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ChemicalGhost Cigarettes and Clonazepam/Muscle damage and Akathisia


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A brief intro to my issues. I'm not sure how to navigate this site yet, so I'll just post this and see what happens.


I took Paxil for roughly twelve years, from the age of 16 to the age of 28; I tried to stop taking it many times, but I had a busy life, and every time I attempted to remove it from my system, I would get brain zaps and gait problems, and so I always retreated in order to avoid interruptions to school and then later to work. When I was 26, while still on the drug, I began to experience muscular problems--rigidity and gait problems, primarily--as well as cognitive issues--these got worse and worse and forced me to start dropping out of life. It took me a long time to connect the symptoms to Paxil--I was tested for MS and a whole bunch of other things--I was experiencing what people on this site refer to as an adverse reaction. So I stopped taking it, cold turkey, and never took it again. But the muscular symptoms remained, they got worse, I developed chemical sensitivities, and severe akathisia. 


So after some years of struggling with these issues I started taking clonazepam, which helped with the worst of the muscle symptoms, but did not resolve them; I also started smoking cigarettes again (having quit for many years) as they seemed to balance the heaviness and cognitive issues caused by the original problem (from the Paxil), as well as the clonazepam. It was a very imperfect fix and my health has deteriorated much since; I've devoted years now to trying to stop smoking and stop taking clonazepam--but the two are linked--the cigarettes seem to help me think and feel things, but if I smoke them without clonazepam I get severe akathisia, muscular twisting, muscular rigidity, brain fog; If I take the clonazepam without smoking I can't feel much of anything and the world just goes blank. Plus the clonazepam only controls the worst of the muscle symptoms, it does not resolve them. I am constantly uncomfortable.


I've tried stopping both cold turkey many times--the longest I've made it is six weeks--but when I do I'm left with debilitating muscle problems--all kinds of muscle and flesh rigidity and twisting--and untenable chemical sensitivities. I should say that the chemical sensitivity reactions coincide with the worst of the muscle rigidity and akathisia. I've read many ideas for tapering clonazepam, but I've found them hard to follow, because in my case, cigarettes and clonazepam seem to be caught in some kind of terrible neurological dance, and I have no idea which to taper first or how. I've tried many. many combinations. I'm exhausted by the problem; it has taken years from my life and I don't feel like I'm any closer to solving it.


That's the short version; again, don't know how this site works exactly, so I'll just send this into the ether and wait for some kind of response.

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  • Altostrata changed the title to ChemicalGhost Cigarettes and Clonazepam/Muscle damage and Akathisia
  • Administrator

Welcome, @ChemicalGhost


If you have been experimenting by quitting either clonazepam or cigarettes cold turkey, that could be the root of your difficulty coming off them.


Clonazepam, of course, can cause brain fog. What is your daily clonazepam schedule, with dosages? Do you have a daily cigarette schedule?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks for replying. I've experimented with almost every combination I can think of. What I think is happening is that the cigarettes are acting as an agonist, promoting  the release of one or many neurotransmitters, thus stabilizing my muscular problems; the trouble is I'm intolerant to all the other stuff in the cigarettes--other than whatever is creating the effect--so if I taper, what happens is there's too much muscle rigidity caused by all the other chemicals and not enough relief from whatever's helping (I'm not convinced it's nicotine, since I've unsuccessfully tried using that on its own). 


I read and reread your article recent article in which you mention that you became intolerant to most medications. I too have been suffering from that. It's been that way for many, many years, since I discontinued the Paxil in 2009. I actually think that this explains my chemical sensitivities too (although, obviously I don't know for sure). I think I'm intolerant to both the clonazepam and the cigarettes, it's just that both contain something that in effect controls the damage that each is doing, creating an unstable, deeply damaging harmony. Something in the cigarettes is easing the reaction that the cigarettes cause, and the muscle relaxant properties of clonazepam control the muscle rigidity that clonazepam would cause if it were any other pill. 


I take between 1.5 and 2 mg of clonazepam a day and smoke about a pack and a half of cigarettes--how much of one substance I use is determined by how much of the other, but it's not a linear relationship and I've never been able to figure it out, exactly, so tapering schedules have not worked for me, as hard as I've tried. 


My theory is that I was healing very slowly and uncomfortably form the damage done by the Paxil, and then I interrupted that healing with the current mix. I read what you wrote about kindling, and was wondering if you thought that it's relevant to this situation. 


The chemical sensitivities, the intolerance to medications--they all create the same reaction--very uncomfortable muscle rigidity, akathisia, and reduced ability to think and feel clearly. I'm very familiar with the brain fog you mentioned.


I guess I'm wondering of you--or any one else reading this--has had a similar experience with a third, non antidepressant substance. I've read through a lot of the stories on this page, and many, many of the symptoms and problems are very familiar to me, but I'm stumped by the cigarette thing. It's not a normal cigarette addiction--I'm basically smoking to be able to think clearly, have some muscular stability, and to have some semblance of feeling in my body. And I experience them in the same way I used to experience the Paxil and its aftermath--again, through cycles of muscle rigidity and dysfunction, cognitive problems, and an inability to feel properly. I don't think I can get better in any meaningful way until my body is free of these things, but I'm stuck right now.


Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can provide.

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  • Administrator

What is your clonazepam and cigarette schedule, with clonazepam dosages? You may have to keep daily notes for this.


To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.


This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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