In April this year, 33-year old actress, producer, director, and writer Lena Dunham posted an Instagram photo sharing that she was celebrating one year of sobriety. She admitted last year that she was using the prescription drug Klonopin.
Klonopin, also known by its generic form clonazepam, belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs along with Xanax and Valium. It is used to treat mental disorders including anxiety and panic attacks. People who use Klonopin say that the drug makes them feel amazing, similar to an alcohol or weed intoxication.
Prior to Dunham’s one-year sobriety post, the Girls’ star also shared her Klonopin addiction experience in an interview published in Vogue magazine. After reading about her journey, here are the 5 things that can be learned from her story.
Klonopin can deliver your desired effects which can make you dependent on it
According to Lena Dunham, she was prescribed Klonopin because she was experiencing crazy anxiety. She also shared that she was turning up for events she felt she was not equipped to show up for because of her mental disorder.
When she started taking Klonopin, Dunham said that she started feeling like the person she was supposed to be. It enabled her to meet the incredible demands of her Hollywood career. She could finally do the things she was supposed to do.
You can get addicted unknowingly to Klonopin
Dunham shared that nobody she knew was aware that these drugs could be addictive and neither were they told that getting off the drugs can result in excruciating withdrawal symptoms.
Because benzodiazepines are prescribed by doctors, there is this misconception that they are not as harmful as cocaine or heroin. Doctors do not inform their patients that you can be addicted to benzos. This is the reason why even good people become unintentional or accidental addicts.
Even Dunham admitted that while she was using Klonopin, she was unaware of her dependency at first. She thought it was perfectly okay and normal to take the drug because it was given by her doctor. Singer Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac confessed back in 2011 that she was also clueless that it was Klonopin that was driving her crazy because it was prescribed by her doctor.
It is possible to abuse Klonopin under a doctor’s supervision
Dunham did not take the drug for just a short time. In fact, she shared that she was misusing the drug for a solid three years. She said that she was also diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) so after that, she even increased her intake. All that time, it was under the supervision of a doctor. Dunham recalled that she did not have any obstacles in getting more drugs. It was easy for her to find doctors to tell her that she needed to take the drug because of her severe anxiety. She shared that she realized that she was misusing the benzos even if they are “doctor prescribed”.
Fear of withdrawal can make it hard to quit Klonopin
When Dunham realized that Klonopin was not really solving her issues, she shared that she was afraid to stop because she was afraid of the withdrawal symptoms that will follow. Clonazepam can affect users differently but some of the common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, headaches, tremors, stomach pain, confusion, depression, seizures, and suicidal thoughts. Severe withdrawal symptoms can peak after two weeks of stopping the drug but can last up to a month.
It is possible to recover from Klonopin addiction
In her Instagram post that gained more than 100,000 likes from her followers, Dunham shared that she considers her achievement of one year of sobriety miraculous. She also credited her success to the people who supported her in her sobriety quest saying that while she has done a lot of cool things in her life, none has brought her the joy and lasting connections that being part of a sober fellowship.
In her post, Dunham was pictured sporting a thumbs up sign and she also offered words of motivation to others who are in the same situation as hers. She urged people to remember that they are never too far gone, too broken or too unique in order to achieve sobriety. She also encouraged them to seek help saying that there are people in plain sight waiting to help.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Contact Morningside Recovery by Lighthouse to learn more about our various treatment programs.