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Old 03-14-2011, 12:38 PM   #1
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20 years of tranqulizers

Hi, first comment. Can somebody give me some insights into the long-term use of tranquilizers (xanax and klonopin 3-4 mg/day on average over twenty years) on sleep?

I'm no longer taking any drugs - stopped a couple years ago. Now I only get 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I wake up like clockwork after 4-5 hours and absolutely can't get back to sleep till the next night (and then with difficulty).

When I was taking them I would often fall asleep for an hour or two in the evening and I would also get adequate sleep at night - so I was OK sleep-wise. I stopped taking them for my overall health although I was not experiencing any negative symptoms while taking them. I was scared they could hurt my kidneys or liver or something if I kept taking them. Is there something I can do?

 
Old 03-14-2011, 12:50 PM   #2
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Hello and welcome!

First of all, good for you in stopping your use of those medications after 20 years of use...

May I ask you a few questions? How old are you, if you don't mind? How are you functioning in the daytime after only 4-5 hours of sleep? Although some of us lucky few can get by with such short amounts of sleep, I cannot imaging doing it myself. Do you work all day, or are you able to take a nap during the day? What are the hours you are able to sleep, such as midnight until 4 or 5 am, or 10 pm to 3 am...? What is your daily schedule involve? What are your activities during the day, etc. I am hoping after learning a bit more, we can help you find some relief.

 
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Old 03-14-2011, 04:27 PM   #3
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

"May I ask you a few questions? How old are you, if you don't mind? How are you functioning in the daytime after only 4-5 hours of sleep? Although some of us lucky few can get by with such short amounts of sleep, I cannot imaging doing it myself. Do you work all day, or are you able to take a nap during the day? What are the hours you are able to sleep, such as midnight until 4 or 5 am, or 10 pm to 3 am...? What is your daily schedule involve? What are your activities during the day, etc. I am hoping after learning a bit more, we can help you find some relief."

Thanks for the welcome writeleft. I'm 49. Most of the time I just want to lay down...difficult to get motivated and concentrate...I'm not functioning near as well as I used to. When I am able to actually lie down in the daytime, I just can't get to sleep. Can only get to sleep at night and even then it's a bit iffy. I have go thru a ritual first, sitting in a recliner, elevating my legs and forcing myself to yawn to hopefully get some real yawning going, and then getting right to bed...and hopefully in 30-60 minutes I'll get to sleep. Most of the time though I am able to get to sleep without having to take a pill.

I try to get myself into bed by 11 or 12 PM but it could be later as I wake up like clockwork in 4-5 hours. Then I just lay there a couple more hours, hoping to get back to sleep, but I never do. I've got a boring desk job and you might think that would be good as little physical energy is needed, but I think if I was moving around more I'd be less prone to getting sleepy which is how it is on the weekends for me when I'm out and about. But I can't nap on the weekend either. I can lay down, but I won't get to sleep, unless I was to take a pill.

Appreciate the interest and let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know.

 
Old 03-14-2011, 05:12 PM   #4
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Thomas,

Thank you for the answers. It helps paint a bit of a picture of how your days and nights go typically. It must be terribly frustrating to through such a night knowing you need the sleep, but not being able to get it, to be followed by long days at a boring job, to make it worse! If only you could get yourself "caught up" over the weekends, at least you would have the piece of mind of being able to have some control...but no.

Have you spoken to your doctor about this? He/she might have some solutions to help you with this, but as you have come so far getting away from the sleep medications, I can see why you might be reluctant to use medication now...but when it is called for, medication is a wonderful tool to manage our problems, especially when it comes to sleep. We all need enough sleep to keep our selves safe, such as when operating a car, making decisions, and having our work show our true excellence, all that can be disrupted with sleep shortage. This is not to mention the basic ability to enjoy our free time, have the energy to do more than just struggle through a long day at a desk, with your eyes half open.

I would like to mention sleep etiquette, have you heard of this? While I do not remember all that goes along with it, you might look into it. Do you snore, or wake up gasping for breath? We need a partner to share this with us, but it can mean sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can leave you feeling like a mess everyday, always tired, but often cannot sleep. I have this illness, and have to use medication and a breathing machine at night to overcome it's affects. It can be dangerous in fact, when your brain forgets to tell your brain to breath, causing lots of wake ups and never letting you feel rested. WE can suffer from this without ever knowing about it.

Do you have good medical insurance? if so, you could ask to be referred to a sleep specialist, who could provide you with a sleep study. These can be very helpful in finding out exactly what is happening to you every night when you are supposed to be in dreamland, and are not. In this case, you would go to a sleep center, where you are hooked up to all kinds of monitors that check your breathing, you movement at night, your cycles through the different phases of sleep, your heart is monitored for any apneas, (when you forget to breath) and many other interesting facts about your sleep. This sleep study is painless, and I found to be pretty fun. When the night is over, all the results are sent to your doctor to interpret and then can offer you different ways to address your particular findings.

I would take a look at your diet and eating times. I know by the time you get home, doing some exercise sounds like the last thing you want to do. but if you could, this might be the answer to getting yourself really tired, leading to better sleep. Once you got used to it, you would likely find yourself with more energy, and with more of a need to sleep.

Another thing you doctor could do is run some labwork on you, to actually know for sure the state of your kidneys and liver, to see if there has been any damage done. Another factor could be the thyroid. A lot can be told about our bodies with simple blood work, and with that knowledge any choices you make will be informed and without guessing.

I am your age, and have both kidney failure and hypothyroid, have had 4 strokes and a heart attack. My various health issues require a regimen of 155 pills per week, all that are protecting my kidneys, so there are a lot of medications out there that are available to folks like me.

I do need monthly labs to make sure all is well, and must have a strict diet to keep my numbers in line...but I do use trazadone for sleep, non addictive and works great with little effect on my kidneys after 7 years of taking it. I also take xanex occasionally, which does put me to sleep at any dose over .25. I also use a medication called ropinerole ( due to Restless leg syndrome) that all appeared following the strokes, 7 years ago) This one make me sleepy too.

The more I think about it, I would seek the help of a sleep specialist. You are much too young to be having so little sleep, and loosing the quality of life you deserve. Sorry if my message got a bit long, but I want to cover all the bases I can think of... I wish you well, and I am interested to find out what happens here.

Janet-who loves my sleep!

 
Old 03-14-2011, 05:57 PM   #5
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Thanks for the for the response Janet. Sorry to hear about the problems you've had with your kidneys. I suppose I've been lucky in that regard considering all the tranquilizers I've taken and before that alcohol. As a matter of fact I just had a visit with a doctor, a psychiatrist, who told me my blood test looked very good. He couldn't help me with the sleep problem though. I thought if anyone could, it would be a psychiatrist.

I've heard of a device called aveoTSD which is for the sleep apnea you mentioned. I don't know if I have that, but I understand I can go to the dentist or doctor and have him prescribe it for me, just to see if it will work. It's not the big contraption I've seen usually w/respect to apnea. I might give that a shot -- can't hurt. As far as going to a sleep clinic for an overnight stay, I'm dubious because I have a very hard time sleeping away from home. And I have a hard time even at home sometimes, so the odds are I wouldn't be able to get to sleep --unless I were to take a pill and I don't know would that invalidate the results.

As far as exercise, my situation sleep-wise seems the same even in the good weather when I make a point of walking an hour or so a day outside.

I had thought a pill might be in order that would prolong sleep, but not as per the doctors I went to. But I know all doctors are not created equal. I also heard somewhere that meditation might make up for lack of sleep, so I might look into that further.

My hunch is that my brain has been altered by the years of tranquilizer use. Maybe it will get better, but it's been a couple years now that I've been off them, so I doubt it.

Tom

Last edited by ThomasIllinois; 03-14-2011 at 06:05 PM.

 
Old 03-17-2011, 10:51 PM   #6
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

You could try a sleep med such as ambien - it has a lower risk of dependence than benzodiazepines, and has shown it self to be effective long term.

If you feel your not sleeping is effecting you during the day, it might be worth a try.

Doxepin in low doses (10-20mg at night) is a totaly non habit forming sleep aid, might be worth a try if you want to avoid benzodiazepine type drugs
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Tom,

I am sorry to have lost a few days here on the boards, but my dad has been in the hospital with congestive heart failure, so I have gotten off track.

I can see how a sleep center would be impossible, I am a good sleeper, and I remember thinking I did not even sleep the nights that I was there, but I did.

Trying the apnea device might be of help, I know mine is a life saver, and I am at the point where I just have to put it on and I go right to sleep. I don't know how your device works, but why not try it, right? I do use the big contraption, as you call it (funny), which forces air into the nose, keeping me from forgetting to breathe.

While I am certainly no expert on tranquilizers, your theory of their longterm use make perfect sense.

Would you ever consider another sleep medication, or not?

 
Old 03-19-2011, 10:41 AM   #8
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Jonnstarr and Writeleft,

The problem I'm having with considering another drug, even if it would work, is the problem with becomming psychologically dependent, if not also physically dependent,on it in order to just GET to sleep. My big problem is staying asleep, now that I'm no longer taking tranquilizers. If there was something that would keep me asleep without making me dependent on it in order to just get to sleep, I'd give it a try though.

 
Old 03-21-2011, 04:52 PM   #9
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Doxepin has no dependence potential. it has been in use since 1969, so if there were any risk, it would have become apparent by now.

A simple way to avoid tollorance/dependence is to use to sleep meds with different modes of action, using one one night, then the other the next.

For example, Ambien works through the GABA receptor, and doxepin works through the histamine receptor. If you take doxepin on monday, then ambien on tuesday, then doxepin on wednesday, then ambien on thursday etc, the body never gets a chance to develop tolorance to any one drug, and they will keep their effectiveness long term.
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Last edited by jonnstar; 03-21-2011 at 04:57 PM.

 
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:46 AM   #10
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

but doxepin....it will make you eat all the time. Craving for food. I wonder why I had that side effects.

 
Old 03-23-2011, 09:50 AM   #11
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

There is something new I am trying now called diphendramine. You can try it also.
50mg a day. But it is also addictive.

Just like you, I am getting sick of all this sleep issue.

By the way, did they check your thyroid?????????? TSH and I think T4 + T3.
Since you do not suffer from chronic pain I would do that blood check.

Let me know.

 
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:15 PM   #12
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

NC, do you mean diphenhydramine?

Thats the active ingredient in Benadryl, Sominex, Unisom, Nytol and the sleeping ingredient in Tylenol PM

I hope it works for you. Taking Tylenol PM along with your clonazepam would make sense, it would give the clonazepam a boost, and also releive some of your pain to help you sleep better. So Sorry the Doxepin didnt work out.

Best of luck

Jon
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Old 03-23-2011, 09:59 PM   #13
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Quote:
Originally Posted by nochange View Post
There is something new I am trying now called diphendramine. You can try it also.
50mg a day. But it is also addictive.

Just like you, I am getting sick of all this sleep issue.

By the way, did they check your thyroid?????????? TSH and I think T4 + T3.
Since you do not suffer from chronic pain I would do that blood check.

Let me know.
--------------------------------------------------

Nochange,

I had forgotten about the thyroid. I had a problem checked out like maybe 8 -15 years ago (my memory for time is horrible, I think due to the pills. So the doctor did tests, he was an endocronologist, and he found, I forget the name for it, that my thyroid hormones were too high AND too low. That's how I remember it anyway. I didn't have a very high regard for this particular doctor so I'm not too confident in his findings. I probably should have pursued it with another doctor. And I should have asked this last doctor I went to a couple months ago to test the thyroid when he prescribed a blood test, but I'd forgetten about it; and I don't think it's something he'd, a psychiatrist, test for unless I had specifically asked about it.

Last edited by ThomasIllinois; 04-07-2011 at 12:48 PM.

 
Old 03-24-2011, 02:26 AM   #14
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

oh a psychologist....they will try to convince you to take anti-anxiety drugs so you keep coming to them...business is business. Listen to me, there is no way depression and/or anxiety will stop you from falling and STAYING asleep for so many years, guarantee, believe me.

I know about thyroid is that there was one girl here who said her insomnia was solved once she started taking care of her thyroid.

As far as I know, there is hyperthyroid and hypotyroid. hyperthyroid is when you lose weight and have insomnia but it can also be when you have hypothyroid.

I cannot promise you with medications you will get your sleep back. but it worth the check of your TSH + T4 + T3.

Forget about that psychologist you are going to. They cannot help. THey did not help you so far. Do those tests and come back here and let me know.

All the best.

Last edited by nochange; 03-24-2011 at 02:27 AM.

 
Old 03-28-2011, 02:28 PM   #15
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Re: 20 years of tranqulizers

Nochange,

I've set up another appointment with the doctor I went to a couple months ago. I want to ask him if he tested for thyroid the last time, and if not, maybe ask him for another blood test. I'll mention the different T's to him. I want to get his ideas on the relation of the thyroid to insomnia, especially problems with waking up to soon. Probably I'll wind up going to another endocrinologist.



Jonnstar,

I'm leary of trying an anti-depressant (doxepin) for my sleep problem. But I decided to try a little of the hair of the dog. Been taking just a quarter mg. of klonopin, my old prescription, for the last few days. It seems to be giving me longer sleep. I'm taking it six hours before going to bed with the idea of avoiding psychological dependence. My theory right now is that it may be giving my brain a little of what it needs to function normally sleep-wise -- after all the decades of tranquilizer use which has perhaps altered it. ... I may go up to a half a mg to see if that works better.

Last edited by ThomasIllinois; 03-28-2011 at 02:30 PM.

 
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