Klonopin For Insomnia, Sensory Overload and Anxiety

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Mikie, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I've been reading a lot of posts in which people are talking about sensory overload, lack of quality sleep and anxiety. I have taken Klonopin for 10 years and it has been a God send to address these issues. It may not be for everyone but it has worked beautifully for me.

    Neurontin, Lyrica, and Lunesta, along with Klonopin, work by increasing GABA in the brain. This causes the neurons to stop overfiring and misfiring. The longer one is on these meds, the better they work. My Klonopin also helps a great deal with pain as it quiets the pain signals in the brain.

    The downside is that one develops a physical dependence on these meds and they must be weaned off of if one ever wants to quit. That doesn't make them addictive in the psychological sense but if one doesn't wean slowly off of them, there will be withdrawal symptoms.

    Again, none of these meds may be right for everyone but I thought I'd share my experience. If considering one of them, I recommend doing research and talking with one's doc. Klonopin is in the Benzo family of meds and isn't covered by Medicare. I take the generic and it isn't expensive.

    Love, Mikie

    JEANSKI New Member

    I remember giving it a try after hearing your experiance with it Mikie and I must say it did work wonderfully. Definately something people should talk to their dr's about and do some research on.

    I had such bad sensory overload and it buffered it just enough that I was able to get out of the vicious cycle. I was on Klonopin (generic) for about a year and haven't had to go on it since. (over 5 yrs now maybe) It seemed to buffer things for me so my senses weren't overwhelmed with stimuli. Gave my body a chance to recoup.

    I can tolerate crowds better now and lights and sounds. I do have to say I am starting to feel that jittery, inner shaking, head buzzing overloaded feeling coming back though and will probably try it again if I find it is intruding too much on my life.

    I liked that I could take it as needed and it wasn't an everyday pill for me. It worked fast once you took it also. Not something that takes 4-6 weeks to work so you know fairly quickly if its for you or not.
  3. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    I was prescribed Klonopin a few years ago by my rheumatologist. Truthfully I'm not sure of the exact reason except for that he recommended it. I know he thought it would help my sleep and many of his Fibro patients are on it. I happened to be a wreck at that appointment crying almost the whole way through as my husband had just lost his job the day prior. I normally do not have anxiety so he wasn't responding to my "breakdown". =)

    Anyway - I have had an added benefit from the Klonopin. I have HORRENDOUS headaches that last sometimes 4 days. I take Topamax daily to help with those but apparently that isn't helping! I know that if I can catch it at just the right time by taking 1/2 of my Klonopin it helps my headache.

    Half the dose doesn't make me sleepy - a whole one can knock me out (except at night, go figure!)

    I do not take them regularly. Really only take them for my headaches now. I don't know if they help w/Fibro pain I guess I haven't really paid attention or taken it for that.

    Thanks for posting your experiences.
  4. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I appreciate your replies. This med, like most we try/use seems to affect us all differently. I wish I could have taken it when needed but, unfortunately, I needed it every night just to get decent sleep. I had a sleep study done and it showed that the brain activity would not allow my brain to go through the normal stages of sleep. The Klonopin quieted the neurons down so that I could sleep well.

    I've been gone so long from the boards that I noticed some of the same problems in posts which came up back when I was here a lot. One of my daughters has some friends with FMS and other similar illnesses and they all take Klonopin with excellent results. My one daughter is now a nurse and she thinks Klonopin is a great med. I do worry that the FDA will try to stop all the Benzos as they are the second-most abused drugs behind Oxycontin. I think that for years, docs allowed some patients to abuse Xanax and Valium and it has given Benzos a bad name. Xanax and Valium are also excellent meds. We shouldn't be deprived of our meds just because some people abuse them.

    Again, thanks for the replies.

    Love, Mikie
  5. Sandyz

    Sandyz New Member

    Hi Mikie, I have been on it for probably about 8 years. It has worked great for me, with little side effects. I had horrible anxiety issues since I was a teen and this finally got it under control. I do think it helps a lot with the Fm. Mikie, just curious what dosage you are on? Have you had to increase it over the years?? I take 1mg at bedtime and a half mg during the day.
  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I have been on Klonopin for 15 years and it has helped me a lot. It was originally prescribed for my RLS but I have found it helpful for the FM as well. I take a small dose so it does not knock me out. It makes me feel closer to normal, not out of it.

    I take less now than I had for years when some of my sleep issues were resolved.

    Something that also helps my overload is Nuvigil, the latest version of Provigil. This sounds contradictory however while not officially a stimulant, but for alertness and goes to a different part of the brain, it appears to work much like what I have seen in people who take stimulants for ADD. Caffeine from coffee or colas can rev me up but not the Nuvigil. Again like the Klonopin, it makes me feel closer to "normal" whatever that is.

    I could not tolerate the side effects of Neurontin, Lyrica and they did not help me even though I had been on them long enough to see a difference.

    What I have said obviously refers to my experience and others may take the same medications and have a different response. I think I have been rambling so hope it makes sense.

    Take care.

  7. slowdreamer

    slowdreamer New Member

    Used to be a good med for me as a one off or for a few weeks to get through a drama or something.

    Just be careful though or I guess you will soon find out because this year I have concurrent depression(clinical) Can't take any anti depressants and just 0.125 mgm Clonazapam increases my depression significantly.. Might be something to do with aging process also.
    [This Message was Edited on 05/28/2011]
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Everything with us changes. I'm finding that it's like a bomb has gone off inside my body. I have been put on BP meds which caused my norepinephrine to decrease and it interfered with my sleep. So, I now take 1.5 mgs. of Klonopin for sleep. I was on 1 mg. for almost 10 years. It wasn't tolerance which caused me to increase; it was to counter the effects of the BP med. Now, my BP is up again. It may be because I've suffered chronic sinusitis for months. I'm seeing an ENT in a couple of weeks. There may be an obstruction in my sinuses.

    My doc asked me, as a favor to him, to try the Provigil when it was first available. I had a paradoxical reaction to it too. It caused me to be sleepy and dopey. I quit taking it as I didn't need it for sleep because the Klonopin was working so well. I usually stay away from new meds until they've been on the market a couple of years.

    I think at any time our brain chemicals can become unbalanced. I don't have depression but I had clinical depression for years when I was younger. I was fortunate enough to get a lot of therapy and it helped sooooo much. I didn't take AD's because the SSRI's and SNRI's were not available then. I did get a taste of depression lately, though, before I got used to the decreased norepinephrine from the BP meds. I had flashes of anger too. AACK! The biggest help for my depression was when I divorced my ex, but that's another story :)

    Even though my ANA came back neg., I have symptoms of Sjogren's and will be seeing a rheumy, or my FMS/CFIDS specialist to try to get a diagnosis. Something has drastically changed. My fatigue is back and it caused me to have to quit my job in July. I had planned to work another four years. It may not be Sjogren's but it is something and I'd like to find out what. There is no cure for Sjogren's and, like with FMS and CFIDS, one simply treats the symptoms. Strangely, since this new development, my FMS symptoms have subsided. They are not gone altogether but enough so that using limited salicylates does not block the Guai treatment now. That is a huge relief for me and is the only silver lining I can find :)

    My face was covered with sun cancer and instead of freezing or cutting them, the doc had me use topical chemo. It causes one to look like a leper for a couple of weeks but once it heals, the cancer, and pre-cancerous spots, are gone. She indicated that using skin products with vitamin C and Retinol would be the best. Of course, sunscreen is a must. Vitamin C skin products are only sold through doc's offices and spas associated with them. I found an exception on HSN. I've always loved Adrienne Arpel's creams, although, her makeup is a tad heavy for me. She sells whole kits of vitamin C products and creams with Retinol for less than what they charge at the doc's office for one jar. Her products are made by a pharmaceutical company and endorsed by docs. Only problem is that most of these are made with botanicals. Botanicals contain sals. Well, I'm using them with no reactions with my FMS (knock on wood :) I feel sick now when I'm out in the sun, so extended exposure isn't a problem any more and I always use a sunscreen.

    I had thought that once I managed my FMS/CFIDS, I would be home free. Well, now I'm starting all over again to find out what this new thing is. I'll be seeing specialists and going through tests all over again. Our illnesses are like the gift which keeps on giving :)

    Thanks for your interest and listening to my ramblings. Hope I responded to everyone's questions. If not, let me know. I'm a bit brain fogged. My prayers are with everyone.

    Love, Mikie
  9. kevcl6750

    kevcl6750 New Member

    Mikie, I saw on one of your other posts how Klonopin has helped your tinnitus. I have used Klonopin for the same thing. Anyway, you mentioned an article by a doctor about Klonopin and I wanted to read that. Any help appreciated.
  10. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I wish there were one drug which helps us all, but nothing seems to. A number of us have had good results with Klonopin (or clonazepam, the generic for Klonopin) but, again, it won't work for everyone.

    It was Dr. Cheney who wrote the article on Klonopin and it was in the Library here. I haven't read it in ages, though. I don't know whether they keep every article and paper or not. It was great at explaining how our neurons get overexcited and die early and how Klonopin prevents this early death of our brains' neurons.

    I always carry a couple of the Klonopin tablets with me. If I find myself in a situation where I'm experiencing sensory overload, I bite off about 1/4 of the tablet and let it dissolve under my tongue. It puts a stop the event almost immediately. This manner of dosing was OK's by both the doc and the pharmacist. I've been on it so long that I seldom have SO but every now and then...

    Love, Mikie
  11. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    I can relate to the anxiety, panic and sensory overload. I have been on dot doses of Xanax for over 20 years and I guess I can say it took the edge off, but I still got anticipatory anxiety and having MVP the adrenaline rush would put me into tachycardia sometimes.

    My doctor just gave me a script for Klonopin and said to try it as it may work better as it's long acting vs the ups and downs of taking the Xanax daily.

    I don't have problems sleeping- it's the fears and going out that bothers me. The "what if" syndrome. Feeling bad with CFS and a wacky autonomic nervous system, I tend to get jitters, lightheaded, sensory issues so hopefully the Klonopin will help.

    Do you all take it at night or day? Does it make you feel groggy at first. Since I'm going straight from Xanax to Klonopin, I don't think there will be a big "getting used to" period. They are both benzos.

    The doctor told me to take one (.5mg) a day, but not to be afraid of taking another piece or 1/2 if I have a bad day.

    So, I'm just wondering from all of you if you like Xanax or Klonopin for anxiety and panic- what are your thoughts?
    And what time of the day is best to take it? The doctor didn't specify this.

    Thanks :)
  12. earthdog2000

    earthdog2000 Member

    Hi Tania!

    I read all of this post because I was interested in seeing if others had as much sucess with Klonopin as I did! It's amazing to me what a difference taking Klonipin vs Zanax has made for me. I took Zanax when I was first dx'd with CFS and Panic Disorder 12 years ago. My dr. prescribed it because I was having trouble sleeping ,having frequent panic attacks and a lot of anxiety (racing thoughts) etc.. Anyway, the Zanax stopped working as well for me after a few years esp. with the insomnia and my dr. prescibed Klonipin. I was totally amazed at how fast it worked and it did'nt make me feel groggy at all when I took it for sleep. My panic attacks got less and less as well as the anxiety issues and insomnia! I was also dx'd with fibro 10 years ago and the Klonipin seems to help some of the symtoms for the CFS and fibro!

    I started taking .5 mg. a day and then worked up to 1 mg. @ night, eventually I started taking 1/2 occasionally if I felt a lot of anxiety or had a panic attack. ( the panic attacks became few and far between ) I am still on the same doses after about 10 years and I don't know what I would do without it! Mikey and all of the others have had success with Klonipin as have I so I say, go for it. You can start out with the .5 mg. and if that it not enough your dr. may increase it to 1 mg. a day. I ALWAYS take mine at night and it does not "knock me out" nor does it make me feel groggy in the morning at all it just helps me fall asleep easier and sleep better. Like I said I will take 1/2 during the day sometimes but I never feel tired from it, it just calms down my anxiety or panicky feelings.

    I can't say enough positive things about it for me but you will just have to try it and see but do not be scared because you are starting off at a very small dose. There will probably be others who will reply to this post re: alternate or holistic approaches to this. If the Klonopin does not work for you, you can always try that route or try another med!

    Positive thoughts, Julie :)

    P.S. Thank you Mikey for such a great post
    [This Message was Edited on 05/27/2011]
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    To everyone for the interest and responses. I only take the Klonopin at bedtime. It stays in the bloodstream a long time. It makes me tired when I take it but I wake up feeling alert and not groggy. Even so, it continues to help with pain and SO all day long. Every now and then, though, I will be a little sensitive and will use the "nibble" technique for the SO.

    Love, Mikie
  14. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi All,

    Below is a post I did recently on another forum regarding a request for suggestions to help with sleep. I thought it might be appropriate here as lithium is purported to be helpful for many of the neurological conditions mentioned in this thread; depression, anxiety, sensory overload, etc.


    Hi CBS64,

    I'm getting ready to try the natural mineral called "lithium orotate". This supplement is fairly well known in the Lyme community to be able to calm an agitated brain/neurological system. This calming helps many sleep better.

    Apparently, many years ago, after observing lithium had a calming effect, it was researched to see what kind of brain chemical or neurotransmitter effect it had. To the researchers' surprise, they learned it had none of these effects at all. The reason it worked so well for a variety of neurological symptoms was because lithium is extraordinarily neuroprotective and is able to the protect the brain from toxicity.

    Chronic health conditions such as Lyme, and I suspect at least some cases of ME/CFS, generally have various kinds of bacterial and microscopic parasitic infections. These infections can release potent neurotoxins into our bodies (and brains) so that we're exposed to them 24/7. Lithium apparently has the ability to provide a great deal of protection from these toxins.

    Just starting to learn about lithium. Though it's well known in the Lyme community, I was a bit surprised to do a search on this forum and found very little. I may end up starting a thread on it if I get good results after trying it. Note: Lithium orotate is vastly different and is used in much smaller quantities than the prescription lithium (carbonate) that can cause some extreme side effects.

    I hope you can find something that works well for you.

    Best, Wayne
  15. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Mikie,

    This is somewhat of an aside, but thought I'd mention that it's common for those with Lyme to experience tinnitus. When Lyme is successfully treated, it often goes away. I'm mentioning this because Lyme bacteria, similar to mycoplasma bacteria, are cell wall deficient. Since you had/have both mycoplasma and tinnitus, thought I'd send this along your way.

  16. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    This is VERY interesting regarding the lithium. Yes, I had tinnitus and the Klonopin helps a great deal with it. I've posted about the book, "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills." The basic premise is that the toxins, MSG and Aspertame, cross the blood/brain barrier and overexcite the neurons. This causes a cascade in which calcium floods into the neurons and kills them, some immediately and some a couple of months later. I'm sure that toxins produced by pathogens are as deadly.

    The author recommends taking antioxidants to help protect the brain. Of course, he also recommends avoiding MSG and Aspertame.

    If lithium can help protect the brain, it would indeed be a real help to us. Thanks so very much for sharing this.

    Love, Mikie
  17. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi Mikie,

    The information I ran across regarding lithium orotate (soooo much safer and effective than prescription lithium carbonate) has been sort of "haunting" me for the past couple of days since I read about it. It just sort of blows my mind that a simple and inexpensive detoxification mineral can very often significantly improve some of the most severe "mental illnesses", such as bipolar, schizophrenia, etc.

    I feel somewhat haunted because of the direction medical science has taken regarding mental disorders. Instead of understanding they are very often caused by toxicity, they went in the direction of altering brain chemistry and ignoring the toxicity element. My own take is that the brainfog and cognitive issues so many on this board deal with are probably often a result of chronic stealth infections that cause neurotoxins to be released into our bodies and brains 24/7. And this in turn eventually leads to much of the anxiety, depression, etc. many on this board deal with.

    I have a friend who told me years ago how he had suffered terribly with depression for many years. He finally went to a doctor who prescribed him prescription lithium carbonate. He said he literally wanted to die from the side effects (extreme lithium toxicity). He finally gave up on it, deciding depression was better than the side effects he was experiencing.

    A bit later, he ran across a different form of lithium in a health food store. He noticed the amount was a tiny fraction of the amount he had been taking as a prescription and had his doubts as to whether it might be effective for him. Even though he didn't have much money, he decided to try it anyway. It turned out to be an absolute miracle for him. His years of severe depression lifted and does not return as long as he takes the lithium.

    He has since mentioned to me that he feels he has a major blood brain barrier problem, with environmental toxins going "straight into his brain", and causing a burning feeling. I think this is another problem pwME/CFS face; a compromised blood brain barrier, making us susceptible to both internal and external neurotoxins. The fact that my friend lives a fairly normal now in spite of his vulnerability to these toxins is an encouraging sign for all of us who deal with similar issues.

    I appreciate it that you seem to notice the potential significance of this. I think taking lithium has a good chance to shift things significantly for myself. I haven't been able to find it locally, but anticipate ordering some online very soon. I'll post on my experiences at some point, whether positive or not. Sure wouldn't mind having some of my cognitive abilities back after being on hiatus for years and years and years.

    Wayne[This Message was Edited on 05/29/2011]
  18. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Please do keep us updated on this when you are on the lithium. I think that anything which compromises the blood/brain barrier opens the door to all kinds of brain damage from multitudes of causes. Why is autism increasing exponentially? The only thing I can think of is toxic brain. I also believe that giving too many vaccines in a child whose brain is still developing may possibly contribute. Add to that, infections and environmental toxins and it's amazing that we all aren't afflicted with problems in the brain.

    Right now, whatever Herpes-Family Virus I have has decided to reactivate and I can't start my injections until it is gone. I'll finish a week on my AV tomorrow. My temp is almost back to normal and I'm sweating it out. I've also been using my zapper and, I believe, it is even more potent than AV's or ABX.

    Supposedly, the injections go to the origin of the problem(s) and all these other considerations are ancillary. From their lips to God's ear.

    Again, Wayne, thanks for posting this. Those of us who have spent years looking for answers appreciate good info which may be of help. This does sound promising and it agrees with what I've been finding along the way.

    Love, Mikie
  19. Chelz

    Chelz New Member

    Out of all the drugs that you mentioned, Klonopin would probably be the ONLY one I would be willing to take, in a very very small dose. I know a few people who have taken Klonopin for chronic fatigue and Fibro, and it has helped them. I would take the Klonopin only after exhausting every other natural option out there if they didn't work.

    The other drugs mentioned, I wouldn't touch. I have heard horror stores about Lyrica, way too many horrible side effects from that drug. Neurontin is another strong drug that can cause rapid weight gain, which so many of us, Fibro or not, do not need.

    As far as Lunesta goes, I think it is extremely important in this case as well, to exhaust every possible option to get sleep the natural way. Lunesta and Ambien, expecially Ambien, can cause a hypnotic state, your sleep on these drugs are not natural sleep, they kind of "put you out" in an unnatural way. BUT, if someone has extremely poor sleep and really needs it, then it should be tried, but with caution. I have known people who have taken Ambien and can't remember what they are doing, or, it makes them feel "drugged" all day, or they feel those kind of drugs start to change their personality, these may be extreme cases, but it's not good either way.

    I just feel that FM is such a "whole body" problem and so many people with FM take a prescription drug to treat one symptom, then there are side effects, then another drug is given to counteract the side effects from the other drug, then they are given yet another drug for another symptom and so on and so on, that sometimes we will be so bothered by side effects, that we can't get better, if that makes any sense. Somtimes I feel that FM people have "toxic" bodies without all these drugs, then the drugs are introduced and can cause more problems, but I know that this is all individual, but many many FM people are drug senstive, that makes sense, since our bodies are just so darn sensitive to everything. Hugs, Chelz.
  20. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I agree with you. I especially dislike the drugs which contain SSRI's or SNRI's. I know they work for some but the side effects can be pretty bad. With the Klonopin, I've not developed a tolerance but Klonopin does cause a physical dependence and if I ever want to stop taking it, I'll have to wean off very slowly. Even then, withdrawal can be hell. The Klonopin doesn't leave me groggy in the morning. I wake alert and feeling rested most mornings.

    Klonopin increases GABA in the brain and stops the seizure activity which can cause us not to be able to fall into the stages of sleep needed for restoration. I was sleeping all kinds of hours, both day and night, but my sleep study showed that the seizure activity interrupted my sleep stages. The bonuses of reducing tinnitus, pain and sensory overload were a nice surprise.

    I now have to take a BP med which reduces norepinephrine in the brain and it does interfer with my sleep a bit and I'm more tired now. I had to go through a bunch of BP meds before we found one I could half-way tolerate. With the huge history of heart attacks in my family, it's imperative I keep my BP down.

    Of course, no one drug is a panacea for everyone. Klonopin works for me but not for everyone. It's an old tried-and-true medication, it's cheap and, for me, it has been a miracle med. Unfortunately, benzos have a bad rep and Medicare won't cover them. I'm always afraid the FDA will stop letting docs prescribe them. I think when docs were overprescribing Valium, it tainted all benzos as a whole. That's unfortunate.

    I would love to be able to take no meds but I can't. Without my HRT and thyroid, I have heart palpitations and, again, with my family history, I can't afford the risk. People with heart palps are five times more likely to have strokes. I also take Cozaar which helps decrease the incidence of strokes and heart attacks.

    Since developing Sjogren's Syndrome, my fatigue is again through the roof. If I can ever get this reactivated Herpes-Family Virus back into latency (another med, an AV) I can start the peptide injections and, perhaps, I can stop some of the meds.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    Love, Mikie