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cold turkey with a little help from meclizine


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Hi all, my first post...


I've been a chronic insomniac throughout much of my life, and the problem seemed to get worse as I got older. No doubt various stresses in my life are part of the sleep problem. Anyway, I thought I'd been helped with sleeping pills, and for the past few years, I've experimented on and off with (mostly) zolpidem (Ambien). Occasionally, some of the benzos too, depending on what a doctor was willing to prescribe.


I had this theory that I wouldn't risk addiction if I switched between different kinds of pills, not taking the same one all the time. Maybe there's some validity to that, but eventually, I noticed that all of these medications were losing their effectiveness. I would need a larger dose to get the same sleep benefits. Furthermore, if I skipped a night, I'd get practically no sleep - my insomnia was worse than ever.


It's finally sunk in that I've got to stop, right now. Continued use of either the z-drugs or the benzos is a one-way ticket to disaster.


About one week ago I decided to stop cold turkey. From what I've read on this forum, I know that cold turnkey isn't advised. But I want to try.


Actually, I'm not doing too badly. Most of the nastier side-effects of detox that have been noted here haven't hit me. The main problem has been getting to sleep at night, and to stay asleep any longer than two hours. With any less than six hours of sleep per night, I'm pretty disfunctional the next day.


I tried a few recommended drug substitutions with varying degrees of success. A shot of whiskey at bedtime, tramadol (an opiod), melatonin, camomile tea, and finally meclizine (an antihistamine, not addictive).


The whiskey thing didn't go so well. I'm not a drinker, and even the small amount I took would make me feel rather hungover in the morning. Plus it would only give me about two hours of sleep.


I have a prescription for tramadol, an opiod-based pain killer. I don't take it that often - it too is potentially addictive, though not as much as the benzos. The label warns that it "can cause drowsiness", so "don't take it while driving." I wondered if it would help with sleep. It doesn't, and I gave up on that idea.


I got much better results with meclizine. Where I live, it's sold across-the-counter as a treatment for motion-sickness.




I had read about hydroxyzine being used as a sleeping medication, but it's not sold in my country, plus its very long half-life (3 times that of meclizine) would probably make the next day one big blur.




Some other sedating antihistamines I've read about are promethazine and alimemazine. I haven't tried them, and with luck I wouldn't even need to try them. The meclizine seems to work for me, but your mileage may vary.




Alimemazine sounds like it might be dangerous:




My goal is to end the use of meclizine too, but probably not for another month yet.


I still take the melatonin and camomile tea. They probably don't help much, but are safe. And if they improve my sleep by just 10%, that's something.


So far, so good. Nearly a week now with no z-drugs or benzos.


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Welcoming you to BenzoBuddies.


You will find plenty of support here.


If you have any questions, feel free to ask.



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Good luck.


One thing you might try is taking long walks daily. If not done too close to bedtime it could help you sleep better and if not, it'll still be good for you physically and mentally if you stick to it.


Alcohol is the worst thing for insomnia BTW. Even if you get the hours, the quality of sleep is generally so poor that you feel like you didn't.

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Hello and welcoming you to BB Candide! I am glad to hear things are not too bad. You didn't mention what benzo you cold turkeyed? I am sorry to hear of your sleep issues, I know that can be rough. Hang in there and let us know how we can help.
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Hello Candide,


I'm curious about the drugs you quit cold turkey, I quit a large dose of Ambien cold turkey and felt better for it, no withdrawal symptoms except insomnia but that was to be expected.  Were you also taking a benzo and if so, how much? 



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Hi All, and thanks for the kind messages and suggestions.


Mostly I was taking zolpidem. My recently my doc also gave me some estazolam, but I only took it irregularly. A few years ago I had lorazepam, but found that it lost effectiveness very quickly.


So most likely, it's zolpidem that's got me messed up. Again, I'm not experiencing the heavy withdrawal symptoms that I've heard others mention. But not being able to sleep at night is really bad.


Last night wasn't so great - I relied on the meclizine, but it didn't work as well as usual. Maybe it is possible to build tolerance to it too, but everything I've read says it is non-addictive - I certainly hope so.


Steve, you are right, exercise would do me some good. Right now I'm getting most of my exercise literally clearing a small jungle (about an acre). Doing it by hand - exhausting (especially with recent heat wave) but satisfying work. Hope it helps me sleep better.


Also right about the alcohol - puts me out for a little while, but not a very satisfying sleep, and wake up feeling lousy. I never really understood why anyone drinks alcohol socially or recreationally - can't say that I've ever found it pleasurable. But to judge by the shelves and shelves of bottles in the stores, a lot of people don't agree with me on that.


It's been so long since I've had a full night's sleep without relying on some drug or other that I almost can't believe it's possible. We'll see.


best regards,





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This is usual which I faced. You can try two options:

- can try deep breathing for 10 mins before you sleep.

- drink a very little worm glass of milk with honey.

Both two are tested, effective and no drug :-). . Go ahead. . You will win

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