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Old 02-23-2011, 09:59 PM   #1
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Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

I have been reading posts here for a week now and found them encouraging, consoling, intelligent... I do not know exactly why I'm posting, I guess to hear advice, encouragement, other people's experiences.

I've always been an insomniac. I started taking benadryls three and a half years ago and took them every single night (anywhere from 2-5). When they were not doing the job anymore, I started taking ambien about a year and a half ago. I never took more than one and a half (10 mg) in one night, sometimes I took it with benadryls (the doc said it was fine). I started taking ambien to be able to sleep, but found myself craving the feeling it gave me and taking it earlier and earlier in the evening. (Typically for ambien, some of the activities that I did while on it I have no recollection of.)

Eight days ago I found myself thinking that if someone could be me for a minute, they would probably run to ER, while, for me, that was "normal": during the day, I was constantly dizzy, woozy, loopy, foggy, basically felt sick and horrible. So I decided to stop taking all pills. And I did manage not to take ambien over the past week, but I took: benadryls, melatonin, restfull sleep (this sounds innocent, but i was so woozy from 4 pills of valerian and other herbs in the mix, worse than from ambien) and valium (not all in one evening) and, of course, still didn't get much sleep. I also felt belly pain, anxiety (this could be just me), muscle pain, depression and, what's worse, incredible craving to pop an ambien and get mellow and relaxed before sleep.

I feel kind of defeated. First of all, my goal was to stop thinking that I have to pop all kinds of pills just to go to sleep (a goal I didn't achieve). I am tired, sleepy, cranky, I have a demanding job that I cannot just take a break from. Basically, I feel that I have to continue "drugging" myself in order to keep my life together (until i become unable to hide the extreme wooziness). On the other hand: I'm fed up with drugs! I don't want to pop pills every single evening. I want to be pill-free, but this is so hard for me, because, without them, I start messing things up in all other areas of my life. I don't see how I can get myself out of this.

Last edited by Sleepless in RI; 02-24-2011 at 12:45 AM.

 
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:40 PM   #2
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

First of all, have you ever had a sleep study? If you do not get enough sleep your body will reek havoc on you! Now back to the ambiens. They have a bad reputation for making people do things that they have no recollection of. I have had scripts for them and do still take them occasionally. They make me very tired in the morning. However, supposedly they are not addictive. That does not mean that they are not becoming habit forming for you. Whatever you do, do not start taking benzo's such as valium, ativan, or especially xanax. Mainly because ambiens are similar in the affect to benzos. I have heard that benzos are one of the hardest substances to get off of.

I think that you really should see about that sleep study. Obviously there is a reason why you have insomnia. I am going to assume that you are young or at least not a senior citizen since u are still working. You need to be upfront with your doctor about this problem with the ambiens and the fact that they are making u have a craving for them. He can advise you further on what you can do. Also, read up on some sleep strategies. Definitely do not take any daytime naps. Those will absolutely sabatoge your sleep at night. Good luck to you and please let me know how u are doing. I am sorry if I couldn't really be of any help to you.

 
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:51 PM   #3
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

Oxygirl, thank you!! (I am 34) I WILL try to schedule a sleep-study - I will probably have to switch my doctor, though, because I was telling him a year ago that I am scared of being addicted to ambien and he didn't think it was a problem (gave me 30 pills per month, every month), whereas my previous doctor refused to prescribe them since they are supposed to be used only occasionally, as you use them. I ocassionally did take benzos in my life but never got completely "hooked" on them (although, I know that they are very addictive and will try to avoid them). For me, ambien had a much more powerfull "mellowing" effect combined with a little pleasant "buzz"...

 
Old 02-24-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

So, it's 3.40 am and I have to work tomorrow.

Last edited by Sleepless in RI; 03-13-2011 at 10:49 PM.

 
Old 02-24-2011, 04:28 PM   #5
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

First, I completely understand your story.

I have been an insomniac my entire life. Literally. My family told stories of hearing me singing in my bed all night long as a little kid instead of sleeping.

I know that after affect of ambien. But I also know that feeling of "how do I get through tomorrow with no sleep at all"? so it's a choice between bad and worse.

I know it's not physically addictive for me because there have been windows where I've had upper resp. infections or flu bugs and have not taken it for up to 10 days. It's not a big deal if you think not sleeping for 10 days is not a big deal.

Here's the thing. I've gone for 2 sleep studies. It sounds like a good idea to someone who does not understand true insomnia. A lot of people with insomnia actually sleep several hours but think they are not sleeping. I'm betting you are like me, and actually in and out of bed, up prowling around, wide awake. Well, tell them that when you call about the sleep study. For mine they would not drug you to get you to sleep and I didn't sleep. So staying awake all night didn't exactly give them much to tell me except guess what: I have extreme insomnia.

Know that you will be wired for sound, in a bed you are not familiar with, with people coming in occasionally and being watch through a glass window.
Do you think you will sleep? Discuss all this with them especially if you have a significant co-pay. I'm not saying it's a bad idea, but go in knowing if it will work for you. Ask them if you do not fall asleep, can they give you any valid results to work on and if you do not fall asleep, will they give you medication so you do and therefor get some drug induced results. They can at least tell you if you have sleep apnea if they go that route, although sleep apnea usually isn't the "cause" of insomnia.

Here's what I've come to believe. My body runs on about a 30 hour day. It's me having to live on a 24 hour days that causes the problem. I have worked my way up to an extra week of vacation this year so I'm taking 2 straight weeks off in May and no pills. Also, unless it happens, no sleep. I'm not going to go to bed until I am actually at the point where I think I will sleep. I want to see how it goes if I let myself live on a 30 hour day. If I sleep in that situation, then I'll at least know that I can sleep in the right situation.

Good luck. I'd love for you to post the results and how your sleep study goes. Maybe sleep studies have advanced since I had mine and if they have I would go again.

 
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Old 02-24-2011, 07:10 PM   #6
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

This is all so helpful! Thank you!
I ended up taking ambien last night, but they are in my case really causing some extreme side-effects: I had to literally run out of a restaurant after work without finishing a meal because I had such extreme vertigo, I thought I'd collapse (I'd be very scared, but I experienced this only after taking ambien and it started getting worse the longer I was on the drug, so I hopefully don't need to go into a hypochondriac fit over this). So I threw the pills out.

I will also ask my doctor to tell me which clinic to go to. I completely relate to the possibility of the 30-hour (or a non-24-hour) schedule. I call myself an insomniac (and I am), but I am not the kind that, once they fall asleep, can't stay asleep: that can also happen to me, but generally, if I get a normal amount of sleep, my natural tendency is to go to bed two hours later than the previous day. If there were no jobs and no outside world, I'd probably end up "turning" my sleeping hours around the clock. Like this, I am constantly frustrated by being awake at the time when I should already be deeply asleep if I want to function the next day - that of course creates severe anxiety, pill-popping, will-insomnia-ultimately-drive-me-insane questions etc. It seems that whatever makes us sleep in my case is not adapted to the world. But I will definitely let you know what they said. I hope we can resolve this, at least partially - it is significantly diminishing the quality of my life: I'd generally be a happy person if I could only sleep!

Last edited by Sleepless in RI; 03-13-2011 at 10:50 PM.

 
Old 02-24-2011, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

Oh, and true: I am also definitely not the kind that is deluded about their sleep, only thinking that they don't sleep. I toss and turn WIDE awake, go to the bathroom, toss and turn, post a post here on the healthboard at 3.40 am...

Last edited by Sleepless in RI; 02-24-2011 at 07:21 PM.

 
Old 02-24-2011, 07:37 PM   #8
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

With the extreme vertigo of Ambien ( and it does give me mild vertigo, but nothing like you have ), have you considered trying any other "brand". I'm not meaning to encourage any pill use but wondering if something like Lunesta might create less side effects while you are talking them until you get through the sleep study and figure out any medical helps or process to teach yourself how to sleep.

 
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:22 PM   #9
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

I did not try Lunesta. I might have to go back to something (who am I kidding, probably will HAVE to), but at the moment, I am so scared of being constantly hooked on something, I just want to do what you did when having flus - go without anything for 7-10 days, just to prove to myself that it is possible. This last week I really failed...

Twice before moving to Providence, I would whine to doctors to give me something for sleep, but they also gave me zolpidem, although they gave me only ten 5-mg-pills to take sporadically, when insomnia gets really really bad. In my case, that was the right thing to do. This doctor that I have now has been giving me a neverending supply and after a year and a half of that, both my health and insomnia are much worse than they were... (I really have to switch to someone else - he even gave ambien to a person that previously overdosed on them (and the doc knew this), so I don't trust this guy AT ALL.)

 
Old 02-24-2011, 11:24 PM   #10
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

hello,

I hear ya loud and clear..I am on Lunesta 3mg ( i just got off opiates so popping a lunesta is like takinga vitamin)..sometimes have to take 2...they work great if you can get past the bad taste in mouth...I say it is similar to a cat craping in your mouth...gross but true..and the sleep walking LMAO....its funny sometimes....especially when you are are talking smack about earrings in gravel? what???? and I had no clue....

I ve had insomina for over 9 yrs and did all the sleep study crap and still got put on lunesta...its awesome....but you have to pop a small pill every night....Its Micheal jackson Sleep!! Ambian made me feel awful...I would wake feeling like I had the flu...but lunesta you just wake up refreshed ....

OMG! If you are not sleeping.....The longest I have gone without sleep is 7 days and I was cooo cooo! I mean talking to the water gods...you need sleep silly!..I think you are being too hard on yourself...ask your doc to try 1mg of lunesta (shhh! ambien sucks)....call lunesta or go to website and they will give you a year free..pretty cool huh? I hope I helped a lil?

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Old 02-25-2011, 02:51 AM   #11
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

Hey Kim, thanks for the input! This was supposed to be my first pill-popping-free night, but I took 5 mg melatonin, valium and am still not sleeping. (It's almost 6 am.) At moments like this I'd take a dirty-sock-extract-pill if it promised to put me to sleep. (Good that I threw the ambiens earlier in the evening, I'd be tempted, but the vertigo is really scary.)

I know this "addiction" of mine can maybe seem a sissy one but I'm really fed up with taking something EVERY SINGLE night.

 
Old 02-25-2011, 08:46 AM   #12
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

I have insomnia as well. I have never been a good sleeper all my life. My job also has erratic hours which throws my body into chaos with time zones. Your addiction is not a "sissy" one.

I have never had an addiction to ambien or benzos but you really must be careful. I had a scary episode on ambien 2 years ago. I got my prescription of 30 on a Monday. I woke up Tuesday morning and I was very confused, I thought I had napped and it was still Monday. Well I then discovered all 29 pills were missing from my bottle. I pray i flushed them or something stupid. I rarely take Ambien these days, but my doctor writes the prescription for 6 with 5 refills. This way, I do not have them around. I only take them maybe once every 3 months anyway,

You need to fugure out what works and get off these poisons. I know what it is like to not sleep. I went 4 days straight 3 years ago and went to ER to get them to make me sleep. They gave me IV ativan and Valium.

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Old 02-25-2011, 08:49 AM   #13
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

Your addiction is by far not a sissy one- I experienced insomnia 2 diffrent periods in my life they were both when pregnant. Guess what was the worst...was when they put me on the darn Ambien!! omg when i stopped taking it i didnt sleep for 8 days straight- i had raw friction burns from rolling over and back and forth trying to fall a sleep- I thought i was going crazy-- I hohnestly believe the whole time i was taking trhe Ambien i never actually had rem sleep.

I had a high risk specialist finally help me after refusing to leave the hospital until someone gave me some answers and fixed me--lol seriously. He could tell i had full on depression- he did a what came first -the chicken or the egg think-- insomnia or depression? well it was the depression- he swore that what started the fire- my brain just would not shut down at night. So he ran some tests after i had them check my thyroid ---turned out that was a issue too that caused all this-- Eventually u will crash and burn and sleep he said-coming from experience he was also insomniac- he too hads been on ambien and went through what i had-and hated it and cursed it with me!! so i was perscriped low mg zoloft-which i was so tired i couldnt not stop crying, the thyroid meds, and rozearm a newer sleep med- i swear it didnt work nothing like the ambien-- in fact i still have the bottle of rozearm here. Ayway-that is what worked finally. Have them draw your blood find and check your thyroid. Not sure if you have depression but once u stop this ambien for good--u probably will and if i were u id consider the zoloft or some antidepressant- I was dead set on never taking antidepressants ever- but that i caved because i was tired of my babies handing me tissue saying its ok mama.... Best decision i ever mad- over three days time i was the better then ever- and happier then ever. god looking back at that time of my life is so hard--insomnia is not a sissy problem---especially if u have a full time job and are driving-thats scary i KNOW!

ITHER IDEADS I TRIED TO HELP ME SLEEP AFTER THE AMBIEN BEFORE THE ZOLOFT WAS RX AND THE TYYROID MEDS.

- METALONIN ? --IT WILL WORK BUT IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO GET WORKING LIKE A MONTH STRAIGHT I WAS TOLD BY THE PHARMACIST.

-DRINK A HUGE TALL GLASS OF WARM MILK---EEEEWWW! I HATE MILK BUT IT HELPED.

-HOT BATH BEFORE BED

-NO CAFFIEENE OR CANDY AFTER 3:00

-SLEEPY TIME TEA??? I TRIED IT ALL

- LAVEDER AND CHAMOMILE CANDLES

-EXCERSISE-TA RIGHT I WAS IN TWO MUCH PAIN FROM NOT SLEEPING!

 
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:26 AM   #14
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

There's nothing sissy about what you are going thru.....yeah! Takeing sleeping pills at 6 pm...is a bit much- but we just wanna sleep...I've taken a lunesta 9am just to sleep for 6 hours.....so it is not uncommon, what you are experiencing......I don't know what the meds you are on well enough to o comment, but maybe look a lil deeper into them......might be surprised one may cause insomnia....before bed I do a lil yoga to calm mind and it seems to help.......keep me updated...
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:08 PM   #15
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Re: Can't Get Rid of Sleep Meds, esp. Ambien

This is like the folks who have significant pain issues and are trying to manage controlling pain meds with the balance of feeling the pain. It's actually very hard when you have a real need for the meds. If I could sleep without them I'd gladly not take them even if just to save the $$$.

I'd not considered Lunesta but I might give it a try for a month. Can't be any worse than Ambien.

The only reason I've taken it earlier in the evening was not to feel the effect but in the hopes that if I took it earlier in the evening the impact would be worn off and I'd be more awake easier in the morning. For some reason that didn't seem to do anything at all so I shifted back to taking it about an hour before I actually go to bed.

BTW, at our large megga mart, they have a generic OTC that's made with Doxylamine succinate instead of the Diphenhydramine Hcl 25 Mg. It works tons better for me. This is the antihistimine that's in Unisom, which they also sell. If you haven't tried it, it's a harmless one to give a shot. It leaves me very dry mouthed and I end up waking every hour for a drink of water. But they both do that to me, not just the unisom. I frequently take 5 mg ambien with 1 of these. If it just didn't dry me out so bad, it would be a good help for me.

And the going without the sleep aid is only during windows when I am sick and not having to go out and deal with the world. I can lay about on the couch all day. Otherwise, I don't know if I can do it either. I'll be finding out in May.

 
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