Lena Dunham Reveals She's Six Months Sober

By Kelly Burch 11/01/18

The "Girls" creator opened up about her benzo addiction on Dax Shepard's podcast "Armchair Expert."

Lena Dunham

Actress Lena Dunham said she is six months sober after misusing anxiety medications, and that her body is still adjusting to this new normal. 

Speaking with actor Dax Shepard on his podcast, Armchair Expert, Dunham said that although she was only using medications that her doctor had prescribed her, she realized that her use was becoming unhealthy. 

"It stopped being, 'I take one when I fly,' and it started being like, 'I take one when I’m awake,'" she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dunham said that she spent three years using the powerful anti-anxiety medication Klonopin, a benzodiazepine, describing her habit as "misusing benzos, even though it was all quote unquote doctor prescribed.”

Dunham said that at first, the medication seemed to help manage her anxiety and make her “feel like the person I was supposed to be.”

“I was having crazy anxiety and having to show up for things that I didn’t feel equipped to show up for. But I know I need to do it, and when I take a Klonopin, I can do it,” Dunham said.

“It was like suddenly I felt like the part of me that I knew was there was freed up to do her thing.”

Dunham added that doctors were willing to continue writing her the prescriptions, especially after she was diagnosed with PTSD following sexual trauma and health issues. 

"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.

During the time when her health was at her worst, she said that taking Klonopin was the only way to cope with extreme physical and emotional pain. 

“It stopped feeling like I had panic attacks and it started feeling like I was a living panic attack,” she said. “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 stopped taking the drug, but said that she had no idea that weaning off of it would be such an intense process. 

"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. 

She added that she is still adjusting to life without benzos. 

"I still feel like my brain is recalibrating itself to experience anxiety,” she said. "I just feel, literally, on my knees grateful every day." 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.