Many people speak of how awful it is to lower the dose of clonazepam but don’t really describe the symptoms. I’ve taken a pretty steady dose of this benzo (.125) daily for 2 years as I’ve tried to find an anti-anxiety medicine that works. Lexapro didn’t, I couldn’t stand the side effects of Zoloft and am currently on Buspirone, 15 mg. Still feel lousy and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m physically dependent on the benzo, if I need a higher dose of Buspirone, or if I should try Effexor. I tried skipping my micro-dose of Clonazepam this morning, and felt jittery and fatigued by early afternoon. Is that withdrawal or just a symptom of anxiety because the Buspirone is not working optimally? All along I was told by my doctor that as soon as the anxiety med starts working, I won’t “need” the clonazepam. I have yet to achieve that calm feeling I so desperately need. The benzo just helps take the edge off. I’ve already tried a higher dose of Buspirone, and felt worse so either the 15 mg works or I have to try something else and doc is suggesting Effexor. Can anyone describe what Clonazepam withdrawal feels like? Thanks…. I would really like to discontinue it but don’t know how to go any lower than I already have. (I cut the .5 mg in quarters).
What are the symptoms of clonazepam withdrawal?
Question posted by suemp123 on 22 March 2022
Last updated on 17 February 2023
Withdrawal is hell. I tried in July of 2022, by September I was falling apart. Two ER visits. Heart palpitations, dizziness, bp up and down, neurological problems, muscle problems. I went from 2.0 to .5. I have been to about 30 drs, crazy off the wall symptoms. Now I have tinnitus, which makes you even crazier. I wish I had just kept taking. I started to wean because it seemed like it was causing me to lash out. Now I wish I had never stopped. My psychiatrist could care less.
I’ve been on clonazepam for 5-6 years now. I have withdrawn from benzos in the past, it’s very uneasy feeling. I had weird body flashes were I felt like I kept getting a dose of adrenaline. I also had achie shoulders and neck, chest pain, feeling of uneasy anxiety all through my body. I have been tapering as well and I’m also on a .125 dose. I was doing alright for a little while, but lately I’ve been having some crazy days, severe panic attacks. I’ve also been having heart palpitations some days they last all day every 2-5 minutes. These drugs are supposed to treat anxiety yet they cause the very problem they are treating, and it just amplifies it by 100. I do know that if you try to eat really well sleep the best you can, and drink fluids while keeping a good physical routine, it will help a lot. I came to this thread to see if anyone else has the heart palpitations like I do? There is comfort in knowing someone else has experienced it and can offer some relief that it will work itself out.
This is my story of withdrawal and recovery from addiction to high dose Klonopin and other medication. I worked as a medical photographer and was hit by a DUI in 1998. I made a complete impact on the windshield while riding my bike around the block. The force of my head impacting the windshield embedded my glasses into the glass, leaving one end sticking out. I always wore a helmet but forgot that night. Upon my impact on the windshield, I perceived that I was above the utility electric lines and only wondered when I would hit the ground, not why I was above the utility poles and out of my body. When I woke up to the people who gathered around me, I only noticed the dogs' eyes who were all watching me. The DUI impact finished my career in biomedical photography.
I made a good physical recovery over a few years, but the challenges in the mental journey from the accident and later, drug withdrawal, continues even today. From 1998-2003, I was gradually prescribed more medications and in high doses. These worsened rather than helped the mental symptoms. At the time, I didn't know the difference. In 2003, I was on daily high doses of the following drugs: Klonopin 5-6mg/day, Effexor 300mg, Paxil 30 mg, Wellbutrin-300 mg, Dexedrine 100mg, Zyprexa 15 mg, Modafinil 800mg, Neurontin-unknown dose, occasional Viagra. I don't remember if I was still taking high doses of Trazodone. Trazodone use coincided with visual disturbances of seeing blue-violet shades and repetitive images from object movement. I was also using some methamphetamine and cannabis. I was in a constant altered state from these medications/drugs and/or from the head trauma. In late 2002-2003, I smashed hundreds of rocks on my kitchen floor because I saw fractal patterns inside. Smashing the rocks made a deep hole in the concrete. The kitchen cabinet surfaces and shelves were piled completely with smashed rocks. Rocks filled tin cans on the shelves. I could see fractal wave patterns flowing from objects, so I was creating art with natural objects arranged according to how I felt their energy fields interacting. My entire living space was transformed with many natural objects. This included driftwood hanging from the ceiling, a spare toilet used for flowers, dried seaweed, and poppy pods, and dried grass.
In 2003, I was arrested spent 5 months in jail. l was denied all of my medications and started withdrawal. I was put in a suicide cell because I was petrified about being placed with the general population, so I said I was suicidal. The first two nights, I heard mostly female voices through the walls. I told a man facing possible capital punishment not to fear death because I've been there. Three days after my arrest, I saw the jail doctor. He refused any medications and aid I was done with withdrawal. He did prescribe Zyprexa at 20 mg/day, and 4-8 weeks later, Trazodone to aid sleep and possibly either Effexor or Wellbutrin.
Over the next 2-3 weeks, my condition worsened. I was severely constipated, and my muscles would fail me. I held on to the security man when I was moved because I could suddenly collapse. My failure to be able to get out of bed sometimes when medications were given was defined as medication refusal. My legs twitched at night, starting 30 min after I lay down. They jerked up and down and was very uncomfortable. I often fell against the wall in my cell. One day, I was rushed unconscious to the hospital with open head wounds because the guards claimed I was banging my head against the toilet. I don't remember. I probably fell against the toilet. I was having convulsions in the hospital. The emergency team wasn't told about my recent medical history. They even did a spinal tap trying to determine the cause of my seizures. I don't remember going to the hospital, just waking up in the hospital chained to a very comfortable bed. I spent 2 days in the hospital.
I gradually improved over the 5 months in jail. When I was released from jail, I saw a doctor who, over a 6-9 month period, weaned me off the medications (Effexor or Wellbutrin and Zyprexa) that were prescribed in jail. He refused to prescribe D-amphetamine sulfate for my ADHD and head injury. The doctor who prescribed all the meds before my arrest lost my medical records. But, I found a copy. During the first year after my release, I either went deeper into depression or was already deeply depressed, with high distraction and an altered state 24/7 EXCEPT for 2-3 evenings a week when I forced myself to go contra dancing: an intense aerobic activity with an eye contact component. For two hours after the dancing, I felt normal, then the altered state returned. I hated it. I felt this for a year. I switched doctors to an expert in mental health. He started me on an older antidepressant that felt like a switch in my brain. The severe depression was gone. Later he switched to another medication and started me on D-amphetamine based on the recommendation of a psychologist. Gradually, I stopped the antidepressant.
So, it is difficult to know when the withdrawal finished because possibly, it blends with recovery and other medications that were later prescribed. It is also difficult to say which drug produced a given withdrawal symptom. The withdrawal was a mixture of all the drugs. But, I felt then and now, that Klonopin was the most potent, and the reason for my frequent loss of muscle control during the worst period of the withdrawal. I feel 2-3-5-or even 10 years is my time frame for withdrawal and recovery.
How am I today? Well, in 2011, I flew to Novosibirsk, in Siberia to meet a woman I met online. She found me by my horoscope, not my profile photo of me holding onto the horns of a live goat. The goat picture and my stories about compost convinced her I was not a scam. I lived there 2 years and for the first time since my DUI collision in 1998, I rode a bike-across the River Ob. I was put to work in the English language schools. My favorite was a school that also worked with ADHD children. In 2020, I started a collaboration with a company, doing the initial extractions of Amanita muscaria, a red psychoactive mushroom with white spots on the cap, for the development of a micro-dose amanita supplement. I learned how to import metric tons of Amanita legally. So, I took a chance and discontinued my disability status after 22 years and the monthly payments stopped. So, I hope you and others find value in this very true story.
I have posted about my situation many times and tried to get my pharmacist, doctor., retired doctor. (unattainable) who had me on 1.50mg clonazepam for 35 years, with no help. My current psych. wants to withdraw me to 0 as she is anti-benzo, period no ifs or buts, even with tremor from new med she put me on and can only be helped with clonazepam. I really feel helpless and can only look at my future in fear and trepidation when the next prescription starts with 1.25mg on the way to 0.
I've never taken a benzodiazepine so I can't give you a personal experience but the following are potential symptoms of withdrawal if done too quickly without a doctor's supervision.
Physical manifestations of benzo withdrawal can include:
Troubled sleeping (nightmares, waking in the night)
Loss of appetite
Dizziness or unsteadiness
Muscle aches and pains
Blurred vision or other visual disturbances
Extreme sensitivity to light
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears or hearing a sound that isn’t really there)
Grand mal seizures"
"Mental Health Symptoms
The psychological symptoms of Klonopin withdrawal can include:
Irritability and agitation
Strange bodily sensations
Strange perceptual changes (things touch, taste, or feel different)
Trouble remembering things
Auditory or visual hallucinations
Feelings of unreality
Distorted body image
Keep in mind that there are many factors involved in the severity and length of time withdawal symptoms may appear and last. Most people who follow a strict tapering schedule from their doctor may not experience many or most of them.
Best regards and best of luck to you.
Clonazepam is very addictive and should never be stopped cold turkey. Please check with your doctor who prescribed it. I was taking 1.5 mg of clonazepam for four and a half months. I recently started tapering and did it to fast. I ended up with a racing heart, burning skin, nerve pain, muscle twitches, feelings of not getting enough oxygen, my head hurt so bad like it was going to explode, my ears were hot and hurt. I also had no appetite and felt like I couldn’t swallow. It was a three day ordeal and started five days after my last taper. There are many other symptoms that can happen but I’m not familiar with all of them. My doctor recommend doing a slower taper to prevent severe withdrawals. I just wanted off the drug so bad I went too fast. Also not everyone has withdrawals and can quit easily but still talk to your doctor to be safe. In regards to the anti depressants there are several. I know Prozac helps with both anxiety and depression. Good luck and be well.
You’re on such a small dose but I get how effective clonazepam can be. I’ve been on for 20 years-wow. Tried to drop the dose 2 weeks ago. Felt more ‘on edge’; digestive issues increased; muscle pain in my shoulders; felt shaky from the inside out; and just felt more wound up and ‘unwell’. Hope this helps. If you can stay on 0.125mg (therapeutic dose for panic is 1mg) I don’t see the problem with it.
- Clonazepam uses and safety info
- Clonazepam prescribing info & package insert (for Health Professionals)
- Side effects of Clonazepam (detailed)
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