I’m Leigh and I’m writing about my daughter Melissa.

She took her own life February 1, 2017 at age 26 after 4.5 years on klonopin, a benzo, and Adderall. She was on her way in the world, at Tufts University, when she developed sinus problems and went on about 10 rounds of antibiotics. After that, she started having panic attacks and depression. A doctor in LA prescribed her klonopin and when I asked him wasn’t if there was another way to address her anxiety, he told me that he first had to go get her anxiety down with the meds.

If only I knew then what I know now. She told me that the benzo made her want to drink (it has a disinhibiting effect) and she was also prescribed Adderall, an amphetamine. She began drinking alcohol which affects the same GABA neurotransmitters as the klonopin does, both having a depressant effect. She became manic and then paranoid and psychotic and was prescribed antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. She couldn’t sleep. She kept on telling me that I was talking too loud on the phone when I would be talking normally (hypersensitive to sound). She became so depressed that she would stay in her bedroom all day.

Numerous hospitalizations and one four months stay in an extended living place. They cut her 3 mg of klonopin down to 0.5 mg in a couple of months which is way too fast and she felt suicidal. If she ran out of klonopin for one or two days, she would feel nauseous and was feeling like she had the flu. Her hair started falling out.

She wanted to get off the klonopin and finally did, switching over to diazepam. But lost hope. She had lost all self- esteem over the 4 years on klonopin, not able to hold down a job, not knowing what the future held for her. She lost all hope and I believe she killed herself in a state of psychosis.

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Melissa

Melissa killed herself after being prescribed a cocktail of medications