Lena Dunham Says She's 6 Months Sober After "Misusing" Anti-Anxiety Drug
"I still feel like my brain is recalibrating itself to experience anxiety,” she told Dax Shepard about being sober on his podcast 'Armchair Expert.' "I just feel, literally, on my knees grateful every day."
Lena Dunham revealed that she is six months sober after "misusing" the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin while appearing on Dax Shepard's podcast Armchair Expert on Monday.
"I’ve been sober for six months," she told Shepard. "My particular passion was Klonopin." She revealed that she started taking the drug after her anxiety became so intense that it interfered with her daily activities and made it difficult for her to focus on work.
Klonopin is a type of benzodiazepine that is commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety, panic disorders and seizures.
"I was having crazy anxiety and having to show up for things that I didn’t feel equipped to show up for," she said. "But I know I need to do it, and when I take a Klonopin, I can do it."
She added that 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 explained.
Dunham said that it was easy to obtain the medication. "I didn’t have any trouble getting a doctor to tell me, 'No, you’ve got serious anxiety issues, you should be taking this. This is how you should be existing,'" she said.
She said that her dosage increased after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. "It stopped being, 'I take one when I fly,' and it started being like, 'I take one when I’m awake,'" she said.
“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 moments in the day where I didn’t feel like I was going to barf and faint," she continued. "I think that I know deeply that I’m not alone, and during that time I was taking Klonopin, it wasn’t making it better but I just thought, 'If I don’t take this, how much worse will it get?'”
Dunham explained that she spent three years "misusing benzos, even though it was all quote unquote doctor prescribed."
And when she decided to quit Klonopin, the withdrawal was more difficult than she expected.
"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 fucking 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."
Dunham concluded the topic by noting that while she has been sober for six months, she is still trying to get used to her life off of the medication. "I still feel like my brain is recalibrating itself to experience anxiety,” she said. "I just feel, literally, on my knees grateful every day."