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I ran out of klonopin and I'm having insomnia and ANXIETY.

Customer Question
Will benadryl help? What else...
I ran out of klonopin and I'm having insomnia and ANXIETY. Will benadryl help? What else can I do?
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 9 minutes by:
10/3/2010
Mental Health Professional: Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist replied 7 years ago
Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5,334
Experience: Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
Verified

Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.

First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating this must be for you. I am answering your question because I see no psychiatrist has picked up your question. At the end of your answer I'm going to include a technique for you to use when you're feeling anxiety to help you as you deal with the medications issue.

And that is what I want to focus on in the answer: your orientation on your problem. You are focusing on your symptoms exclusively. Remember: medications work on SYMPTOMS, not on what's going on with you as a human being. The problem with just focusing on symptoms is that we are human beings, not biological machines. So very often, when a medication treats one symptom, the underlying human condition that causes you anxiety and depressed emotions pops up some other way and you are continually chasing after symptoms with your doctors. The research has shown (and my experience as a psychologist has certainly shown this) that psychotherapy WITH medications is much more effective than medication alone. Sometimes it can help the person reduce medications. You write that you are already taking 2 Benadryl and it is not helping the insomnia. You CAN go back to your doctor to okay more Benadryl or for a stronger medication to get you to sleep. But again, that is addressing symptoms one by one as they pop up.

So I need you to reorient your view of what's happening to you so that your emotions, which ARE after all, what is being talked about here with anxiety and (probably every so often) depression, are treated with human respect and value and given a chance to help you grow and gain as a human being.

But I want you to reorient your focus from the medications being your main "work" on your anxiety and depression to your exploring your emotional reactions of feeling so anxious and being in such a depressed dark place and a panic reaction such as agoraphobia as being your MAIN work and the meds as being the boost you need to help you not be so panicked and anxious and in a dark hole so that you CAN work on what's going on inside. Do you see this reorientation? The idea is that YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING and human beings don't just have emotions because they hit 40,000 miles like a car or like tires! We have emotions because they are part of how we grow and learn and become more fulfilled. But if we keep running from them and trying to get them just to go away without ever exploring what's going on, we NEVER get that chance to get anything from them. They just make us feel terrible year after year.

Psychotherapy that is helpful is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It will give you the skills you need to deal with the social anxiety. I have found that people often do well combining the CBT with a more introspective approach. If we actually look inside, we can find great relief and meaning. And we can feel whole in ourselves in ways that we haven't for decades.

I would like you to seek psychotherapy with a psychologist who combines both psychodynamic as well as cognitive behavioral therapies. One area that combines the two is Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. It is based on the work of the psychologist Jon Kabat-Zinn who has done a lot of work in bringing the concepts of mindfulness meditation into mainstream psychology. Here is the website for this type of therapy:

http://www.mbct.com/

You may not find a therapist who specializes in this type of therapy in your area, but becoming familiar with this therapy will help guide you in selecting the type of therapist who will use these principles. You need to interview the therapist and make sure you are comfortable with her or him and that they are not narrow in their approaches.

Finally, I am going to put here a protocol that is used for anxiety and insomnia. I know you do not report having panic attacks. But when I work with people with social anxiety and they have to go do somewhere that scares them, they have great anxiety that often has similar symptoms to panic. It's often that you can't breathe from it, that it's a choking feeling tells me that there's an underlying anxiety we have to address. So I want to give you this technique to help you IMMEDIATELY! while you look for the medical and psychological help. So, I want you to have this easy technique you can use right away to help you in every stage of your social anxiety: when you're thinking about going; when you're in transit; when you're about to go into the social situation. Throughout you will have this technique to help you!

Here are instructions on a therapeutic protocol called Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). It's really quite easy to do almost anywhere. My patients suffering from panic attacks or anxiety, when I teach them PMR at first are amazed how simple it is and that it is a psychological protocol. It was first used in the 1920s! Since then, of course, it has been refined and many studies have been done showing its effectiveness. You will practice PMR at first when you don't wake up with an attack so that you will be familiar with it. I want you to practice the PMR at least 5-6 times before an attack or feeling acute anxiety. Why? Because when you're in the throes of anxiety, you will only remember to do something you are very familiar with it. So practicing 5-6 times is really a minimum. And this is good also for just general anxiety without panic attacks as well.


I want to stress the importance of breathing as well. Part of the physiology of what is happening to you in a panic attack is that your breathing is getting shallower. This reduces the oxygen in your blood to your brain. That increases the anxiety reaction, which strengthens the attack and you are in a vicious cycle! Not good. So breathing is the primary tool. I have found in my practice that learning breathing techniques can be helpful. But some of my patients are not interested in learning more than one thing at the beginning, so I have found that just reminding you to BREATHE deeply at the same time you are doing PMR is almost as good. If you are willing to take a yoga class for seniors and learn breathing techniques, that's the best. But, breathing deeply with your PMR will help.

So, we're ready for learning PMR. I want you to print my instructions below my signature and have a copy in each of the rooms of your home where you may be when you have an attack. And again, you need to practice this easy technique at least 5-6 times as soon as you can. It needs to become as natural to you as breathing. Ah, remember breathing?


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. After finding a quiet place and several free minutes to practice progressive muscle relaxation, sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
  2. Begin by tensing all the muscles in your face. Make a tight grimace, close your eyes as tightly as possible, clench your teeth, even move your ears up if you can. Hold this for the count of eight as you inhale.
  3. Now exhale and relax completely. Let your face go completely lax, as though you were sleeping. Feel the tension seep from your facial muscles, and enjoy the feeling.
  4. Next, completely tense your neck and shoulders, again inhaling and counting to eight. Then exhale and relax.
  5. Continue down your body, repeating the procedure with the following muscle groups:
    • chest
    • abdomen
    • entire right arm
    • right forearm and hand (making a fist)
    • right hand
    • entire left arm
    • left forearm and hand (again, making a fist)
    • left hand
    • buttocks
    • entire right leg
    • lower right leg and foot
    • right foot
    • entire left leg
    • lower left leg and foot
    • left foot
  6. for the shortened version, which includes just four main muscle groups:
    • face
    • neck, shoulders and arms
    • abdomen and chest
    • buttocks, legs and feet

Quickly focusing on each group one after the other, with practice you can relax your body like ‘liquid relaxation’ poured on your head and it flowed down and completely covered you. You can use progressive muscle relaxation to quickly de-stress any time.

What You Need:

  • A comfortable place.
  • Some privacy.
  • A few minutes.

Again:

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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
I do have therapy and take ambien to sleep. I'm concerned I'm having withdrwals. I take 2 mg at PM or 1 when needed during the day. OK I'm breathing. Just wanted to know if benadryl will calm my nerves until I can get a refill. Thank you.
Mental Health Professional: MN Psychiatrist, Psychiatrist replied 7 years ago
MN Psychiatrist
MN Psychiatrist, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 792
Experience: Physician for 17 years, adult psychiatrist for 13 years working with a wide variety of patients.
Verified
Hello, I am a psychiatrist.
If you take 2mg/day of Klonopin but stopped taking it suddenly due to running out of it, you are VERY LIKELY having benzodiazepine withdrawal. THIS CAN BE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY, and PEOPLE CAN HAVE SEIZURES AND/OR DIE FROM IT. People MUST be brought down from a benzodiazepine medication like Klonopin gradually. MUST. Benadryl, will not help this. Even if you take some and you feel less anxious, it will have ZERO EFFECT on what is happening with you in terms of the safety issues associated with Klonopin withdrawal.
If you ran out of the Klonopin today, it can wait, until tomorrow but if you ran out of it yesterday or earlier, you need to notify your physician immediately. If you cannot reach him/her, please get yourself to an Urgent Care or ER ASAP.
I hope this helps you.
MN Psychiatrist
MN Psychiatrist, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 792
Experience: Physician for 17 years, adult psychiatrist for 13 years working with a wide variety of patients.
Verified
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