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Anybody here take benzos? (Who am I kidding)

My doc has been prescribing me a benzodiazepine - Clonazepam / Klonopin- for years now for anxiety and panic disorder. While my condition is largely under control currently, I still like using them sporadically to help with insomnia and they are a God send to me. Work demands have increased steadily since the return to the office and working a hybrid home/office schedule makes it difficult to maintain a routine. Clonazepam allows me to get high quality sleep in fewer hours and there are no noticeable side effects, aside from the potential addictive effects.

Question: Does anyone know how often I can take them without getting addicted? There is little to no information online regarding acceptable frequency of use.

I do take valerian capsules as a substitute sleep aid, but they're no where near as effective (and they smell vile). Melatonin makes me groggy and stupid.

by Anonymousreply 41June 22, 2022 1:31 PM

If you've been taking them for years, you are either already addicted and don't know it or you're able to take them without developing a dependence. Or your head might explode at any moment from the build up in your brain. If I were to guess, as an unlicensed qualified medical advisor, I guess the third one is probably correct.

by Anonymousreply 1June 21, 2022 7:19 PM

Ask your doctor.

by Anonymousreply 2June 21, 2022 7:19 PM

If you are, or become, addicted, do not stop taking them cold turkey. I did that with Valium and became completely paranoid.

by Anonymousreply 3June 21, 2022 7:21 PM

If you take them for more than 30 days you can develop a dependency. And stopping taking klonopin without a slow taper is very dangerous and can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms and even seizures. There really are no traditional, herbal alternatives and quitting cold turkey is extremely dangerous. Supposedly they are harder to kick than heroin. Some doctors will switch to a longer acting benzo to make tapering easier and may prescribe anticonvulsants to prevent seizures, but quitting is still very hard.

by Anonymousreply 4June 21, 2022 7:32 PM

My husband used to take 6 mg/day for the same reasons. He didn't like how he felt on 'em and still didn't sleep all that well.

The slow taper method (and I mean slow, like 18 months) has worked for him: he's down to 1 mg and 2 mg of Lunesta and he sleeps.

by Anonymousreply 5June 21, 2022 7:33 PM

Benzo dependency depends a great deal on the person taking the pills. I've been taking .25 mg of klonopin for years and have never needed to up the dosage, never built up a tolerance, and if I run out, then I just run out until I get more. (I have other issues instead of addiction related ones, obviously). Other people really do get addicted to these drugs -- so the advice you're going to get on a forum like this will depend on the personal anecdotes of the posters rather than any real facts. Except the fact that drug dependency isn't a constant. It varies widely from person to person .

by Anonymousreply 6June 21, 2022 7:40 PM

Ive been on xanax for 15 years. Try those,they arent addictive !

by Anonymousreply 7June 21, 2022 7:43 PM

I have never been able to have prescribed benzos (Xanax) take them “as needed”. I never exceed the dosage, one every 12 hours, but if I have them in my possession everything seems stressful and anxiety inducing. I could never go three days without taking one if they are sitting there so instead I only get prescriptions filled twice a year.

by Anonymousreply 8June 21, 2022 7:46 PM

I've always been able to borrow one from friends if I was having a rough go of it. I probably take 10 or 20 of them a year at most. I suppose that's not an addiction. I don't think I could take them every day even if I had a prescription.

by Anonymousreply 9June 21, 2022 8:11 PM

Brush up on your Judy Garland impression.

by Anonymousreply 10June 21, 2022 8:16 PM

OP, here's the deal with benzos. They all have a specific binding site on the GABA receptor (GABA = dampening mechanism in the central nervous system). With regular use of benzos, the GABA receptors adapt and change (similar to using EtOH regularly, also binds to a different site on the GABA receptor). Over time, the GABA receptors are sensitized to applications of benzos. This is a physiologic phenomena, outside of your control. So yes, by using benzos regularly, the GABA receptors become sensitized and you may need higher doses to achieve the same effects.

by Anonymousreply 11June 21, 2022 8:33 PM

Yes and I’m addicted. But I’d rather be able to function in day to day life and social situations with them than not. I recently started a new job and I don’t think I’d have survived the first day without them. People can judge me if they want but my anxiety used to be crippling.

by Anonymousreply 12June 21, 2022 8:33 PM

That being said, I have had patients using low doses of benzos for years to decades without needing a higher dose. That does not mean they are "addicted" to benzos. Addiction typically indicates maladaptive behaviors around benzo use. If you are not affected negatively by occasional benzo use, I see no reason to worry.

by Anonymousreply 13June 21, 2022 8:35 PM

I'm 8 months off Klonopin after a long slow taper (3.5 yrs) from starting point of 3 mg/day for years. Won't bore you with the details, but when you read or hear that benzo withdrawal (if you are dependent on them) is pure unadulterated hell, I suggest that you believe it. Withdrawal symptoms can manifest for months/years after it's out of your system. Absolutely discuss getting off Klonopin with your doctor before stopping them yourself. Best of luck to you.

by Anonymousreply 14June 21, 2022 8:44 PM

3 mg/day is a very high dose, and yes you would need to taper down very slowly. I usually prescribe gabapentin/Trazodone/Vistaril/low dose Seroquel to help get through the taper.

by Anonymousreply 15June 21, 2022 8:52 PM

Yes, r15, I take 50 mg Trazodone and maybe half of a 10 mg melatonin gummy to sleep. THC gummies helped a lot (for insomnia and "jitters") at first but I think they ultimately just delayed the withdrawal/healing process. You don't need to be on a high dose to develop benzo dependence, from what I've read. I would not risk it again even at gunpoint.

by Anonymousreply 16June 21, 2022 9:02 PM

[quote]Brush up on your Judy Garland impression.

No - brush up on your Stevie Nicks impression.

by Anonymousreply 17June 21, 2022 10:06 PM

[quote]That being said, I have had patients using low doses of benzos for years to decades without needing a higher dose. That does not mean they are "addicted" to benzos.

Semantics. If they’ve been using them for years, they are certainly dependent and if they tried to quit, they’d have a very strong, very bad physiological reaction. You’re not doing your patients any favors by declaring they aren’t “addicted”.

by Anonymousreply 18June 21, 2022 10:38 PM

Pornhub and lube work better than Benzodiazepines with no incresse in Alzheimer's risk!

by Anonymousreply 19June 21, 2022 10:46 PM

OP what’s your dosage?

by Anonymousreply 20June 21, 2022 10:57 PM

R18 Please review the DSM V definition of addiction before spouting nonsense.

by Anonymousreply 21June 21, 2022 11:01 PM

They cause memory problems and amnesia. Short-acting benzos are often used during anesthesia specifically for that purpose.

by Anonymousreply 22June 21, 2022 11:03 PM

[quote] Clonazepam allows me to get high quality sleep in fewer hours and there are no noticeable side effects, aside from the potential addictive effects.

OP, there are no shortcuts to getting "high quality sleep in fewer hours." Why not just sleep an extra hour or two? This seems silly.

Benzos are nothing to play with. As stated above, you can't go cold turkey on them.

I had a friend whose doctor(s) cut her off from Xanax and Effexor (she was addicted and mixing the pills with alcohol). She ended up in a mental hospital. Before the mental hospital, she was walking the streets (a cop stopped her), paranoid, seeing things that weren't there. I'm not sure whether it was the Xanax or Effexor withdrawals that pushed her over the edge.

by Anonymousreply 23June 21, 2022 11:09 PM

Effexor withdrawal is horrific.

by Anonymousreply 24June 21, 2022 11:09 PM

R24, she told me it was the Effexor withdrawals that caused her "break." But I'm sure it didn't help to also be withdrawing from Xanax.

by Anonymousreply 25June 21, 2022 11:13 PM

Totally r24. I just know Bc I had to get off Effexor years ago and felt like I was going to lose my mind. My brother (who is a shrink) said he never prescribes it because of that issue. What a mess.

by Anonymousreply 26June 21, 2022 11:31 PM

[quote][R18] Please review the DSM V definition of addiction before spouting nonsense.

I’m familiar, drug pusher.

by Anonymousreply 27June 21, 2022 11:45 PM

R20 .25mg.

by Anonymousreply 28June 22, 2022 12:07 AM

^occasional user (avg 2 per week)

by Anonymousreply 29June 22, 2022 12:09 AM

I worry about this with my elderly mother. She's on a high dose of Xanax daily and takes Ambien every night. And drinks. But I'm crazy apparently for finding it concerning.

by Anonymousreply 30June 22, 2022 12:17 AM

OP I take that dose about twice a week and I’m fine. I don’t consider myself addicted - do you? I don’t feel like I need it or I will go crazy.

by Anonymousreply 31June 22, 2022 12:36 AM

I don't either, r31 but hoping to up my dosage because they work so well. Maybe that's a sign I should not. I just wondered what the average frequency was on here for people who take them without dependency issues but as others have stated, that threshold could be different for everyone.

Thanks for your insights everyone.

by Anonymousreply 32June 22, 2022 12:49 AM

If an 18 month-long benzo taper interferes with your career, for instance an upcoming book tour, consider trying a rapid, medically-induced coma withdrawal.

by Anonymousreply 33June 22, 2022 1:00 AM

If you start feeling cravings, you need to increase your dosage.

by Anonymousreply 34June 22, 2022 1:04 AM

I went off Klonopin primarily because of memory issues. People said they'd told me things of which I had no recollection. Also, I wasn't working for a while and wanted to use the opportunity to get clear of the dependence. There's no way I would have made it through withdrawal while working. It was that bad. If you are able to skip a week of benzo use with no ill effects, I'd say you may not have a dependence, but I'm no expert. Imagine your doctor retiring suddenly or otherwise no longer being available. It happens. Doctors are less and less willing to prescribe benzos for long-term use, so finding a sympathetic doctor (that is, one who understands the danger of sudden benzo discontinuation) may take some time and cause you to exhaust your med supply prematurely. Also, there's still so much unknown about the long-term effects of benzo use, not to mention discontinuation of use. Most of the info online is anecdotal, or from rehab organizations looking for new patients, mainly because of the lack of research data. Do a search on "benzo withdrawal". Happy reading.

by Anonymousreply 35June 22, 2022 1:10 AM

[quote] I worry about this with my elderly mother. She's on a high dose of Xanax daily and takes Ambien every night. And drinks.


by Anonymousreply 36June 22, 2022 2:25 AM

Not true r4. I used to take klonopin 0.5mg three times a day and was on and off more than once cold turkey with zero problems. Xanax is the one you can't stop cold turkey.

by Anonymousreply 37June 22, 2022 2:57 AM


I’m off all my meds except my Wellbutrin

I’ve got bad anxiety at times.

I refuse to take benzodiazepines, even though they’ve been offered to me many times by my doctors.

I say NOPE, because I don’t want to get addicted to them. I hear coming off those is a real bitch.

by Anonymousreply 38June 22, 2022 3:07 AM

[quote]Not true [R4]. I used to take klonopin 0.5mg three times a day and was on and off more than once cold turkey with zero problems. Xanax is the one you can't stop cold turkey.

You were very lucky. Quitting abruptly is extremely dangerous if you’ve been taking that high a dose for more than 4 weeks and can lead to serious withdrawal including seizures. Xanax carries the same risk of seizures after abrupt discontinuation. Xanax also has a shorter half life and can cause withdrawal symptoms within a very short period of time. Slow tapering is the recommendation to minimize withdrawal symptoms. And for short acting benzos like Xanax, substitution for a longer acting drug like Valium may be recommended. But sudden discontinuation can increase your risk of protracted withdrawal which can last a year or longer (in addition to the acute withdrawal and risk of grand mal seizures). Bottom line, don’t stop taking them abruptly. It’s very dangerous.

by Anonymousreply 39June 22, 2022 5:02 AM

R39 is right. I took Xanax 3-4 times a day for 6 years, then switched to Valium for a year before tapering to quit. It took a year to get completely off them and it was ROUGH. I had no emotional or psychological dependency on the benzos, but I did develop physical dependency, so it was easy to quit in the emotional/psychological sense, but the symptoms of getting off them were absolutely horrible physically and I did feel constantly on the verge of a seizure.

I now smoke high CBD weed (with less than 0.3% THC) and that has significantly helped with anxiety. Recently I started taking pure CBD gummies and edibles (with 0 THC), the kind you can legally have in states where marijuana is not legal, and it lasts a lot longer than smoking does. I feel CBD edibles have a very similar effect as taking a Valium.

by Anonymousreply 40June 22, 2022 6:34 AM

That’s interesting r40. Is there a brand you recommend of CBD?

by Anonymousreply 41June 22, 2022 1:31 PM
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