My Benzo Withdrawal Timeline Thus Far

In June 2010 I stopped taking Klonopin everyday and started having weird sensations.  I took my absolute last .25 mg of Klonopin on July 7th.  Though I have had side effects since June I will count July 7th as my official withdrawal beginning.

THE FIRST 2 WEEKS

The first two weeks the symptoms slowly waxed in intensity until reaching a terrible spike.   This is when I first got anxiety, dysphoria, derealization, brain fog, akathisia, burning skin, vision issues, head and ear pressure, increased tinnitus, etc.

2 WEEKS – 3 MONTHS

This time period was pure hell.  I was desperate, scared, and couldn’t stay still.  I could barely talk.  During this period my akathisia and most of my physical symptoms peaked.  The burning sensation in my ears was intolerable.  My eyes exploded with floaters.  I couldn’t stay still.  I had to go on long walks.  I had terrible unrelenting fear and couldn’t be alone.  I was constantly calling my girlfriend at work.  My agoraphobia was disabling.  I fell apart at the slightest stress.  I thought I was going crazy.

MONTH 3 – 3 1/2

This period came with a comforting lull in pretty much all of my symptoms.  The head pressure was virtually gone.  My vision problems relaxed a little.  My anxiety seemed to have disappeared.  But this was the calm before the storm.

MONTHS 4 AND 5

These two months were the worst of it.  My brain fog turned into confusion.  My memory became severely impaired.  I felt so disconnected from reality, disoriented, and dizzy.  The anxiety and depression got bad again.  My ability to handle stress got very, very bad.  The akathisia didn’t return in full force though.  Neither did the pressure in my head.  So these months were the peak for my brain symptoms, and the first and second month was the peak for my physical symptoms.  I consider 4 and 5 the absolute worst months though.

MONTH 6

Improvement at long last.  I was a little more relaxed.  Anxiety and depression virtually disappeared.  I started feeling positive emotions and began to enjoy simple hobbies again despite the constant derealization, brain fog, and drunk, woozy feeling.

MONTH 7

Month 7 brought another symptom flare up unfortunately, but nothing as intense as what I have been through.  It mainly came in the form of buzzing and vibrating in my nerves, fatigue, and head and ear pressure.

Now I truly believe the worst of it is over.  My akathisia is consistently better.  Emotionally I feel almost normal.  I’m no longer afraid of being alone.  I’m still very miserable physically.  The pressure in my ears and head constantly fluctuate and every once in a while the vibrating flares up.  My cognitive impairment fluctuates but even when it’s a little better it is still disabling.  I can handle stress much better meaning that I don’t fall apart, but I’m still far from normal.  The only thing that hasn’t seen any improvement whatsoever is the tinnitus which still rages on just as bad as its peak.  The floaters haven’t gotten better either, but that isn’t so much a symptom as the end result of another symptom.

Very few things have actually gone away, but every symptom besides tinnitus has shown improvement to some degree.  Some of the things that have disappeared is: the fear and terror, depression, burning skin sensation, tremors, and probably a few other things that I don’t even remember.

I’ve shown enough improvement to realize recovery is possible, and yet I sit here wondering how much longer I have to stay at this level of suffering.  My nervous system is still very dysfunctional.  When will I be functional again?  When can I resume a normal life?

From my time spent in withdrawal forums it seems that people who get most of their side effects all at once in the beginning say that the first six months were the worst.  I guess this is true in my case.  These people often find relief around nine or ten months or perhaps a year.  For others, they get some symptoms in the first six months, and get hit with a different set of symptoms in the second six months, a second wave.  For these people their second six months were the worst.  In either case, 6-18 months is the most common healing time with just around one year being average.

I press forward.

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131 Responses to My Benzo Withdrawal Timeline Thus Far

  1. leitot says:

    THANK YOU for this post. This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. I will be 3 months out on Sunday and my world is still crumbling. I added you to my private blog at prncz.wordpress.com in case you’d like to have a look. Happy healing!

    • benzofree says:

      Thank you for your comment. Hopefully, you will heal faster than I am. It does keep getting better every 4-6 weeks or so for me, so hang in there. The first stuff to go was the psychological stuff.

    • Trinity says:

      Same here, since I’m just starting. Looking at a year or more I guess, on a slow taper.

  2. lowfight says:

    I went c/t off of lorazepam in October 2010. A few months before that I went c/t off of Prozac. Your journal brought tears to my eyes. I have gone through and am still going through all of the stuff you are. My symptoms were hellish at the start. I am now down to just eye problems(all types of lights bother my eyes……especially headlights……I have grown to hate LED lights!……I also have floaters(they don’t bother me that much)), some GI issues, and globus(throat tightening). I had SEVERE muscle issues for months. My abdominal/back muscles were always tight, my neck/temple/jaw muscles were as well, the muscle in my chest too. It was very scary. I also had horrible stomach issues. The muscle issues are gone. The stomach issues are gone as well.(some minor flare-ups occassionally……that may be normal) The eye issues with lights is the one symptom I really hate! The anxiety and panic is still hanging around, but is not nearly as bad. The anxiety and panic have improved as the physical symptoms have lifted. It has been roughly 5 months and I am counting on it being at least 6-7 more before I am 100% better. I don’t take any medication now. At one point, I was taking Cipro, Uroxatral, Prozac, Naproxen, and Lorazepam each day……that’s craziness. And the kicker, none of it was necessary! I’m angry at myself and my doctors! Hang in there man……we can get through this! :O)

    • benzofree says:

      It sounds like you are healing quite fast. That’s wonderful. I hope you are 100% in the next couple months :)

    • gonna_get_better_soon says:

      Hey there. I’m undergoing the same phase as you. We share a lot of symptoms in common and I’m currently in my 5th month. I’ve read everywhere else that it takes a least 6 months before you start feeling ‘relatively normal’ and that’s what I’m counting on. It’s almost a year since your last post so I’m guessing you’re probably doing fine by now. If you’re reading this, hope you don’t mind telling how you’ve been doing so far. Take care. Peace

    • Dr. Puffy says:

      Man, I sure hope you are right. I think the sadness is the worst part.

  3. Holly says:

    God this is so depressing!!! I’m in my first week of klonopin withdrawal and i should NOT be reading this….. :'(

  4. Cutoffbytheveteransadmin says:

    I was cut off of my meds by my wonderful supposed mental health doctor at the veterans admin because on top of mental issues(ptsd, anxiety) I have numerous physical ailments that leave me in bed most times and missed face to face appointments. When I told my doc I was having trouble getting in she cuts my meds!! 3mg klonopin a day 2 years. I’ve detoxed off opiates before and its never been this bad. It’s been 3 months and I’m living like a shut in. I’m
    terrified to leave my house, very irritable, have mood swings, panic attacks, headaches(which I feel and I’m on methadone), sweaty palms, nightmares, I can feel the air hitting my teeth, salty or metallic taste, ears ring at times IS THIS EVER GOING TO END!!!! I FEEL LIKE I’M GOING CRAZY!!!!!

  5. J. says:

    How long were you on benzos before quitting?

  6. raymond says:

    how are you doing now im 4.5 months out bad akathesa my nerves are shot im still workng though.buzzing comes and goes itchng skin nerve pain come and go I get 10 minute windows once n a while head preasure comes and goes every few days. the worst pat is the restlessness itshell cant watch tv or relax its hell. I could dill with everything else but this akathesia I hade it sense day 1 doesent get better.

  7. Dr. Puffy says:

    I am unfortunately in the 2 month point and I am ready to go nuts. The diarrhea is the worst part of the withdrawal. I thought by now I would start feeling better but it seems like I have a few days that are good and then it goes back to my living hell I call the benzo reality. The flu like symptoms are terrible too. If I would have known what these drugs would do to me after seven years of use I would have never started these. Feeling very sad at this point. I hope there is a silver lining soon.

  8. Dr. Puffy says:

    Oh and I did an accidental C/T withdrawal. It wasn’t on purpose trust me. I didn’t know how dangerous this method would be.

  9. Vinny Khureya says:

    HI there, I am lucky to have found your post since I identify with so much of it. I am now 26 months off Klonopin but continue to have debilitating cognitive and physical impairment. It got to be so bad that one day last week, I realized I had no hope. Still, suicide is not an option and I am glad for that. I had been on tricyclic antidepressants for 22 years and switched to an SSRi. That produced Bi-polar like symptoms which was diagnosed as such and was put on at least 4 different bipolar meds one at a time including Benzos. At one time, the Dr. even had me on an attention deficit medication. The horrors of what those medications produced can scarcely be described. I finally got off all the meds except 12mg of the tricyclic AD which I had tapered down from 150mg. As I mentioned, I am now 26 months off my last Benzo dose and still, the severe withdrawal symptoms persist. They have gotten better over the last couple of years but not enough for me to function normally. I still have debilitating Cog Fog, eye socket pain, muscle weakness and lack of co-ordination, joint pain, concentration difficulties, memory problems, clumsiness, skin and muscle tone deterioration, sleep problems and many more. It’s good to know that it’s not in my head and that others have had similar experience. Is there anything you might suggest that I could do to help myself? The scariest part was reading Professor Ashton’s comment that some symptoms can be permanent. I don’t know how this site works but hope you get to read this and perhaps even make a comment

    • benzofree says:

      I know it seems impossible, but the best thing for me was trying to ignore everything and retain normalcy. Resist the urge to focus on it. I don’t really know how to articulate it, but once it was possible to try to have a normal life things started getting better quicker.

  10. W says:

    When you say you could barely talk in the first month or so, can you elaborate on that? Did you feel like you were spitting out single words at a time? I seem to have a similar issue every now and then and I’m at about the same stage.

    • benzofree says:

      I would have a hard time getting out words. They just weren’t coming to me. My sentences didn’t come out properly like I couldn’t plan out my syntax, so yes sometimes I would speak in simple disjointed phrases or words. I would also stop and restart a lot.

  11. AlmostThere says:

    In a few days I hit that one year mark from cold turkeying off of klonopins… Almost all symptoms are gone except for head pressures here some minor cognitive impairment… Everyday it’s getting better so hopefully somewhere down the road it will disappear as well…

    • benzofree says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you’re doing better. That’s wonderful.

    • Jaz says:

      I have gone c/t off 4mg Ativan and 45 mg temazapam. I’m 3 weeks in and had some pretty awful withdrawals but I’m physically alot better. I don’t think going c/t is safe but in my first week reading about w/d from benzos is so dangerous and should never be done c/t I was horrified. I’m here to say IT CAN BE DONE. I know it’s not over but I’m really tired if reading how “awful” it is to get off benzos,I agree it SUCKS but it’s not the end of the world. I took Ativan and temazapam for almost 2 years. I’m not feeling great but I’m fine and getting off benzos doesn’t have to be so scary. Hope everyone on here feels better soon.

      • Vinij Khureya says:

        Well done on your one year. I would like to add though that it is extremely inadvisable to cold turkey. In other words, please don’t do it that way. Vinny

      • Jaz says:

        Some people cannot afford to do it any other way but c/t. If you have a falling out with your doctor or he or she stops giving you your medication you have no choice. I called hospitals to try and seek help while getting off my benzos,no1 wanted to help. I’d have to have a seizure before I’d get some help. I never had a seizure and was basically in fear every second that I was going to. Cold turkey is not safe but like I said some of us are forced to do so. If you find yourself in this situation I hope all the things people post online doesn’t freak you out like it did me. I took valerian root and some niacin vitamins to curve some of the w/d and I’m fine now. Stop scaring people! W/d from benzos is not ideal but people are making it seem impossible.

      • Vinny Khureya says:

        Many apologies. I did not mean to scare anyone. I should have said, please do not c/t if you can help it.

  12. Jaz says:

    NO need to apologize vinny. I just want people who are forced to c/t n

  13. Jaz says:

    NO need to apologize vinny. I just want people who are forced to c/t not to be so scared. Like I said it can be done. Hope your doing well vinny.

  14. Dave says:

    It is quite frightening hearing how benzo withdrawal can last so long and some effects are permanent. I was told many times lorazepam is weak and I thought it was a miracle drug after I could sleep anytime I took it and it killed most of my anxiety. After a year of needing the medicine with me wherever I went and that I had to take it at least 2mg a day before I would start panicking and going through other withdrawal that I realized it was not a miracle drug. It has left me with anxiety and insomnia multiplied by ten on top of ten new problems I never had before. I found out lorazepam addiction is very common with such a short half life that leaves you feeling the absolute need to take it within 24 hours of your last dose before you start getting blurred vision, hyper sensitivity, anxiety, paranoia, tremors, and odd sensory sensations. I started taking xanax 2mg a day in between doctor changes or periods where I had to take more than prescribed as well. I never experienced the withdrawal though after stopping xanax but lorazepam had been brutal. I have gone through two week periods 3 times before now and thought withdrawal could only last a week in the worst cases and thought that I had worse problems that I felt so crazy every time without the drugs. I have been on it 2-4mg/day for four years with heavy doses of xanax throughout the years and I am three weeks out and am suffering 90% of the withdrawal symptoms almost non-stop. I have not slept more then three hours straight since and I cherish if I get two hours a day. People I know think I am on drugs now that I am acting odd and that my eyes are so dark and I have lost so much weight so quickly. Despite taking all sorts of otc sleeping remedies that would be enough to take out a small horse I can not even sleep. Sorry for going for so long but I hope people read our posts when they first try these drugs that feel like miracle at drugs at first. I would like to hear how everyone is doing now in 2013.

  15. beautifulmommie23 says:

    Thank You so much for sharing your experiences, I had been on klonopin since August 2007, started at the highest dose & over the years my doctors decreased the mg., I layed them down completely on May 23, so today I’m around my 2 month mark, but I know I can do this! This has been one of the toughest battles to fight, in my entire life. I have had almost every withdrawal, you can possibly name, its a living hell & sometimes it feels like a nightmare that no matter how hard I try I just can’t wake up from this bad dream, somedays it feels like I’am a puppet lied to a string & someone somewhere is controlling the string! I pray that I overcome this battle, I would never wish this on my worst enemy!

  16. EricB says:

    I have stopped .25 mg on August 15, 2013 and the first week was absolute hell. The following several weeks are still tough though I do not feel I am quite as bad as the author of this post. I am working a new job which makes it worse. My doctor insists that it is not withdrawal and it is me constantly reading these posts and scaring myself. While some of that may be true, I am obviously withdrawing. I having burning skin, dizzy, sweats, massive stiff neck, anxiety (very high), and other symptoms. Can somebody please help me by telling me how long to expect this? My doctor wants to put me on Elavil for mood. I actually thinking that this may not be a bad idea. Any thoughts?

  17. Trinity says:

    Just discovered a few weeks back, when I ran out of my prescription early, just how addicting and how horrible the klonopin withdrawal is. I’ve been taking this for about a decade and never ran out before. I went 4 days cold turkey and was feeling so crappy that I googled klonopin withdrawal … I had no idea!!! I had all the symptoms short of stroke and seizure. My prescription was 1mg up to 4 daily “as needed”. I’ve put myself on a reduced dose of 1 mg every 12 hours. I am currently experiencing blurred vision, akathisia, insomnia, burning sensations on skin, head pressure, heart beating out of my chest, increased pulse, etc. Not quite as bad as cold turkey, but not much better. I have found a physician that will follow Dr. Heather Ashton’s slow taper, but the earliest appointment I could get is two months away. So I thought maybe I’d join a group for moral support. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. Thank you to everyone for sharing you experiences, especially the successes, it is very encouraging.

  18. EricB says:

    Trinity, it slowly gets better. A little over two months for me and the symptoms come on and off. I went hiking yesterday and the anxiety was terrible as it is this morning. I will see though that each attack gets a little less intense. My psychiatrist swears that because my does was .5 per day that I cannot be getting withdrawals. I did this for about three years. I beg to differ with her. I really do think doctors should be regulated with this stuff. What we should all do is not fight big pharma but petition them to develop new and much safer treatments. They obviously have a large market.

    • Trinity says:

      That just goes to prove that most doctors have no idea what they are doing to people when they prescribe these drugs. I’m stable now, but I have not started the taper yet. Definitely am not looking forward to it.

    • Ricardo says:

      And what happened with you, Erik, till now?

  19. mikey 13 says:

    all this technology and nobody can invent a benzo version of methadone.

  20. EricB says:

    Necessity is the mother of all invention. If there is a need, someone will create it. I have suffered greatly and still am to a lesser extent. Thus, so has everyone else here. There is obviously a need so we must relay our desire to the neurobiological community (researchers in the field). If it falls on deaf ears then we must study it and take the problem up ourselves. A colossal task? Yes, but what is the alternative. Sitting around waiting for something to happen that never will? Mental illness must have better treatments than what we have available to us. Also, the doctors need to be better. I have not been to one psychiatrist that could tell me much about my condition. Everything was ” well, we are not really sure.”

  21. Michael Burton says:

    I’m a former successful outgoing content professional Musician diagnosed with Tinnitus and Hyperacusis caused by years of very high decibel sonic exposure. As the Tinnitus became unmanageable, I began a regimen of benzodiazepines which I followed for many many years. I started with Xanax, and later added Restoril, and Valium. One year ago my daily dose was 6 mg. Xanax, 20 mg. Valium, and 30 mg. Restoril. I added alcohol as the medications lost effectiveness. That is obviously a very high, possibly lethal dose. In the last year I have tapered off all of the medication using the Ashton protocol with the help of a sympathetic physician and pharmacist, both who wanted to see me free from the Benzos. The withdrawal has been ridiculously hard. Month after month of sleepless nights. A non stop psychological horror ride into the nether worlds of despair. I have been off of the medication completely for almost a month now, and the withdrawal symptoms are constant, with waves of fluctuating severity. I have read others accounts of symptoms on this site, and I really cannot add anything more, nor anything different. It seems that when it comes to Benzo withdrawal, we all experience similar effects.

    I’m not even sure why Im posting my story, as I have not much new to add. Perhaps in hope that someone may use it to show someone who is thinking about using Benzos. To those considering using these medications, I would like to say that you need to try everything you can before choosing to use Benzodiazepines. Over the last ten years I have lost my friends, my family, my home, my ability to work, my sexuality and my health as the Benzos took hold. Currently I am Agoraphobic, reclusive, and I live in terror of the unknown. I have spent days in one place, unable to move, unable to walk, unable to open the door. Close friends have passed away, and I have felt nothing, I’ve missed the funerals. Ive gone awol. The loops in my mind have been relentless and terrifying. My ability to feel vanished years ago. I am emotionally detached from most everything, and everyone. I live in a flat dimension. My guitars sit in the corner untouched. I make enough money to survive when I can, and borrow the rest as needed. I lost my PO box, bank account, and credit years ago. I am now underground and rely on sympathetic connections for my phone, car registration, and the Internet.

    My hope is that at some point my brain will heal and I will come back into my being. I’m alive because I have a son, and he needs a dad. I’ve been able to be a good father for him, yet when he goes back to mom, I drop in place and do not move for as long as possible. This has shown me that it is possible to get through dependence and withdrawal, if one has enough motivation to call forth the necessary fortitude. This experience is a life lesson for me with no one to blame. It is buyer beware. Big Pharna didn’t break into my house, I invited them in.

    I wish all who seek freedom from dependence the very best of luck. It is indeed a fight worth fighting. An all consuming battle for the soul that rages in the mind and body for a thousand sleepless days. If you are one who is in the throws of this, I urge you to fight on. Know that there are indeed others just like you who are fighting as well. You are not alone in this seemingly endless dark night of the soul.

    • Ricardo says:

      Thanks for you encouraging message to us all, Michael. Your dose was indeed high. What has happened since november?

      • Michael Burton says:

        Hi Ricardo,

        ( In response to your inquiry about what has happened since November )

        It is difficult to recall yet at the same time, unforgettable. I’m not sure how best to describe the experience. I would say that in my case although the withdrawal symptoms during my taper were dehabilitating, to say the least, they were but just a taste of what was coming.

        Day after day after week of absolute terror. I didn’t have a clear understanding of what even what was. I mean, I the concept of what a word was foreign to me. I was incapable of drawing a connection between what I once knew to have meaning and what meaning actually was. I spent hours in one place. I would, instead of rising, wrestle with the concept of getting up or why to get up and what do once up.

        At home the Agorophobia was extreme. There seemed to be a force of energy that made walking out the front door akin to walking thru a wind tunnel of radiation.

        Physically I experienced too many symptoms to list. Some of them were a bloating of the stomach and face, lethargy, inability to think, insomnia, impotence, sugar cravings, red eyes, blurred vision, night terrors, phantom sounds, brain zaps, heart pounding sessions, inability to taste,and frequent urination at night. As my physical condition worsened my self-esteem and social anxiety increased.

        In public the social anxiety manifested partially in detachment. I would observe myself from outside of myself, and I didn’t like what I saw. I imagined other people were observing the same thing and were similarly disappointed in who I was. Who I was or what an I was ain my mind was something I wrestled with as well.

        I could go on, yet I’m sure you get the idea. I have been in and out of waves of relief. In those times I have been able to begin rebuilding and am now in a good house with my son and in a comfortable supportive situation. My landlord is supportive and knowledgable in regards to Benzo withdrawal.

        Recently the dual conditions of Tinnitus and Hyoeracusis that were the reason I was taking Benxodiazipines in the first place have come back full force. I’m afraid that as a result or possibly not related to the severe ringing I am again in withdrawal. This week my cells are on fire and my head is ringing and I haven’t slept good in weeks.

        However, I am thinking positive, as I have in the last two months for lengthy periods of time experienced windows of clarity and hope during which all the darkness and absolute despair in me vanished instantly and I felt the sweet sense of normalcy. There have been times during which I was sure that it was over. There have been nights when I slept for six straight hours and woke with clear skin and eyes.

        It is strangely difficult to remember, during the days of relief, what it feels like to be in withdrawal. I find myself, or have found myself, at times empowered with a false sense of confidence that it was over, only to be thrust back into the heart of the withdrawal, and the mindset that it will never, ever get better.

        I took my last dose October 20th 2013.

        Six months eleven days ago.

    • Ricardo says:

      I´m very sorry to hear all that. In a sense my case is lesser in magnitude, but bigger in time. I´ve been with those symptms (especially eye problems and heavy head) for 30 months. This is not meant to scare you, because my case is different. I had a case of abstinence syndrome out of tolerance, all this time, and doctors had no clue about that. Nobody would have imagined it was a withdrawal syndrome while I was still on clonazepam. But it was so. Now I´ve quit completely 24 days ago. At first it was rather light, but about a week ago hell knocked at my door. I´m very scared because reading all this I have no clue as to how long will it take or, just like you, if it will ever go. I took clonazepam for 16 years so, even at a low dose 1/2 a pill (1 mg) the withdrawal is very, very hard. Like I said, especially the eye and eye socket pain, redness, irritation, stiffness, photophobia, dryness, and so on, are devastating. I think it is a rare symptom. I´ve read problems with the eyes connected with w/d but never somithing completely like my case, so I can´t have a clear parameter as to how long will it take to disappear, if ever. You only mentiones redness.

      I´m from Mexico, and I´m also a professional musician (classical piano), but I´ve lost my level completely. In those last 30 months I´ve been able to practice not more than, say, 50-60 hours. Even reading a score is a big problem. I´ve been through weeks almost without even being able to open my eyes at all.

      Thank you again for all your encouraging words. As for you, think that, regarding the high dose you were on, it´s probably good that you´ve had those times of relative wellbeing. You have probably seen some of the very long and painful cases here. I suggest to talk with your doctor about doxepine, a tricyclic antidepressant. It helped me a lot with the withdrawal symptoms, but I had to quit because it was also drying more my eyes. Let´s keep updated. Good luck, my colleague!

      • Trinity says:

        I learn something new every day. I had no idea the eye issues could be related to klonopin tolerance or withdrawal. I discovered something that helps with the dry, gritty, painful feelings. It’s a little scarey at first, but it worked for me. It is putting one drop of organic, cold pressed, hexane free castor oil in my eyes. I discovered it on a website devoted to natural remedies. At first my vision blurred, which is natural since it is putting an oily substance into the eyes. It is totally harmless and the blurriness goes away quickly as the oil spreads. Just felt like sharing that as it may help others.

      • Ricardo says:

        Michael, dont´worry. In fact I think you are being sober considering your amount of suffering you´re going through. Let´s hope it´ll pass soon for all of us. And Trinity, thank you very much, I´ll try that for sure. What is your case with the eyes exactly, how can it be related with Klonopin and how long ago did you quit it (if so), and how have your eye problems changed through the w/d process? Sorry to bother but maybe we can all encourage each other and share possible remedies, like you are doing. Thank you all!

      • Michael Burton says:

        Yes Ricardo, yes.

        This morning? The symptoms are gone. The last wave I was in broke in the evening and today I’m all good. That’s why we do this. To feel like I do now. Full of hope and actually pissed off in a good way. Pissed off at the drugs and the doctors and the whole system that encourages the use of these drugs.

        I’m cleaning the house and off to take care of some business.

        Hope springs eternal!!!

        Never give up!!
        Michael

  22. Jamie says:

    I thank you for your post. I feel like my brain is no longer working right. I get so mentally confused that I feel like the buzzing and pressure in my head is almost an extension of my thoughts. It’s so weird and the mental torture is the worst. I can’t really even explain it to anyone unless they have been thru it they can’t understand and I guess I wouldn’t want them to. I also want to warn everyone to stay away from these awful demons. They absolutely destroy lives. I pray we all cling to hope to God and make it thru this. I read the success stories and from where I now stand they are so hard to imagine happening for me. But no choice to go on for my kids. My heart absolutely breaks for all the lost moments. God bless

    • Michael Burton says:

      Yes Jamie although we lead separate lives, our symptoms are eerily similar. There is no going around this, only thru it. Be strong!

  23. D DePaolo says:

    I only took Klonopin for 1 1/2 months and stopped s my Doctor would not prescribe anymore as it is “addictive” as she says now….. Why start me on it then?? I am experiencing the withdrawal that you all describe after only about 50-60 pills. I feel so horrible mentally, will I ever feel normal again?

  24. EricB says:

    To Jamie and all others. I have taken Klonopin for 3 years at .5 milligrams when needed (almost every day for the last year). I am almost at three months of stopping it and things are slowly getting better. For the vast majority of people (over 90% from what I read), things do indeed get better (back to normal). The process is very slow though and you will need to hang in there. It can take up to two years or longer (rare cases it takes longer then 2 years). Michael Burton, I am a musician too and I ask you to keep playing. You need to reestablish your feelings and music is an excellent way to do that. It will take time but it WILL happen. You have to believe that. One month is still a very short time of being free of them.
    The one thing I have to ask everyone is if any of you have abdominal pain. I wake up every morning with awful abdominal pain and some gas. It lasts all day usually so it is pretty much constant. My question is whether any of you have it and whether it eventually goes away? Ironically, my sister was on 4 mg of Ativan for a couple years and tapered off with no withdrawals at all (just a little anxiety). Very strange how we are all different.

  25. Anonymous says:

    This is a good blog. I wish I had found this before because it gets to the point. When I first stopped in early summer it was because I was short-circuiting- I was becoming to anxious to complete anything, even thoughts. My vision had deteriorated so much that I was struggling to read and was becoming afraid to drive in my high traffic city. When I stopped, these symptoms became much worse and I lost my ability to speak, think and hand-eye coordination. If become completely disabled overnight isn’t enough, you have severe detox which involves seizures, bad judgement, diarrhea, head fuzz, fear and locked muscles. My jaw locked up for so long I now have severe tendonitis in my joint. I have severe cuts from trying to shave without seeing.
    What could worse? The inability to make sound judgements- from how to use the toilet without making a mess to judging how much time has passed or why you left the front door open overnight without noticing. Not being able to see at all- I drove an optometrist crazy trying to get a new pair of expensive, glasses made-all for naught today. I was unable to focus far or near and my eyes would not track together. I sloppily performed tasks by feel. I could not read…this or anything like it. I was terrified to drive. I only drove once a week to the grocery store, make poor food/payment choices there then go to the optometrist. Those two groups of people still think I am completely retarded to this day. They are somewhat right, because my muscles are still tense 24 a day, I have poor coordination, bad eyesight and stuttered thoughts and speech. Not being able to explain any of this, or why you sweating like you’re ill, having a adrenaline attack 24 hours day (and terrified of the near future) is too much: I lost 30 pounds in 2 months.
    I used every type of herb supplement to sleep at night. I understand why people don’t make it. I don’t understand why my doc is not understanding and instead of trying to help me expects me to lose my mind and start taking the drug again: It’s as if he wants me to fail. He has suggested that I’m lying, I’m on street drugs and I am making up my life story. I am much too old, have too many responsibilities vested time in my career, education and personal life to throw it all away. To be dismissed like that, by the very doctor who prescribed me the medication, is the absolute worst indignity so far
    So at 5 months, I’m only marginally better. I have made some of the worst choices ever, in my whole life, because IT’S TAKING SO LONG. You can only hide from facing everyday tasks and problems for a couple of weeks, not several months. People you interface with will eventually catch up with and SWEAR YOU ARE ON DRUGS. They would never believe that by bravely stopping a anxiety drug would make you appear to be a junkie. You can tell them you ‘re very ill, but after months pass they don”t buy that any more. Even the doctor who prescribed me the evil drug for years that stole my life, health, personality and sanity has the audacity to question my credibility NOW. He has actually implied my symptoms stem from a personality disorder. It is very hard to discuss your affairs and mental state in a proactive manner when you cannot speak.
    The OP here made an important point-stopping a benzo will make you have the symptoms of an addict and/or a psychotic person, so be aware they will remain with you an indefinite amount of time. Please find someone to take care of your affairs during that period and do not interact with manipulative people who would take advantage of you during that period.

    • Michael Burton says:

      Those who truly love you will come around. Those who condemn you for your apparent lack of ability to conform to their idea of normal, are best left behind. We all have larger fish to fry, so to speak. I personally do not have the energy to talk others thru what for me is all encompassing.
      Hang in there!

  26. EricB says:

    To Anonymous,
    It is important for you to know that the vast majority of people make a complete recovery. That is the good news. The bad news is that it can take up to two years and in very rare cases longer. I have studied this. I just past the three month mark and, while I made improvement, I still have bouts of symptoms. I still go to work everyday like everyone else, but it can really be a problem sometimes. I know that I will get better with time, that keeps me going.

    • Michael Burton says:

      To all :
      One month out from absolute cessation after a year long Ashton taper for Xanax Valium and Restoril which was prescribed for chronic Tinnitus and insomnia anxiety related to Hyperacusis and such, and all is as was once feared. Absolute emotional isolation. Resumption of original symptoms which led to medication. Seven months without more than a few hours of sleep now seems like child’s play when compared to this new level of unrelenting physical and physiological imbalance.

      Peace all!

  27. jENNIFER t Cheseldine says:

    I am 7 month off clonazepam , some good days and moment and some bad days
    you can do it with the help of POINT OF RETURN PROGRAM

  28. Judi Michel says:

    There are no benzo docs in Colorado. Every M.D. I have spoken with has no knowledge of how to taper from Klonopin nor the degree of suffering. My son is 2 1/2 years cold turkey from 12 mgms a day and is still very sick, debilitating headaches, inability to sleep. He has been taking massive doses of ibuprofen and benadryl for this length of time. I don’t know how to get help. He is to0 sick to travel, drive, fly, etc. I live in Florida. Any thoughts. Many thanks.

    • feywit says:

      I’m in Colorado too. Boy the docs love to hand these meds out!

      • Judi Michel says:

        Thanks for the reply. Might you have any resource to which you might refer me? Son sick – don’t know where to turn as the docs in CO seem to be clueless. They write the scripts but don’t know how to get someone off the benzo. Been to psychiatrist, neurologist, primary, no help. Many thanks.

    • Ricardo says:

      You should probably try doxepine (a tricyclic antidepressant). It usually works very well, though in such a long and severe case I wouldn´t know. I´m so sorry to hear that. I wonder if in such cases it wound´t be better to continue on a low dose of benzos. But I´don´t know.

  29. feywit says:

    Oh, wow. It’s a sick comfort to find this blog. I’m 4 months into a slow taper from 2 mg to ..25 mg. I suddenly developed a seriously stiff neck resulting in or from grinding of my teeth. I have had vertigo, tinnitus, and fog for 6 weeks now. It’s an awful thing to find some comfort that I’m not alone. I have stopped tapering. I went back up to .5 mg. I had to choose between being immobile or relying on this small dose. My dr. gave me flexeril which is reported to calm some of the CNS firing. It is this stage of wd that surprised me. I expected all the other symptoms. I live for games and movies on my ipad. Now that is gone since computer use throws me into vertigo. A pox on the drs who throw these meds around like candy. I did find a good dr here in Colorado, Judi. And I know one at University hospital in Denver. There’s some hope.

    • Judi Michel says:

      PLEASE, PLEASE send me the name of the docs. We are desperate. Thanks you so much and I am sorry that docs write these scripts but never tell you the consequences. Please help.

      • mstrburton@mac.com says:

        Hi Judi,

        I’m in California and I’ve posted on this thread before. I just wanted to say that your son is fortunate to have you looking out for him. Benzo addiction, detox, and deling with the long term effects of such can be a very lonely place.

        I hope you find an MD that will help yout family.

        Michael

      • Judi Michel says:

        Hi, Michael, Thanks for your comment. I haven’t been able to do anything but pay to send him to docs (he was just able to get Medicaid in Colorado, so . . . ) but the docs have done nothing but present bills. He did go to a place in CA which every representative he spoke with assured him they did the Heather Ashton taper. When my son got there, they refused to give him anything, no meds, nothing, unless he signed a six-month contract to stay at $15K for 2 weeks!! Unfortunately, this place did not divulge that it was associated with a cult religious group. We found out after paying the money and my soon getting on the first plane with acute heart palpitations, diarrhea, deadaches, trembling, convulsions, sweating profusely, etc. We hope the US Attorneys office can do something about this just to prevent others from falling prey to this group.
        Thanks, again. Take good care.

      • mstrburton@mac.com says:

        Hi Judi,

        I tapered for one year and am now drug free for three months yet still suffering profound effects of withdrawal. I’m not sure what to tell you although I found that there are plenty of professionals who will take your money, in the end I designed my own taper and with the help of a doctor who wrote scripts for me using the Ashton protocol. I was advised to do a medical detox then a 30 day rehab. And declined as this would have cost around $50,000 and the detox center had a very high relapse rate due to rapid withdrawal protocol. I guess what Im saying is that the success of the taper and the detox etc. falls mainly on the shoulders of the patient. There is no quick fix.
        I’m 48 with a young son and I myself am eagerly awaiting a visit from my mom this morning as my day yesterday was disastrous and Im not sure if I can leave my house today so I need her to walk me out or I will stay inside even though I absolutely have to resolve issues at the bank etc. or face long term consequences. There are many people and families going thru what you are going thru. Benzos are just so sneakily destructive that it amazes me they are not highly discouraged by the medical community. My brother is an ER doctor and he is now fighting hard to change the policies regarding Benzos yet he has run up against staunch resistance within the system. I imagine that alow dose of benzos would be something that one could live with and function. I was fine at a low dose yet when I got up to large doses I became much like a slave or…a zombie who could never run out of my medication as to do so would be to face severe and dangerous withdrawal.

        I can’t see how large doses of Benadryl and ibuprofen would be a good thing as obviously they don’t work and they must be very hard on the liver but then again, I’m not a doctor.

        Michael

      • feywit says:

        I think that is the frustration . Even my local pharmasist said, ” oh these drugs are so safe. They work so well and are easily discontinued.” I’ll work on that dr for you

    • Ellen says:

      Would you be willing to tell us the two doctors’ names so we can find them? Thanks so much!

      • Judi Michel says:

        Hi Ellen, I haven’t rec’d the names yet but am hopeful. Yes, of course. There is a list of benzo docs familiar with the Ashton taper method on benzodocs.com – there are none in Colorado nor most states. The list has been compiled by people who have actually used these docs to get off of benzos. Some of the docs were “quacks” and those comments are listed, as well. My son, in Colorado, is so sick he cannot travel by car, plane, etc., coming down from 12 mgms to cold turkey, you can imagine – I am surprised he is still alive and at times, I thought he would actually die or kill himself because of the suffering. We are holding on hoping to find help. If you find someone in Colorado, PLEASE pass the name along. Thanks so much. Judi

      • Judi Michel says:

        Ellen, what state are you in?? Judi

  30. Judi Michel says:

    Thanks, again, we appreciate it. My son lives in CO, I am in south Florida and my daughter in North Fl. She is taking time off work to fly out there in a month to try to find someone to help. Thanks so much for your effort.

    • feywit says:

      My friend sees a dr at The University of Colorado health center in Westminster Co. Just a regular family practice dr.
      (720) 848-9400. She did not give me a name. Good luck

      • Judi Michel says:

        Thank you, thank you, thank you. We will call this number and hopefully find the doc. He should post his name on Benzodocs.com as there simply is no one listed in Colorado, and, as mentioned, every type of physician we have seen has been clueless about withdrawal. Thank you so much. Judi

      • Judi Michel says:

        Hi, I’ve been on the U of Co Hospital website – it is huge – and the Westminster location shows several family doctors interested in women’s care (Anju Visweswaraiah, MD), sports (Sourav Poddar, M.D.), and one Senior Instructor, Stephen Lloyd, M.D. (as well as a nurse practitioner and two D.O.s) Would it be possible to ask your friend which specific doctor is used? Please don’t think I am ungrateful, just trying to hasten the process – cold calling sometimes causes receptionists to disconnect and not want to be helpful. Thank you for this help.
        Judi

    • feywit says:

      Finally got that name for you dr. Chu. Thanks to everyone who posted here. This is the most bizarre set of symptoms. It seems like they sort of move from head to feet over a two week cycle and back up to the head and neck as the wd finishes.

      • Judi Michel says:

        Hi, Thank you so much for Dr. Chu. We will make appt. My son, due to years of this cold turkey withdrawal, had dangerously low hormone levels with blood test a year ago, weight gain, inability to eat protein (brought on acute headaches), can’t drive, etc., so he has been incapac itated with this for almost 3 years with no help from any doctor. NEVER GO COLD TURKEY.
        Thanks, again.
        Judi

  31. EricB says:

    Hi Judy,
    I noticed your post and am quite concerned. I am in month 5 of my withdrawal and I still get hit with muscle aches, dizziness, and a host of other w/d symptoms. I urge you to go on the website Benzobuddies,org.,they will help you tremendously. The good news is that pretty much everybody gets better, in your sons case it is taking a long time but it likely will happen. Ensure that he has no other problem besides withdrawal though; there could be something else happening. Withdrawal is a journey that is unique to everyone but pretty much everyone gets better. As far as a doctor goes I see Dr. George Southier from Ocean State Addition Medicine in Rhode Island. He knows this stuff very very well. His phone number is 401-829-4813. Good luck and please try not to worry, it will get better. Time heals with this……sometimes it is a lot of time.

    • Judi Michel says:

      Hi, Eric,
      Thank you so much for your recommendation. We are going to try Dr. Chu at U of Co Hospital. She is very young but someone on this site recommended her. My son is in Colorado and unable to travel due to his illness. Yes, with his last blood test, hormone levels drastically low, weight gain, puffiness, etc. in addition to the tremors, headaches, nausea, etc. The mega doses of ibruprofen help with migraines somewhat and Benedryl mega does knock him out.
      I will keep that phone number and thank you so much for recommending. I hope you are well.
      Best,
      Judi

      • EricB says:

        Judy please also go to the Benzo Buddies support site. They are amazing at helping people through this. They will answer your questions much better than I.

  32. avi says:

    Hi everyone. My name is Avi. I’m finding some solace in all of your comments. I was on 2.5mg of klonopin for 3 years before I began tapering in mid-2011. At present, I’m on 5mg of valium. I hope to benzo free by the end of April.

    Wishing everyone a speedy recovery.

    • Judi Michel says:

      Hi Avi, Congratulations and hope you are well. Will you kindly let me know what dose of Valium you started on and how long before you began to taper from it? Which state are you in and if you can recommend a doctor. Thanks for sharing,
      Judi Michel

  33. anna says:

    I’m from Europe and I accidentally came across this site. sorry for the mistakes … are Russian and do not possess good English. I mean confusing me with the same problem . KLONOPIN . last July in my hell began . because a doctor I stopped suddenly clonopin . I was on 0.5. I can not say what I’ve been .. terrible. all possible withdrawal symptoms I felt. 5 months have supported .. then restore the initial dose . are now slow down .. I arrived at 0.25 .. I feel tremendously sorry. ok .. here we do not have experts in the field .. and those I find it very difficult … practically fight alone … what to say … dizziness .. stiff muscles .. headache nausea … — derealization … heavy head …. I think it’s in addition to May enumerate … passing through withdrawal all know what that … sometimes you have wanted to die .. but life goes on … one that I want … to go the doctor put me on clonopin well 1.5 years all the symptoms listed .. then I ask … will prescribe clonopin without thinking of the consequences … I wish you health and success to all … how easy to restore all …

    • Judi Michel says:

      Hi, Anna, Somehow there aren’t many knowledgeable doctors here in the U.S. They are quick to prescribe ($$$ for them) but seem to be aware of what they are doing to their patients who try to withdraw. Feel better soon. It is a long journey.
      Best wishes,
      Judi

  34. anna says:

    Thanks for the reply. I feel bad, but that more are people like me who were victorious in this test makes me optimistic, gives me strength to fight on, to new physicians have a fixed idea that withdrawal does not take more than 10 days do not understand and do not believe which also happens to me, ok, I know which way I go …. and do not give back ….. success and health to all. God be with us …. in these moments …

  35. 3weeksin says:

    Niacin 100mg flushing every 2 hours all day is helping me. .05 Xanax at night. Lots of water and not leaving the house. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never been addicted to anything until the Klonopin. 4mg/day for months on end. Thank you
    3 weeks in so far. I have Multiple Sclerosis but I’m strong.

  36. Michael Burton says:

    Ricardo,

    I did not mention how my eyes were affected no. My eyes simply do not function the way they used to. They are sensitive to light, my vision is blurry, the list goes on, and on. Hang in there!

    Wow. I’ve been reading thru the posts I’ve submitted here and I had actually forgotten writing many of them.

    Apologies to all for the oh so dramatic repeating of information.

    Michael

  37. ARNIE Knutsen says:

    13 months and I still cannot walk and even stand as as soon as I put any weight on my legs my muscles contract to the point of unbearable.It never ,never lets up and I keep reading that by a year nearly everyone has had a window. I am so devastated as no one has this severe a problem for this long and it’s so very hard day after day after day , All my research on Benzo sites has not helped as I can find no one that had this or anything that I can take to help me. I fear the same on this site. ARNIE.

    • Michael Burton says:

      Are you saying you cannot walk and cannot stand either?

      M

    • anna says:

      do not despair. withdrawal is individually different people .. going to be, well … 100% .. know what to expect … but try to take care of something .. you will show interest, the more you’re thinking the withdrawal .. the harder it disappears … and I always give the news .. blame a beam of light when you’re not expecting .. you’ll see .. it all depends on the nervous system and his recovery .. doctor said that the withdrawal brains recovering after an operation supported .. so give your nervous system time to find his way to recovery .. I can tell you that good will come … patience ..

  38. anna says:

    I want to give a ray of hope to all who may fall into despair di cause withdrawal. hope is. say in my practice. early weaning and I was pretty bad. I could not go. I had no strength to get up from bed .. I could not es from home .. July 2013 I suffered all, splendor, klonopin withdrawal .. I felt everything you wrote above .. maybe more .. I some dizziness .. I had to go only .. if you turn your head before losing my balance .. but here I acoustic QUITE a year .. and I feel better …. honest .. I still have bad days. and good .. but I … when I feel almost normal … I can say I was 1 gr. Klonopin four years. so do not despair. faith in God .. the light comes from all the expected … success .. sorry for mistakes .. not possess good English ..

  39. Pigletsmama says:

    I have been on clonazepam 4mg/day for severe panic disorder and agoraphobia, for 25 years. Just prior to that I was on Xanax 6mg/day for 7 yrs, then before that, on Valium 40 mg. for 6 yrs. I have always taken it was prescribed-for the severe panic disorder and agoraphobia. Clonazepam gave me my life back, and I was able to work, return to college, travel, etc. Now my dr. wants to taper me off it and I’m terrified. Already tried to reduce my dose for l month a few months ago, with severe heart pounding, tinnitus, muscle spasms, tingling/pins and needles/electric shocks all over my body. I went back on my regular dose but these symptoms continue. I’m afraid that even if my dr uses the Ashton method, 39 years of benzo use-I’ll never be the same. Also, I had cervical spine surgery a year ago in a famous hospital, and they didn’t give me clonazepam for the first 3 days. Was in the hospital for 7 days. Went completely blind for 7 days. Now, I know it was the clonazepam – basically the hospital allowed me to go c/t and that was the result, although they won’t admit it. Anyone have any suggestions. I was just doing just fine on the clonazepam until I tried to reduce the dose to about 1.5 to 2mg./day

    • Michael says:

      Be very careful and cautious. Take your time researching the level of taper that would be appropriate for you. Remember the importance of a support system. Nothing wrong with second third and fourth opinions, as well as extensive research on your part regarding the appropriate taper rate.

      Good luck and lots of love.

    • Ricardo says:

      Hello everyone. Pigletsmama, I think in your case stoping taking clonazepam would be really tough. It´s a dilemma what you should do. On one side, you were fine with it so why quitting? But one way or another, you would probably develop tolerance, as I did in 16 years of taking 1 mg, and suffer abstinence syndrom from tolerance (as I did for 2 years+). That´s the biggest risk. You should evaluate if quiting is really the best option. If you do consider so, what I can tell you is that once you begin, you should continue till the end. One day the abstinence syndrome will go away, that´s 99.9% sure. But it will take very long and it will certainly be painful and incapacitating for a while. Besides, you would probably need extra medication to avoid returning to your previous anxiety state, but worse. Talk to your doctor about Pregabalin and Doxepin. Few of them really know how powerful this last can be for controlling W/D symptoms, especially depression and anxiety. The physical ones are more difficult. Propranolol is great for tachicardia, insomnia and anxiety, Melatonin and Valerian can reduce insomnia. Please keep in contact and let us help you if we can.

      • Pigletsmama says:

        Thank you so much for replying, Ricardo. I’m now 64 and frankly don’t think my body can tolerate another withdrawal. I’ve been thru 4 withdrawals, all c/t off Valium, last one in 1979. Then in 1987 was withdrawn from 6mg. Xanax after being on it 6 years, as an inpt. over a 1 1/2 week period and at the same time put on Nardil and taken up to 90 mg in 1 1/2 weeks. Words can’t describe the hell I went thru, but I was so tired of being dependent on Xanax and having interdose anxiety. The dr there was a jerk and didn’t believe me. The panic came back so badly as did the dizziness/vertigo which I believe started all this back in 1974. I went home and for the next 3 1/2 months, had a host of symptoms, including crawling in my dogs cage and trying to curl up in there, laughing uncontrollably at jokes I’d make up and that really weren’t funny, plus the usual terrible problems with perception and just about everything else. Couldn’t leave my house for all that time. My dr. now wants to switch me back to Valium and taper me off slowly over a year. I have never had problems with clonazepam – it gave me my life back, and I’ve been able to work, return to college, get a graduate degree and a license as a mental health professional, wanting to help others with panic/agoraphobia. That’s what I don’t understand – why is the dr wanting to take me off something that has worked so well – no memory or cognitive problems, nothing. I see him tomorrow – he’s a 3 hr drive away. And I’m terrified he will decide I need to go off it, as I had to retire due to pain from failed neck surgery. Again, I am terrified of the withdrawals, especially that they might be protracted as I’ve been on benzodiazepines for so long at high doses. I appreciate your thoughts and anyone else’s. I do take propranolol, melatonin gives me migraines, but he has me on Seroquel (past 11 yrs) for sleep. I also take Valerian. I am so scared.

  40. Ricardo says:

    Michael, how have you been?

    • Michael says:

      Hi Ricardo,

      Well I’m at eight months or so benzo free! Hooray!

      I am still in and out of withdrawal. The waves come fast and are intense yet I feel I’m able to actually work thru them and not drown beneath them. I am playing my bass as much as possible and am re-developing long lost calluses. Looks like I’ll be playing on a project in July which is wonderful. How to do this with tinnitus raging in my head and Hyperacusis ever present remains to be seen.

      I’m working out of necessity and financially my head is BARELY above water. I mean barely.

      All in all things are great. I mean compared to full blown withdrawal? This feels like a vacation.

      Thanks for asking Ricardo.

  41. judi michel says:

    My son went cold turkey from large dose of klonopin (approx 12 mgms every few days). A doctor we hope will help wants to put him on .5 mgm Valium every other night. The journey has been hell and the doc does not want to put him back on klonopin. Ashton Method recommends Valium but “every other night” to repair all the damage? Can someone advise on Valium and this nightmare? Many thanks.

    • Michael says:

      Look into the Ashton protocol for suggested Valium taper rates.

      • Ricardo says:

        Dear Friends, in a few days I´ll be 3 months off Klonopin, but I´m experiencing w/d symptoms from tolerance since almost 3 years ago. My physical sypmtoms are blurred vision, tinnitus, heavy head, pain in the back. My mental symptoms are lack of emotions, anhedonia, depression, anxiety, lack of hope. Is there any successful story here or any word of courage? I need it. :(

  42. Ricardo says:

    Dear Friends, in a few days I´ll be 3 months off Klonopin, but I´m experiencing w/d symptoms from tolerance since almost 3 years ago. My physical sypmtoms are blurred vision, tinnitus, heavy head, pain in the back. My mental symptoms are lack of emotions, anhedonia, depression, anxiety, lack of hope. Is there any successful story here or any word of courage? I need it. :(

    • Michael says:

      Hi Ricardo,

      I’m nine months or so free after a year long taper. The three month mark was for me some of the hardest withdrawal symptoms. I had the same symptoms that you are having now.
      I was certain that it would never get better, but it did. It is still unbelievably difficult today yet a thousand times better than it was.

      Stay the course and have faith. You will most likely in the next few months experience periods of relief that last longer and longer. I’ve just come out of a three week wave of relief during which I was able to work and actually talk to people. The last several days have been rough as Imsomnia and anxiety kicks in hard and I don’t sleep. However, I know now from my experience that relief will come to me so I deal the best I can.

      You can beat back the depression simply by acknowledging it and letting your brain heal the best it can.

      Stay strong.

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  44. Jackie H says:

    Michael button. I am currently at end of a five month taper from Xanax. Crossed to Valium.. Agorophobia is horrible. Feel paralyzed emotionally. Just cleaning bedroom takes will I just don’t have. Am now taking 1.25 twice a day. Using modified Ashton taper. I notice when I am alone it is ten times worse.. I am alone inside my head..

    • Michael says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Yeah I really feel for you, and am sorry to hear this. Although I’ve been off Xanax for nine months now and have had periods of wonderful relief I myself have been up now for a few days with no real sleep, while at the same time dealing with normal responsibilities and a caring for a child.

      Here’s the thing: I spent a year and a half virtually alone with Agoraphobia and emotional hallucinations depersonalization etc. At a certain point I asked someone close to me who was willing to help to simply come by as much as they could. I didn’t ask for anything other than for them to come by as knew that being by myself for long periods of time was becoming way too hard and shifting my reality into crazy land.

      One morning, after two days spent wanting to go shop for food but being unable yet again to walk thru the door out into the world, I simply accepted my withdrawal situation as my new reality and stopped waiting for it to be over. Now current day I go in and out of withdrawal, I have massive anxiety attacks, mental symptoms and physical symptoms, yet I do so primarily out in the world, rather than in seclusion.

      This is just who I am now. I deny myself nothing. I’m no longer waiting for it to be over. I have forgiven myself for being like this and I accept it , while looking for kernels of joy ( which do exist) amongst the truly fucked up ramifications of taking so many benzos for so many years.

      There will come a day when you will leave your house and accept your agoraphobia as part of who you are. Try to slowly come to terms with your situation and try to find things that give you pleasure. It is insidious, the withdrawal. Absolutely horrific.

      My thought are with you. Get down to smaller and smaller doses than block out some time if you can and take the last dose. Get through the three months of hell that follows the cessation and things will certainly get better. Most importantly, find something, anything that helps, and give yourself the permission to do it.

      Hang in there.

      • Jackie H says:

        I replied but did not see tiny reply button. How long and how much Xanax were you on.. Somewhere I posted again..

      • Michael says:

        I started my 12 month taper with a dose of 144mgs. Of Valium per day. I was taking 6 mgs. Xanax, 10 mgs. Valium, and 30 mgs. Restoril per day for many years. I took it for severe tinnitus and Hyperacusis.

        I can’t comment on your doses and such as I’m not medically qualified.

      • Ricardo says:

        Michael, how have you been? I´m on my worst days. I never immagined this could get this bad. I would like to ask you a BIG favor. Would you mind adding me to Facebook? I need to have closer contact woth somebody who knows what this is, and I trust you very much. My e mail is laudante_rsw@hotmail.com. I promise not to bother, just a little chat, if you don´t mind. But if you have issues with that, no problem. It´s just that I´m desperate and nobody understands. Besides, we´re both musicians. Thank you and hope not to bother. :)

  45. Jackie H says:

    Thank you for listening and answering. I know this is for PAWS. I was on Xanax 1 mg in January. Crossed to Valium in March and started on 10 mg. am on 2.5 daily split in two doses. Is 2 and 122 months long enough to complete.. Can I go less? I have been alone for past week. Living with a friend and no one here but me right now. Like I read in above thread getting through front door is the hardest, once I am out it gets better.. I will procrastinate till too late. Concentration is impossible. Physically I am not doing to badly. Mentally and emotionally I am a wreck. Feling like I am wasted space these days. Truthfully having a little one would help.. Keep me from the drk thoughts. Keep mind busy.. If I went back to my brothers for a while would it help.? Always busy there.. Or almost.. But I can be left alone. I have a bedroom. Can’t stay forever but for a while..

  46. Jackie H says:

    Wow… I know it isn’t always the amount, or the length of time taking or of length of taper but a combination of all…

  47. ryan says:

    Xanax 7 yrs. @ 4mg day. crossover to 30 mg valium taper to 1mg day. last dose 6 months. anyone have feeling like they don’t have a soul? like you are being sentenced to hell. literally. constant thoughts about it?

    • Ricardo says:

      Ryan I deeply regret what you are feeling, but yes, unfortunately it is normal. I was like that just a few weeks ago and I discovered something really great. It´s a tryciclic antidepressant called doxepine. My psychiatrist was devoted for more than 17 years to addiction problems and he discovered that this is the best thing for benzo abstinence syndrome. Please talk to your doctor about this. I won´t say it removes all, nor that it has no side effects, but it can really help you get out of that terrible feeling of despair you have. Try it!

  48. ryan says:

    Ok, recently I have a new thing that has been happening. I feel just like I have taken a pain killer. Like a vicodin or something. slightly less intense as the real thing buy very similar. I have taken absolutely no medication for 6 months since my last dose. Nyquil when I was sick for conjestion thats it. I suspect it is the brains GABA turning back on???? really weird. It does feel ok but it is screwing up stuff. Like I can’t play basketball. It messes up my coordination. anybody heard of this???

  49. Anniecan says:

    I am off Klonopin .5 mg x 3 times a day (took for about 4 months) and off with a fast wean for over 2 months. Am still on Lexapro 15 mg. I suffered HARD with a bad reaction to Zoloft and Prozac and noone realized that was what it was for a few months— thus I was put on the Klonopin. Anyways, I have days when I love my life and feel on top of the world after the Hell I went through– but I get bouts of days when I am sure I have a brain disease… and that I will go insane — I suffer from the jaw clenching all day and night… trouble swallowing, muscle twitching, anxiety and feelings that I won’t be able to control my thoughts and actions—- Reading this blog somehow gives me hope that this is not a degenerative brain disease but maybe still withdrawal? …. Any reassurance is very welcome… and any suggestions on how to get out of those feelings without additonal meds… ?? Thank you and God Bless…

    • Mike says:

      Hi Anniecan,

      Sounds just like like withdrawal. I personally have gone away from all medications that come from a pharmacy in pil form and alter my brain chemistry. After ten months or so benzo free after a year long taper from a massive daily dose my symptoms, which are similar to yours, can and do come back in an instant. I have recently started a daily regimen of medical marijuana. I take orally in tincture form and have found that it results in a full body and mind calming effect. If you or anyone else is interested the company is called Alta California Botanicals.

      Hang in there.

      • Ricardo says:

        Hi Anniecan:

        In my personal experience Marijuana didn´t work (yes, I smoked it and maybe that´s different, but I was much worse for about a week, so I wouldn´t try it again). Regarding other meds, I would strongly say DON´T QUIT them until you really feel better. Probably yes, it´s all withdrawal, it can last a lot, but your pronostic is good, I guess, since you only took Klonopin for 4 months. I took it for 16 years and, believe me, it´s a bad and long hell. Your husband is right and you should give heed. I take 5 meds (the best as yet is Doxepine) and I don´t plan to even attempt to remove any of them till at least the year of withdrawal (I´m in my 4th month). I hope you´ll find this useful.

        Ricardo

      • Mike says:

        Doxepin is a very powerful medication. It may indeed be effective, yet like all addictive medications, an individual risk/reward assessment is advised.

        Doxepin Withdrawal Symptoms May Include:

        aggression, anxiety, balance issues , blurred vision, brain zaps, concentration impairment, constipation, crying spells, depersonalization, diarrhea, dizziness. electric shock sensations, fatigue, flatulence, flu-like symptoms, hallucinations, hostility, highly emotional, indigestion, irritability, impaired speech, insomnia, jumpy nerves, lack of coordination, lethargy, migraine headaches / increased headaches, nausea, nervousness, over-reacting to situations, paranoia, repetitive thoughts or songs, sensory & sleep disturbances, severe internal restlessness (akathisia), stomach cramps, tremors, tinnitus (ear ringing or buzzing), tingling sensations, troubling thoughts, visual hallucinations / illusions, vivid dreams, speech or visual changes / issues, worsened depression

  50. Anniecan says:

    Mike, Thank you for your reply and your suggestion. Can you tell me what your symptoms are and how long they last…and is the MM for the withdrawal or for whatever you were medicated for to begin with. Mine was anxiety and panic attacks… — I want off the Lexapro and Mirapex (for restless legs) but my husband gets the deer in headlight look when I even mention getting off the Lex as he is petrified I will spiral out of control with anxiety… In the meantime.. if this is all withdrawal (I PRAY IT IS) what brings it on out of the blue and how long will we suffer? I really hope to hear from you again…. I was so happy someone responded!!!

  51. Anniecan says:

    Ricardo, Thank you for your input. I would prefer to be med free but right now I am just HOPING that what I experience for days at a time out of nowhere is Klonopin withdrawal and not some horrid disease I am facing. I know there is no way to know that for sure but knowing what you all experience at least gives me validation..as doctors don’t think meds can affect you much longer than a couple weeks after cessation. May I ask what your symptoms are and how long they last (anyone???) …. — Thanks for the support!!! Appreciate it.

    • Mike says:

      Anniecan,

      I have been using MM as an attempt to find relief from the dehabilitating effects of withdrawal. I do not believe that it will cure my tinnitus and ear damage. It is nice to have a warm glowing feeling in my body and to have my mind filled with what I can only describe as optimism. I can’t smoke strong marijuana, as it ultimately makes me feel on comfortable and impaired. I have found the CBD tinctures that contain a small amount of THC to be effective in creating an overall feeling of relief and optimism.

      I am not a crusader for MM nor do I even understand how it works. Perhaps the high that I experience is such a relief and a change from the horrors of the past years that I consider it healing. Currently my house is in disorder, and I find that I have a difficult time motivating myself. This could be attributed to the MM, or the WITHDRAWL, who can say.

      What is important for everyone who is going through withdrawal, in my opinion, is to find something that feels like it is working. Perhaps for some it is pharmaceutical medications. Who am I to judge right?

      I do feel that the symptoms that I’ve experienced are a direct result of my withdrawal and not: heart disease, blindness, insanity, heart attacks, diabetes, arthritis, or cancer. The fact that I have lost all social contacts is not imagined however, that part is real, as is the agoraphobia which to this day can sideline me for days at a time.

      Many in withdrawal find themselves in ER in hospital routinely and find that there is no discernible medical reason for their distress. I would have happily accepted an ambulance ride many times as I was sure I was dying, but I was simply in deep withdrawal.

      It is normal to search for answers and for relief. In my experience there is no magic pill nor plant that will restore the affected neural pathways as quickly as we would all like. The best therapy I have found, and interestingly enough the simplest yet hardest to do, is exercise. Swimming, walking, whatever.

      Sometimes it is impossible to even consider exercise, which is fine as well.

      One day at a time. One hour, one breath.

    • ryan says:

      symptoms only lasting a couple of weeks is completely untrue. rest assured, everyone in the Benzo community knows and understands protracted withdrawal and long term symptoms that exist. I personally am just now developing nasty muscle and joint issues in my right should and left fore arm after being at 0 mg of any meds for 7 months now. I was on 3 mg daily for 7 years. I am convinced I have a disease or arthritis or something. but you need to read the forums and you will see time and time again. post after post of people that have these symptoms for up to 15 and even longer months. that eventually fully recovered.
      I know you were only on for a couple of months but I read you original post and I believe you did a rather very quick reduction. keep in mind this can play into the length of the withdrawal symptoms as well. It can make it slightly longer. I think you will recover quite quickly and see vast improvement very soon. give it a few more months if you have only been off for 2 months you would certainly be in the window of withdrawal symptoms from all the timeline charts that I have reviewed. You will be better. soon. God Bless

      • Anniecan says:

        Ryan, I am sorry you are feeling the pain this far out. Noone seems to believe that it can be due to the withdrawal. My biggest complaints right now are anxiety.. jaw clenching, headaches…. insomnia, restless “spine”, and fear of going insane — I was DOING SO WELL. Up in the mornings with energy and renewed hope for life of being NORMAL… and bam.. the last month every few days I feel so sick and so hopeless and frightened that something else is wrong with me or that I will never be able to just feel good again. Do you experience anxiety and any other psychological or mental issues from your cessation? What do you do to cope and may I ask if you are on any other meds…and what benzo you were on if you don’t mind sharing…. God Bless you as well. Thank you for responding… it helps …

    • Ricardo says:

      Wow, Mike, it seems I´ll have a hard time again when I´ll try to quit doxepine. But now I need it. Anniecan, why don´t you try to reduce the high 15mg dose of Lexapro to 10mg for some days and see what happens. 15 mg. can cause anxiety, yes. My worst symptoms have been heavy head, eye pain or discomfort, photofobia, general weakness, agoraphobia, anxiety, depression, back pain, tinnitus, memory problems, lack of good emotions, hypocondria.

      • Mike says:

        Hey Ricardo,

        If the doxepine helps than that’s what matters for now. I say whatever it takes to get thru withdrawal is valid. I personally reached my limit of trips to the pharmacy and now for the first time in YEARS I don’t have to go pick up medication.

        If I was to present my current symptoms to a psychiatrist? I would be prescribed numerous medications. I just need to be free of the obligation.

        Wishing you all the best!

      • Anniecan says:

        Ricardo… I may just try to go to 10 mg. I also tried to stop Mirapex–and not sure if that gave me the fits—- I didn’t realize until I read up on it (silly me) that it can cause Dopamine Antogonist Withdrawal.. similar to stopping cocaine .. which I have never had to deal with. I take Mirapex for Restless Legs but don’t like the idea that eventually you have to take more and more.. so I didn’t take it for three days… and I wonder if that triggered the “sickness” as I call it… last night I took half a dose. Slept better but still have that cortisone rush with the jelly belly and nausea and shakiness this morning. The jaw clenching is still there but not so pronounced.. I get scared it will snap shut and bite my tongue off one of these days… How do I stop worrying it is ALS or something horrid? Argh… Anxiety… I would say it is the devil…. along with a host of other things.. Now I shall go pray for us all..

  52. Anniecan says:

    Thank you Mike for your continued sharing… I am glad that you have found something to give you optimism…and HOPE. On days I feel well, I REJOICE.. on days when I feel so sick and my thoughts are dark (is this normal for withdrawal) then I feel it will never get better… I need to exercise… and continue getting information here… so continued communication is very appreciated… May you feel better and for good soon!

  53. Anniecan says:

    Okay.. ANYBODY… I know some of you are against all medications and others are not… How do you know if you are experiencing severe anxiety and sickness due to the meds you are on now (example Lexapro) … if you are not on enough of it.(15 mg) or if it is withdrawal from Klonopin…??? Of course, the medical field does not believe in med related things… at least not the ones I have dealt with which nearly killed me when they kept increasing my dosage and gave me meds that I am now considered “allergic” to.. ie. Prozac and Zoloft…. I am sorry to keep asking for information over and over but I just want to FIX this and I am not sure how…. Thank YOU!!

  54. Alex C says:

    I don’t know if this helps anyone but I’m a 22 year old female, normally about 120 lbs but benzos suppressed my appetite so at this stage 115 lbs, and was prescribed 2mg Klonopin and 1mg Xanax daily for just one year. I had just quit my job and decided I wanted to get off the benzos once and for all (as I’m sure you know the many reasons why) so I read online forums and decided I would quit cold turkey. After 18 days of sweating buckets, literally soaking through clothes every hour, awful cramping (and I’ve had a miscarriage I know a thing or two about bad cramps) and diarrhea, violent violent vomiting, an unrelenting nausea, sleeplessness, inability to consume anything other than Coca-Cola and Water (Even a saltine would make me vomit). I had lost about ten lbs during the withdrawal, was severely dehydrated, and on day 18 I had two seizures, and broke my arm from when I collapsed on the staircase. I don’t remember the time right before the seizure, the seizures themselves, nor about 30 min post-seizure (So I’m told). I was taken to the hospital, shot up with a shit ton of Ativan and Valium, and now I’m back to square one, my original dosage. PLEASE if you are reading this, do whatever you can to avoid going cold turkey, every body is different, every mind is different. Benzos are so unbelievably dangerous with absolutely no hype or public awareness.

  55. ryan says:

    Ok, recently I have a new thing that has been happening. I feel just like I have taken a pain killer. Like a vicodin or something. slightly less intense as the real thing buy very similar. I have taken absolutely no medication for 6 months since my last dose. Nyquil when I was sick for conjestion thats it. I suspect it is the brains GABA turning back on???? really weird. It does feel ok but it is screwing up stuff. Like I can’t play basketball. It messes up my coordination. anybody heard of this???

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