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 Post subject: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 6:30 am 
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I have recently been seeing a psychologist and a psychotherapist due to being diagnosed with PTDS.

They've tried a variety of combinations of meds, none of which were at all effective.

So, the started me on something call aripiprazole, and it has the most awful side effects. It makes me feel nauseous all the time, and I have what can only be described as physical anxiety, without actually having any increased mental anxiety.

So, I told the prescriber that I could not continue to take them, even though they were starting to work for the thing they were prescribed for. What he did was prescribe me something for the side effects to take alongside the aripiprazole.

The med that he's prescribed me is Clonazepam. I am very worried about this, as I had a massive benzo problem years past, and had to undergo a particularly nasty benzo WD, which has left me with seizures for the rest of my life that I have to take meds for 3 times a day every day for the rest of my life!

So, I really don't want to continue the Clonazepam, but they are helping and I do feel a LOT better with this combination of meds. I am finding it easy to stick to the directions on the bottle, I'm not tempted to take more than I should, but I'm worried that could happen, and that it could be a slippery slope that means I slip backwards and lose a lot of the hard work I've done, and all the trust I've built up with all the people treating me.

What I plan to do next is speak to the MH team, and ask if there is anything else they could prescribe that is not habit forming, and does not have the potential to threaten my sobriety.

Any comments/suggestions greatly appreciated!!

Thanks guys, :heart: you all!!

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Sapphire Matthews - MAR Patient Advocate
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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:38 pm 
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Argh! What a hard spot you are in... Of course we want to try to see if ANYthing other than a benzo will work, but if you've tried other medications and they have NOT worked, and this benzo IS working.... is it really all that bad? You just have to realize the potential dangers of taking benzos with methadone (and Clonazepam is NOT the worst) and realize you've had a problem in the past and make sure your husband and other support systems know that as well. But it's not worth your qualify of life to say no way to the Clonazepam if it's helping you so much and nothing else did. ARGH! Tough spot to be in.... Hopefully some others will weigh in that have more experience with anxiety and PTSD and such on methadone than I do!

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Zac Talbott, CMA
Email | zac@tnmethadone.org

Chief Operating Officer | Counseling Solutions Treatment Centers
Comprehensive Opioid Treatment Programs
Program Director | Counseling Solutions Treatment Centers - Chatsworth


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:32 pm 
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Hi Sapphire. I also was diagnosed with PTSD and was prescribed clonazepam. I have been on methadone maintenance for 40 years. I have been taking 1mg of clonazepam 3 times a day. Now i find that i often only take 2 a day, but they have helped me immensely. I don't think i would be able to leave my home without them. I used to have severe panic attacks and anxiety. This medication had changed all that. I don't ever abuse it. And have a letter that i brought into the clinic, so my UA's are not marked as positive for illicit drug use. Sapphire, i was worried about the same thing you are. That taking clonazepam might jeopardize my recovery. Right now you are taking them as directed, and as you have stated do feel the need to abuse them. I say do not think that far into the future. They are working for you now. And you need the relief that clonazepam is bringing you. You seem very well grounded in your recovery. I have tried other meds for my PTSD, and clonazepam has been the only one that has been helpful. I think it is wise of you to see if a non habit forming medication might help you like the clonazepam does. But if not, i think if clonazepam if helping, when no other med did before, stay with them. If you feel you are going down that slippery slope, (you know the signals by now) seek out a support group, or your family to help you. Personally, i have been on clonazepam for 5 years now, and have never abused them.


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:07 pm 
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Hi Sapphire, a difficult position to be in; I can understand why you don't want to take Clonazepam. However, look at the situation of what would you advise to another patient.

It seems that currently taking Clonazepam is providing positive changes in your quality of life, and at the end of the day it all comes down to that, quality of life. It is no use being benzo free if your quality of life is suffering.

In such situations I always advise that people proceed with caution, from what I know you have a solid support network behind you. Hence, I would advise that you use that to evaluate on a weekly or monthly basis if continuing with the Clonazepam is the best course of action.

Also keep at your care team to see if they can come up with a better option. I would also recommend accessing some good quality psychotherapy, I find longer term talking therapy much better than short focused CBT therapy, but each to their own. I'll have a think on it and see if I can add anything else tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 5:53 am 
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At first I was really, really opposed to taking them, as all I was worried about was the potential for me using them above and beyond what the prescription stated. BUT, they really do seem to be helping me, and I have tried sooooo many other psychiatric meds, some that have done nothing, and some that have had horrific side effects, a couple so bad that I felt like self harming!

In general my MH feels more stable than it has for decades, and it's actually really nice to not be on a MH roller coaster every day!!

I am going to ask if there is anything similar that is not a benzo, but if not, I think I have decided that at this point in my life, quality if life is what's more important. I would rather be taking a medication and be stable mentally, than not and be completely miserable and have my MH all over the place.

The clonazepam is prescribed in conjunction with a few other meds (non addictive), and I really feel it's the best combination I have ever been on, and that for the 1st time ever, my MH does seem to be getting better/easier to deal with.

As far as the clonazepam goes, I don't really feel it, I just feel the absence of the jitters from the aripiprazole and lessened anxiety.

Thanks for all your feedback guys, it means a lot that you've taken the time out to read/listen and then reply!! :)

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Sapphire Matthews - MAR Patient Advocate
email:sapphirematthews@gmail.com

Please email me if you have any issues with the board, be that logging in, spammers, or anything else at all!!


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:28 pm 
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I'm diagnosed with bipolar disorder, PTSD, anxiety, and ADHD. I've never been on aripiprazole, but I've had some really nasty reactions to other antipsych meds in the past. I can't speak to the interaction with clonazepam, but if it's working for you, I'd stick with it.

Currently I'm on a low dose of suboxone (4mg) and take 1mg of clonazepam twice a day. I also take lamictal and remeron.

Very brief background on me...
I was in methadone treatment for 3 years and tapered down before I was ready because I felt pressured (didn't think I could be "normal" while I was on methadone and blamed it for relationship problems that were likely caused by untreated mood disorder). I had a slip within a week of stopping treatment, after which I started a suboxone program. I ended up seeing a doctor who pushed me off suboxone, which I really wasn't comfortable with but went along with anyway (I figured he's the doctor, he knows better than me). Well, after 6 months of struggling to get my psych issues stabilized, I decided to start back on suboxone treatment. Between the four meds I'm now taking and the tools I learned in SMART Recovery, I feel the most stable I've been since before I first noticed symptoms of mental health issues in my teenage years.

I guess the thing to ask is what are your long-term goals and, if it's the best combination you've ever been on, why take the clonazepam out of the picture? If you're comfortable staying on it indefinitely, WDs shouldn't be a worry.

There are some great workbooks, based on both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), that might help you work through your PTSD and anxiety issues now that you have your meds stabilized. You might find that after you've learned some new coping skills, some of the meds won't be necessary any longer (I have no clue about your situation, so maybe you've taken that route--not lecturing, just offerering suggestions based on my experience).

As for me, I've accepted that I'll need to be on suboxone indefinitely. It's more than just helping with my opiate dependence, I consider it part of my psych meds because it helps with my MH issues. I've never had a problem with benzos WDs, but I also feel like I'll need to be on clonazepam indefinitely and I'm fine with that. Until something better comes along, I'm glad that MAT is available and I've been fortunate to finally be able to receive medical care that's helped stabilize me.

Best wishes. I hope your treatment keeps moving in the right direction for you.


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:01 pm 
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I use to use and abuse benzo's on top of methadone back in 2002/2003. I don't even know how I'm still alive to be honest. I knew I was going to jail and I just didn't want to feel it or think about it. I done 26 months, got out and stayed clean up until I started getting my teeth fixed. Within no time I was using and went back to mmt. I had really bad anxiety after my release. I've had to leave stores many times because of panic attacks. After a year or so of different meds I was prescribed xanax 0.5mg 2 times a day. I threw the script away the first 2 times. But the dr kept saying to give it a try. We decide to take our kids to Disney World for vacation. I knew it was something I didn't want my kids to miss because I was freaking out around all those people. So I started out taking only as prescribed which he had increased to 3 times a day. I realized I didn't need it 3 times a day so I took no more than 2 times a day for years. I was scared but not once did I abuse them or go back to the old me. I've been off of them for 4 years now and I'm doing fine. Just because we use to be a certain way don't mean we'll go back to that. You know your thoughts and how you feel. If you start wanting to abuse tell someone to stop it before it starts. I wish you the best of luck.


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:24 am 
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Thanks for all your thoughts guys. I'm thinking that as this is the best combo that they have prescribed so far, I am going to give it a go. Nothing else I have ever been prescribed for my MH issues have ever really worked, so now something is working, I'm loathe to stop taking it just because one of the meds happens to be a benzo!

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Sapphire Matthews - MAR Patient Advocate
email:sapphirematthews@gmail.com

Please email me if you have any issues with the board, be that logging in, spammers, or anything else at all!!


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 9:54 pm
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Location: North Georgia
So much input! This is great... and sapphire I'm glad you have a plan for now. Keep us all posted. And everyone on this thread, keep coming back and posting on WSM!

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Zac Talbott, CMA
Email | zac@tnmethadone.org

Chief Operating Officer | Counseling Solutions Treatment Centers
Comprehensive Opioid Treatment Programs
Program Director | Counseling Solutions Treatment Centers - Chatsworth


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 Post subject: Re: My Mental health treatment so far.....
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2015 6:58 am 
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It is great that so many people have taken the time to read my post and reply, so thanks very much guys, I really appreciate it!! :)

So far I am taking the Clonazepam as prescribed, but I think that as the side effects of the Aripiprazole are so strong, that I'm not even aware I'm taking it. In fact the side effects of the Aripip are so strong that I might have to ask for an increase even of the Clonazepam.

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Sapphire Matthews - MAR Patient Advocate
email:sapphirematthews@gmail.com

Please email me if you have any issues with the board, be that logging in, spammers, or anything else at all!!


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