  This is because they no longer have the medications the detox facilities used so yes, while they're safely off the drug, they now have to deal with extreme symptoms, much the same as my cold turkey.  Many of these facilities tout these methods as successful to recruit more people to use them.  The problem is, recovery from the drug can't be guaranteed by these same facilities because recovery can't be rushed, your brain has to make the repairs the drug has disrupted and this takes a long time.

 

I'm relaying this information about detox facilities because even though your doctor used to work at one, I wonder if he truly understands what happened to his patients once they left?  Does he know how much pain we go through during recovery, is he only used to working with patients who were addicts or those who had multiple dependencies that were difficult to differentiate?  What I mean is, if a patient did complain they were still in pain, did he attribute that to another drug or a return of the patients original complaint?

 

Having said all of this, I've never heard of a doctor using a benzo to withdraw from a benzo, it seems counterintuitive.  Yes, you might reduce the Clonazepam by .25 mgs, then maybe add .25 Ativan (which has roughly a 2-1 equivalency to Clonazepam) and the symptoms lessen, wouldn't it be more prudent to make your reduction from Clonazepam smaller to avoid symptoms rather than adding another benzo? 

 

Before you take the Ativan please ask your doctor to explain what he plans to do.  What dose will he start you out at, how many times a day will you take it (Ativan has a shorter half life than Clonazepam so many of our members have to take it 3 times a day), what is his plan for reducing the Ativan while also reducing the Clonazepam, he's going to need to taper you from that at the same time he's tapering you from the Clonazepam if his plan is to only use the Ativan while tapering the Clonazepam.  I have so many questions, and I hope you do too.

 

I don't want you to feel like I'm trying to introduce doubt about your plan, I know you've struggled to get this far but I'm genuinely concerned for you and want you to make the best possible decisions for your situation. 

 

This document focuses on a patient led, symptom based taper with small enough reductions to keep you functioning which is what we all hope for, so instead of making a 16.66% reduction from 1.5 to 1.25 maybe you could make a smaller one, more in line with our recommendation of 5-10% reductions and leave the Ativan out of the equation.  Colorado Consortium Benzodiazepine Deprescribing Guidelines

 

I need to reiterate that my message is not to berate you, make you feel defensive or cause you have doubts about your plan, I just wanted to make sure you fully understand what you're facing.

 

Pamster

 

 

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I was going to say..... 8 days since no benzos and ur waiting for withdrawals? Jeeze this kid has it easy lol. But yeah going from 2mgs daily of Klonopin to 1.5mgs daily shouldn't be to bad at all... From here on out I'd taper slowly tho. 1/4 of a 0.5mg pill every 6 weeks I'd say is a pretty decent bet for a good taper
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Dear corgi mom,

I feel a bit compelled to speak up here --- please know that we are all, just like you, trying to find the best and safest way to come off this med.  That said, there are just some things that concern me.  Using Ativan to help you come off klonopin is confusing to me.  I get your doc worked in addiction and rehabs, unfortunately, that is how so many folks have landed here in a world of hurt.  it is common in the addiction world to use something else in an attempt to buffer the withdrawal - -like using librium to buffer alcohol withdrawals for example is very common.  that said, you dropping from 2mg to 1.5mg is a substantial drop.  then you dropping to 1.25 after two months is, again, a very substantial drop.  to buffer the withdrawal with another benzo, and one that is as short acting as Ativan to boot, just feels like you are being set up for a world of hurt.  I hope that isn't the case, but I would encourage you to listen to pamster and others and really think about slowing down your taper.......yes, it is standard, even by docs who claim to be addiction specialists, to remove us from these meds at 25% or more at a time.  Most will say, it will take a few months.  They feel it is a terribly slow taper if it takes more than six months -- but if you read many of the stories on this site, many of us found this site because the way we were taken off the first time didn't work, was way too fast and has caused us a great deal of long term harm and pain.  I hope that isn't the case for you, but since you are doing okay in tolerating the drop to 1.5mg, I hope over these next two months you will look at the Ashton manual, read what others on this site say, maybe listen to geraldine burns podcast or DE Fosters podcast, look at the Benzo Info Coalition webpage and really fully research what is best for you!  I wish you well!

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I've been on klonopin for nearly 15 years.  2mg.  About 2 1/2 weeks ago my doctor took me down to 1.5mg.  So far no serious side effects. I've felt some nausea and some dizziness, but it's been pretty mild so far.  I'm just waiting for something to happen symptom wise.  The lower he takes me he's going to add ativan to it.  I have meds for nausea and dizziness. the stuff for dizziness is awful.  It doesn't help much and it really makes you tired.
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Oh, corgimom, no, no, no.

 

The lower he takes me he's going to add ativan to it.

 

This makes no sense, as grace and Pamster pointed out.

 

Please do this:

 

Before you take the Ativan please ask your doctor to explain what he plans to do.

 

I completely agree. Really, if you went down .5mg and nothing serious happened, why not just continue down???? At a more reasonable rate??? Speaking as an Ativan "survivor" I'm here to tell you that you do not want to take that drug. And certainly not as a drug to help you get off K. Good grief? What has that doc been smoking?

 

I'd ask for a detailed plan. Failing that . . . I'd run, not walk, to another doc. I had to ditch my doc when she got weird about my taper ("Taper faster. No, I won't read the Ashton Manual. And in fact, all you need to do is cut your dose in half for a week, then in half again for the next week, ad poof, you'll be done.). Nope. I found a cooperative NP who let me reduce as slowly as I needed to AND c/o to valium, a LONGER-ACTING drug, from Ativan.

 

And corgimom, I think you need to do some education and advocating for yourself. Read About tapering. Read the Ashton Manual. Read about SLOW WITHDRAWALS. This is your life and your taper. I sure wouldn't let your doc "take me off" anything. It sounds a little infantilizing as well as ill-informed. AND for that matter, a .5 mg reduction is way too fast. That's a 25% reduction, which no one who knows anything about benzos and reducing benzos, would advocate.

 

I'm concerned for you, mom. Please put the brakes on this "plan".

 

Katz

 

 

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Please read what Pamster said and take it to heart. I was poly-drugged too, and you are being poly-drugged, and it is important you proceed with caution and a well-informed plan. You cannot rely upon a  detox center doctor. Many here have  not had good experiences for the reasons Pamster mentioned, etc. Wishing you only the best.
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I also feel compelled to chime in and encourage you to think hard before taking ativan. Ativan is a shorter acting benzo than clonazepam, which means more w/d. It just makes no sense to introduce another benzo, especially that one. Maybe get a second opinion from another doctor? I got four opinions before I chose a path to go. Do your own research. If you didn't have a lot of symptoms coming off the first .5, that's a good sign. Maybe just continue to come down slowly on the benzo you're on?

 

Good luck to you!

 

 

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Hello sweet corgimom,

 

It took me 10 years to find the right Psychiatrist and a failed taper by a Psychiatrist who had no clue how to taper me off Xanax.  2mg is a High dose and taking it for that long has changed your brain chemistry.  Your brain needs substantial time to slowly build back what the Benzo took away.  I have been taking a Benzo for 17 years, so I get it!  My current Psychiatrist is 3 hours away, but so worth it.  He suggested a slow taper every 2 weeks, but allows me to decide if I am ready to taper after the next 2 weeks, or hold for longer.  It's up to me as he doesn't live in my body or experience what I do.  The higher doses are easier to taper from- it will get harder as you get lower in your benzo dose.  I wish you all the best and encourage you to research a slow taper.

Hugs to you!!

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Corgimom I just wanted to add my support. I too was a long time Klonopin user and tapered down from 1mg daily 15 years. It wasn't until the last .125mg I started having bad wd symptoms. Good luck in your taper! Just wanted to add I agree with what the ithers say about the Ativan, especially if you aren't having bad symptoms. My doc is the head if a huge psych and addiction medicine dept. but that didn't stop him from over prescribing me! I think he feels bad about it now which is why he's letting me slow taper.
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Thanks so much for all of our advice. It does help a great deal.  It will be 3 weeks since I've dropped from 2mg of klonopin to 1.5mg.  I'm just now starting to feel the withdrawal symptoms. It's mostly nausea, dizziness, sweating, headache and feeling spaced out.  Yesterday I experienced some anxiety.  My chest hurt and it was hard to take a deep breath.  I was at a doctor appointment when this happened.  An hour from home.  I was a mess.  i don't even remember what my ortho doctor told me.  I just wanted to get home as fast as I could.  Thank God I made it home.  I'm scared of driving now.  Where i live I don't have very many choices of people that do medication management.  And it's hard to find one in Nashville. None of them are taking new patients or they don't accept insurance.  I just switched over to this psych doctor.  I thought I liked him at first, but the second visit he seemed a bit standoffish. I felt like he didn't care. He did mention using Ativan.  Not to replace klonopin, but to make up for the klonopin that was reduced. Not a large amount.  I'm not sure how I feel about it either.  It sounds nice, but not so sure I want to get addicted to another benzo!!!!  I can always say no.  I do have meds for my nausea and dizziness though.  I discovered yesterday that if I take ..05mg of klonopin in the afternoon I feel a bit better.  Then I take the rest of my dose at night.  I hope this will work for now.  I hate the doctors that put me on all of this crap.  They were always adding one thing or another.  Now I'm on so many drugs....I don't know who I am or how I really feel. I just feel drugged out all the time. And tired.
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Pamster, thanks so much for your advice. I don't think you are berating me at all.  It's just sound advice.  You are very right.
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I'm so sorry to hear your symptoms have ramped up and how scary to be so far away from home when they hit you so hard!  I was afraid to drive too, well, I was afraid of just about everything so I understand what you're feeling.

 

I'm so grateful you've listened to our wonderful and caring members, we're all in this together and we get very protective when we feel someone is about to make a mistake.  I'm sure it sounds wonderful to get relief from withdrawal symptoms, we all wish for that but your doctors plan is just plain wrong and I'm grateful you've started to question his judgement.  I can see you're in a tough spot though, so many members have to play the game with their prescribers in order to get enough of the medication to taper slowly and safely, its a terrible situation. 

 

Many of our members will dose several times a day to keep their blood serum levels of the drug constant so keep experimenting to find what works for you.  :thumbsup:

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Pamster, it's really hard to go by the Ashton manual when he prescribes just enough for what dosage you are on.  I can't play with it. And being in a town where they are really lacking in psych care sux.  The last doctor I had would prescribe anything for you. She's the one who really doped me up bit time. I'm on 8 psych meds right now.  And it's not a good combo. It makes everything worse.  This new psych...not sure how I feel.  I had a good first impression, but the second time we met I felt weird vibes.  I see him again this week.  WE shall see how it goes.  Not much I can do at this time.  I can't believe it's only been 3 weeks since I started this taper. It feels like months.  Thankfully, not major symptoms just yet.
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Corgimom, I feel you. I was on 8 meds at the same time, many for years, and I had very little doctor support getting off of them. I could only find a doctor to prescribe me lower doses but he didn't know anything about deprescribing and taking time with tapering. I went off one drug right after the other in fast tapers and I am still struggling 5 years after the last drug taper for clonzaepam. I was clueless as well and didn't know about benzobuddies or any of the Facebook groups. Though I believe benzobuddies to be the best resource. I'm so glad you came here and to get information that will assist and empower you in dealing with doctors. I know how hard it is to find a doctor that will believe you, realize the dangers in poly-drugging, and help you deprescribe so you can be in control of your well-being again. Try your hardest to find a doctor (or psychiatrist) that understands benzo harm and will be willing to follow tapering and ideally knows about these things. Benzodiazpine Information Coaltion is another good resource.

 

https://www.benzoinfo.com

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I sent a message to my regular doctor today and told her what's going on.  I told her to refer me to a psychiatrist at the teaching hospital here. I have no clue how long it will take to get in though.

I'm feeling pretty crappy today. It's so weird. Some days I will feel okay and some days I feel horrible. Go figure.

I printed out the deprescribing info to give to my nurse practitioner. Somehow I don't think he will appreciate it.

He acted as if he had never heard of the Ashton Manual before. I'm pretty sure he has.

I feel so stuck right now.  I feel helpless. It's depressing.

I appreciate all the advice and help though.

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Yep! 8 meds.  I feel so drugged out most of the time.  I managed to taper off Abilify on my own. 

Half the meds I don't need to be on because I'm pretty sure I'm not bipolar. My old nurse practitioner said I was. She is full of BS. I have none of the symptoms at all.

I'm on Cymbalta, trazadone, serequel, lamictal, vyvanse, klonopin..I know I'm missing something....

I don't care for the FB groups.  Too many horrible stories. I try to avoid those. Plus...it can get too intense on there.  Some aren't so supportive.

I like this site.

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