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Quitting clonazepam "cold turkey"

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My meds almost killed me. After experiencing the trauma of career burnout, my doctor put me on effexor and clonazepam and continued to increase the dosage until was I taking 450mg effexor and 3mg clonazepam/day.

Over the period of two years, my doctor turned me into a zombie that slept 16 hours a day. In the last 3 months, my metabolism began to change and I developed pitted edema in both my legs. My weight ballooned from a stable 165 to 220 lbs. I was admitted to emergency after having a "mild" heart attack. I snapped. This is what I did:

  • Quit effexor cold turkey by switching to 5-HTP (700mg-day1, 500mg, day2, 300mg-day3, 150mg, day4, 50mg-day 5)
  • Quit clonazepam cold turkey and switched to GABA. This may sound weird, but I have to snort it to cross the blood-brain barrier
  • Fortified my diet by taking L-Glutamine, L-Dopa, Taurine, Vitamins B complex, B12 1g, C 2000mg, D 10,000 I.U., cayenne pepper capsules (3 per day), chamomile and green tea
  • Changed my diet: omelettes with tons of veggies and supergreens (1tbsp.) for breakfast, water during the day (no lunch), a tuna salad or some kind of fish for supper & a veggie shake for supper
  • Exercised during the day; long walks, bike rides, swimming, housework
  • Detoxed by drinking water and going to the steamroom at the YM/YWCA

While I was still on clonazepam, my legs were swollen up like balloons with fluid. After quitting clonazepam and switching to GABA, my legs almost shriveled up as I went from 220 to 204 in about 2 weeks. I quit effexor in week 1 and clonazepam in week 2--no tapering. For me, it was a life or death situation and I decided to go organic even it killed me--it didn't! The only tapering I'm doing now is from the GABA. I'm down to 1 gram/day.

I will never put another chemically synthesized toxin in my body ever again.

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Why would snorting the GABA be any different than taking it orally in terms of it crossing the BBB?

Without going into the "ZOMYGOD MEDZ R EVOL!" aspects of your post, it sounds like you've been taken to the cleaners by the clerk of a heath food store.

How much does all that shit cost a month?

I'm willing to bet that exercise is responsible for 90% of the improvement you've noted.

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I'm willing to bet that exercise is responsible for 90% of the improvement you've noted.

As Elle says in Legally Blonde:

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't."

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So, uh, how are you getting the L-dopa and l-glutamine into your body without exposing yourself to the evils of "chemically synthesized toxins?" Or the taurine? Do you just go to the taurine lick in the woods?

I raise my glass in a toast to toxins, whatever the hell you mean by that word. Natural or otherwise.

L'chaim, y'all.

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Might I suggest, however, that you avoid these "safe, natural" treatments that Mother Nature has synthesized for you should you ever consider them:

Deadly Nightshade (Belladona)

Kava Kava (hello, liver damage)

Amanita Muscarina (Fly Agaric, IIRC)

Madagascar Periwinkle... an herbal the way Mother Nature intended... to destroy your entire nervous system in a heartbeat.

Mayapple (ditto)

And never forget this one (apologies to the game Streets of SimCity):

It's pure. It's natural. It costs just pennies per gallon. E. coli Cola. Nature's way of reminding you why fire was invented.

BTW, if any of the above haven't convinced you, insufflation isn't going to magically get that GABA through to your brain (at least in any useful quantity, I've heard here and there that the intranasal route is a little more effective than anything in the GI tract, but I mean really, that's gotta be a ton of GABA powder to snort)... you might want to look into techniques of intrathecal injection (just don't get the Madagascar Periwinkle extracts anywhere near that route!). Honestly, it seems to be more pain than what it's worth.


But keep up with that exercise, at least. Maybe you're one of those cases that doesn't even need meds, given how situational your illness seemed (at least how you put it).

And oh yes, "L-dopa" is also sold as a prescription drug, synthesized in a lovely chemical lab, and is almost universally known in its treatment of Parkinson's disease.

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Kudos to you for taking up, what sounds to be, a vigorous exercise program. I'm sure it is helping.

Although I respect your choices, I have a problem with your use of the word "toxins". No one here enjoys taking pills. IMO, you have simply exchanged one set of "toxins" for another. Whereas you were taking two meds to start, you are now taking several.

I would ask that you think twice before blasting meds that most of us rely on to keep us healthy.

Best of luck with your treatment program.



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wow. okay. rookie mistake. not that i want you to ever have to take those meds again, especially if they weren't working.

but damn. the next time you do that with any med/toxin, no matter if you got it over or under the counter, don't play with dosages, LET ALONE QUIT COLD TURKEY, without at least telling a doctor what you're doing.

a doctor would have told you there were serious, potentially life-threatening results from what you just did, and you're goddamned lucky you're not in a hospital right now. yep i believe you indeed have the right to stop taking meds, good idea or not. but doing it the way you did was really, really stupid. you didn't have any idea, probably, how serious it was. thus the number of replies sans calling you a complete idiot.

so i'm being harsh so you'll hear me, maybe. don't do that again. ask your doctor how to safely get off the meds. nobody's telling you here that you have to take them. just don't ditch them without knowing what you're doing. and i don't care what you bought over the counter that's supposed to make it better - if it really did, our pdocs would be recommending these things to help with the horror of getting off both effexor and clonazepam. i repeat, you're one lucky human being. you not only seemed to quit large amounts of the drugs, but without the side-effects that are not only expected, but almost biologically necessary. just super.

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Another potentially logical bit here...

Logically, Jake, has it occurred to you that many chemicals synthesized in laboratories have been done so using Mother Nature's Labs, Inc. as the scientists' inspiration? Not only do these chemicals have a "natural" basis, they are also intended to have less adverse effects than what the original chemical had been giving us for millennia.

Take aspirin, for example. Salicylic acid, an extract from the bark of the willow tree, was its inspiration. For millennia, the willow bark was used by indigenous North Americans to fight off inflammatory ailments. Unfortunately for them, it caused a lot of nasty and even fatal side effects in the stomach (including bleeding). In the lab, it was converted to acetyl-salicylic acid (aka aspirin). Sure, aspirin is noted for some nasty stomach side effects, but trust me, they weren't as bad as those of the willow bark extract. The list goes on and on, and my real point was that naturopathy and nutritional supplementation have a LOT in common with modern pharmaceuticals. Except that the former haven't been tested as extensively according to modern scientific theory for safety (or efficacy, for that matter).

(Oh and btw, the active ingredient in St. John's Wort (hyperforin), should the plant ever cross your mind as a good antidepressant, functions much like the SSRI class of drugs. Except it's a well-known "inducer" of one of your liver's metabolic enzymes, and this can cause almost total negation/inactivation of certain other drugs and supplements you may be taking as these enzymes run into turbo mode and quickly convert their victims into inactive forms.)

And again, please don't get me wrong here... "vitamins and exercise" are VERY important to maintaining mental (and physical) health. I take vitamins (some at much higher than the USRDA level with guidance of my neurologist and psychiatrist) and a couple mineral supplements (magnesium and zinc in my case). My docs and I do think they might be helpful in my neurological and psychiatric disorders (and with the minerals, I don't exceed the USRDA by much, so it's likely safe, even if it's not going to be effective). And trust me, I'd be exercising like a madman (used to be a competitive road cyclist here) if it weren't for a chronic infection that popped up (and before you ask, yes, I've tried echinacea, but it worsened my fevers and could have potentially resulted in an allergic reaction since I'm allergic to its relative ragweed, so the echinacea was a stupid idea for me).

Please speak with a doctor (perhaps a GP) about the current chemicals you are taking for your well-being. In the quantities/combination you're taking them in, they can be as potent and dangerous as the "man-made drugs" you used to be on. The fact that you are feeling much better is good, but the ends don't always justify the means.

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Oh and btw, the active ingredient in St. John's Wort (hyperforin), should the plant ever cross your mind as a good antidepressant, functions much like the SSRI class of drugs

and is an excellent inducer of a mixed state of a previously undx'd BP1.

There's other stuff I could say about "natural herbs" that concerns female problems, but it's safe to say that just because it's natural doesn't mean it's healthy.

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Guest Guest_Jake2008_*

I originally was taking GABA powder orally mixed with L-Glutamine and L-Dopa (these are are all amino acids--proteins, as opposed to inorganic chemicals). It took 2 heaping teaspoons of GABA to make that feeling that someone has put a cattle prod to my brain go away. Putting GABA under my tongue worked better--I was only using maybe 3 or 4 grams a day to keep that feeling away and to facilitate to sleep.

Scarface happened to be on TV the other night and when I saw all that snorting I figured, "Why not give it a try?" Sure enough, the GABA went up the nose and right to the brain--instant relief! I was down to a gram a day in no time and have decided to slowly taper from there.

Just about everyone who goes on these meds for the first time does so with a misplaced trust in their doctor. People don't realize until they try getting off these meds what a hell ride they're in for. My doctor told me these drugs were a bridge--what he didn't tell me was that is was a bridge to hell.

I had tried once to quit effexor and clonazepam at the same time 2 years ago b/c I would go on 5 day drinking binges with no sleep (I didn't drink before I began taking effexor). It was like heroin withdrawal and the DT's at the same time. Don't try this at home--it's a wonder I didn't end up a vegetable for trying such a stupid stunt! After that experience, I began going online and learning about other people's struggles to get off these meds from hell.

Here are a series of withdrawal schedules from different benzodiazepines. You will notice that the doctor introduces a related benzo (usually valium, as I recall) to help with the taper.


Here is an excellent link that I found. It was written by a naturopathic physician (a rare combination). The doctor explains why it makes no sense to put inorganic matter into your body and what happens when you do. This one link got me started on the road I am on now.


After my heart attack, I became committed to finding organic alternatives to the toxins prescribed by Big Pharma's drug pushers. I am now a firm believer that no good can come from putting these vile chemicals into your body. I also believe that for every toxic medication that a doctor prescribes, there is an organic alternative that one can switch to escape from the harmful side effects of prescription meds. Side effects from these toxic medications (why do you think they call it "detox" when you get off drugs?) is now now a leading cause of death in the Western world (depending on the country, it will ranked right up there with heart disease, stroke, & cancer).

I found organic solutions to both the drugs from hell my ex-doctor prescribed. For effexor, its 5-HTP derived from plant sources. For clonazepam, it's GABA (a protein). If a pill can eventually make its way to the brain, why not GABA?

I would rather taper off organics than the poison that almost put me 6 feet under and that's exactly what I'm doing. I haven't had clonazepam for almost a week after being on it for almost 3 years. Consider that piece of anecdotal evidence and decide for yourself how you'd like to taper off your highly addictive and toxic drugs.

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I haven't had clonazepam for almost a week after being on it for almost 3 years. cide for yourself how you'd like to taper off your highly addictive and toxic drugs.

3 years vs. a week?

Come back when you haven't had it in 6 months. And been through some major life stressors in the meantime.

Decide for yourself but realize that you could possibly induce seizures by just cutting off certain meds and experience various kinds of withdrawals- from annoying to dangerous- with others.

But, yeah, decide for yourself.

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And actually, why are you here, Jake?

Is it only to convince people that Big Pharma are vile drug pushers? That medications are scary toxins that should not be put into your body? That exveryone should go off of their meds however they want to?

No one should trust their doctor, everyone should go all Nature Boy [i pull the blinds...] and snort GABA while watching scarface?

Because, ya know, I'm not in a great mood as of late.

And while I don't generally just attack new users, it's not really my style, if these are generally your only reasons for being here, you're on really thin ice.

I will ban if I think you are

A: A bigger jerk than me


B: dangerous to the community.

You're kind of getting there.

Happy Snorting!

*kiss, kiss*


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I don't understand why the heck people like this, who have a horrible experience(s) with their meds, don't discuss their unhappiness w/side effects, and-or ineffectiveness of their meds, with their P-doc. I admit it can be frustrating at times, and a challenge, but -

It's a free country. There are various P-docs all over the planet. Find a different one, (or even the same one) and get a med "over-haul". But whatever - to each their own.

I met a guy once, who wanted me to completely stop my ADs. Said they were "bad for me". Like he knew what I'd been through without them (he had no idea.) Wanted me to go the alternative med route only. I thought he was nutty, as well as presumptious, and told him that, and dumped him in a heartbeat. He'd never seen me "off meds" (and he never will.)

But -to each their own - it's your body. Good luck. I truly do hope it works out for the best, for you.

I wish you well,

- Susan

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Incidentally, Gentle Readers, lest you have been drawn to this topic by the title, please don't follow Jake's method of discontinuing clonazepam. Clonazepam is indeed a drug that causes physiologic dependence... which is not the same thing as addiction, which is a behavioral phenomenon... and needs to be tapered.

Randomly snuffling up OTC bottles of things labeled "GABA" ain't gonna hack it, and leaves you at risk of various unpleasant withdrawal experiences, including, in more dire situations and at higher doses of clonazepam, seizures.

If you wish to discontinue clonazepam, or any other prescribed substance, you need to go talk to your psychiatrist, psyNP, primary care provider, or some other medical-type person involved in your care.

Jake. Honey. I can't talk to you any longer. Because, Jake, in my world, organic means "contains carbon." In your world, it means... I don't know what it means. Probably I can find it in the same Dictionary of Woo that explains "toxin." Although you amusingly use the term "inorganic chemicals" earlier in the same post. Huh? I'm not so sure you didn't get some drain bamage from those earlier drinking binges, tiger.

But then, I'm an evil allopathic sort. Cheers.

Seriously, though. Given that you're getting your treatment ideas from Scarface, and the general weirdness of that last post, I'm guessing you gotta be a troll.

Or whatever.

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hey, here's something else to take away from this illuminating post kiddies:

marijuana and mushrooms and poppies all grow in the ground! naturally! no pesticides either if you do it yourself - you can be pharma AND pdoc AND patient! all by yourself! you don't even have to take off your hippie sandals, birkenstocks will last through the mud. and if nature produced it, doesn't that mean it's what we're supposed to use to heal ourselves?

excuse me while i go control my suicidal thoughts with a bag of shrooms. oooh how can i wanna kill myself now with all these pretty colours in the world? and everything's so damned funny... why was i depressed again?

crazy people always have GREAT objectivity and a reputation for insight into their own illness.... shouldn't we all be doing this ourselves? oh yeah, ORGANICALLY??? cause you know, we do love the earth too!

like luna said - why the hell are you here? i'd rather you go visit some amateur chem/bio/pharma forum and bring forth your great ideas over there. and if you do, let us know where you went so i can watch what happens? i could really, really use a good laugh right now.

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(note - please read this post in the most sarcastic voice)


you all know whats missing?

the scientology links!!!

vitamins - they cure everything. how natural are vitamin pills, really? I dont see vitamin pills being plucked from the trees or the ground. unless there is a super secret laboratory that only the scientologists know about...and of course, one would have to give thousands of $$$ to know the location.

im sorry, i forgot about the aliens. they planted the vitamins deep deep deep in the earth. several billion years later, we still wait for the vitamin crops.

i just cant wait anymore. so popping MI pills is my only recourse.


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But then, I'm an evil allopathic sort. Cheers.

but Silver, can't you tell he's suffering from adrenal fatigue? you're just so MEAN!

Mean, allopathic, and highly toxified.

But it's with lithium carbonate, which is both "natural" and "organic," so that should be alright. Oops. Til I take too much, that is.

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Just to add my two cents because I like to:

I had a BAD pdoc who didn't warn me of the dangers of discontinuing Klonopin without tapering. I thought that it was just like Xanax, I could take it when I needed it. Well, obviously I ended up in the hospital, thankfully because I'm here today with the correct diagnosis.

But Jake, you're fooling yourself if you think that this can all be fixed by "homeopathic" remedies. I'll take my synthetics any day over how I used to feel. I was miserable for 17 years and out of control and that was with vitamins. I find it offensive that you think that Bipolar can be treated this way. It's a serious disease that shouldn't just be treated so lightly like it's a vitamin deficiency.

Troll, yes I would concur with that assessment. That or a Scientologist.

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