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How long can I expect to feel withdrawal effects from clonazepam?
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How long can I expect to feel withdrawal effects from clonazepam?

I had been on clonazepam for about 5 years up until a week ago! I started out at .5mg AM & PM and gradual increase until 3 mg (1mg AM and 2mg PM) for about the last 3 years. In October 2010, the gradual decrease started down to .5mg from February 17, 2011 to April 17, 2011. Now, since LAST WEEK, Monday, April 18, I was totally taken off the clonazepam and prescribed divalproax. It has been 7 days today and I am REALLY in a battle within my own body. I do not know how much longer I can continue to fight these INCREDIBLE symptoms (increased heart-rate, intense craving, increased anxiety & fear... LOTS OF FEAR! I have experienced a utter lack of concentration, loss for words when speaking, ringing in ears, diarrhea,  upset stomach, increased trouble sleeping, nightmares, anger, hopelessness and extreme irritability.
Is there any SAFE alternatives or ANYTHING that will help ease these feelings? How long will they last? Am I through the hard part yet? I have never experienced anything like this before and it truly scares me!!!
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1671133_tn?1311541578
Sorry to hear that you are going through that. I went through withdrawal b4, and it is very unpleasant. Whenever you abruptly stop taking a med, especially something you have taken every day for the length of 5 yrs, you are going to increase the anxiety & panic attack feelings. Your doctor should have tried weening you off, which is much safer than just stopping cold turkey. Is there a reason your doctor took you off? Was clonzepam still effective? Since it has been a week ago today for you, the feelings should calm down within a day or so. If it continues, I would call the doctor, and tell them what's going on.
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Avatar_m_tn
Been there,  done that!    It isn't fun.    Klonopin has a long half life making it a long taper process.     The symptoms you describe are a direct result of your brain's chemistry trying to revert back to the way it was prior to building up this drug in your body.     Klonopin and other benzos depress the nervous system and soon take over the brain's natural chemicals that keep us in emotional balance.      When you withdrawal,   you lose the amount of this chemical in your body while your brain takes a while to get the signal that it needs to once again start producing its own natural chemical.    The results are those rough symptoms you're experiencing.    I switched to seroquel to help make the transition but everyone's different.      Some trial and error might be needed to find what might help you.      Best of luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
When I tapered off, I went even lower than .5 mgs a day before quitting.  I got the wafers.25 mgs.  I cut them in half and took a half one(.125mgs) in the AM and a whole one in PM.  Did that two weeks. I was on .125 two times a day for 2 weeks and then only the .125 at night for a week. Then I quit. I tried to give my body time to adjust before dropping any doses.
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480448_tn?1397235344
Klonopin can be rough to come off of if a SLOW and proper taper isn't done.  Your taper was done slowly, which is good, however, I echo lynn's comments about the benefit of coming off on a lower dose.  I think you jumped off at too high of a dose, which is why your w/d symptoms are worse.

The bad news is, Klonopin is a long-acting med with a long half life, but the good news is, it's already been a week.  Therefore, it would probably only serve to extend your w/d symptoms if you resumed a taper.  It may take a while, however, before you start feeling better.  

Talk to your doctor, there ARE a few non-benzo options he could give you to help ease w/d's a bit.  Hang in there...it's a rough ride, but you can do it!
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1671244_tn?1304794585
At this moment, right now, after going through several channels, I have had to get an emergency low dose of the clonazepam. I have had the same pharmacist for about 6 years, and she also said, after talking to me about an hour ago, I was not weened properly. She is giving me an ER dose to take right now. She said for me to take .25mg ASAP and another .25 in a few hours from now. I have not had a struggle like this EVER. I have quit smoking cigarettes though, and it was not NEARLY has hard as this!! My pharmacist said it well, "You are in hell right now, Pamela!" She said that it was a good sign though, that I am able to recognize the symptoms. She also explained to me that I am not only experiencing withdraw from the clonazepam, but also the side effects of the new drug that was started 7 days ago! I will keep everyone informed. I am so glad to have found this group with others who know what I am going through. Thank you!!
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Avatar_f_tn
So glad you have such a nice pharmacist.  I am not familiar with the new drug you are taking.  I believe that when starting a new drug, it's not the time to discontinue a benzo.  Too many overlaps to tell where your discomfort is coming from.  When you are comfortable on your new med, finish that taper.  Let us know how you do.
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1671244_tn?1304794585
Well.. the new drug is generic for Depakote... but you're right!! It is not the right time to start a new drug when you are being weened from another.. and to drop it all together... a benzo at that!! I have done my research!! I had an appointment with this new Dr. and she actually wanted to DOUBLE the new one!! WHAT!!!! I have not taken it, I have talked with my pharmacist and she agreed. I have an appointment with my physician in which I will explain all that has happened and provide all my documentation! I an hoping they will take over my previous doctor's treatment plan of relieving me off clonazepam slowly. As of today, being a week since I started the .25mg of clonazepam, I feel okay... MUCH BETTER than last week!! I am really hoping that more doctors will start treating their patients as individuals and not as a statistic!!! this new doctor has only seen me about 30minutes in 2 months and I have had no counseling! With that said, the Dr. told me, in so many words. I am bipolar so get over it.. I am in mania and need more meds... I asked her bluntly.. How would you know I am experiencing things because I am bipolar when you do not know me, you have not even looked at my history from previous doctors, you simply see another statistic... Because I am talking fast, it must be "mania"... NO sorry to burst your bubble there doc!! I always talk too fast and too much,PLUS... I am trying to spit out all this information in a few minutes because we only have 10minutes...  My thoughts are abundant and still a little scrambled... I have noticed I have stopped fumbling for my words as much as I was during the first week of her drastic treatment. I just pray that I can get to a point where I am able to help others in these situations... There is hope, there is a way to find rest and there is a place where one can feel stable when they have a problem with anxiety or panic..and even bipolar.. So, this is where I am at now... feeling good though... feeling good... and HAPPY!! PRAISE GOD!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I am currently tapering off of Klonopin and I sympathize with you. However, I agree with what has already been stated; dropping from .5mgs to nothing is a HUGE drop. I have been on 1.5mgs (.5mgs, 3x per day) for two years and I took a solid three months to taper down to 1.0mg (a .5mg decrease); I was cutting down by .125mgs at a time.

Don't be in a rush to get off of the benzos; slow the taper down if it gets rough. Remember, the over all goal is simple; get off of the medication.
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Avatar_n_tn
One more thing; talk to your doc about hydroxyzine; it's an anti-histamine that has helped me out with my taper. It's sedating so I try to only take it at night but it takes the edge off of the anxiety if it gets rough. I think it has made my taper easier because it helps me sleep; the insomnia caused by withdrawals is what I detest most. It is heavily prescribed in drug/alcohol rehabilitation settings because it's a good anti-anxiety medication but it's not addictive.
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1671244_tn?1304794585
other things I have changed are my caffeine intake, the times I take the .25mg clonazepam and the time I take the Seroquel, which has been dropped from 400mg a day to 50mg at night!!!! Per my previous doctor. See, I had a change in health insurance the beginning of March 2011 and had to change doctors! That is how this all began. I have nerve damage from my lower back down my right leg and I am in pain constantly. I do not take any pain reliever because they seem to effect my attitude too. I have resorted to applying heat, being as active as I am able, even it is just a short walk around the yard with the dogs, i have maintained my natural vitamins... Omega 3 fish oil, multi-vitamin, zinc, and magnesium.. all good for the nervous system and brain functions... I listen to music and sing to calm myself.. a warm, bubble bath does wonders for relief of pain and anxiety... I had added stress from not physically being able to keep up with my dishes, so my husband got me a dishwasher two weeks ago. WHAT A BLESSING!! I pray and read my Bible, because there is no peace like God!! He will SUFFICE!! He always does!! I have made sure to get breakfast and a lunch ion me at the proper times, (I have never been good about that) and I enjoy cooking, so I bought a tall bar stool that I can set on to relieve my back pain and lift my leg onto.. when my leg goes numb when standing, I need to bend my knee and that seems to "thaw" it out.  Now, I have been able to comfortably cook and bake. I have a great journey yet in front of me, but I thank God for bringing me this website and other people who know what I am going through. It makes one feel and know they are not alone with all these issues. I look forward to sharing more as time permits. Thank you!
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1041243_tn?1375234120
There are non bezos that help a LOT like clonodine, it's a blood pressure med that also eases a couple different kinds of withdrawal, but other meds can come with their own set of problems. After a week you should be out of any withdrawal danger, so now it's just dealing with the discomfort.  If you go to the addiction forum, there is info on the Thomas Recipe, a list of things that help ease the physical symptoms. Chatting on here has always helped me with my episodes of panic and fear.
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Avatar_n_tn
Uhh, no. Benzo withdrawals don't dissipate after one week, especially with a drop of .5mgs of Klonopin.

IMO, this is a true withdrawal issue because of the huge drop in dosage.
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1671244_tn?1304794585
I have a lot of history with these sudden changes in medications. As I am sure there are many of people who have had to go through having to settle "with what you can get" when it comes to healthcare for those who are on Medicare/Medicaid or have PPO's or HMO's. These types of plans, especially those given at a county level, are usually the ones with the least options; especially for mental health care. Myself, it is a long, story that has unfolded over the past 5-6 years. At this moment, I am comfortable with the decision I made earlier. I have called my former doctor, who is no longer covered by my insurance, and have set an appointment in which I will have to pay cash for. My husband and I had discussed this as an alternative if we were not pleased with the visit to this new doctor, that took me off the clonazepam and put me on the divelpraox, and their ( the medical practice's) therapist I saw this week.  
I would not ever wish what I went through these past few weeks on any one!! Today I learned that this new clinic had not even sent for my previous records. I signed a release in March!! I came home today, very frustrated  but thinking properly, and called my former doctor that began the tapering from 3mg down to .5mg of clonazepam AND I was at 400mg of Seroquel down to 50mg! I am even thinking that can be dropped more too.
I would not have been able to go through this with out the Lord. I know that for sure. I have just prayed and sought good advice before I made rash decisions. I turned to music & warm baths and laughter to help me through those roughest times. Laughter is proven good medicine!!
Oh yes!! Try it!! Grab a book, watch your goofy animal play, make fun of the neighbor's yard ornaments, remember a very funny moment... what ever you can do to make yourself laugh! I always tell people.. "Laugh at me, it will make ya feel better." Then they laugh anyways, which makes me laugh, and then we all feel good!! Hahaha!!! Are you laughing... LOL Hahaha hehehheeeehehaaahaha.!!!
NOW THAT YOU ARE Laughing!!! Feel the tightening of you abdomen muscles, your facial muscles.. notice how when you get a real good belly laugh your whole upper body shakes... you are sending a lot of little happy signals to your body when you laugh!!
I will leave you with that for tonight and wrap up here... LOL....
Let's just say, as of now, I am at peace with my decision. Now that I have appointments scheduled with both my previous doctor and therapist, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted, ya know. They were doing a great job, I trusted them, and I felt safe in their care. One cannot ask for much more for a doctor! It feels like the end of a very long emotional roller-coaster that I do not have to worry about riding again right now... or maybe never again!!
AT LEAST... Now I KNOW what to look for, I know the signs and can help others too along the way. I thank you all for your feedback too; it was an answer to prayer!!! Just really knowing and hearing from others who have EXPERIENCED what you are going through, truly is a very GOOD THING to have!!!
God Bless!!
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Today is two weeks since I had the clonazepam (after 10 days without) at .25mg a day. I feel pretty good!! The doctor, which I was able to return to my former doctor (Praise God!), said to return in two weeks, she would then have me stop taking it all together. Well, since she said that, I figured, starting today, I would drop it to .125 for this last two weeks just to let my body adjust a bit more. I think this time when it is gone for good, I will not have the same reaction. Also, I have not taken that new med for over a week and nothing else has been prescribed! I see some mighty bright days ahead!!
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How are you doing? Are you still at the same dose? I cannot believe I have gone from 3mg a day (for at least 5 years) to .125mg!! I started this tapering roughly 9 months ago... I think... ? All I know for sure is, it has been one incredibly hard journey and it is not quite over with yet!
It is now 10 days since the clonazepam has been at .125mg. The first several days at this dosage were still quite rough. I had several harsh panic and anxiety attacks the first 5 or 6 days and I completely broke down Sunday. It has settled down the past few days, but if I encounter any amount of stress, fear or anything that makes my heart thump or creates those "butterflies" in my stomach, I think I am going into panic. I lose my focus, get frustrated or angry and I have to consciously get myself through it. This is when I implement my tools like a warm bath, no phone, music, play cards... PRAY!!  
I finally had a session with my old counselor who has been with me through the beginning of its tapering too. I have to credit her with giving me some of the tools I have been able to utilize. Like, recognizing triggers and keeping my meals, sleep and meds on schedule. Over the past 4-6 weeks, I have finally been able to establish a decent schedule for these things.
Regardless of all the struggles, I still see the progress and people who know me recognize it too.
However, a part of me is truly scared to have it gone for good. Should I have a low dose for an emergency? What is going to happen if I have a huge attack and have nothing for it? I cannot help but be scared because my body has been dependent on it for so long. During those really bad moments those first 6 days.. I had to take .25mg on two occasions. I recognize when my body craves that chemical. I know this because of that "cold-turkey 10 days" that other doctor made me go through!! I told my husband, when this is over and has passed... I will quit smoking!!! I am quite sure I can handle it because I did quit cold turkey before for about 3 months (I am stupid for picking them back up... but I did.) and that was NOTHING like this nor those 10 DAYS!! I truly thank GOD for those days!!! Not only for bringing me through, but allowing me to experience it in the first place because I KNOW NOW!! That is one reason why I am so scared too!! Any thoughts?
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Avatar_f_tn
I am now 70 years of age and this has been my experience.  Klonopin (clonazepam) was prescribed for more than 10 years.  Among other drugs I was prescribed 3mg Klonopin for quite some time.  In 2007 the decrease began, slow and steady (dr. assisted for much of the decrease).  I have been on .25mg since December 2010, but in February 2012 totally discontinued the drug, finally.  

The outcome is not a good one.  After severe anxiety that could be dated back to Dec. 2010, I have learned that I have been experiencing withdrawals for better than a year now, even though I had been on the low dose.

You might want to Google "benzos withdrawal symptoms" and read what the Wikipedia has to say.

I am back on the .25mg, I simply could not deal with the overwhelming anxiety, it was dominating every fiber of my being.  I do still hope to be set free.  Set free should be free to me and paid for by the pharmaceuticals, they are responsible along with Dr's who prescribe long term use of this drug against manufacturer's advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am not sure my post even belongs here, as I can't be sure what I'm experiencing is klonopin withdrawal or just me, off klonopin.  When I first got on it a few years ago, I thought it was the best thing ever.  I had been having severe and nearly constant panic attacks, deep depression, and health phobia for the first time (anxiety issues started when I was a child, first panic attacks in middle school, agoraphobia to varying degrees since then).  

Klonopin was the only thing that seemed to help.  I've been on the following drugs for years now: Paxil (40mg), Klonopin (2mg a day, 1mg morning and night), and Wellbutrin (150mg).  This year though, I wanted to start tapering off my meds, so we started with the paxil (30mg a day now) and that was pretty bad.  Then  my doc suggested we reduce the klonopin.  I figured a .5mg reduction wasn't so bad and did it.  I had terrible stomach pain for the first few weeks along with constipation.  Then that cleared up.  However, I've been having bouts of difficultly concentrating, anxiety, severe worry, and tonight - I have the lovely experience of having a mild panic attack through a migraine.

I'm posting because i made the reduction May 17th, and it's June 6th now.  I feel like I'm so close to losing my grip on reality... my dreams are vivid and it's hard to calm my mind.  I don't know whether I can blame the medication withdrawal or if I have to face that it's just me.  That this is how I was before the meds and this is how I'll always be without the meds.  I have done extensive therapy and self-help work, have many tools I can use - but just haven't been.  My motivation feels like it's dying.  I'm scared of my own weakness...  I have had withdrawal that felt like headzaps, lack of concentration, heart palpitations, nausea... but nothing that made me quite undermind myself like this... so I don't know if it's the meds.  

Any thoughts?  Besides 'yeah, your nutz...' Thank you.  
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Avatar_f_tn
My only thought are, hang in there! I have been on the paxil and klono mix for only a few months when I started tampering. paxil first then klono. The zaps were total weird and scary, but I made it. There rest was tolerable. It's been two weeks paxil free. I am two days off klono and feel like I am losing it!!!!!! Worst anxiety since before starting both drugs. Every darn symptom it back. I tried to make it and ride it out, but I broke down and took a klono just to try to get sleep...here I am two hours later and no luck. My self help tools have not been able to break through this attack and I feel like a failure. I am trying to tell my self to just get by little by little and start over again tomorrow. I can't face that this may just be what life is like without meds. Hopefully a little more time and this will get better.
Good luck...you are not alone in this.
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Avatar_m_tn
My mother in law is currently on clonazepam and is trying to get off the drug because she no longer has medical insurance. She having trouble sleeping and starting to get the sweats. anyone know of an over the counter method to help her through her withdrawals?
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Avatar_m_tn
I was prescribed 0.5 mg three times a day of clonazepam about 8 years ago for panic attacks as well as 10 mg prozac. I was told just to take the clonazepam when needed since it was addictive and have mostly only taken 1/2 a 0.5 mg tablet when I needed it. I do not like to take any medications. I took the prozac for 9 months went off without any problem and continued to take the clonazepam "as needed". Recently however, I had increased anxiety due to a breakup and other issues and was taking it more frequently. I became concerned because it wasn't working and I would have to take it in the middle of the night to get through the anxiety. My doctor then prescribed venlafaxine, which gave me extreme anxiety and then prozac again. I decided not to continue with the prozac after a couple of weeks since the anxiety was just increasing and I had gone cold turkey off of the clonazepam. With some research, I realized I was having classic withdrawal symptoms, though my doctor said he doubted it because of the low dose. I know otherwise. I decided to taper instead and though it has gotten somewhat better to handle and I am now down to .125mg a night the hardest thing to cope with is the insomnia which I have never had the likes of. I have been tapering for about 2 months now and the insomnia has not subsided. My brain from both the drug withdrawal and the sleep deprivation feels like it is buzzing and under pressure...not a pleasant sensation and I cannot wait until I am out from under this drug and can sleep and feel normal again. I bristle that this drug that alters your brain chemistry is handed out in such a cavalier fashion and not really monitored at all. When I'd run out the office would without question or comment or caution write out another script.In short, this trip has been hell. I have gotten quite good at managing my anxiety. Had I known that this drug that was supposed to manage anxiety attacks would end up giving me them as well as insomnia and a host of other symptoms including the electric zaps that literally shock you out of your sleep which thankfully have passed as I've tapered....If I can make it through the insomnia I can come out the other side but this is very hard to cope with and I am wondering how long it will go on.
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Avatar_m_tn
the fun has only just begun .i want to blow my danm head off .the ringing is driving me nuts ,i have been hearing music and voices that know one else can hear for over two years now .and the pain oh my god it is awful .i cant bare it any more ,after a year off them cold turkey ,i had to take a half of one because with the ringing and music and voices and the terrible terrible thoughts  ,i was going nuts i thought i had something really terrible wrong with me like a tumor or something but ,it was benzo withdrawal all along back to the drawing board of getting off these things .i piece of advice if a doctor offers you any kind of the pam ,bezo or pine family ,shoot the ******* because he is getting 10 other people that week hooked ,they should take them off the market .and go back to good old valum,
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Avatar_m_tn
trust me brother you are in the right place ,have you experienced the voices ,loud bsngs,snd music at night when you go to bed or what about ringing in your ears each day every day it ***** buddy hang in there
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been on clonazepam for about 9 or 10 years now, after multiple other medications. 0.5mg clonazepam along with 25-50 mg nortriptylene is what has worked best for me in reducing my anxiety symptoms and helping me sleep. I couldn't get to my doctor or pharmacy in time this week, and like other times that this has happened, I'm going through benzodiazepine withdrawal hell. I would like to taper off the medication so it doesn't have such a grip on me that I'm reliant on it just to not feel withdrawal, Not to mention I have experienced side effects of sexual dysfunction (anorgasmia) that I attribute to this medication.  I wish I had known when I started that taking it daily could cause a problem with addiction before I started it so long ago. My doctor denied that I would become addicted due to my low dose of .5mg nightly. I am going to try tapering it .125mg at a time and use the herb inosital to help with withdrawal symptoms, as I've heard it can help. Currently, 2 days without clonazepam, have taken innosital but I feel strange: dazed, can't concentrate, can't sleep, feel short of breath, and agoraphobic about leaving the house. I'm very nervous to go to work tomorrow, and how I will function without the meds. Wish me luck. It's a battle getting off these drugs!!
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