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☼ FightingForHope: Tiny, occasional doses of Clonazepam ok to help with withdrawal?

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FightingForHope

Hello,

I am new here and 3 months fully off of Paxil, tapered from 20mg over the last year. I am experiencing debilitating panic and anxiety with cortisol spikes from early morning to about noon, and in the 3-4 weeks I resorted to taking tiny doses (7 total, of 0.125mg to 0.25mg) of clonazepam which really help an *unbelievable* amount (even at tiny doses). I am overall doing better than I was from my 5th month into tapering to about a month ago I guess, the progress is slow and painful, but it is there. I feel I am stalled though, or exasperated with the extreme tension, which made me reach for the clonazepam. My history with clonazepam is that it was prescribed to me over many years along with paxil, 0.5mg to be taken once a day or as needed, for anxiety. I never took it daily, rather as needed on a particularly stressful day. Overall one 30 pill bottle always lasted me way longer than the month. I admit I monitored my use poorly though, so I have no real idea how addicted my system is to it. I had stopped it altogether on Jan 17, and was totally without for about a month. I am wondering whether it is ok to use these tiny doses once a week or so, to help me along while I recover - or if I am simply prolonging the process by staying hooked on something which may very well also be responsible for the withdrawal anxiety, depression, depersonalization (big time), etc? If anyone has a similar experience or advice I would greatly appreciate it. Reading the wealth of information on this site has been helping me immeasurably through this ... Thank you in advance!

ps - I have tried non drug methods for the anxiety; mild exercise, asmr videos, soothing music and Bliss Johnson's clips, milk and triptophan foods, valerian root a few times, omega 3 fish oil supplements, magnesium ... it all helps a bit, but those morning insomnia/cortisol spikes have become unbearable again.

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Fresh

Hi FightingForHope ,   welcome to the site.

 

At 4 months since your last dose of Paxil , you may be at the start of a difficult period of protracted withdrawal.

 

How did you taper off the paxil ,  could you give more detail of dates and doses the last 6 months of your taper?

 

What seems to happen is that tiny doses of benzos stop having the desired effect , and larger and larger doses are required after just  a couple of weeks of regular use.

And by then , you can't just stop them without risking setting off more w/d symptoms.

 

There's no real point replacing one drug for another.  Your best bet may be reinstating a tiny dose of paxil , getting stable , and then tapering off slowly.

Please see the link on reinstating here  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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FightingForHope

Hi Fresh,

Thanks for your reply! I see your point, I was also thinking it was probably a mistake to take it. My tapering schedule wasn't the best, as I was advised by my doctor to half my doses. He basically told me to play it by ear and see how I felt. So I didn't halve right away, instead I went from 20mg to 15mg for about a month in April 2015, then 10 in May- that's when some trouble started. Moodiness, being emotional. Then in June I tried to go to 8/5mg but the effects were terrible immediately, so I went back to 10mg and held til July. In July I started alternating days, 10mg and 5 mg (which I now understand is a bad idea). In August I dropped to 5mg, and switched to liquid in September, when I dropped to 4mg. From Sept to December I gradually got down to zero, mg by mg, which was easier to measure with the liquid paxil form. The whole time I tried to stay away from clonazepam, only resorting to 0.25 - 0.125mg cuts occasionally, but as I mentioned, I did not keep good track of it. The entire taper til today was pretty hellish, I pretty much experienced all the symptoms I read about, panic, insomnia, agitation, anger, emotionality, nausea, social anxiety, headaches, stubborn sinusitis and ear infections ... I am really lucky to have a very supportive boyfriend who helps me as much as he can, and to somehow have managed to keep my job. Buy it has taken its toll, and I am still dealing with the same symptoms, albeit milder, and now depression. But I am determined. This site has helped me understand a lot of what was and is happening.

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FightingForHope

Thank you Chessie Cat! I will check them out.

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FightingForHope

Thank you ChessieCat, the articles are very useful! :)

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Fresh

What is your symptom pattern like now FFH ?

 

What is your current clonazepam usage like in relation to your symptom pattern?

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Wellness

Fightingforhope,

 

Congratulations on your decision to come off of these drugs and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.

 

Regarding the use of benzodiazepine, you are wondering whether using them once in a while could be the cause of the increased anxiety?  Yes, it could be, it is possible.  You say that you may have taken it more frequently in the past, maybe as much as 2-3 times a week or more so it is possible that you developed some tolerance in the past.  It is possible that you are now feeling withdrawal from not only Paxil but also from clonazepam.    

 

If it is the case that part of your withdrawal symptoms are caused from clonazepam withdrawal, then taking clonazepam, even just once a week, can prevent your brain from adapting to a drug free state and continued use of clonazepam can maintain you in a state of withdrawal.  

 

I understand that the high anxiety you are experiencing lasts for a few hours in the morning, and I don't mean to minimize the extent of the suffering you are having, but if all you have are a few hours of symptoms in the morning, consider yourself on the right path to being benzo free.  Withdrawal from clonazepam can get a lot worse, and tolerance can build in a matter of a couple of weeks.  You could be in a position where you would have to do a slow taper that could last months.  Your best option may be to light a fire in the fireplace and empty the bottle of clonazepam in it.  

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elbee

FightingForHope . . . I'm new here so I don't really have any advice, but know I'm in your corner :)

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FightingForHope

Fightingforhope,

 

Congratulations on your decision to come off of these drugs and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.

 

Regarding the use of benzodiazepine, you are wondering whether using them once in a while could be the cause of the increased anxiety?  Yes, it could be, it is possible.  You say that you may have taken it more frequently in the past, maybe as much as 2-3 times a week or more so it is possible that you developed some tolerance in the past.  It is possible that you are now feeling withdrawal from not only Paxil but also from clonazepam.    

 

If it is the case that part of your withdrawal symptoms are caused from clonazepam withdrawal, then taking clonazepam, even just once a week, can prevent your brain from adapting to a drug free state and continued use of clonazepam can maintain you in a state of withdrawal.  

 

I understand that the high anxiety you are experiencing lasts for a few hours in the morning, and I don't mean to minimize the extent of the suffering you are having, but if all you have are a few hours of symptoms in the morning, consider yourself on the right path to being benzo free.  Withdrawal from clonazepam can get a lot worse, and tolerance can build in a matter of a couple of weeks.  You could be in a position where you would have to do a slow taper that could last months.  Your best option may be to light a fire in the fireplace and empty the bottle of clonazepam in it.  

Hello Wellness!

 

I probably didn't explain well, but basically the tension/panic/intrusive thoughts are at their worst from about 3am-5am (depending on when I wake - I am actually able to sleep a bit more now, til 5-6am or so) to noon-1pm; they continue throughout the day, but they are at their worst then. After I wrote my initial post on March 13, I took one more clonazepam dose on March 22, one on April 1, and again on the 5. I realized I am likely suffering withdrawal from both the AD and clon., so I have been going without the clonazepam for the past 2 weeks, and am determined to do without. I am encouraged by the fact that I am doing better these days, having moments of relief, and I am able to stay asleep a bit longer than before, when I was waking up at 3 am no matter what. Now I can sleep until 5-6am, and overall I do feel a bit better.

Thanks for your input! It's great to be able to talk to people who actually understand!

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FightingForHope

FightingForHope . . . I'm new here so I don't really have any advice, but know I'm in your corner :)

Thanks so much Elbee! Likewise, for sure! :) 

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FightingForHope

What is your symptom pattern like now FFH ?

 

What is your current clonazepam usage like in relation to your symptom pattern?

Hello Fresh,

 

My symptoms are at their worst when I wake up, which until about two weeks ago was 3am no matter what. Two weeks ago or so I started sleeping a bit more, now fairly consistently until 5-6am, which feels like a huge relief somehow; I am encouraged, since the insomnia is/was almost the worst part of this whole process. Panic/tension/intrusive thoughts get better around noon-1pm. I am pretty miserable for the rest of the day too, but am able to cope better as the day progresses, and more so these days, even though I am always tired and tense. I do have more moments of relief though. The depression, guilt, confusion, shame, obsession with my failures as a human being, fear of imagined scenarios, difficulty going to non-routine places, and the like, are with me all the time, just sometimes more in the background of my mind than other times. While on Paxil I was taking clonazepam erratically, but I estimate 1-3 times a week, depending. From Dec 11 (last dose of Paxil) - Jan 26 (or a bit longer, not sure) I went without, then started taking it about once a week, not on a consistent schedule. I haven't taken any for the last 2 weeks, and will try to do without completely, period; I feel a bit better these days, so I am encouraged. I agree that I am probably only prolonging my withdrawal, since I have likely built a tolerance to it too.

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Fresh

Good for you , very sensible decision. You're right about building tolerance , and it will only start

to complicate things for you.

 

We do recommend taking magnesium , which can have a calming , relaxing effect , and fish oil. Both will

assist your recovery.

 

See our magnesium thread here "Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker" http://survivinganti...90&hl=magnesium

Also "King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)" http://survivinganti...96&hl=magnesium

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FightingForHope

Hi Fresh, and thanks! I can't seem to be able to click on the links, the site takes me back to this thread instead... I will try to find them in forums. I did take fish oil until I ran out, but I will buy more because it did help calm me a bit. I also tried magnesium for a bit, but I didn't notice any benefits - I will try again for longer this time. Right away, too, because I've really been struggling these past couple of days, ironically pretty much since I wrote here that I had started feeling a smidge better :( The anger, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, negativity about myself and others, and the insomnia have been pretty bad. I slept for maybe 4 hours last night, and during the day at work kept imagining that I would be getting fired soon (no real reason to think that), and that everyone around me at work was hearing my true negative thoughts, talking about me and my madness, and judging me to be not fit for society, so to speak ... I've been fighting a wicked sinus infection too, so today I stayed home from work... but those thoughts keep hounding me, and sleep comes for a few minutes then I'm awake again, alternating between wanting to disappear in shame, indignation, anger, desperation, fear, restlessness and/or plain depression. I have conversations in my head that are ludicrous. I second guess everything. I don't know who I am anymore; I've read these are not uncommon, and I am hoping they are neuro-emotions that will pass, but right now I am not sure of anything. Maybe i should post this in a different thread, but I'm not sure of that either.

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Altostrata

How are you doing, FFH?

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FightingForHope

Hello Altostrata, thank you for checking on me!

 

I will re-post here the answer I just gave to another member. I am happy to report that I am much improved. Sometimes I wonder how much of what I experience now are "left over" symptoms, and how much of it is just me and/or life. But I definitely don't feel anywhere close to the nightmare I felt like I was living in those days.

 

"Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but like many who have eventually gotten better, I don't like to think about those days too much, and I haven't visited this site in a long time. I am happy to report however, that I am basically back to normal life! I still occasionally struggle with some anxiety/insomnia/overreaction, but nothing like it used to be. I got engaged last year too :) I am generally functioning as normal, with some occasional bumps on the road. The hopelessness is gone though, and I feel like I've developed some "emotional muscle" that helps me get through challenges, whereas I was a trembling leaf during my recovery. I have definitely found myself again, with the help of my dad, friends, and an excellent therapist. I haven't taken anything but supplements and some acne and cholesterol medication since I quit these monster meds."

 

So I am glad to say I successfully survived it :) This site helped me immeasurably, and I am forever grateful to you and the members' advice!
 

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ChessieCat

That's a great update.  And congratulations on your engagement.  Thank you for coming back to update us.  It is very much appreciated.

 

You might find this topic helpful, written by mod BrassMonkey who is now +1 year post Paxil:

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

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Carmie

What a great update FightingForHope,

 

Thanks for sharing. Pop in every now and again and keep us updated. It’s nice to read stories like yours. Sending hugs🤗

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Carmie

Good to hear you're doing better.

 

This calls for our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol ☼ to be added to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

 

Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

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