In an interview with Dax Shepard on his podcast Armchair Expert, Lena Dunham mentioned that she’s six months sober after quitting Klonopin, an anti-anxiety medication she was previously prescribed.
Dunham shared this information with Shepard after he asked if she had any “addictive qualities,” and then discussing her thought process about whether or not to share this information privately with Shepard before the podcast. She described herself as having been sober for six months, at which point Shepard correctly guessed that Dunham, as an anxious person, had become addicted to benzodiazepines, which are typically prescribed for anxiety, often on a “take as-needed” basis.
“My particular passion was Klonopin,” Dunham said. “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 easy to get a doctor to prescribe her the Klonopin she became dependent on, and “hellacious” to quit it, which she decided to do upon realizing that her standards for taking one had dropped precipitously. “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 said.
Now six months sober (Dunham also told Shepard she was “never a drinker, never a pot smoker, I never did quote-unquote recreational drugs”), Dunham attributes some of her prior public-relations crises to impaired judgment due to her Klonopin misuse. “All my senses weren’t intact and maybe I wasn’t being as sensitive or self-aware as I could have been,” she said. “I mean, there were plenty of times I did things people didn’t like where I was stone-cold, anxiety-ridden sober, but I think my judgment was generally impaired by my obsessive desire to escape my own pain.”
Dunham says she’s still learning to cope with her anxiety symptoms, particularly in light of the various health issues that have plagued her over the past few years. “I still feel like my brain is recalibrating itself to be able to experience anxiety,” she said. “I just feel literally on my knees grateful every day.”