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    Old 05-19-2005, 05:22 PM   #1
    LeeLee3
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    Unhappy Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    I had some sleeping problems when I was getting over mono, almost four years ago. I didn't do much during the day because of the mono, then had trouble sleeping at night. The sleeplessness continued post-mono, to the point where I got no sleep for several days and nights. The doctor prescribed elavil (amitryptiline HCL) and over-the-counter melatonin. It worked. He said I could stay on it for life, since some people just need help to sleep. I tried to go off it, but could not sleep w/o it. He thinks my sleeping problems had more to do with anxiety than mono, but I didn't believe him. But last year, I had some real problems with my career life, and was very nervous and depressed. He tried to give me antidepressants, but I chose not to take them. Elavil is actually a tri-cyclic antidepressant, and I didn't want to be taking so many pills. I've been having career issues lately, too, and am re-thinking the anti-depressants. I just get so worked up over little things - sometimes I can take a deep breath and shrug it off, but sometimes I feel unstable and cry for hours. Maybe if I took a standard anti-depressant during the day, I'd be less anxious and could sleep w/o the elavil and melatonin. The problem is, I'm afraid I'm addicted to them. I didn't take it seriously until I saw a show on TV about a woman who took anxiety pills long-term because she was addicted. She hid it like it was some big secret - I've never hid my medicine because I didn't think it was a big deal, but maybe it is. She showed the same withdrawl symptoms I showed when I forgot to go to the drugstore and had to go without them.

    I was just wondering if anyone else has been dependant on sleep medications. I just can't understand why I can't sleep without them - it is kind of scary. I will sit up for hours - sometimes I can get a few hours sleep, sometimes none, and I get very jittery. Is it ok to take sleep medications long-term? I mean, I've heard of people mainly taking them for temporary problems. I guess I just want to hear about others' experiences with sleep treatments, and how you eventually solved the problem w/o the drugs, if you have gotten that far.

     
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    Old 05-19-2005, 10:24 PM   #2
    amright
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    Antidepressant is just for temporary use purpose. It might cause long term insomnia if taking it for a long time. In fact, it might not work if taking it for so long.
    My recommendations are exercising, eating healthy food, & trying to do anything that makes u feel happy.
    Best regard,

    AMRIGHT

     
    Old 05-20-2005, 02:12 PM   #3
    analog2000
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LeeLee3
    Maybe if I took a standard anti-depressant during the day, I'd be less anxious and could sleep w/o the elavil and melatonin. The problem is, I'm afraid I'm addicted to them. I didn't take it seriously until I saw a show on TV about a woman who took anxiety pills long-term because she was addicted. She hid it like it was some big secret - I've never hid my medicine because I didn't think it was a big deal, but maybe it is. She showed the same withdrawl symptoms I showed when I forgot to go to the drugstore and had to go without them.
    But what type of anti-anxiety medication was this woman taking? A lot of anti-anxiety meds are benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), such as Xanax and Valium. Those meds are physically addicting, Elavil is a tri-cyclic antidepressant, and it doesn't work the same way. It shouldn't be physically addicting. But that doesn't mean you can just stop taking it, cold turkey! There are a lot of meds that you have to go off of slowly to prevent withdrawal type symptoms.

    It sounds to me like you could benefit from antidepressants. What type of doctor are you seeing? Good luck.

     
    Old 05-20-2005, 03:09 PM   #4
    hry33
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    find out if you are taking the antidepressant dose of elavil, sometimes a smaller dose of an antidepressant helps people get off to sleep
    elavil in any dose isnt addictive

     
    Old 05-20-2005, 10:37 PM   #5
    Jennita
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LeeLee3
    I had some sleeping problems when I was getting over mono, almost four years ago. I didn't do much during the day because of the mono, then had trouble sleeping at night. The sleeplessness continued post-mono, to the point where I got no sleep for several days and nights. The doctor prescribed elavil (amitryptiline HCL) and over-the-counter melatonin. It worked. He said I could stay on it for life, since some people just need help to sleep. I tried to go off it, but could not sleep w/o it. He thinks my sleeping problems had more to do with anxiety than mono, but I didn't believe him. But last year, I had some real problems with my career life, and was very nervous and depressed. He tried to give me antidepressants, but I chose not to take them. Elavil is actually a tri-cyclic antidepressant, and I didn't want to be taking so many pills. I've been having career issues lately, too, and am re-thinking the anti-depressants. I just get so worked up over little things - sometimes I can take a deep breath and shrug it off, but sometimes I feel unstable and cry for hours. Maybe if I took a standard anti-depressant during the day, I'd be less anxious and could sleep w/o the elavil and melatonin. The problem is, I'm afraid I'm addicted to them. I didn't take it seriously until I saw a show on TV about a woman who took anxiety pills long-term because she was addicted. She hid it like it was some big secret - I've never hid my medicine because I didn't think it was a big deal, but maybe it is. She showed the same withdrawl symptoms I showed when I forgot to go to the drugstore and had to go without them.

    I was just wondering if anyone else has been dependant on sleep medications. I just can't understand why I can't sleep without them - it is kind of scary. I will sit up for hours - sometimes I can get a few hours sleep, sometimes none, and I get very jittery. Is it ok to take sleep medications long-term? I mean, I've heard of people mainly taking them for temporary problems. I guess I just want to hear about others' experiences with sleep treatments, and how you eventually solved the problem w/o the drugs, if you have gotten that far.
    It's true what they say, Elavil and other AD's are not addictive. Why? Because the definition of "addictive" must include compulsive, drug-seeking "behaviors". Addiction is not considered just physical...it is also considered a psychological/socialistic problem.

    But guess what? AD's, benzos, neuroleptics and other psychoactive drugs are indeed physically addictive, which is properly termed "dependancy", not addiction. So even though your brain is dependant(addicted) if you will to having the drug, you are still not considered an addict nor is your drug considered addictive.

    It's all semantics. Truth is, your brain adapts to the daily dose of the drug and subsequently stops trying to produce chemicals on it's own, whether it be sleep chemicals or others. The continued exposure to a drug that takes over a brain function will also cause something called deregulation. The exposed receptors will weaken or die off, thus making the drug less effective...this is tolerance. Tolerance is sometimes slow to develop, other times it can happen quickly.

    IMHO, your doctor is wrong. Your sleep problem had a distinct origin, your mono infection. It is not anxiety, the catch-all diagnosis these days! Even though the mono was gone, sleep patterns sometimes can take a very long time to return after such a problem. Taking the drug to sleep only delayed the brain's process to do so.

    Personally, I had a simular problem like yours; after several meds, mainly benzos, I had developed such a severe tolerance that I could take 2 mgs. of Ativan(a stronger benzo) and not fall asleep all night....for several days at a time! It was a nightmare.

    I felt I had no choice but to quit Ativan. I ended up in protracted benzo withdrawal for years, but guess what? Sleep came back, slowly but surely, small increases here and there and the amounts of hours I slept grew and grew, even after several years!

    The brain can recover it's own sleep if given the time drug free. Problem is, it sometimes takes awhile but it's worth it.

    Never cold turkey any med, though, it could be dangerous.

    I truley understand how scary this is for you; I was scared poop-less. But I kept telling myself it will pass. It was so frustrating and I suffered alot....but I did notice sometimes even when I slept only a few natural hours in the beginning, those natural hours were unusually refreshing...that gave me the strength to continue intil the hours increased.

     
    Old 05-22-2005, 12:13 PM   #6
    LeeLee3
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    But what type of anti-anxiety medication was this woman taking? A lot of anti-anxiety meds are benzodiazepines (tranquilizers), such as Xanax and Valium.

    I'm not sure - the name of the medication was covered up when they showed the bottle. They just showed the doctor's name and "for anxiety." It was just a soap opera, so it wasn't very complex, but it just got me thinking since she was taking anxiety meds long-term. Elavil used to be mainly an anti-depressant, but now it's mostly prescribed to help with anxiety and sleep problems.


    It sounds to me like you could benefit from antidepressants. What type of doctor are you seeing?

    I'm seeing just a regular physician. He has actually said that he can prescribe a larger dosage of elavil for during the day as an anti-depressant, but it would make me pretty groggy. He suggested Lexapro and gave me a sample pack, but I never took it. He also said he could refer me to a psychologist if I wanted to talk to someone. I have been feeling better about my career situation lately - I feel like I have more direction, and I don't let setbacks get me really down like before. But, if I start getting really down again, I'll talk to him about anti-depressants.

     
    Old 05-22-2005, 12:50 PM   #7
    analog2000
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LeeLee3
    I'm seeing just a regular physician.
    If this is an ongoing problem, and things aren't getting better, maybe you want to consider a specialist? Like a psychiatrist or a neurologist who specializes in sleep?

     
    Old 05-24-2005, 08:06 AM   #8
    LeeLee3
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    Re: Addiction to Sleeping Pills

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by analog2000
    If this is an ongoing problem, and things aren't getting better, maybe you want to consider a specialist? Like a psychiatrist or a neurologist who specializes in sleep?
    Well, I never ever had problems sleeping until a few years ago. I'm still not exactly sure what caused it - the stress of getting over an illness while trying to move and re-adjust to getting back to school and work is what I believe caused it. My parents actually set me up with a psychologist a few months since I was going through some tough times and making rash decisions due to out-of-control emotions. Granted, this is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist who will prescribe medications, but he didn't help much at all. I only went a couple essions, but I just didn't want my parents spending that much money when I seriously didn't think it would help. I was able to cope and get better on my own. I'm not great, but I have more confidence and more of a direction than before. I'm not sure if the sleeplessness and this period of time I went through are linked, though once I get happier and more focused, I think I'll try to wean myself off the sleep drugs. I will talk to my doctor first, though.

    find out if you are taking the antidepressant dose of elavil, sometimes a smaller dose of an antidepressant helps people get off to sleep

    I'm only taking 50mg, which I guess is a small dose - I'm not sure what the anti-depressant dose is honestly. He has said that people can be prescribed from 25mg - 500 (if I remember correctly). From what I've read, the drug is not used for depression much anymore. It is too sedating. He said since I had luck with it, he could prescribe it for during the day if I continued to be in a rut. Though, he was afraid I'd turn into a zombie. It's something I still will consider, if I start getting anxious and depressed again - that time was terrible for me, and I want to prepared if I start falling into that again.

    Thank you all for your input and advice.

     
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