Lena Dunham says she’s six months sober after quitting the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin.
The actress opened up about her decision to get sober during an appearance on Dax Shepard‘s podcast Armchair Expert.
“I’ve been sober for six months,” she said. “My particular passion was Klonopin.”
Dunham, 32, said she started taking the medication after her anxiety became so intense that it held her back from daily activities and hindered her work.
“I was having crazy anxiety and having to show up for things that I didn’t feel equipped to show up for,” she explained. “But I know I need to do it, and when I take a Klonopin, I can do it.”
She said the drug made her “feel like the person I was supposed to be.”
“It was like suddenly I felt like the part of me that I knew was there was freed up to do her thing,” she continued.
Klonopin is a type of Benzodiazepine used to treat symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders and seizures.
Over the years, Dunham said she started taking Klonopin most frequently. “It stopped being ‘I take one when I fly,’ to ‘I take one when I’m awake.’ “
“I didn’t have any trouble getting a doctor to tell me, ‘No you have serious anxiety issues, you should be taking this. This is how you should be existing,’ ” she said.
She said she had increased her dosage after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I was diagnosed with pretty serious PTSD. I have a few sexual traumas in my past and then I had all these surgeries and then I had my hysterectomy after a period of really extreme pain,” she said. “It stopped feeling like I had panic attacks and it started feeling like I was a living panic attack. The only thing that was notable was the parts of the day where I didn’t feel like I was going to barf and faint.”
Dunham said that while she knew the Klonopin she was taking wasn’t making her feel better, she was scared of what going off the drug would feel like.
“If I look back, there were a solid three years where I was, to put it lightly, misusing benzos, even though it was all quote unquote doctor prescribed,” she said.
She said that while she’s had her “fair share of opioid experiences” due to her health issues, she didn’t realize the just how hard quitting would be.
“Nobody I know who are prescribed these medications is told, ‘By the way, when you try and get off this, it’s going to be like the most hellacious acid trip you’ve ever had where you’re f—– clutching the walls and the hair is blowing off your head and you can’t believe you found yourself in this situation,’ ” she said. “Now the literal smell of the inside of pill bottles makes me want to throw up.”
Six months later, Dunham said she is still getting used to her new normal.
“I still feel like my brain is recalibrating itself to experience anxiety,” she explained. “I just feel literally on my knees grateful every day.”