I took fin 1.25 mg for 20 years and gradually developed insomnia in the last 4 years while on fin. I crashed 1 month after stopping fin and amidst a Pleiades of other symptoms, insomnia became total. I was prescribed Benzodiazepine and could sleep 3 hours and then wake up and toss, drifting between surface dreams and wakefulness the rest of the night.
I started on Alprazolam, quickly developed a tolerance and increased the dose until my psychiatrist prescribed me Clonazepam on which I got from 1 mg to 4.5mg per day, single dose at bedtime, in a period of 1 year. I currently can sleep around 5 hours and then it’s the wake up and dream circus until the alarms ring.
After doing some research, I came to believe my insomnia was due to the lack of the Allopregnanolone neurosteroid, the GAD enzyme that turns Glutamate into GABA, and the lack of the GABA neurotransmitter.
Glutamate is the body’s main excitatory neurotransmitter while GABA is the main inhibitory one and is normally regulated by Allopregnanolone.
GABA is also one of the major players in the regulation of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons. Therefore, in my opinion, a lack of GABA could result in the deregulation of hormones that are central to the delicate endocrine system that regulates normal growth, sexual development, and reproductive function.
Benzodiazepine mimic GABA to a certain degree and attached themselves to the GABA (A) receptors, thus relieving some of the symptoms due to lack of GABA. Anecdotal: when I was on Alprazolam, I was horny as hell and didn’t have any sexual symptom (aside from hypersexuality). After switching to Clonazepam, sex drive dropped to zero, I stopped having morning erection, had anorgasmia, desensitization etc… In my humble opinion, this anecdotal story hints at how GABA regulates sexual functions (as well as showing that all Benzodiazepine are not equal).
So now to the core of the topic. I’m increasingly tolerant to Clonazepam, my psychiatrist has nothing else up his sleeve and can’t help me further so again I did some research and found that Gabapentin can be successfully used to detox from benzodiazepine within 7-9 days with barely any withdrawal symptoms, which are usually well tolerated.
Gabapentin and its second generation cousin Pregabalin (both anticonvulsants) are GABA analogues that do not bind to the GABA receptors, do not convert into GABA or other GABA receptor agonist, and do not directly modulate GABA transport or metabolism. They do however inhibit certain calcium channels used by excitatory neurotransmitters like Glutamate and increase the production of the GAD enzyme that metabolizes Glutamate into GABA which is why, I believe, it is efficient in alleviating withdrawal symptoms from Benzodiazepine.
Furthermore, those two drugs are efficient at treating anxiety, panic attack and insomnia. They are much less addictive than Benzodiazepine and can be tapered off within 1-2 weeks. Pregabalin increases slow-wave sleep and improve attention in patients with partial epilepsy and insomnia.
They both also have side effects which you can find here: https://americanaddictioncenters.org/neurontin-abuse/gabapentin-lyrica and here: https://www.medicinenet.com/lyrica_vs_gabapentin/article.htm#lyrica_pregablin_vs_gabapentin_neurontin_quick_comparison
Nonetheless, the two drugs are considered safer than Benzodiazepine, have less side effects and less withdrawal symptoms.
Furthermore, having studied and searched for something that could stimulate GABA production for nearly a year, I’m quite excited to have found what could not only replace the failing Benzodiazepine I’m taking but help in the production of genuine natural GABA. If it works, it will give me time to see what I can do to have proper levels of progesterone, 5ar and 3a-HSD so that I could produce normal levels of allopregnanolone, regulate GABA production and eventually not need any drugs. Et voilà !!! As simple as that.
So I will start today and try to prevent withdrawal symptoms by following this protocol:
Day one: 1mg Clonazepam and 300 mg Gabapentin before bedtime, then 300 mg Gabapentin every 8 hours the next day. Clonazepam has a half life of up to 60 hours, so I will increase Gabapentin as levels of Clonazepam decrease in my body.
Second and third night will be 0.5mg Clonazepam and 450 mg Gabapentin before bedtime, then 450 mg Gabapentin every 8 hours.
Fourth and fifth night will be 0.25mg Clonazepam and 450 mg Gabapentin before bedtime, then 450 mg Gabapentin every 8 hours.
Sixth day, I will stop Clonazepam but will continue Gabapentin 450 mg every 8 hours until the seventh or ninth day, at which point Clonazepam should have been washed out and replaced by Gabapentin.
If ever I have cravings, I’ve read I can take a single 0.25 mg dose of Clonazepam. If I have anxiety, I can increase Gabapentin to 600 mg every 8 hours. The maximum dose is 4800 mg a day and it takes over 49000 mg to overdose. Quite unlikely.
However, drug interactions can be very potent and dangerous, including alcohol, SSRI, opiates, hypnotics and others. I mention this as a warning to others, as I don’t drink alcohol or take other drugs than Clonazepam and Hydroxyzine (an antihistamine which I will also tapper off and detox at the same time).
Once Clonazepam is out, I will experiment between Gabapentin and Pregabalin to see which one has the best effect for sleep. Those two can be switched overnight without any adverse effects. I could even take Pregabalin during the day and Gabapentin at bedtime or vice versa.
Now this is if everything goes as planned. Other people have successfully stopped Benzodiazepine with Gabapentin but they didn’t have pfs. So let’s see how it works out for me. I don’t think it will make me worst or at least that’s what I’m hoping for, and worst case scenario, I’ll revert back to taking Clonazepam. I still have a bottle and a half full of that shit.
Best case scenario, I may have found a tool that will be useful to me as a sleep aid and give me time to reboot the GABA complex naturally. To that extent, I already take:
Vit B3, B6 and Biotin
Boron 3 mcg
Iodine 500 mcg
Lithium 1 mcg (to be increased to 2 or 3 mcg)
D3 1000 Iu
Vit C 250 mg
Magnesium 450 mg
I should also note I’ve been on a carnivore / ketogenic diet, zero carbs, for 10 months and aside from insomnia all other symptoms have disappeared. I have been stable for at least 3-4 months so I’m not doing this experiment while being plagued with the multitudes of symptoms I had a year ago. I woudn’t do it if I was still unstable but a resent bad experience with collagen peptide 10 gr a day has resulted in sleep regressing to what it was 6 months ago. Collagen being 30% Glycine, I believe it’s due to the presence of Allylglycine, inhibiting GAD enzyme and GABA biosynthesis. It motivates me even more to try those new drugs that increase GAD production.
Let’s see what happens.