I think your plan is a good one. As my nutritionist would always say "steady as she goes". Remember, your nervous system has become addicted to this drug. It is very important that you come off of the drug slowly, so there is not a major jolt to your system. Each one of us is different, has been on the drug longer or shorter, and so can come off of it in a difference process, time-wise.
As your other posts have indicated, you have been good to bring proper eating and nutrients (e.g., GABA) into your daily diet, as this is important. You must not only come off of the drug, but you must calm your body by proper eating and supplementation and eventually simply proper eating and daily living in such a way as your body remains calm...just finding times throughout the day to sit, close your eyes, and rest will help. Remember to get out into the refresh air, too, and take walks each day, if only once around the block, so to speak. Nature is also a great healer. Again, this drug affects the nervous system and so anything that can be done to calm the nervous system should be done.
NOTE: Once you are off this drug, should you ever go to an MD for any other reason and he/she prescribes a drug, always ask the question "does this affect my nervous system". If the answer is "yes," think long and hard as to whether or not you should take the drug. Explain the situation to the MD and perhaps the doctor will have an alternative drug. Best yet, live a healthy life, so you don't have to go to a doctor. My doctor nowadays is a competent chiropractor (notice the word competent, as there are some who are not), who helps to keep me from getting sick. If I get a sniffle or whatever, the first person I go to is my chiropractor; not an MD. You'd be amazed at what they can do...and without drugs. I learned a good lesson: it is better (and cheaper) to spend money to stay healthy than to recover from a sickness. If you do not have a competent chiropractor in your life, I would highly recommend finding one. Take your time and find a good one. By keeping your spine healthy, a lot of ailments can and will be avoided. And, do not sign up with a chiropractor who wants you to lay down $2,000 (or whatever) for a year's worth of adjustments. I've been there, and I'm totally against it, and I have an opinion of chiropractors who do this, and it is not a good opinion. Just find one who will charge you when you go. Generally, you will pay more on the first visit, due to the paperwork that their staff has to do and the extra time the doctor has to spend with you, but then each time thereafter will be less, and sometimes considerably less. Since this is a whole new subject and can get long, I'll just leave it there. If you have further questions on this subject, post your question, and I'll try to answer.
Keep up the great work. You're getting there. And, if you start getting some of the withdrawal affects (e.g., shakes, night sweats, ringing in ears, stomach pains), even though they are awful, rejoice in them, because it means that you are getting the drug out of your system. It might prove to be tough, but you are tougher.
One last thing. It is critical that you keep a positive attitude, especially when you go through the dark times of this withdrawal. And, when you are off of it, and you will be, it is important that you, that all of us, keep good positive attitude, because what we think truly is powerful. Remember: "That which you think becomes your world".
Hang in there! Keep us posted on how it goes.
Hats off to you for sharing your story about getting off clonazapam.
I too, have a success story on weaning off this powerful drug. I had been on this drug for approx. 20 years. I started taking the drug after I ended up in the emergency room numerous times thinking I was having a heart attack, only to find out I was having severe panic attack episodes. I was first prescribed clonazapam by my physician, starting at 1mg a day. It worked great for awhile, until 1mg was not enough anymore. The next thing I knew, I was up to 4mg a day.
I have to say, the clonazapam was not an issue until it became increasingly harder to get a prescription for it. That is when I decided I had to stop being a slave to this drug and get off of it.
The worst thing anyone can do, is go COLD TURKEY! DO NOT TRY THIS. You must wean off this drug very slowly. The slower you wean off of it, the easier it will be.
As I mentioned earlier, I was at 4mg a day. After approx. a little over a year and with the help of a wonderful Physician, I am down to .50 a day!( That is a half a milligram). Since it was done very slowly, I had very minimal-if any side effects. The only real side effect I have encountered is insomnia, which I remedied by taking 2 over the counter Benadryl's to help me fall asleep.
I started by going down from 4mg a day to 3 1/2 mg a day for one month. The next month, I was brought down to 3mg. My Doctor then stabilized me on this dosage for another month, then brought me down another notch to 2 1/2 mg a day.
Each month, I was brought down by 1/2 a milligram. If I had any withdrawal symptoms, she stabilized me for an additional month.
The most difficult part is right now, since I have never taken anything lower then 1mg. She stabilized me at 1mg for 2 months,then just recently brought me down to a half a mg a day.
So far, I am O.K. I am confident I will soon be free of this drug. My doctor is not rushing me, which I believe is the key to successfully getting off of this drug with minimal side effects. Of course, everyone's body is different. But, what musicman and I share is the concept of a positive attitude. STAY AWAY FROM THE NEGATIVE WEBSITES! This one is an excellent forum.
Good luck to all and thank you musicman for your positive postings!
I am very happy to hear of your success. And, what you say here is VERY true. No one should go cold turkey off of this drug. It must be done slowly. The course that you took to come off of it is excellent. Staying positive in attitude is, as you say, very critical.
I am absolutely sure that you will get off of that final 1/2 milligram. Once you do, please come back and give us all an update. Until then, I (and I'm sure others) will be rooting for you.
You can do it!!!
MM, K8 here. day 9 of reducing 1/2 tab. was 1, 1/2, 1, 1/2etc. now 1/2 at night everynight. ears ring louder at night, nerves in gumsactive, anxious. im drinking herbal tea and hanging in hot tub. any idea when this will subside?
its 8:30 am here. not sure if i should eat. drinking alot, having loose stools too
K8 ... I'm not sure why it takes SH so long to let me know that a post has hit this thread, so I do apologize for not getting to you sooner.
OK, so you are at 1/2 now. That is good. And what you are experiencing is exactly what I would expect. You're body is essentially saying "what do you think you are doing...I want that drug...stick it back in me...NOW". When I was coming off the drug, I often thought to myself, is the ringing louder at night, or is it just quieter at night and I notice it more. In any event...this, too, will pass. (NOTE: keep track of the phases of the moon, as a full moon will be a challenging time for you...actually, it is for anyone at anytime no matter if they are taking a drug or not...just be aware that the phases of the moon will affect a person and even more so when you are coming off a drug.)
It seems that two of the withdrawal symptoms that hold on to the end are the pains in the stomach and the ringing in the ears. I'm only guessing, but maybe the ringing in the ears has to do with the fact that the drug affects the nervous system and the ears are sensitive to the nervous system. That is truly only a guess.
Yes, you will continue to be anxious until you have this junk out of your system. PLEASE ... I hope that you are replacing the drug with GABA (maybe some more of the supplements that I spoke of) and with good nutritious food. Eat a LOT of vegetables, and green, leafy vegetables even more. That broccoli is good too...try it first thing in the morning, and drink the water that the broccoli is cooked in. Very nutritious.
As far as the loose stools go, you want to be careful that you do not get dehydrated from that, or you'll have more problems. Eventually the loose stools will subside, but until they do, drink a lot of water. You can eat. But, again, it MUST be nutritious food and try not to eat two hours before bedtime, unless it is something that will digest quickly. For example, fruit will digest faster than other foods, which is why you should not eat fruit with your meals...which is a whole other topic. Anyway, if you are hungry, let's say an hour before bed, try an apple. Chew it very good.
Right now, you are at the critical point. If you are not eating good food and drinking a lot of clean water and, if possible, taking some of the recommended supplements, then it's going to be harder.
I'm hoping for your sake, that you do not have stomach pains. They will happen more at night, when lying down. If it happens, get up and get a glass of water to break up the acid. There are the other supplements that I suggested that will help, as will the Yogi Stomach Ease tea.
You are on the right track. You simply have to stick with it at this point. Eventually, you're body will give in and you will win. Don't give up! You can do it!
Keep us posted.
K8 ... I wanted to add another point that is a good one made by "GUEST" just above your posts. Guest spoke about how his doctor would stabilize him for perhaps a month if things got a little tough. So, you might find that you will have to stay at 1/2 a pill for a month and then start to take 1/2 a pill every other day or 1/4 pill every day. Remember, this is not a race. This is a powerful drug, and you want to wean yourself off of it very very carefully. Read all of the "Guest" post just above yours. I endorse all that was said in it.
Hi Musicman and K8.
Yes. You should STABILIZE yourself for at least a month on a 1/2 mg. Your body needs time to adjust to the lower dosage.
I have posted before and musicman and I are both (in my opinion), success stories. I would also like to add that ringing
in the ears and a loose stool are common side effects when one is weaning off this drug. Do not panic about this.
Panic and anxiety are what put people on this drug to begin with.
Keep it up. You will get there eventually. If you are having any severe side effects, please consult a Physician you are
comfortable with. If any Doctor tells you to drop too rapidly from this drug, find another one.
It may take at the least a year to fully get off of this drug. But- if you do it slowly and the right way, you will be another success story.
Just giving anyone who reads these posts an update. I have been stabilized on 1/2mg a day now for three weeks.
I have had some loose stools over the course of the last three weeks, but otherwise I am fine.
After this month ( 4 weeks) are over, I will be switching between 1/2 mg and 1/4 mg every two to three days.
I will do this for a month and see how it goes, then gradually taper down to a 1/4.
At that point I will STABILIZE on a 1/4 mg for a month. This has been working for me, so I am sticking to weaning
off as slowly as possible. To anyone out there who is going through this process, remember the story about the Turtle and the Hare. The turtle is slower, but won the race!!!
This is very good advice. Yes, you don't want to end up doing something that put you on the drug in the first place.
Way to go, chanteuse14!!!
You can do it. The side affects of the withdrawal are tough. But, if you slowly come off the drug, you will make it. And, as my other original posts suggest, it is important to replace the drug with proper supplementation (e.g., GABA, etc) and nutritious food and then mostly just nutritious food. Don't forget about getting out for walks (or if anyone cannot walk, then just being out in nature someway will help). So, keep up with your plan.
It sounds like a good one. And, yes, the Hare did win the race!
Keep us posted.
As an individual who is a natural health nut, it's hard to believe my present situation. In 2003 after the birth of my first child, I was given Paxil to treat major post-partum depression/anxiety. I am now here as a long-time user of clonazepam who is currently in the process of weaning. I was originally prescribed clonazepam in 2007 after the birth of my third child because of another experience of intense post-partum anxiety for which the Paxil was not working. about 1.5 years ago I sucessfully weaned off of Clonazepam, and it wasn't until three weeks later I experienced horrible, almost indescribable withdrawal HELL which sent me to the ER after a seizure.
Needless to say, this time around I am extrememly frightened about how this experience will go, and hearing your success stories have helped me so much.
At this time I must add that it was only 2 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 3 Lyme disease, with co-infections of Rickettsia typhi, Rickettsi felis and wide-spread candida overgrowth. I originally started seeing my current health care professional (a "Functional Physician" who combines allopathic with natural remedies and treatments) because of a dependence on benzos hoping he could help me to wean successfully and 'quickly'. In his wisdom he said, 'no, let's thoroughly test you for x, y, or z because I believe there is a major infection of some kind hiding beneath the anxiety, pain, fatigue and depression'. Thank God, because at that point in time after a series of testings, I was diagnosed with chronic, wide-spread Lyme infection, and my doctor believed it was indeed the Lyme in the brain which was causing my symptoms of anxiety, and so there started my process to healing from this horrible disease.
To make a very painful and long story short, through a series of natural treatments, supplements, as well as a time of pharmaceutical antibiotics, I am completely free of the Lyme bacteria as well as the other co-infections. I am in 'remission'! Note: a person is never truly 'healed' from Lyme...but I now posess all the tools to keep the infection at bay and function as a relatively normal human being.
I decided recently it was time to wean off of the Clonazepam since my infection was under control and my brain function is being supported by various supplements (many of which music man has mentioned previously). I am going to add here I AM VERY DEPENDANT ON THIS DRUG!!! Because of my previous experience with weaning, my doctor is leading me through an extremely slow wean. I hope this makes sense: My 'regular' or prescribed dose was 3 mg/day, 1 in the am and 2 in the evening. He's reducing my dose by .25 mg total per week. For example, with 3mg/day dose, I am taking 6, .5 mg pills per day, or 42, .5 mg pills/week. My first total reduction was to go down to 41.5 pills total a week, and continue with that reduction until I am off. (18 months or so). His prediction is it will go much more smoothly this time because my health has been restored AND we are doing it much more slowly.
All of this said, I am in a bit of TROUBLE. My wonderful, faithful, and supportive husband has been helping me with my wean, and because of my strong dependancy/addiction to the drug, i have him keep the pills and distribute them to me daily. The trouble I speak of comes in because I happened to find the hiding place of the pills, I acted impulsively and poured a handful out and kept them in my purse and would pop 1, 2 or ever 4 at a time if I felt anxious or if I was having difficulty sleeping, etc. I have no idea how many 'extra' pills I took.
****THIS IS WHERE I NEED ADVICE: Last night I confessed to my husband about taking the pills from the container and after we counted I only have 29.5, .5 mg pills to last for 7 DAYS UNTIL I CAN REFILL MY PRESCRIPTION.
I acknowledge completely this is my fault and in my lack of foresight, I've put myself in a very difficult situation. What I'd like to do and am trying to do, is divide what's left into 7 doses and try to push through. THIS MEANS MY TOTAL DOSE PER DAY IS ONLY 4 PILLS, OR 2 MG A DAY...A FAR LOWER DOSE THAN I WAS PREVIOUSLY TAKING (ESPECIALLY SINCE I WAS SNEAKING SOME).
If you were in my place, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?? would you fess up to the doctor and try to get an earlier prescription, or would you suffer through a week of a major decrease in meds??? Again, I have tons of natural supplements to support my brain function, and I will be happy to list them for anyone. I also take benadryl and melatonin at night for sleep.
PLEASE PLEASE...I REALLY NEED SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT. I AM SCARED.
A very heartfelt Thank you to all who takes the time to read my post and respond with encouragment, advice, and words of wisdom. Sounds like most of you have been through some rough times yourselves, and I know I will benefit from having you share your wisdom with me. God bless.
I am happy for you AND us that you found your way to this thread that I started a while back. I hope others will join in to give you support, but you can be sure you have my support. Others will also learn from your experience.
Look...don't beat up on yourself. People who have not been on clonazepam do not understand how addictive this drug is. They don't understand that even the thought of coming of the drug is frightening. It truly is. ESPECIALLY, if a person has tried to come of off the drug in the past and knows what the withdrawal symptoms are.
Considering the amount that you take, it is CRITICAL that you come off of this drug very slowly, or you could have a seizure. I'm not trying to scare you. I'm in your corner and want you to simply come through this.
I'm very tempted to say that you need to tell the doctor that you need to have a talk and then simply say what you have done. Believe me, carrying clonazepam in your purse and having them on hand to pop them is not a good thing, and I am sure you know that now. The doctor might be a bit stern with you but only for your own good. Let the doctor decide if you should get a special fill-up to bring you just enough pills to make up the shortfall.
If, however, you cannot get up the nerve to talk with the doctor, try to save your pills for the nighttime, as that will be the toughest. Also, along with the pill (or portion of the pill), take one GABA capsule at bedtime. You can take two more during the day if you must, and probably should.
If you have trouble sleeping, you mentioned melatonin, which is good. I would, however, like to recommend something else I have found that is all natural and contains melatonin. I've written so much on this subject, that I might have mentioned it before, but it is a relatively new product developed by MIT. It is called Somnapure and I have found that it can be purchased at CVS and GNC (NOTE TO MODERATOR: I hope I have not violated a rule by mentioning these two places.) You will want to take two tablets about 30 minutes before going to bed, but not longer than 60 minutes before bed.
And...make sure that you have not eaten two hours before bed. I have written extensively on what to do if you get stomach pains and night sweats, etc, and so I'll not repeat myself.
Although I cannot speak for the others who frequent this thread, you can be sure that I wish you the best and hope that you will keep us posted and use this thread as a way to communicate how you are doing.
Lastly, I would simply like to state that I think you are very lucky to have the doctor you have. Diagnosing the Lime Disease was a blessing to you, and I'm sure you know that as well.
This will take time. Eighteen months is certainly a good pace to take in weaning off of this drug.
Hang in there!!!
Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words, musicman...I was thinking about how far-reaching your efforts have been and how many people have likely been helped by the advice you've given on this site. I have actually read your posts a while ago...maybe even a year back or so, and I am so thankful I found them again.
Today is my second full day on a significantly lower dose than normal and I am definitely feeling the weight of the withdrawals now. I am experiencing twitches, anxiety and general nervousness as well as trouble finding words, and brain-fog. I have decided I will call my doctor in the am and see how he can help me. Knowing my past and how hard worked to get off the first time, but then suffered a seizure, I know he does not want me to suffer again like that, even if I did make a stupid mistake!
I am determined to be smart from here on out and not take more cloazepam than I am supposed to. Crazy how an intelligent, educated, upright, and well-meaning person can turn into a liar and a thief when addicted to drugs. This has been a great lesson for me, and I hope it may encourage others as well :-)
Best to you and I will keep you guys updated on my progress just in case there is someone it may benefit!
Benzonomore... It seems that the notifications of the Steady Health postings are about two days behind. I am guessing this is for the moderators to assure that all rules are followed before releasing a post.
I hope by now, a day later, that you have seen the doctor as you were planning on doing yesterday and that you are back on track. As far as turning "into a liar and a thief when addicted to drugs," we all do things that we are less than proud of, but this helps to mold us into human beings who can have empathy for others who find themselves in the same situation. Life most certainly has its lessons.
Thank you for your nice comments about my post. When I first started on this journey back in the early part of 2010, I really didn't have anyone to guide me, until I teamed up with my board certified nutritionist. At first I made all the mistakes that everyone else has done. People from different parts of the world have either posted on this thread or have written to me via the Steady Health messaging system. I'm happy to have been able to help people in any way possible.
I would say that the four main things that everyone should keep in mind are:
1 - NEVER come off of this drug "cold turkey". It must be a slow process. And, there might be a month or months where a person will have to stay at a specific dosage and stabilize before cutting back to the next lower dosage. That's OK. Take it slow.
2 - Because a person's nervous system has become dependent upon the drug, proper supplementation is essential during this process, i.e. taking the supplements that I have suggested previously (e.g., GABA) is important so that the body's nervous system can remain calmer during the reduction in the clonazepam, and help to deal with the withdrawal side affects.
3 - Proper eating is essential. Vegetables are critical. For example, broccoli helps to bring the body to a more alkaline state, which will help to calm the body. Caffeine will merely make your job harder, and so try your best to reduce or cut out caffeine altogether (that can be just as hard, so take that slowly, too).
4 - Get exercise in the outdoors. I don't mean that you need to become an athlete, but if nothing else, go for a walk each day. If a person reading this is bound to a wheelchair, get outside anyway with the wheelchair, as just being out in the open air is healing to the body and spirit. I'm not suggesting a speed walk, though that is fine. Even a slow stroll in the fresh air would be good. Again, the idea is to calm the body and its nervous system without the use of clonazepam.
So, as you are coming off of the clonazepam, what you are trying to do is replace it with good, wholesome nutrients, food, and exercise. This is a life change and should continue on after you are fully off the drug. And, you WILL be off the drug. Just keep focused on your goal.
And, I will say this again, as I believe I have stated it elsewhere, my nutritionist told me that anytime I go to the doctor in the future, I am to ask if any drug that the doctor is prescribing affects the nervous system. If it does, then I am to ask for an alternative. Or, I'll be back in the same boat, so to speak.
You can do this. Do, indeed, keep us posted.