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Starting my taper off of Klonopin, wish me luck


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After reading the potential withdrawl symptoms from the Ashton Protocol, I'm a bit scared of this. I've been on Klonopin for around 14 years, and before that I was prescribed Ativan as-needed for general anxiety, so I've been on benzos a very long time.

According to the Ashton Protocol site this is what I'm going to have to potentially deal with:

Quote

PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS
      Excitability (jumpiness, restlessness)
      Insomnia, nightmares, other sleep disturbances
      Increased anxiety, panic attacks
      Agoraphobia, social phobia
      Perceptual distortions
      Depersonalisation, derealisation
      Hallucinations, misperceptions
      Depression
      Obsessions
      Paranoid thoughts
      Rage, aggression, irritability
      Poor memory and concentration
      Intrusive memories
      Craving (rare)

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
      Headache
      Pain/stiffness - (limbs, back, neck, teeth, jaw)
      Tingling, numbness, altered sensation - (limbs, face, trunk)
      Weakness ("jelly-legs")
      Fatigue, influenza-like symptoms
      Muscle twitches, jerks, tics, "electric shocks"
      Tremor
      Dizziness, light-headedness, poor balance
      Blurred/double vision, sore or dry eyes
      Tinnitus
      Hypersensitivity - (light, sound, touch, taste, smell)
      Gastrointestinal symptoms - (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea,
      constipation, pain, distension, difficulty swallowing)
      Appetite/weight change
      Dry mouth, metallic taste, unusual smell
      Flushing/sweating/palpitations
      Overbreathing
      Urinary difficulties/menstrual difficulties
      Skin rashes, itching
      Fits (rare)

Aww fuck. Merry Christmas to me I guess :P

Plus I can't use the Ashton Protocol, my psychiatrist won't let me.

He wanted to have me taper off at 0.5mg every week until I screamed bloody murder, so now it's 0.5mg every two weeks.

This is going to be unpleasant...

It's necessary to get off this crap though. I'm definitely starting to have some bad side effects from long term use.

I'm worried that I'll go off it and find that I still have HPPD. Given the withdrawal symptoms I think I'm going to need to remember not to think it's HPPD for at least several months after I'm completely off them, it could just be withdrawals.

I'm also not going to go back on them if I do still have HPPD. I think the message @Fawkinchit has brought up is a good point, we need to look for a solution, not a band-aid.

Today is day one. Bring the pain 😕

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I agree, it's way too fast, that's why I'm expecting some nasty withdrawals.

According to the site with the Ashton Protocol, for some reason Klonopin has a higher tendency to give depersonalization/derealization during withdrawals than other benzos do. I hope that doesn't happen, for me that's even worse than my visual symptoms were.

If it gets bad I'll call him up and convince him that I should do 0.25mg every two weeks.

He's used to me asking to do things my way, he'd cave.

It's day three and so far things aren't bad, I just generally don't feel well. No spikes in anxiety yet.

Edited by SomebodySomewhere
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  • 4 weeks later...

I’ve gone through fast tapers. I don’t recommend it... it’s much better to make a liquid solution and taper so slowly you don’t notice. It’s the easiest on your brain too. 
 

my friend did 7 years maxing out at your dose. He went too fast. 
 

this isn’t meant to make you anxious, just IMO, you will be in withdrawal for 1-2 years. You can either taper so slow you barely notice, or you can go fast and be in hard withdrawals for 1-2 years. The time will still be the same; the only difference is how much you suffer during that period. 
 

I don’t outright say this often but your doctor is NOT to be trusted. He’s asking you to do 200mph on the highway blindfolded. .5 every 2 weeks is insanely fast for someone who has been on benzos that long. At the very very least get some baclofen or memantine or something so you don’t have some sort of excitotoxic event. 
 

Benzo receptors are sensitive and if you stop too fast they’ll snap closed (quite literally). It’s very hard to get them to unsnap closed once they have and that’s why often people who go down too fast find going back up to their previous dose doesn’t cut it. 
 

so go slow so your receptors can maintain a little bit of their structural integrity. Like stupid slow.
 

preferable: liquid solution

Reduction: .035mg per week/.125mg per month. Off in 2 years.
 

the more frequent and lessened the dose reduction the better. If you can figure out how to do a 0.004464285714286mg reduction per day dose, you’ll be off in 2 years and probably not notice much at all. 
 

dissolving 3mg into 1000 grams of water and then removing grams with a dropper and drinking the remaining might work?

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I'm aware of the fact he's tapering me too fast. The problem is I'm in a rural area where he is literally the only prescriber. I have no choice but to go through this jackass of a prescriber.

I called him last night and told him I need him to contact me today, and do 0.5mg a month instead. If he doesn't agree I'm simply going to have to yell at him.

I can't do the Ashton protocol. I'm very aware of how it's supposed to work, I can't go that route.

I know you were just trying to help, but you have indeed made me much more anxious.

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On 1/18/2021 at 6:48 AM, SomebodySomewhere said:

I'm aware of the fact he's tapering me too fast. The problem is I'm in a rural area where he is literally the only prescriber. I have no choice but to go through this jackass of a prescriber.

I called him last night and told him I need him to contact me today, and do 0.5mg a month instead. If he doesn't agree I'm simply going to have to yell at him.

I can't do the Ashton protocol. I'm very aware of how it's supposed to work, I can't go that route.

I know you were just trying to help, but you have indeed made me much more anxious.

I apologize if my words were blunt or contained information you already understand.

 

I would scour the internet/google scholar (use the advanced search functions!) for any literature you can provide your doctor to support your claim for a slow taper. Ime, doctors are much more receptive to scientific literature than their patients. 
 

this might help. I just scammed a few sections in one part but they mention the Ashton protocol and even just going to a medical doctor instead and explaining what is going on, as this really needs to be treated more as medical issue than a psychiatric one. 
 

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uS8DEAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=info:qRzoBsk_a3AJ:scholar.google.com/&ots=408ILOe0WV&sig=mJ1RajGDxoeJm0o08Yu7C7q2qMk#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

my friend also had a shit head of a psychiatrist who tried to do the same thing. I’m sorry a doctor got you into this mess and now a doctor isn’t properly helping you out.

 

I would call as many doctors and psychiatrists you can until you find one that is receptive and understanding. Even if they won’t see you, or are too far from you to treat you, they may be willing to call YOUR doctor and explain a proper route of treatment. Even email people studying benzodiazepines at universities. Email everyone. Create a template to do so.
 

If it makes you feel better, my friend is now doing well, has a good well paying job (he didn’t while on benzos), and is frankly more competent. 

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Sorry for being a jerk. You're a good guy and I know you're trying to help. My dog died today so I'm having trouble not getting mad at random people.

To try and answer what you wrote, I've seen this guy for about 15 years and did everything you suggested in the past. Luckily when I last talked to him he wrote me a prescription for 2mg a day and told me I can go as slowly as I need to. 

Sorry for being a jerk. I don't handle stress well so I generally flip out on people for no reason. Just yesterday I yelled at someone in a store for not wearing a mask. I'm a prick but I'm working on it.

You give good advice, so ignore my negativity.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

@OnemorestepI'm glad you didn't take it personally, you give great advice.

Thanks to you as well @bpl4269

Currently I'm still at 2mg a day. I'm waiting until I've received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine before continuing to taper, my rationale being that benzo withdrawals can resemble flu-like symptoms.

Only 4 days to go until my first vaccine shot, but with my horrible luck I'll probably catch Covid before then :P

Luckily my prescriber is relenting and letting me taper at whatever pace I want when I start going back down.

He's frustrating because he is frequently wrong about medications, but he means well.

I'm getting to the point again where if I say I want a specific medication he just gives it to me with minimal hassle.

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On 12/18/2020 at 3:20 PM, SomebodySomewhere said:

I'm also not going to go back on them if I do still have HPPD. 

You don't have any HPPD symptoms any longer? What did they use to be?

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2 hours ago, Hall89 said:

You don't have any HPPD symptoms any longer? What did they use to be?

I used to have trails, geometric patterns in wood-grain/various surfaces, vision that looked very "fluid", micropsia, visual snow (this hasn't gone away, but it's never bothered me), and a visual that I think is DP/DR related and not related to HPPD, where people under flourscenet light looked demonic/dead-looking (could also be a PTSD response, the trip that gave me HPPD was a really bad trip where dying was a big theme).

I can't give a precise amount of time that my HPPD has been gone because I started taking Klonopin within a year of getting the disorder, which masks the symptoms. I do not believe the Klonopin cured me, I think it just went away on it's own.

I met another person once and by chance he mentioned he used to have HPPD as well, he didn't take anything for it, and after 10 years it went away on it's own.

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13 hours ago, SomebodySomewhere said:

I used to have trails, geometric patterns in wood-grain/various surfaces, vision that looked very "fluid", micropsia, visual snow (this hasn't gone away, but it's never bothered me), and a visual that I think is DP/DR related and not related to HPPD, where people under flourscenet light looked demonic/dead-looking (could also be a PTSD response, the trip that gave me HPPD was a really bad trip where dying was a big theme).

I can't give a precise amount of time that my HPPD has been gone because I started taking Klonopin within a year of getting the disorder, which masks the symptoms. I do not believe the Klonopin cured me, I think it just went away on it's own.

I'm glad to hear that atleast they're gone! Were your trails and micropsia bad? I wish i felt the same regarding the snow, it's my worst visual, absolutely hate it.
 

13 hours ago, SomebodySomewhere said:

I met another person once and by chance he mentioned he used to have HPPD as well, he didn't take anything for it, and after 10 years it went away on it's own.

Damn! That's a long time! But atleast it's hope. I've been like 90% convinced the last couple of weeks that it's permanent and that those that say otherwise just have learned to cope with it, because pretty much everyone i've asked that's claimed that they've healed say that the key is to stop thinking about it. But that's not really a physical healing that's taken place, only ignoring the symptoms.

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For both me and the person mentioned, it's not ignoring the symptoms, it's gone.

There are cases where it goes away, and cases where it seems permanent. You don't know what group you fall into so don't lose hope. I used to feel the same way as you. If you search through the forum you'll find there are others who've had it go away, either through time, or through medications they've tried.

My trails were moderate and the micropsia was frequent and very disturbing.

HPPD is a horrible disorder that everyone deserves to recover from.

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@Hall89 My two cents are that not thinking about it isn't really a matter of ignoring it.  I think that when we give it less power over us, that action allows the mind to heal somehow.  Remember, there are at least two aspects to human beings: the psychological self and the physical self. These entities are obviously interconnected but one is not not necessarily contained in the other.  To this day, there is not concrete evidence that human consciousness arrises as a result of physical phenomena.  Our understanding of the mind is still very limited and although we can measure electromagnetic signals that indicate the presence and existence of consciousness its origins are still a mystery.  I believe that if we detach ourselves a little from our physical self then our consciousness can actually impact our physical body.  ie we can heal, find happiness in our lives exactly as they are not just what we want them to be,  endure tremendous adversity etc... the image below suggests to me that we are more than our bodies. This was taken in the 1960's and is a voluntary act of protest by a Buddhist monk in Vietnam.  

0*L4DymUK6oVxZ8vRd.jpg

 

 

   

Edited by cosmiccharlie
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On 5/5/2021 at 4:14 PM, Hall89 said:

Damn! That's a long time! But atleast it's hope. I've been like 90% convinced the last couple of weeks that it's permanent and that those that say otherwise just have learned to cope with it, because pretty much everyone i've asked that's claimed that they've healed say that the key is to stop thinking about it. But that's not really a physical healing that's taken place, only ignoring the symptoms.

 

On 5/5/2021 at 6:15 PM, cosmiccharlie said:

To this day, there is not concrete evidence that human consciousness arrises as a result of physical phenomena.  Our understanding of the mind is still very limited and although we can measure electromagnetic signals that indicate the presence and existence of consciousness its origins are still a mystery.  I believe that if we detach ourselves a little from our physical self then our consciousness can actually impact our physical body.  

I don't think we really need any "unphysical" thinking to explain this. 🙂

Your experience, memory and behaviour is determined by neuronal pathways in your brains. Think of it as a network of connections which may either weaken or strengthen.

SomebodySomewhere's demonic visual can serve as an example (I hope you don't mind, SomebodySomewhere): He explained that he had a visual where people under florescent light looked demonic or dead-looking, and that it originated in a death-focused trip. This kind of experience creates new neuronal pathways, where the light pattern of someone standing under a fluorescent light is associated with death and perhaps fear. The more you re-experience this, the more the pathway is strengthened. The more likely it is that this pathway will be activated next time you see someone in similar lighting.

On the other hand, new experiences can alter this pattern. Seeing your wife standing under fluorescent light, and realizing that she actually looks quite wonderful. Over time, the pathway strength may also simply fade, due to not being activated because your mind was occupied by other things ("to stop thinking about it").

This sort of reinforcement learning mechanism was actually exactly the basis for how researchers often think about artificial intelligence nowadays.

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On 5/5/2021 at 12:49 PM, SomebodySomewhere said:

For both me and the person mentioned, it's not ignoring the symptoms, it's gone.

There are cases where it goes away, and cases where it seems permanent. You don't know what group you fall into so don't lose hope. I used to feel the same way as you. If you search through the forum you'll find there are others who've had it go away, either through time, or through medications they've tried.

My trails were moderate and the micropsia was frequent and very disturbing.

HPPD is a horrible disorder that everyone deserves to recover from.

Nice post! Please keep us updated

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On 5/10/2021 at 2:58 AM, StateOfRegret said:

 

I don't think we really need any "unphysical" thinking to explain this. 🙂

Your experience, memory and behaviour is determined by neuronal pathways in your brains. Think of it as a network of connections which may either weaken or strengthen.

SomebodySomewhere's demonic visual can serve as an example (I hope you don't mind, SomebodySomewhere): He explained that he had a visual where people under florescent light looked demonic or dead-looking, and that it originated in a death-focused trip. This kind of experience creates new neuronal pathways, where the light pattern of someone standing under a fluorescent light is associated with death and perhaps fear. The more you re-experience this, the more the pathway is strengthened. The more likely it is that this pathway will be activated next time you see someone in similar lighting.

On the other hand, new experiences can alter this pattern. Seeing your wife standing under fluorescent light, and realizing that she actually looks quite wonderful. Over time, the pathway strength may also simply fade, due to not being activated because your mind was occupied by other things ("to stop thinking about it").

This sort of reinforcement learning mechanism was actually exactly the basis for how researchers often think about artificial intelligence nowadays.

I don't mind at all, that's actually a very good example, and it makes a lot of sense (I was in the E.R. of a hospital during said trip, looking up under bright florescent lights where the nurses/doctors looked demonic/dead).

Thank fuck I don't experience that anymore, but if I did re-wiring that pathway in the way you mentioned makes sense. It's like exposure therapy.

@rlopes Thanks. Getting my 2nd vaccine dose on the 5th, waiting two weeks after that, and then I'll begin my taper again. I'll make a post about it when I start again.

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Did you go n benzos becasue of hppd ?  has your hppd healed over time.  was it severe. I have really severe hppd and think about suicide daily due to my visual cortex about to explode.  I have been on and of benzos for two years but now thinking fck it and go on daily and ride that train as far as it goes.. if i could get 13 more years of life i would be happy  be good to hear your thoughts

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