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My name is Ron and I'm a 25 year old male from NY who has recently come to terms with the fact I have unintentionally become a severe benzo addict. I have been suffering from Obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder since I was 5. I have been seeing psychiatrists since I was 14 and have pretty much been put on the whole range of psych meds for these disorders. Prozac, Paxil, lexapro, risperdal, neurontin, trazadone and even depakote. I had a horrible reaction to risperdal and depakote. My sister was put on geodon last year and had the same reaction to it that I had to risperdal (so I'm pretty sure the atypicals have paradoxical effects on me and my family). I was on 80 mg of prozac for a while, then switched to 30 mg of lexapro. Neurontin barely worked at 900mg and the Dr. I had been switched to (almost 3 years ago) didn't like that drug because of the lawsuits and told me it sounded like I needed to be on klonopin. I told him I was on that at different times but my Docs didn't like it because they said it was physically addictive and tolerance building. He told me it wasn't unless you abuse it and he actually said the physical addiction shouldn't be a problem unless you're stuck in the Sahara desert. He told me the lowest dose he usually puts his patients on is 4mg a day and he said he would try me on 1.5mg at first (considering I was young and he wanted to make sure I wasn't abusing it). I've been on this drug for nearly 3 years and it worked fine for a few months. Then it stopped and he moved me up to 3mg. That stopped working and then he put me on 2-4mg along with 2mg of xanax xr. That stopped working and he put me on 4mg of xanax xr and told me "hopefully this will decrease your need for klonopin". It didn't. For the next 2.5 months I found myself taking 6-8mg of the 2 combined on a daily basis. Then I got scared and called him up panicking saying "I don't know why, but I'm building a tolerance and there is no reason why I should be on these doses" He hasn't been much help. I wound up dropping myself to 6mg of the 2 combined, stayed on that for a few months, got dropped off xanax xr (to make the tappering easier) and dropped from 6mg to 5mg without a problem. Now I'm trying to cut down to 4.5mg and was on it for 3 days, but by the fourth day I had to go up to 5mg because my skin was starting to feel weird. Today is my second day back down to 4.5mg. Because I understand the cuts shouldn't be more then 10%, I find he method of cutting down from klonopin hard and the titration method too complicated. I asked my Dr. about the Ashton method but he said he doesn't like prescribing valium. I guess my questions are

1-would a rotation schedule and kind of "eyeballing" the slices with a razor blade as I get down to lower dose tablets be a good method?

2- I know that substituting one drug for another is bad, but did anyone use any other "less addictive meds" to help taper? I was thinking about insisting neurontin again at a much higher dose as I'm tappering, but I'm not sure how hard that would be to get off of and of course, don't want to get hooked on something else.

3- I came to the conclusion that a positive mental attitude is possibly the best way to deal with withdrawal. Does anyone know any good techniques to just "deal" with the withdrawal? I understand that there are no techniques to make the withdrawals stop, but does anyone know anything about meditation or hypnosis or affirmation techniques to deal with the withdrawals. The mental tolerance is what I should have been doing in the first place and think that if I do get off of these horrible drugs, the experience will make me a stronger person all around.

Thankyou for reading  :)

P.S-Current meds Lexapro-30mg a day, klonopin-4.5-5mg a day, dexedrine xr-15mg a day

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Hello! I'm sorry you got into this situation but your going in the right direction by coming off of the poision. I'm not an expert on this subject so I cant really advise you on what to do but you really have 2 choices on how to go about it. You can dry cut or water titrate. Usually people dont start that until lower doses though.

You have a really good attitude and that's going to help you out alot during this process! You've already lowered your dose quite a bit and your still positive so ghat's a really good sign! Someone will be by soon to help you out.

Amanda :smitten:

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Hi Ron,

 

Welcome to BenzoBuddies.

 

I suspect, from the size of your cuts and your dose, that you use 2mg tablets. If this is the case, I strongly recommend that you obtain 0.5mg tablets (you can use them in combination with 1 or 2mg tablets. The problem is the size of your cuts. 0.5mg tablets will allow you make much smaller cuts. Cuts of 10% every 7-14 days is just a guide, so although others might be OK by dropping 10% of their 5mg dose to take them down to 4.5mg, some, such as yourself, will struggle. Go for cuts no larger than 0.25mg and things will probably improve for you. Your overall taper rate might end up being roughly the same, as frequent smaller cuts are better tolerated than less frequent larger cuts. Perhaps plan to cut 0.25mg every 7 days, but allow yourself some flexibility. If you feel you need 10 or 14 days between the 0.25mg cuts, allow yourself this extra time.

 

At some stage you will probably find that the 0.25mg cuts are too large - inevitably they will account for a larger and larger part of your reducing dose - you should then make cuts of just 0.125mg (a quarter of 0.5mg pill).

 

Many people have found substitution with Valium a Godsend, but a few people find the process of substitution difficult (anecdotally, more people struggle switching from Clonazepam to Valium). If you don't feel comfortable with substitution, don't do it. As for titration, think of it as a safety net. If ever you reach a stage where you cannot reasonably manage the size of cuts you require from your pills (generally, no smaller than a quarter tablet is achievable - although a few people do manage even smaller cuts by 'eye-balling'), titration will allow you to make smaller cuts. Don't worry about this now though. If you need to use titration, we will work out all the figures and provide you a schedule with dates and doses. Because you will be on a lower dose by then, you are likely to be far more clear-headed and able to understand it anyway. It is no where near as complicated as it first appears.

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http://www.benzobuddies.org/buddiesguide/insomnia-aid

 

Hi Ron, here is a link to a great relaxation meditation to get you started.

 

Yes, meditation and yoga are very beneficial during tapering. You may not feel it at first, but it has a cumalitive effect.

There is a great meditation book called Full Catastrophe Living, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It comes with a meditation CD.

And there are many others too, just do an amazon.com search.

You'll make it! You've got the right attitude.

By the way, I did a direct taper from .5mg klonopin, and did ok.

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Thankyou everyone for the help. I think I will try to ask my Doc for the smaller dose tablets when I see him next to use in conjunction with my practical mountain of klonopin tablets I haven't used yet. (He technically writes me out scripts for 8 mg day ::if I really need it::). But thank you all for the support and just simply, listening. :)
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[27...]

Hi Ron!  :)

 

I have to agree with eljay that you've got a great attitude when it comes to this! You just have to keep a positive train of thought going and it will see you through. Meditation is a great idea, as well, and I'd be more than happy to recommend some great books on Qigong meditation for you!

 

Take care,

 

Pete

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Hi Ron!!

 

I'm sorry I missed your post somehow.  Sounds like you have really been down a long long road!  Withdrawal is the hardest thing I have ever done, but you WILL get through it.  Having a postive attitude and not allowing the fear to get to you is half the battle.  We are here for you...you are not alone.

 

Love,

 

Jen

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hey, sorry for not replying for so long but things have been a little rough. I'm happy to say that it's been about 2 weeks of staying on 4.5mg of klonopin a day. I'm having some problems but I'm not sure if it's klonopin withdrawal. I'm not having panic attacks, general anxiety or any physiological withdrawal. BUT, I've noticed a return in obsessive thinking\intrusive thoughts. To my understanding, klonopin works on GABA and not really on seratonin. I know that OCD is believed to be a seratonin based disorder, so I'm not exactly sure why this is happening. I came to a theory that the klonopin was blocking the anxiety that's attached to the OCD but the underlying OCD was still there. Like it was kind of blocking it from allowing my brain to ackowledge the overexcitation of OCD but not controlling the underlying problem. OR, it could be that I am having anxiety because of my intense fear of benzo withdrawal, which brought me back to a fear of reliving a nervous breakdown I had several years ago after being kept on a drug called risperdal for 2 months (which resulted in severe depression, debilitating anxiety and obsessive thoughts borderlining delusional\psychotic thinking). I have my Doctor's appointment on thursday, but I'm afraid he'll up me on the lexapro. I'm already on 30 mg and don't want to go any higher (SSRI withdrawal is pretty bad as well and I want off all this garbage!). Has anyone heard anything like this or is it just me? 
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The obsessive thinking/intrusive thoughts are very common in withdrawal. Wd from konopin can cause many symptoms, it's a evil little drug.  Just realizing it is the drug will help with the obsessive thoughts.  Symptoms come and go, it seems they have a mind of their own ;D

 

Are you tapering of klono or doing a crossover to valium?

 

If you would, please do a signature line of your med and tapering schedule.  It makes it easier to keep up to date on what's going on. :)

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Thats kind of one of the problems I have right now. I don't have an exact schedule, I'm basically just making 10% cuts from 6mg. I'm currently down to 4.5 mg.The rate of dropping was going to be every 2-4 weeks and I was going to drop 0.25 untill I get down to 2mg, then drop 0.125 until I get down to 1mg. Then drop 0.0625 until I get to 0.5mg. And then drop 0.03125 until I eventually get below 0.25mg to 0.125 and stay on that for a few weeks and then drop.

BUT, considering the dilemma I seem to be having in addition to not making a clear plan with my Dr. yet,I have to see what's going to happen next. I see him on thursday and when I have the direct plan made out I'll put it in my signature. :)

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Going to see the doctor and asking for a change in medications can be a little intimidating.  They have the pen and power to grant your wish or leave you hanging.  I don't like that feeling.  My doctor wasn't real happy about this at first.  I left him with a complete taper schedule and asked him to think about it.  This was a jedi mind-tactic.  I knew that he would do it but didn't want to force the idea upon him. 

 

I thought he was going to drop me as a patient.  As it turns out, since the last visit, he congratulated me.  People change their minds.  Try to paint a clear picture in your head of how the visit is going to go. From the time you walk in, say hello to the time you leave.  Asking for smaller pills is really trite, so I don't see that you'll get any pushback.  If you do, you can always doctor shop a little.  I found my neurologist was going to help in case my p-doc was going to bail on me.  Just a thought, but you could always expand your list of doctors.

 

 

Good Luck.

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