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Newbie- starting Clonazapam taper--need advice


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Hi everyone,

 

I am new here. I have been taking about 1mg of clonazepam daily for about 4 years for anxiety and an about ready to start the Ashton method of tapering.

 

I also feel strong depression currently along with anxiety and was wondering if starting on an antidepressant might be helpful before starting to taper off of clonazepam or while tapering? Anyone have experience with this or advice would be appreciated.

 

I will be seeing a psychiatrist on monday 6/6/11 and I don't think he has much info about tapering from Benzos so I am doing as much research as I can.

 

Thank you

Paul

 

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Hi chernp123,

 

I'm sorry you're having these symptoms. It's a common side affect of Klonopin to have depression, your body may have become tolerant of the drug by now and is not working to control anxiety anymore. You're wise to realize that tapering is the way to get off, and we can help support you along the way.

 

If you want to look at some tapering information and talking it over with your Dr., here is a link that may help you if you're not already aware;

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies :)

 

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I'm a newbie too.  My doc has me on 300 mg of luvox (an SSRI similar <I am NOT a professional> to Lexapro and Prozac).  Depression is how I got into this mess in the first place.  If your shrink doesn't have experience with benzo withdrawal, you might ask him/her to recommend someone who does to either replace or supplement the help you are getting from him/her.
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Hello and welcoming you to BB. Benzos commonly cause depression as a side effect. I know I was very depressed when on and tapering off benzos when I never had depression prior. Everyone is different, so talk to your Dr and do what you think is best for you. Let us know how we can help you.
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Thank you for your replies. Here is something a ran across as well. Any ideas or comments about the titration method?

 

"Why Directly Taper Klonopin?". It has some very good information and reasons why it may be better for those on klonopin to taper directly using the titration method. Many people have been successful this way.

 

Here is a quick link to that thread. viewtopic.php?f=43&t=1412

 

We don't usually recommend other medications, first because we're not doctors and second because many times the benzos can cause depression in and of themselves. Depression from benzos tends to resolve as people do a very slow taper.

 

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

 

Hi everyone,

 

Again here is by background

-Taking 1mg daily clonazepam for 4 years daily

-Not taking any other drugs currently

-Currently have been suffering from strong depression for at least the past year.

 

Here is an update. Just saw my psychiatrist today 6/6/11 and asked him if he was aware of the Ashton method. He did not know it. I showed him some info quickly and he did not seem to care too much for it. He stated that I should have little problem getting of the meds since people who use this method are usually taking much higher dosages of around 4mg of clonazapem.  According to him, I am on relatively low dose of 1mg a day. I told him that another local psychiatrist I talked to over the phone who specializes in this uses the Ashton method. He stated that he did not learn this in school or something along those lines.

 

I am very skeptical of his plan:

 

Here is what he suggested. He said that it should take about 3 months to get off the clonazapem according to the following schedule.

 

For the first 2 weeks depending on how you feel maybe longer, you should do the following.

start

taking 1mg as usual

take .75mg day 2

take 1mg day 3

take .75mg day 4

take 1mg day 5

take .75 mg day 6

take 1 mg day 7

 

Continue to alternate for 2 weeks or longer. Once you feel okay on this schedule then do the following

 

start

taking .75mg day 1

take .75mg day 2

take .75mg day 3

take 1mg day 4

take .75mg day 5

take .75mg day 6

take .75mg day 7

take 1mg day 8

repeat this over again until you get stabilized for about another 2 weeks or longer to start off with.

 

Then decrease again to

 

.75mg day 1

.5mg day 2

.5mg day 3

.5mg day 4

.75 mg day 5

.5mg day 6

.5mg day 7

.5mg day 8

.75 mg day 9

Repeat for another 2 weeks or longer until I feel better on this and continue these kinds of decreases

 

 

P.S I also suggested that I have huge depression currently and he prescribed the following; 10 mg of generic Celexa daily.

 

I do not think he knows what he is doing as this seems to go against all research that I have done on the threads and according to the Ashton method. What do you think of this? Should I just go to a specialist psychiatrist who uses the Ashton method?

 

Anyone been on a similar kind of schedule?

 

Any help is appreciated. Thank you!

 

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As Draftsman said, there is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion.

 

The problem with going up and down and up and down in doses is that it makes it a little difficult  on your brain, and it feels like you are being thrown in and out of severe withdrawal.  The doctor who put me on benzos and then said "just quit", had me doing this after a trip to the ER confirmed I was in severe benzo withdrawal.

 

When I showed him the Ashton Manual and he threw it in the trash in front of me, I knew it was time to find a new doctor.

 

Usually, a steady taper, as opposed to bouncing around, will be a little easier on you.  Plus, reducing from 1 mg to .75 mgs (a 25% drop) will probably cause you some discomfort.

 

Doctors seldom seem to realize that while 1 mg of clonazepam may seem like a small dose, it's the equivalent of 20 mgs of Valium.

 

Would your doctor be willing to let you reduce by .125mgs every 2 weeks? No bouncing around?  Many buddies have tapered directly from clonazepam by reducing .125mg (1/4 of a .5 mg pill)every 10-14 days, and this might be a little easier than all the bouncing around.  It's certainly something to consider.

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Thanks everyone for the great input.

 

I have decided to go with the water titration method and get off directly from clonazapam without switching over to anything and without adding an antidepressant as it seems like the best way to go. I am currently trying to learn the titration method and plan to begin titration on June 27.

 

In the meantime I have signed up for a 10 day meditation retreat from June 15-june 26 in order to learn some natural methods of helping myself. It is free and here is the link if anyone is interested.

 

http://www.dhamma.org/

 

I'll keep you all posted.

 

Thank you for spending your time in helping a complete stranger get off Benzos.

 

P.S. I think I will stick with my current psychiatrist and tell him that I will do it with a titration method. If I have problems in the future I can always consult with this forum or call him and he is definitely willing to listen. Money is tight right now, so I prefer not do go to another psychiatrist unless really needed.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I am back from the meditation retreat. I have finally started my first day of taper from clonazepam today 6/27/11 using the water titration method. I am using the water titration excel speadsheet to help me with this.

 

I am diluting 1 pill in 200ml of water and decreasing by 2ml a day, so I'll let you know how it goes.

 

I have still several questions though

 

1) "Natural benzodiazepines have been found in plants, including potatoes, wheat, corn, rice, valerian and poppy and have also been demonstrated in animal tissues."

Would it help to eat foods that have more of these "Natural benzodiazepines" while tapering?

 

2) How about drinking alcohol (beer) occasionally? Will this be bad for the taper process?

 

3) If I was taking 1mg (2 --.5mg pills) at a time. Would it make a difference it I split these up throughout the day instead of taking them together, or is it recommended to continue taking them at the same time in the day?

 

Thanks for your help in advance!

 

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Hi, I am back from the meditation retreat. I have finally started my first day of taper from clonazepam today 6/27/11 using the water titration method. I am using the water titration excel speadsheet to help me with this.

 

I am diluting 1 pill in 200ml of water and decreasing by 2ml a day, so I'll let you know how it goes.

 

I have still several questions though

 

1) "Natural benzodiazepines have been found in plants, including potatoes, wheat, corn, rice, valerian and poppy and have also been demonstrated in animal tissues."

Would it help to eat foods that have more of these "Natural benzodiazepines" while tapering?

 

2) How about drinking alcohol (beer) occasionally? Will this be bad for the taper process?

 

3) If I was taking 1mg (2 --.5mg pills) at a time. Would it make a difference it I split these up throughout the day instead of taking them together, or is it recommended to continue taking them at the same time in the day?

 

Thanks for your help in advance!

 

I think you've got a pretty good line on your taper. I can also see that your shrink doesn't have a clue about tapering benzos. I would probably try and stay away from alcohol during your taper because what you're actually doing in  tapering Benzos is tapering an alcohol molecule as thats what benzos are based on. Notice the plants you mentioned that contain so called "naturally occuring benzos " are substances that make up the basic ingredients of alcohol.

I think it wise that you spread out your doses through the day instead of just taking the whole thing at once. I was on benzos for 18 years and spreading doses out during the day seemed to help me. Good luck..............BOX

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