Lately, there have been movements to try to eliminate the use of benzodiazepines as a treatment for anxiety. They, among them Klonopin and Ativan, have been used for years as first-line treatment of anxiety, along with Xanax. I have been on Klonopin since around 2005, with breaks when I didn’t have health insurance and the few months I was treated by this horrible doctor. I haven’t changed dosage since 2009.
For years, there have been tests and issues about it being addictive. Meaning, the longer you’ve been on it, the more you have to take. Now, one time one of my doctor’s wanted to double how much I took. That was a catastrophe because my body wasn’t going “I need more for this to work,” it was going “I was fine before, this is causing me to fall asleep in the middle of the day.” On the other side, the horrible doctor I mentioned before (and he was horrible for many many reasons) would not prescribe benzodiazepines because of this whole addiction thing. He instead prescribed me a strong pain med that had been approved to treat anxiety. Yes, you heard right. A STRONG PAIN MED. For the next three months I was completely out of it and started gaining back the weight that I had worked so hard to lose (this was the legit time I lost it). Finally, I got taken off of it and had a new doc who re-prescribed the klonopin.
The levee had broken, however, and I could find no way to lose the weight I had gained, and then had a boss that wanted to be able to be in touch with me during my lunches (I was in the middle of a pedicure once, and she called with an emergency that I needed to solve, and I had to leave the nail place with a half-complete pedicure). So, I couldn’t go to the classes at the gym like I used to, I never had time to come in earlier, and the classes they offered after I was done my shift were like, body-building and stuff like that. Needless to say… yeah.
There have been (very few) times in the past when I’d miss a dose or a day, etc. None of these times had me freaking out. The time I had to wait a week before I could get some due to the break in communication between doc and pharmacy was a bit nasty, though. But not anything to write home about.
People keep insisting how horrible these meds are and that they will cause patients the need to take more for it to work the same way, and that if it were lowered, we’d lose it.
Now, I am not exactly like other people, so this is my opinion only. Most people who would take the dosage I’ve been taking since around 2005 would pass out for 48 hours. My dad got extremely worried one time when I took 1mg a hour or so before I was going to leave and drive for 2 hours. I had to reassure him I would be fine because in his experience, only taking .5mg would make him super-tired. I’d never even started on a mg… I started at 3/4 of the dose I take now.
The thing is, it wasn’t as if I’d been bumping my dosage up every year… I’d been on the same freaking dose for over ten years now. Taking more makes me tired.
So, I really feel bad for the next people needing medication for anxiety if the talk about addiction continues as it is. What are they going to use? Are they going to prescribe the small number of anti-depressants that also help with anxiety? What about the people who can’t take antidepressants? They would be taking away the class of drugs that actually work independently to treat anxiety. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to do something like that, have a back-up. Develop something else. Find other things that work. Because if they don’t do that, it’s going to become an even bigger problem than they can even imagine.