Lena Dunham announced she was six months sober after “misusing” the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin, People is reporting. Dunham became addicted to the prescription medication after struggling with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. She shared her experiences on Dax Shepard’s podcast Armchair Expert.
“I was diagnosed with pretty serious PTSD,” she revealed. “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. 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 went on to say that after being prescribed the drug Klonopin, she was able to attend events and complete tasks. According to RX List, Klonopin is classified as a benzodiazepine, or “benzo” for short. It is often prescribed to people who suffer from panic attacks as a sedative. However, drugs that are part of the benzodiazepine family can be highly physically addictive. Going off of the drug can result in withdraw symptoms. Dunham revealed that she became addicted and what had started as a helpful treatment spiraled out of control. Initially, she just used the drug when going on airplanes. She eventually began to take Klonopin when she was merely just “awake.”
“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 admitted.
— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 29, 2018
Dunham began to take Klonopin so much that she felt that she became immune to it, and while that it wasn’t necessarily helping anymore, she was worried about how she would feel if she came off of the drug. When she did stop taking it, she compared her withdrawal experience to “the most hellacious acid trip” and explained that the process was not easy for her. However, she is “grateful” that she made the decision to get sober. She began to realize how her addiction was affecting her family and friends as well as impacting her ability to work creatively.
According to Us Weekly, Dunham also feels that benzos are “the biggest epidemic nobody talks about.” She expressed that particularly people in the entertainment industry will abuse the drug and it is more likely to be perceived as a “normal” thing. She hopes opening up about her experience will raise awareness about the addiction that can form.