Quote from zigwyth:WOW! I was searching through the sleep disorder boards after getting off the depression and Bipolar Disorder boards. I could have wrote these threads. I have been on Ambien and Xanax for over a year. My Insomnia is Chronic now. I had become suicidal over the Holidays from lack of sleep/depression and some Gastro medical issues. My Doc recommended Paxil in which I suffered extreme insomnia and almost Killed myself. I went to a Therapist who recommended a Psychiatrist who just prescribed Lithium and Seroquel. I have not filled the prescriptions yet because of fear mostly. I keep wondering if I'm really Bipolar or just need to get back somehow to a natural sleep cycle. I've been reading about natural sleep-aids, CBT, Yoga, meditation tapes, but I keep reaching for the Ambien which is useless now and running out anyway. Somebody give me some Positive Feedback, PLEASE on how to beat this. ZIG
I wish I had an easy answer. I think yes, it can be beaten but it is so very hard that the only way is in extremely favorable conditions...of which most people don't have. As I mentioned, I had no job to worry about, grown kids, etc.(and it was still hell) but those things made it more tolerable.
Mainly I tapered on my own off Ativan enough to avoid the severe stuff like seizures but I had no idea at the time that I should have tapered much slower. I must admit, the first couple of weeks completely off Ativan were unreal torture, besides the insomnia the muscle twitching, shaking, freezing/hot flashes, ear ringing, explosive head pressure, anxiety, no appetite whatsoever(I had to force myself to eat something as small as a poptart!). I think I came pretty close to knowing what heroin withdrawal is like although I've never even tried an illegal drug in my life. Only heroin withdrawal doesn't last as long as benzo withdrawal I've been told!
Now, don't let this scare you because I used to belong to a group on the net and the stories sometimes were not as bad as mine. It really depends on the depth of dependancy, the drug, tolerance levels, etc. Some did not have as hard of a time as I did.
Even as bad as it was, I can safely say it was all worth it because I do sleep now without anything and feel much, much better!! I did get my own sleep chemicals back, although with some lingering sensitivities which seem to be slowly improving. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to sleep without any chemicals again; the suffering was worth it. Frankly, I hate to think where I'd be right now if I had continued the med route.
I can't know if you are bi-polar for real or not. I don't know if you can beat the problems you have or not. But I think it's worth a try IMHO.
The condtions have to be ideal in order to succeed. No drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, good nutrition with whole food supplements like omega 3 oils, mild exercise when you can several times a week intil you can do more, no outside stresses, plenty of rest(even when you can't sleep, just lay and rest).
But also, if you had any prior mental problems/sleep problems/etc. the cause of those has to be explored and addressed too. If it seems you weren't bi-polar before meds, it's possible meds induced or caused it, if so, eventually you should be ok. But if it was going on long before meds, then maybe consider it is something that needs treatment. Prior things like drug/alcohol abuse could cause bi-polar or even emotional traumas so think back if those were any factors.