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Having some trouble


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I had taken Klonopin for 17 years for panic disorder. I was prescribed .5 mg as needed up to 2x a day. I've never gone past 1 mg a day.


I have a joint disorder (EDS) that isn't degenerative but has resulted in damage to my jaw joint due to me unconsciously tensing my muscles. My doc swapped me from .5 Klonopin as needed up to 2x per day to 5 mg Diazapam to see if that would help, as the Klonopin seemed to wear off mid day and I suspected that when it I would get severe jaw muscle tensing. They noted Diazepam has a longer half life, is a great muscle relaxer, and will allow me to titrate down if I wanted to so therefore checked a lot of boxes. I was told to skip a day of klonopin and start Diazapam the next day.


The low dose ended poorly, and the doc bumped the dose to 10 mg as the rebound anxiety and muscle tensing was overwhelming. I now take 5 mg in the morning and 5 mg in the evening. I've been doing this for 6 months or so. The rebound anxiety got a little better with the swap to 10 mg Diazepam but it is still pretty darn bad. I used to be a solid public speaker for example as that's part of my job, but now when I need to speak publicly at prepared events I have full blown panic attacks before and recently find myself avoiding opportunities to speak at prepared work events.


My questions for those that can help:


- Is there a non-benzo muscle relaxer that can help here? Anyone else go through terrible muscle tensing that has resulted in joint damage, such as the jaw joint? This muscle tensing is kicking my butt and the pain is chronic. I'm assuming this is exacerbating the anxiety I have and is partly responsible for the short term / working memory issues I'm running into. I'm working on this but standard OTC medicine doesn't work. The treatment i found that did work is botox, but it is costly even with insurance covering it.


- I understand that they're different drugs, but am I just SOL now after the swap from Klonopin for my previous panic disorder? Seriously, where the heck is all this anxiety coming from with this swap? I want to be clear, I push through and do not give into fear usually. I meditate, practice positive thinking, etc and am a very optimistic person. "I will succeed despite X, and not fail because X".


- How long after swapping from Klonopin to Diazapam can I start tapering? I was waiting for some sort of moment that things started to feel "normal" again anxiety and muscle tenseness wise to begin, but that doesn't seem to be happening.


- The reason I began the journey was that I realized my muscles would tense so bad every time i tried to stop benzos cold turkey that they've probably caused joint damage when they wear off or when I tried cutting cold turkey over the years. I've also suffered from relatively poor short term memory, and poor working memory. However, I can't tell if I'm shooting myself in the foot trying to get off Benzos or if I'm just one of those people that should stay on them for the rest of my life. I'm willing to push through discomfort, but are there people that are just meant to stay on these things forever because quitting is going to do more damage than just staying physically dependent?


Thanks in advance for the advise.

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First, your doctor made an error when they told you to stop the Klonopin then start the Diazepam, the Diazepam should have been gradually introduced while withdrawing the Klonopin, you were left without adequate coverage of your symptoms.  Diazepam is a long acting drug, it takes time to build up in your system.  Your doctor also put you on too low of a dose so that explains some of your initial discomfort.  https://clincalc.com/Benzodiazepine/


Secondly, there are some who can stay on these drugs for life but there were only intended to be used for 2-4 weeks and from the description of your symptoms, I'd say it won't be possible for you since the symptoms you're describing will most likely cause you to need to keep increasing your dose to achieve the same effect.


When we become dependent on these drugs, they begin to cause what we took them to eliminate, anxiety, panic, insomnia, restless legs, tinnitus and a multitude of other symptoms.  Many have found that once they get off the drug and recover from their use that what the drug caused was so much worse than normal, they could manage it easily, drug free.


I don't have much experience with muscle relaxers but I do know that Soma will affect GABA so I'd stay away from that.


I know I haven't addressed all of your concerns, so lets keep talking.


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