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Re: Ambien or Ativan?

Posted by Bela on August 30, 2004, at 9:55:19

In reply to Re: Ambien or Ativan?, posted by owensmar on August 29, 2004, at 17:36:16

> > > I started at 1mg per night. By the end I was taking 10mg per night and still couldn't sleep.
> > >
> > > In the beginning it was so attractive because I would take my little white pill at about 10 pm. Then for about 2-3 hours I would have all this wonderful energy and could get all kinds of stuff done. Then I would start to get tired and drowsy and could drop right off to sleep. That lasted a couple of years (with increasing doses)
> > > Just be careful. If you find yourself looking forward to your dose at night or moving up the time you take it, or increasing it without telling your Dr., take it as a sign.
> >
> > Thank you for your response. A few more questions, and then I hope I won't have to keep pestering you. Do you still have insomnia, and if so how do you treat it now? Mine is painful of course because it's mixed with the anxiety. I have changed my diet, exercise, evening habits, etc., with a little improvement, but still not well. My new doc RXd Ambien (10 mg), which knocked me out the first two nights, but then starting failing me earlier and earlier in the morning. Also, I would have incredible headaches the next day. I'm at a loss. My psychologist and I have agreed that biofeedback might be worth a try, but it's not covered under my medical or behavioral health insurance.
> Hi. You're not pestering me. I have deep sympathy for insomnia sufferers.
> After d/cing the Ativan I was put on imipramine (a tricyclic a/d). I continued to have insomnia. (I don't know if it was from the drug or if it was just taking me a year or more to recover from the ativan abuse. I know it took many, many months before I recovered otherwise from it). Then I was on Prozac for nine years and continued with horrible, horrible insomnia on that - it generally took me about two hours to fall asleep -terrible racing thoughts. If I was away from home it might take me 5-6 hours to fall asleep if I could at all. For a while I treated it with benadryl and beer but then decided that wasn't a great idea. So I just suffered through it. At least once I was asleep I could sleep fine.
> Then Prozac quit working and I went on Effexor. Within about two weeks, I could fall asleep within 45 minutes, sometimes within 30. That's where I am now. For several years now I have had only occasional insomnia while on Effexor. (Many other a/ds actually caused insomnia for me. That's one reason I've stayed on Effexor even though it's not very effective for my depression. I don't know if the Effexor actually treats the insomnia or if I just no longer have insomnia as badly now that I am off Prozac.
> My main trouble now is that if I am ever prescribed any drug with the potential effect of "helping me sleep" I will use it at night whether I have insomnia or not. It's like I'm terrified of lying in bed awake so I won't even risk it - even when it isn't a risk.
> So I have to keep drugs with abuse/addiction potential out of my house or I'll set myself up for another cycle of abuse.
> Right now I'm taking Neurontin at night. It puts me to sleep. It is supposedly a very safe drug. However, I find I am taking it whether I need it or not to avoid even the possibility of insomnia so I guess I am going to have to quit it.
> Truthfully, I always feel guilty when I take a pill at bedtime. I've always taken my A/D's in the morning so that I didn't get it in my head that they were helping me fall asleep.
> HOpe this helps,
> Marsha
Dear Marsha and Minnie-Haha,
I just returned from being away the weekend and picked on the conversation between the two of you. I can sympathesize with everything both of you have experienced because it sounds so much like my own experiences since about 1997. I, too, have an addictive tendency, whether it be alcohol or prescription drugs. Fortunately, I never allowed myself to get into the illegal stuff or I would probably be dead by now.

In my original post (8/24/04)I asked for help breaking the Ambien addiction. I have taken 5-20 mg of Ambien every night for years, only going off of it when I was on a AD (Serzone, Remeron) that helped insomnia. I wake up EVERY night between 1:30 and 4 a.m., my mind-body telling me it's "Ambien Time." I hate it, but when I try to taper slowly off, my daytimes turn into zombie states and my work productivity falls to a level where I wonder why my boss hasn't replaced me with a sea slug. As one commenter (Bill LL, 8/25/04)said, "Ambien is far better than going sleep deprived." I would agree unless you find that you have to keep increasing the dose and your sleeps still aren't fulfilling.

So, I hear exactly what you are saying. Every AD I tried, and I have tried most of the SSRIs, eventually pooped out or I would still be taking them---probably Serzone or Remeron. And for those of you out there that have experienced dramatic SSRI poop-out, it is not a pleasant experience. It is like betting on a horse that is winning the race but drops over dead on the last furlong.

This message probably has not been very uplifting for anyone reading it, and I really apologize for that, but one positive thing seems to be emerging from this depression-insomnia-drug merry-go-round--at least for me: I am writing a book about it all. That fact alone doesn't do anything to help the insomnia but the fact that maybe I can help someone avoid some of the pitfalls I have fallen into, DOES give me some peace of mind, at least.





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