She had been taking Ativan for maybe a year or more and felt she was becoming addicted to it because if she cut back or cut down she'd get REALLY nervous.
Your daughter isn't addicted, but she probably developed a dependence to Ativan after a month or two which means she will need to wean of the drug rather than quitting 'cold turkey.' This would also be the case with antidepressants and most other psychotropic drugs.
BTW-this study will illustrate the difference between addiction and dependence: (Hirschowitz BI
, 1998). Very few of those taking benzodiazepines (BZDs) would behave as the study patients if BZDs produced similar consequences.
So the psychiatrist gave her Klonopin in order to ween her off the Ativan.
The first thing that MUST be considered is how she is going to control her anxiety when she is no longer taking BZDs. There is little point in weaning off without having an alternative in place first as the process will likely fail. Both antidepressants and the cognitive and/or behavioural and/or mindfulness therapies have been proven to be effective anxiety treatments.
She is afraid to take the Klonopin because she "KNOWS" that it isn't going to help and she'll keep waking up in a nervous panic
Klonopin is as effective as Ativan, and in some respects more potent. It works in exactly the same way. The main difference is that it is longer lasting having a half-life of 30-40 hours compared to 12-15 hours for Ativan.
My question is this - do you think it WILL work and she'll be able to relax and sleep?
Up to a point, yes, however, diazepam (Valium) would be better. It has an ever longer half-life, up to 200 hours which tends to smooth out plasma level highs and lows, especially at low doses which makes life much easier. It is also a low potency drug requiring much higher doses (1mg Klonopin = 20mg diazepam), but comes in relatively small dose tablets of considerable size which makes cutting back by small steps much easier than is the case with Ativan and Klonopin.
What was her Ativan dose, and how much Klonopin has she been prescribed?