This should probably also be on my dental sleep medicine page but I am still experiencing technical difficulties.
Clonazepam was brought up a few times in the lecture on bruxism at the AADSM by Dr. Gilles Lavigne as a treatment option.
So that’s what happened! I just managed to put 2 and 2 together. This is only anecdotal of course, but anecdotal may help researchers.
I mention in the video below that my interest and advocacy in sleep medicine began when I was pissed off in Texas. I was grinding the hell out of my teeth. It got to the point that I was waking up each morning in pain and with a locked jaw. I could not find help so ended up driving to Philadelphia to get what I needed.
I wrote that the grinding worsened because my stress had grown exponentially.
I may be wrong.
I had just moved to Texas. It was right after the multi-billion dollar opioid settlement. I had been on clonazepam for a long time. It helped with my depression and anxiety. A lot more than I realized.
As I talk about in my book, I started taking it in 2016 and found a startling thing. For the first time in my then 45 years, I slept soundly, peacefully. Even my wife at the time noticed a drastic change. She was no longer afraid of touching me in the middle of the night.
When I got down to Texas, nobody would prescribe it for me. The lawsuit had caused a knee jerk reaction in the medical community. I had to fight with my psychiatrist. He tried this, that and the other thing, but nothing else worked. He told me about this study and that study. I finally challenged him, calling bullshit.
I looked up the studies he mentioned and brought in the analysis, as well as a few articles that said the opposite. Did I mention I was once a health writer and know how to read, translate and critically assess the findings? I am also pretty damn good at research.
It’s a longer story, but he finally relented, admitted the main reason for not prescribing was the lawsuit, and gave me my script.
I was back on my clonazepam about the same time I received my splint for grinding. No more pain in the morning, no more locked jaw and no more fear of falling asleep.
It begs the question. Does 2+2 = 4?
As I did read the articles and understand them, I know what the long term side effects are of clonazepam, though I will now trust international articles far more than ones from the US. Am I addicted? Damn right I am. Did I go through withdrawal when the doctors suddenly stopped refilling my prescription? Yep.
The withdrawal was not that bad. Staying off of it, though, was ugly and terrible, both for my grinding and my mental health in general.
I also understand the dangers of long term usage of any medication. I still remember when my mother, who was bi-polar, was switched off of her lithium because the long term side effects of continued usage had caught up to her. I also remember the incidences when she had purposefully gone off of her lithium during the 40 years before. The devil you know versus the devil you don’t?
I think the clonazepam does effect my memory in odd ways, and I would like to find an alternative. It is the devil I know, though.
It is my hope that foreign researchers, like Dr. Lavigne, continue their studies. I have spoken with others who have used clonazepam. Some have found it very effective, like me, while others found it did not help.
As a treatment for bruxism? It is not like I am going off of it to test the theory. It does, however, make sense. The time lines up. And it helps me in other ways. It is also extremely cheap.
Here is to a good night’s rest.
PS. I have about a dozen ideas for any researchers who need to live by the “publish or perish” rule. How about mentioning me in the article? A footnote? I can help with the research. Buy me a cup of coffee in New Orleans in 2024?
Also, if you would like to argue with me about why I presently don’t care about the potential long term side effects of clonazepam, read my book that can be found on this site.