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The HORRORS of Klonopin addiction

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dreambirdie, May 18, 2011.

  1. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Stevie Nicks tells her experience with Klonopin addiction:

    "Finally, in 1993, I'd had enough. I said, 'Take me to a hospital.' I went in for 47 days, and it made Betty Ford look like a cakewalk. My hair turned gray and my skin molted. I could hardly walk. You can detox off heroin in 12 days. Coke is just a mental detox. But tranquilizers -- they are dangerous. I was terrified to leave, and I came away knowing that that would never happen to me again."

    If you are taking Klonopin, I think it's good to remember that you are playing with fire.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/a...on-drugs-ruined-a-famous-rock-super-star.aspx
    http://www.benzo.org.uk/nicks.htm
     
  2. pine108kell

    pine108kell Senior Member

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    "I think it's good to remember" that Stevie Nicks was using (abusing) Klonopin to "calm her nerves", which is drug abuse. We do not know the dosage or how she was using the drug or what other drugs she was using. CFS is a horrible disorder. People with CFS don't take it to "calm nerves" but to address real underlying dysfunctioning. Maybe it isn't safe for anyone, but it a ridiculuous scare tatic to compare this with what Stevie Nicks was doing.
     
  3. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    Regardless of the original intent drugs such as Klonopin can very addictive, which I think is the point. Klonopin is one of the few drugs I can't tolerate - in fact I find it a bit "scary" - so I don't take it. Just because CFS is "horrible" doesn't mean taking potent drugs is automatically okay and won't lead to dependency.
     
  4. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    I agree. In addition, any and all pharmaceutical drugs are dangerous when not taken with careful advice - we don't know if she took it under careful direction, what those directions were, or if she followed them so let's not use her story to apply to all individuals with CFS.

    It's also good here to clarify what addiction is versus physical tolerance. Addiction is when you keep pursuing/ buying/ taking a drug DESPITE that drug causing problems in your life -- whether it's losing your job, yelling at your kids, or running your car into a tree. If taking a benzodiazapine, after other options are explored with a health care professional, is what helps someone function better, there should be no shame or worries about that. If someone needs an increase of the benzo after a period of time to function better, that is OK too -- it's normal biology for the body to adapt to a drug and some people will require increases. It does not automatically mean that that person is an addict.

    Also, please do not stop or decrease your benzo abruptly without talking to your doc about any concerns as withdrawal can happen. If it is taper off slowly, it is possible to get off of it without or with much less withdrawal.
     
  5. LaurelW

    LaurelW Senior Member

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    I just have to chime in here. Three years ago, I had a gall bladder problem that took the doctors two months to diagnose. Meanwhile, they put me on Oxycodone for the pain. I took it exactly as directed, and only for one month, but much to my astonishment, after I had the surgery I discovered that I had developed a chemical dependency on the drug. I was unsuccessful getting off of it by myself, so I had to go through inpatient detox. Some of my fellow "inmates" were coming off of benzos. It's a very difficult drug to get off of and needs to be medically supervised. If you go off too quickly, you can get seizures, which can be fatal.

    The detox doctor told me that I had the most sensitive physiology of any patient he had ever treated (upwards of 5,000 previously). I believe this was due to the CFS. So my advice is, if you are going to take these drugs, be very, very careful and know what you are getting into. And just because you are following your doctor's directions very precisely doesn't mean you can't still get hooked.
     
  6. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Yes, that is EXACTLY how I feel too.
     
  7. Parismountain

    Parismountain Senior Member

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    20+ years on Klonopin here. Lower than lowest dosage available, .5mg, cut a pill in half. I have tried to quarter the pill but symptoms return that Klonopin helps with. Without Klonopin I develop a hitch in swallowing, never know when it's going to happen, try to swallow and nope, food gets stuck. Can tolerate larger crowds on .5mg but maybe 3 times a year I take a full dose at night if I know the next day is going to be overwhelming, many many human interactions kind of day. I get tired when I talk so it helps in advance to take .5 instead of .25.

    I know it's a dangerous drug but I'm still here. Never ever desired to take more, am taking minimum dose cut in half so I'd say I've managed the dangerous med okay.
     
  8. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    Two Great Videos on Earthing


    Two Great Videos on "Earthing"
    (Scroll down a short ways to click on each one; about 15 minutes total)​

    I just discovered these videos in the past hour and thought it might fit in with this thread. The author describes her deep desire to get off of a pharmaceutical sleep aid (not sure if it was a benzo or not). Earthing enabled her to do it fairly easily, and she explains in detail why. She also describes really well how much she's appreciating her new found ability to sleep well, after suffering for years with severe insomnia.

    I feel I've received many benefits from my own earthing protocol, and really appreciated that these videos were able to give me a better understanding of how earthing works to improve our health and well being. The videos also has some great visuals so a person can get a better undertanding of some of the products that are available to help us earth ourselves at all times, something I think is important given the sea of EMFs we live in every day.

    Best, Wayne
     
  9. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    Just a geneneral clarification here -- oxycodone is not a benzodiazepine. Oxycodone is an opiod medication related to morphine which is used for pain. Similar to benzodiazpines, there is a potential for people to become physically dependent on morphine but if it is used short-term, there usually isn't an issue. If one has a history of legal/ illegal drug abuse (not referring to you here specifically, LaurelW), the chances of becoming addicted, not just physically dependent, but addicted is higher.

    When I was working, I took care of a lot of people with short-term post-op and long-term chronic pain and sometimes opioids were the best or safest option (yes, long-term use of "safe" medicines like ibuprofen and even tylenol actually can be worse for some people). People were always concerned about addiction/ physical tolerance, sometimes even more than side effects, and I often had to explain these issues to them to get them to try a medication. In many cases, people were glad they tried them as they were able to function better afterwards. I do agree with starting with a lower dose and slowly titrating up as needed. However, I had no issues with using higher doses for people who really needed it, e.g. people with cancer.
     
  10. caledonia

    caledonia

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    I had similar problem with the similar drug Xanax. It was prescribed for anxiety/panic attacks. It didn't take more than a week to get physically dependent on it. It didn't work well either; I was either a zombie, almost falling asleep at work or while driving (scary!), or still anxious. This is at less than a full pill of the lowest dose.

    It took months to get off this horrible drug. Every time I lowered the dose, there would be some initial anxiety, which I would get through, but then one week after, there would be a big panic attack, which would, of course, lead most people to take more Xanax.

    Once I got through the panic attack, I was ok at the lower dose. This is known as "rebound anxiety" and why these drugs are so hard to get off of.
     
  11. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    Thanks - I have taken Klonopin 3 different times for more than a year on 2 of those occasions and it has been 6 months since I have taken it the last time. I think a persons chemistry has a lot to do with it and of course how much they are taking. The most that I have taken is 2mg / day and I don't know what this equates/compares to in other benzo's. Klonopin has always worked well when my adrenals have gotten really burnt out and caused bouts of bad anxiety.

    Im my opinion - Klonopin is as safe as any other benzo available. It works better than any other benzo, unless you are wanting to be knocked out. It had less side effects than any that I have used. I love Stevie Nicks, but she has been abusing drugs for 40 years and an addiction to to anything is going to be horrible for her to beat.
     
  12. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

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    You mention a very good point here Hope, in that slow titration up on the pain meds until they find the dose that alleviates the pain and doesn't cause euphoria.
     
  13. LaurelW

    LaurelW Senior Member

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    "Just a general clarification here -- oxycodone is not a benzodiazepine."

    I know that. My point is that often people with CFS are very sensitive to medications. And hellish though it may be, getting off opioids seems to be easier than getting off of benzos.
     
  14. Alesh

    Alesh Senior Member

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    If I remember well clonazepam is the least dangerous of all benzodiazepines in that the tollerance develops after a fairly long period of time. The benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome (after large doses for long time) may be particularly dangerous as it may be fatal. On the other hand: When the pharmaceutical companies introduced the novel antidepressants (SSRIs etc.) they needed to persuade people that benzodiazepines are diabolical even though they are in many cases superior. I try to take as low doses of benzodiazepines as possible so that they are effective in the times of health crisis.
     
  15. pine108kell

    pine108kell Senior Member

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    I'm sure that drugs for Parkinson's, MS and other neurological disorders are not "safe" to use long term. However, because they address, to at least some extent, the underlying physiological processes that cause symptoms, people with these diseases choose to take them. True, they are probably not "addictive", but most people will probably be on them many years or forever just to squeeze a little quality out of life from their horrible illness.

    The same applies to Klonopin and CFS. I don't mind being told that Klonopin is a potentially dangerous, addictive drug and given the appropriate references, but please don't make the insulting comparison of a permanently chronically ill patient seeking valid symptom relief so they can function/interact with their family to a drug addict seeking a high or "calm nerves".
     
  16. pine108kell

    pine108kell Senior Member

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    That's certainly a different option.
     
  17. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    I have to chime in here too. I've been taking low doses of klonopin for several years. However, I am able to "not take it" with no problems on days I don't need it. Yes, you can develop tolerance to it and yes, some patients have a great deal of difficulty getting off it. But, in a person prone to "seizure-like" brain activity, it can also prevent brain cells from snuffing themselves.

    I think there is a place for it, for some patients, under careful medical supervision. I have stopped it entirely for as much as a year with no problems. My doctor felt I needed a low dose, however, and I have continued with this low dose and find it helps me to function. I will definitely stop it again when I don't need it as I don't like to take pharmaceuticals either.

    But I think we have to be careful about making blanket statements about a medication or any other treatment as we are all so very different and respond differently to the same treatments/protocols.

    Sushi
     
  18. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Benefits of Klonopin as per Dr. Cheney

    I have been taking Klonopin for the past five years. I take 3mg at night. That seems like the exact amount that my body needs because whenever I try to reduce the dosage, I feel edgy, imbalanced.
    At first I thought that it's withdrawal symptoms but, it's very hard to judge at this point whether it's withdrawal or is it just that my brain seems to need this in order to function.
    See below


    Dr. Paul Cheney Discusses the Benefits of Klonopin

    by Carol Sieverling
    October 12, 2001



    Editors Note: The following is based on a recent interview conducted by Carol Sieverling with Dr. Paul R. Cheney, M.D., Ph.D., and the article "CFIDS Treatment: The Cheney Clinics Strategic Approach" (CFIDS Chronicle, Spring 1995). Dr. Cheney gave permission to share this information, but has not reviewed or edited it.

    Many CFIDS specialists prescribe the drug Klonopin. In the October 1999 issue of The Fibromyalgia Network, nine CFS/FM specialists summarized their most effective treatments, and six included Klonopin. Interestingly, the three who did not are primarily FM specialists.

    Dr. Cheney prescribes Klonopin to address a condition associated with CFIDS called "excitatory neurotoxicity." To explain this condition to patients, he draws a line with "seizure" on the far left and "coma" on the far right. A big dot in the middle represents where healthy people are when awake. A dot somewhat to the right of the middle indicates where healthy people are when asleep slightly shifted toward coma. He highlights in red the left portion of the line, from seizure to the middle, and labels it "Neurotoxic State" (damaging to the brain). He highlights in blue the right portion of the line, from coma to the middle, and labels it "Healing State."

    In CFIDS, an ongoing injury to the brain shifts patients toward seizure. A dot to the left of the middle, marked "injury," represents the position of CFIDS patients. This puts us in the red "Neurotoxic" zone. When we shift toward seizure, we often experience "sensory overload." Its as if our brains "radar" is too sensitive. Our neurons (nerve cells) are sensing stimuli and firing when they should not. This causes amplification of sensory input. Light, noise, motion and pain are all magnified. At the beginning of their illness, many patients report feeling exhausted, yet also strangely "wired." The "wired" feeling is the slight shift towards seizure that occurs as a result of the excitatory neurotoxicity.

    Cheney frequently uses the term "threshold potential" when discussing excitatory neurotoxicity. (Think of the threshold - bottom - of a doorway. The lower it is, the more accessible it is. When it is at floor level, everything can enter. When it is raised, access is restricted to taller people. If it is too high, no one can enter.) Threshold potential refers to how much stimulus it takes to make neurons fire. If the threshold potential is too low, even slight stimulation is "allowed to enter" and is detected by the neurons. This causes the neurons to fire, resulting in sensory overload. If the threshold is dropped to nothing, all stimuli get through and the neurons fire continuously, resulting in a seizure. If the threshold is raised, only stronger stimuli can make neurons fire. A healthy persons threshold potential naturally rises at bedtime, promoting sleep. If the threshold potential is too high, you feel drugged or drowsy. If the threshold potential is raised extremely high, coma results.

    Two receptors in the brain, NMDA and GABA, determine the threshold potential. During the waking hours of a healthy person, NMDA and GABA should be equally active. This balances the person in the middle of the seizure/coma continuum. NMDA stimulates, and GABA inhibits. If NMDA increases, one moves toward seizure. If GABA increases, one moves toward coma.

    In CFIDS, NMDA is more activated than GABA, lowering the threshold potential. This causes neurons to fire with very little stimulation, resulting in sensory overload. This condition of excitatory neurotoxicity is dangerous. Dr. Cheney emphasizes that in an attempt to protect itself, the body will eventually kill neurons that fire excessively. He states that brain cell loss can result if this condition isnt addressed.

    How can the brain be protected against excitatory neurotoxicity? Klonopin. This long acting benzodiazepine has been Dr. Cheneys most effective drug for CFIDS over the years. He believes that Klonopin and the supplement magnesium may be two of the most important treatments for CFIDS patients because of their neuroprotective qualities. He recommends two or more 0.5 mg tablets of Klonopin at night. Paradoxically, very small doses (usually a quarter to a half a tablet) in the morning and mid-afternoon improve cognitive function and energy. If the daytime dose is low enough, youll experience greater clarity and think better. If the daytime dose is too high, youll become drowsy. Adjust your dose for maximum benefit, taking as much as possible without drowsiness. Adjust the morning dose first, then take the same amount mid-afternoon if needed, then take three to four times the morning dose at bedtime. Dr. Cheney recommends doubling the dose during severe relapses.

    Dr. Cheney most frequently prescribes the combination of Klonopin and Doxepin, along with the supplement "Magnesium Glycinate Forte." Magnesium Glycinate alone is a good choice for the more budget minded(www.ImmuneSupport.com sells it as "Magnesium Plus".) A common dosage of magnesium is 200 mgs at bedtime. Too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, though glycinate is usually the best tolerated form.

    Cheney prescribes Doxepin in the form of a commercial elixir (10mg/ml). At low doses, this tricyclic antidepressant acts as a very potent antihistamine and immune modulator. Doxepin acts synergistically with Klonopin to assist sleep, and may improve pain. Patients tend to be very sensitive to Doxepin, which can cause morning fog and fatigue if the dose is too high (5 to 10 mg or higher). He recommends starting at two drops a night and gradually increasing the dose until "morning fog" becomes a problem. Most patients cant tolerate more than half a cc.

    On a handout entitled "Neuroprotection via Threshold Potentials," Cheney lists six substances that can protect the brain. Under the category "NMDA Blockers" Cheney lists:

    1. Parenteral magnesium and taurine (intramuscular injections of magnesium and taurine, usually given with procaine)
    2. Histamine blockers (Doxepin Elixir)
    Under the category "GABA Agonists" (increases GABA) Cheney lists:
    3. Klonopin
    4. Neurontin
    5. Kava Kava
    6. Valerian Root

    Klonopin is taken "day and night"; Neurontin "night, or day and night"; kava kava daytime only; and valerian nighttime only. The first four are by prescription, the last two are herbs. In my limited experience, only certain patients are put on magnesium/taurine injections, and then only for a limited period before switching to oral supplements.

    Many myths abound concerning Klonopin. When asked about these myths, Dr. Cheney shared the following information.

    MYTH NUMBER ONE: THE GENERIC IS JUST AS GOOD.

    When the generic Clonazepam came on the market, many patients switched to it because it was less expensive than Klonopin. Cheney then began hearing that most patients had to take more Clonazepam to get the same effect. Generics arent exactly identical to the original products, and with most drugs the slight variations dont matter. However, most CFIDS patients can tell the difference between Klonopin and its generic form, Clonazepam. Most find Klonopin to be more effective.

    MYTH NUMBER TWO: KLONOPIN IS ADDICTIVE.

    Dr. Cheney was adamant that Klonopin is not addictive. In treating thousands of patients, he has never seen a patient become addicted to Klonopin. He reviewed the definition of addiction, stating that it involves:
    (1) psychosocial disruption, (2) accelerated use, (3) inappropriate use, and (4) drug seeking behavior.

    Dr. Cheney said a case might be made that Klonopin is habituating. Its true that it cant be stopped suddenly. You must taper off of it gradually. However, he was cautious about even calling it habituating. The process of tapering off a drug is not the same thing as withdrawal, a term that implies addiction.

    Dr. Cheney said to keep in mind that Klonopin is given for a physiological problem excitatory neurotoxicity. Its prescribed to adjust the threshold potential: to keep neurons from firing inappropriately and being destroyed. He stressed that Klonopin should never be given unless you intend to raise the threshold potential. He stated, "Problems arise when you begin to use benzodiazapines for reasons other than threshold manipulation." However, CFIDS patients have a "threshold potential aberration" and need Klonopin (or something similar) to avoid brain injury. Dr. Cheney has never seen a recovered patient have difficulty coming off Klonopin. He stated, "When you no longer need the drug, coming off it is very easy."

    On the other hand, trouble arises when someone who still has an injured brain tries to come off Klonopin. Its like a thyroid patient stopping their thyroid medication. Dr. Cheney warned, "All hell breaks loose". However, its not because the drug is addicting, and its not withdrawal. The condition still exists, and the body lets you know it has a legitimate physical need for the drug. Cheney stated, "When a CFIDS patient who is still experiencing the underlying mechanisms of brain injury goes off Klonopin, there is a burst of excess neural firing and cell death. Thats the havoc we hear about that is mistakenly called withdrawal."

    MYTH NUMBER THREE: KLONOPIN DISRUPTS STAGE 4 SLEEP.

    Dr. Cheney said that he honestly doesnt understand this concern. He believes Klonopin might disrupt the sleep of people who take it for conditions other than the threshold potential aberration found in CFIDS. He also acknowledged that if you are looking just for drugs to facilitate sleep, Klonopin is certainly not the first one to come to mind, nor should it be used to induce sleep in "ordinary" patients. Its not a sleep drug per se. However, a large part of the sleep disorder of CFIDS is excitatory neurotoxicity and the resulting shift toward seizure. If you treat this condition with Klonopin, then you have treated a large part of the sleep disorder in CFIDS. Most importantly, he said he simply does not see stage 4 sleep disruption in his patients on Klonopin.

    Towards the end of this discussion on Klonopin, Cheney smiled, and remarked, "But suppose Im wrong about the brain injury and the threshold potential aberration and the shift toward seizure? What if Im wrong about your need for Klonopin? Im absolutely sure Im right, but whats the worst case scenario? Do you know what long-term studies on Klonopin have shown? Reduced incidence of Alzheimers Disease. Alzheimers Disease is a complicated and convoluted way of knocking out your neurons, and Klonopin protects your neurons. Now its believed that Klonopin didnt actually stop Alzheimers. It just delayed its onset so long that everyone died of something else before they ever got it - which is to say you wont get Alzheimers. Youll die of something else first."

    The last question Cheney addressed concerned the dose: what happens if the dose is too high? He said the only down side was that if you took a little too much (we are not talking overdose here) it would shift you toward coma on the continuum. It would shut your brain down to some degree, and thus impact your ability to function. This is inconvenient, but its not harmful. In fact, it shifts you into the "healing state" on the continuum. You may feel like a zombie, but your brain is protected and your neurons are not getting fried. However, not being able to function isnt an option for most of us, so we need to find the maximum dose that doesnt make us drowsy.

    Dr. Cheney emphasized that Klonopin, Doxepin, and magnesium are very, very good at protecting the brain from cell death due to excess firing. However, they cant stop the underlying mechanisms of CFIDS that are injuring the brain in the first place.

    Though it cant stop the underlying mechanisms causing the injury, Klonopin can protect your brain and keep your neurons from being destroyed. Then, as Cheney put it, "When you come out on the other side of this, youll have more of your brain left."
     
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  19. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    That part was not directed at you -- that's why I said it was a "general" clarification - maybe I should be more clear. I was concerned others reading it might think oxycodone is a benzo.
     
  20. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    valium is probably the safest benzo if there is one and this is because it has the longest duration of action making it easier to come off in reguards to withdrawals and rebound insomnia and anxiety. Also when benzo's are mentioned about the duration of length in there system, valium is said to be like 100hours but this is different to its length of active action which i think is more like 6 hours it works for effectively. Also i think if possible to use them in some sort of intermittent fashion, maybe like 1 day on and 2 days off or 3 days in a row with 2-3 days off and if u feel the urge to increase the dose because its losing its effects, i think then its time to give it a rest and use natural stuff for awhile or maybe neurontin or lyrica for a short while and reduce benzo tolerance and then after this break a return to benzos at your past dosage should work again. but this off and on use will need to keep repeating to reduce tolerance and avoiding increasing dosages. Thats my 10 cents worth after using benzos for the 9 years with cfs where i have been able to keep my dosages down to a low level and still get good effect.

    cheers!!!
     

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