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Tapering off Zopiclone


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Hi there,

 

Thank you for accepting me into the community. I am currently engaged in the joyous experience of tapering off Zopiclone.

 

In Nov 2020 I was put on Zopiclone to help with persistent insomnia. I had been put on Temazapam for sleep issues and had quickly hit tolerance (I didn't know at the time) and had attempted to CT and began going through withdrawals (I didn't know that at the time either). I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where I was put on 7.5mg of Zopiclone and an AD.

 

I didn't hit tolerance until June 2021, but had a feeling that the drug was "messing with me" during the day. I was thinking weird thoughts, had lots of brain fog, was very irritable, mood all over the place (like PMS on steroids) and just not myself. I noticed that this all went away when I took my dose of Zopiclone at night, and questioned the treating psychiatrist as to whether I was having interdose withdrawals. He assured me that wasn't possible, and said that the drug was very safe - safe enough to be on for the rest of my life - and non addictive. He said that he had never had a patient have any issues with Zopiclone and prescribed a mood stabiliser (Lithium - which I refused to take).

 

In June 2021 I hit tolerance. I couldn't understand why the Zopiclone had stopped knocking me out for a solid 8 hours and why I was now awake after 4. The dose was increased to 15mg. While this went back to knocking me out, I started to notice that I was becoming severely depressed during the day and had a feeling that this was being caused by the increased Zopiclone dosage. I dropped the dose back to 7.5mg and this is when my withdrawal symptoms increased.

 

I began having lots of suicidal ideation, negative looping thoughts, thoughts of violence (I'm a VERY non-violent person), severe depression, severe anxiety, severe brain fog, severe head pressure, disorientation, confusion and just thinking really weird stuff. Again, I was assured it wasn't withdrawal and that the drug was "pretty innocuous".

 

I continued to notice that the symptoms all went away when I took my dose and decided that the only way to stop these symptoms was to get off the drug. In July 2021 I told my treating psychiatrist that I wanted to come off Zopiclone and he told me that the only thing that was likely to happen was that my insomnia would come back. He told me I could just stop taking it. How glad am I that I did NOT take his advice! I dropped the tablet down to 3/4 (5.625mg) - mostly because I was worried about not being able to sleep. I was not prepared for what resulted - which was full body tremors and seizures which had me make multiple trips to the ER and a trip to a neurologist office. I developed a head tick, a vocal tick, more intense brain fog, more looping, horrific thoughts, more suicidal ideation. All of which again disappeared whenever I took my dose at night.

 

Over the past 8 months I have managed to taper down to 2.8mg (3/8 of my original dose). Due to the intensity of the withdrawals, I have been holding for 4 months hoping to stabilise, which hasn't really happened. My moods and thoughts are still all over the place - to the point where I have almost forgotten what it's like to live a normal life....almost.

 

After my treating psychiatrist fell asleep in our last appointment while I told him what was happening (that was after he just told me to stop thinking about myself and go back to work!), I have decided that I need support elsewhere to get through this. I have read the Ashton Manual and am considering switching to Valium to finish my taper because it has a longer half life, but don't want to be swapping one shit show for another! I'm also looking at microtapering to try and make the road from here a little smoother. I could use a bunch of advice on whether swapping to Valium is a good idea - and how to go about microtapering using a water taper method. And also, how to be able to get my sleep back - I haven't slept unmedicated for years.

 

Looking forward to learning so much!

 

 

 

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Hi Pugtragic :hug: Welcome to Benzobuddies

 

We are happy to have you here. I am sorry for what you have gone through, I am glad you didn't listen to advice given, you did well to start tapering off.  I have not had experience with Zopiclone but  I am sure some of our members will help.  If you are considering crossing over to Valium, It is generally recommended to taper no more than 5-10% every 10-14 days.  It’s okay to alter this schedule to fit your comfort level. 

 

I will put a link to the Ashton Manual,  it discusses benzo withdrawal, and there is some information about Z drugs.

 

Professor Ashtons Manual

 

Here are a few links to information on tapering and withdrawal support:

 

Planning Your Withdrawal(TaperPlans)

 

Withdrawal Support

 

You may wish to ask questions on this support thread

Z-DRUG SUPPORT GROUP

 

We have a friendly and caring community here,  please feel free to ask questions.  Members will be able to respond better if they know your medication history so If you would be like to add a signature (history of meds/doses etc) it will help members give you relevant advice. Go to the top of the page and select PROFILE then choose forum profile then insert drug history into the text box and remember to click change profile

 

 

Welcome Aboard

Magrita

 

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Hi Pugtragic, good to have you here. Great username!

You’ve done so well to get down to that lower dose. Sorry you’re having the bad symptoms, we all understand here.

I managed to get off Lorazepam without swapping to Valium so it is possible but I hear it’s a bit easier using the long acting benzos.

There is a load of info about insomnia on here, I’m not sure how to send you the link but I’m sure someone will chime in and help. The same applies to microtapering. All good wishes.

Hardy.

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Hi Pug, I have just had Covid and have a lingering tummy upset……or it could be withdrawal, who knows. I am doing ok though thanks. Anxiety is far less now but a lot of fatigue.

I took Melatonin for sleep, is that an option for you? I only took it for a couple of months and it really did help. It wasn’t hard to stop taking.

Hardy.

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Hi Hardy,

 

I already do take Melatonin (2mg) along with my (now) small dose of Zopiclone. I just remember what it was like not sleeping. It was awful! It was why I was put on Zopiclone in the first place, so teaching my body to remember how to sleep is so important.

 

I've been able to start napping - trying to lie down every day and close my eyes and MOST times I end up drifting off. I'm hoping that this will help me build some confidence that I can actually sleep without being medication again (I wasn't able to do that a few months ago, so fingers crossed).

 

So sorry you had Covid. Hope you're feeling much, much better soon.

 

:)

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I think learning to nap without meds is a great thing to learn. Your body will learn to sleep efficiently again, it just takes time.

I wasn’t very poorly with Covid so feeling blessed. Actually, I was feeling pretty good all the while I tested positive…….some strange paradox that allowed me to feel ill………….because it was official!

Melatonin is a prescription med here in the Uk. I think in the US you can just buy it?

What dose Z are you on now?

Hardy.

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Hi Hardy,

 

Glad you weren't too sick with Covid. Are you vaccinated?

 

I'm actually in Australia and yes, Melatonin is a prescription med here too.

 

I'm on 2.8mg of Zopiclone. Have been stuck here for about 4 months hoping to level out, which hasn't really happened. I've probably been holding too long now. Am starting to have some windows here and there, so that's at least something. It's all just not happening fast enough and I'm terrified of dropping down lower. I'm looking at doing a water taper from here, but not sure if I should swap to Valium first, or whether I'm tapering from my current does in how many mls of water - or from my original dose with a big portion taken out. It's all very very confusing. And not having a benzo wise doctor (do they even exist) makes it even more difficult.

 

How about you? Are you still tapering? Are you off? What's your story?

 

P.

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Hi Pug, my story very briefly is at the bottom in my signature/profile. I am off Lorazepam now, it took about a year to taper slowly.

I don’t know much about water tapering and I didn’t change over to Valium but many buddies here have done those.

I think if you asked 6 doctors you might get different answers! We pretty much have to work out what’s best ourselves sometimes, sadly.

If you ask a question on the Withdrawal Support board, you will hopefully get answers to your questions.

It is all very confusing and it does take a while to figure everything out so please give yourself time. Time to get information and lots more time to taper and then lots more time to recover. Time is your friend.

All good wishes.

Hardy.

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Hi Hardy,

 

Thanks for the advice. I am SOOOOOO impatient! I started my taper in July last year, but have been holding for 4 months so I've unwittingly dragged it out. I need to get started back tapering again soon. And I need to add my taper history to my signature - thank you for that reminder!

 

How did you deal with the interdose withdrawals? Or did you take Lorazepam multiple times a day so you were able to avoid that?

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No no no, you did not drag it out, you waited patiently until you were ready to proceed! It really doesn’t matter how long your taper last as long as your dose goes down, your body will be recovering.

I took Lorazepam twice a day until I got to about 0.4mg, then changed to once a day(got tricky to weigh). That worked ok for me but others have dosed 3 or 4 times a day…..we’re all different.

Hardy.

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