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Chronic Ongoing Insomnia After One Year


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Hi All

 

Can anybody give me some advice as to how to deal with the insomnia that I have endured for one year today!

I have had an average of 2 hrs sleep per night for one year now, some nights like last night I had none at all.

I have tried all of the suggested sleep hygiene tips and have accepted the fact that sleep is my biggest issue, but,in the Ashton Manual she does say that it is ok to take something to help with long term insomnia.

Can anybody help me here please?

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hi diane welcome to benzo buddies.  are you presently on any benzos?  if so what are you presently taking and how much and when did you start?

 

we do not recommend prescription drugs - we help people get off of drugs. 

 

so you say you have tried all the suggestions - can you tell us what you have tried?  maybe there is something you have not tried.

 

many of the common things we use during our withdrawal and some of us shortly after withdrawal is calms forte, benadryl, melatonin along with avoiding caffeine and many of us avoid alcohol as well.

 

for sleep hygiene i keep my bed made and my room clean - i also avoid t-v that may be over stimulating although i do watch some t-v before retiring as i find many of the shows boring.

 

i also have the heat way turned down before retiring - that encourages me to get all cuddled up in the blankets.

 

someone else my come by to suggest something else.

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Hi

Thanks for the reply - I am benzo free one year today! Dont drink alcohol - never have done do have one cup of coffee each morning - which I have no ill affects from.

My bedrooms is clean and the temperature is ok - I live alone so am able to listen to the radio or audio c.d.'s in the early hours.

I cannot sleep not because of over stimulation during the day or the evening, just because my whole system is messed up still. I was on Dalmane for 21 years and slept good - then having to stop taking them 20th Jan 2007 was a shock to my sytem to put it mildly.

I have tried herbal nytol but it did not work, Nytol itself made me feel groggy the next day after having tried it just the once. Phenergan which is mentioned in the Ashton Manual - only taken half the adult dosage and it helps me to get 5 hrs sleep a night which is a good night for me!

I was told previously not to take anything at all, which is basically what I have been doing for one whole year, apart from the 4 or 5 nights during the autumn that I resorted to taking the above OTC meds.

Thanks for your input

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Hi Diane, I have used a program called sleeptracks.com It's a whole compehensive program, but I mainly use one sleep tape that you can download. (but you have to buy the whole program) It's the "whole night" cd., and you play it on loop all night, at low volume. It has helped me a great deal. I"ve talked about it here a while ago. so I thought I'd mention it again.

Also, there is a product made by Hylands, which makes calms forte, but this is called "insomnia". I use it occasionally if I'm particularly wound up at bedtime. It puts me out better than calms forte.

I feel for you. A lot of insomnia is psychological. You worry about it, so it triggers a cascade of adrenaline and other stimulant hormones, then it becomes physical. The key is to learn how to let it go. Easier said than done, but it is doable.  ;)

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Eljay

 

Well I have tried audio c.d's to promote relaxation and one was good for a while - but then my system got used to it.

I have accepted the fact that when I go to bed, in a calm, darkened environment I may not sleep - but after a couple of nights of zero sleep it just builds up and gets me down. Not tried Calms Forte as of yet, am going to have a childs dosage of Phenergan tonight, Ashton says its ok to use in w/drawl and it has had no ill affect on me in prior use! I only use it once a month, but wonder if maybe I should try it say every 3 dys to see if my brain gets the idea of what sleeping is all about, by the way it does not knock me out, just allows me 5 hrs when I go off!

Will google the c.d. you mention thanks a lot!

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Diane,

 

  I see no harm in using sleep aids if your insomnia is chronic.  Some natural sleep aids are melatonin, valerian root, Passion flower, hops, 5-HTP (small dose).  Some people take benydryl. 

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Good luck Diane, I think after 21 years, your body is still adjusting to life without benzos, and your sleep will eventually return to a more normal, restful pattern.

I also wanted to add that I am not affiliated to, nor do I profit in any way off sleeptracks!

Linda

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we do not recommend prescription drugs - we help people get off of drugs. 

 

Well, Silver, I'd have disagree with that. You may not recommend prescription drugs; I purely don't promote them - there is a difference! What medicines people take is their own business. I see BenzoBuddies as being somewhere that helps those that wish to quit benzodiazepines. Everything else is up for grabs and discussion.

 


 

Hi Diane,

 

I've had huge problems with sleep ever since quitting benzos (never before). It may be the case, since I have a neurological disorder that involves the GABA receptors of my brainstem, that I am more susceptible to some benzo withdrawal effects over the general population, so don't take my experience as kind of yardstick to recovery. Anyway, my sleep became so poor in November, I had to resort to a prescription med - Atarax (Hydroxyzine - an old-fashioned antihistamine). I had not resorted to any meds before this time to treat the insomnia, over the counter or prescription, apart from Valerian root some weeks before the Atarax (it did nothing for me). Well, I experienced immediate relief from the very first night of taking Atarax. I'd use it for a few nights, then miss a night, and did this for about two-and-half weeks. I think I took 12 doses over about 18 nights; I then stopped. Upon reflection, I think I could have stopped sooner, but I had become so ill I was scared of not sleeping. It is vital that if you take this med to stop soon, because tolerance builds up pretty quickly. What I found was that all I needed was something to break the vicious circle of not sleeping: the appalling insomnia making me feel incredibly ill, and then feeling too ill to sleep. The fact is that I missed a dose after a couple of nights of using it and slept fine. So, talk to your doctor about the possibilities, and you might mention Hydroxyzine, but go in with an attitude that it is about breaking a vicious circle, not a medicine to be taken indefinitely. It worked great for me, but you will need to talk to your doctor. I don't like taking meds, but will take something if I need to do so - it is about weighing up the pros and cons; the risks against the benefits; and making an informed choice. ;) I suggest that you research Atarax, or anything else you might try, before taking it.

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well there you go - i guess i should of said i don't recommend prescription drugs - i am not familiar with any that work - but that is just me - apparently some people have found drugs that work.  however it has come to my attention that as a site prescription drugs may be in order - so i will let those knowledgeable about prescription drugs answer posts regarding prescription drugs - cause i am not familiar with drugs that work - i will let those who know more then me make recommendations.

 

apparently some people have had success with prescription drugs.

 

 

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well there you go - i guess i should of said i don't recommend prescription drugs - i am not familiar with any that work - but that is just me - apparently some people have found drugs that work.  however it has come to my attention that as a site prescription drugs may be in order - so i will let those knowledgeable about prescription drugs answer posts regarding prescription drugs - cause i am not familiar with drugs that work - i will let those who know more then me make recommendations.

 

apparently some people have had success with prescription drugs.

 

Well, I suppose the fact that you didn't realise that your views were at odds with general attitude taken by this community (a loose policy, if you like) just shows that all members are free to have their own opinions around here. However, it is important that we take 'ownership' of our opinions so that others understand that they are indeed opinions, and not policy or fact.

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Diane,

I was going to post an insomnia thread so your post was great timing!

 

I, too, have suffered from horrible insomnia for almost 2 years:  I am lucky if I get 2 - 3 hours, and I never sleep more than 30 min. - hour at one stretch.  I sympathize with you.  It sounds like your type of insomnia makes you sick.  Colin's description of his symptoms and situation in November is how I feel:  sick, like i have the flu. 

 

I have also taken hydroxyzine (generic name), the antihistimine Colin took.  Atirax is one brand name, there is one other that starts with a "V", but it is more expensive.  Hydroxyzine is given as a sedative before surgery, as well.  For me, it was when the Atirax didn't really help me for sleep  (in the past month) that I began the search for the benzo withdrawal and found this site. 

 

Just watch side effects:  it really dries you out:  nasal passages, mouth, throat, etc.

 

Trazadone is another drug that drs. rx "off label" for insomnia.  It is an anti-depressant, but is no longer used for depression.  Drs. rx small doses (25 - 50mg) for sleep.  Side effects on this one:  constipation, dry mouth, all the usual that A/Ds cause.

 

If Phenergan worked for you, that is at least some relief.  It is a nausea drug, but because it causes drowsiness, might help some people w/insomnia.  If I become completely sleepless again (because of benzo w/d) thats one I haven't tried.  It also can cause constipation, dryness, etc. if used over time (more like Trazadone). 

 

If you have been forced to go to the rx's for sleep, I hope you have a dr. who will listen to your concerns.  I do agree with Colin that we should not depend on the rx in order to sleep long term.  If you can find 1 or 2 that help you, and only take for a night or two, and alternate, maybe that's how your body might get back on track.  I suspect that many on this forum, like me, were led to the benzo's after exhausting all other possibilities, and then we just kept taking it to get that incredible, elusive 6 - 8 hours of sleep (never to be had again, on the benzo's).

 

I agree with others' comments about worry and stress, and sleep hygiene.  But, if you never, ever, sleep you need something to help you short term, so that you can put the stress-reducing practices into place.

 

Thanks to whoever mentioned the particular CDs.  There is also a book called "Say Good Night to Insomnia by Gregg D. Jacobs, about a six-week drug-free insomnia program at Harvard.  Its mostly about sleep hygiene, journaling, but it goes gives you a good understanding of how sunlight, and rhythms affect sleep and how you can adjust. 

 

There are also insomnia forums on the net.

Good Luck and thank you to the others for the suggestions,

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hi diane

i don't know how old you are but if you are pre- or postmenopausal, sleep problems are very common. almost every woman i know who fits this category has sleep issues including me.  i truly believe it is hormonal. i wake up every 2 hours and never feel fully rested.  i am 2 years benzo free, have tried everything but found i sleep better taking nothing.

 

joan

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i started a topic in "off topic" to address post benzo insomnia - it may get moved but there will be a central place to address this eventually.

 

diane i am glad you posted because it is making me focus on the fact that sleep is a serious issue and i have just been jumping from on supplement to another - i want a solution not a drug.

 

so lets see how this goes.

 

i will be away from the forum for a while but hope to check in from time to time - thank you for bringing this up.

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i am trading supplements out benadryl, gaba powder (sparingly), melatonin (liquid), calms forte - but i can tell you they all wear out - natural sleep somehow needs to be discovered where ever it may be.

 

however if you are losing your mind you need a break and i hope some of the things i mentioned will help.

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Thanks for all the response! I realise that sleep aids are not the answer - but as said previously after months and months of nothing sometimes you just need to have some sleep.This week since Saturday I have had 5 hrs total sleep so I am drained to the point that I cannot even go to the shops!

I stress that I have taken anything for help at all this week and will not do so until I am literally crawling around.

I do realise that all aids are and can become addictive just because they do give you respite! So, I will not be taking anything long term, just as a 'treat' to my body every now and then - maybe once a month Phenergan!

Good luck to all my fellow insomniacs!

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well it has come to my attention that i am losing my mind - not a pretty site.  i am going to have to join a insomnia forum as this is just too disruptive to my life and something i need to concentrate on.

 

i will look into concentrating on what i hope is my last leg of the journey to being drug free.

 

there is a homeopath that has joined - maybe he/she can help us with some sleep hygiene as i don/t think homeopathy supports continued use of supplements - although i am not sure.

 

i have asked my therapist to do some research and have some answers for me when i return - i am assuming he may have access to information that i may not have access to.

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Hi All

 

Well I took some phenergan last thursday night 31st Jan and slept 5 hrs total. But, since then I have not had anything at all and have had only one night of 2 hrs sleep All the other nights I have had 6 hrs total and most nights I have 4 hrs straight off. Dont know if my brain suddenly recognised a sleep pattern or was jolted into one by the phenergan. Whatever it was it is a welcomed relief to me I can tell you.

I made my curry for tonights dinner this morning and for the first time in a year I made it with clear open eyes - it was wonderful not to have to hold on to the cooker whilst making my dinner!

 

Thanks for all the nice response I had from you all

 

Lin x :thumbsup:

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a sleep aid can get you back on track - the trick is to use them very sparinly - otherwise we build up a resistance and just go jumping from other to another.
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Silver  :)

 

Yes, I totally agree - just taking it the one night has helped me so far! :thumbsup:

It seems that my system just need 'guiding' back to a routine! ;)

 

 

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