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goodsleep: Anyone struggling insomnia induced by psychiatric drugs? no withdrawal but persistent insomnia


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Hello, I’m 27 female


Around April of last year, I visited a psychiatrist due to mild depressive symptoms (lack of energy).

 

Even during my depressive times, I had no issues with sleep.

 

I always slept well and even boasted about it.

 

 

 


I was prescribed 1mg of Abilify and 5mg of Prozac.

 

I woke up just 4 hours after taking them.

 

It continued for a week, so I mentioned it to the psychiatrist, and they changed my antidepressant to Effexor, while keeping Abilify 1mg.


But I still woke up 4 hours after sleeping, and my depressive symptoms worsened due to lack of sleep.

 

 

 


As a result, I continued taking Abilify 2.5mg and Brintellix 20mg for another 8 months, and never missed a single day of waking up after 4 hours of sleep.

 

While waking up in the middle of the night was stressful,
 it was also a period of trying to find the right sleeping pills, 
and I wasn't too worried because I thought the side effects would disappear if I stopped taking the medication.

 

I tried various sleeping pills like Quetiapine, Trazodone, Risperidone, Stilnox, Mirtazapine, Doxepin, etc., but none of them helped.

 

 

 

 


Finally, in January of this year, I stopped taking Abilify and antidepressants,
 and in early April, I stopped taking sleeping pills as well.

 

The problem is that even now, in June, the side effect - waking up in the middle of the night - persists and hasn't improved at all.

 

 

 


Regardless of whether I exercised like crazy, drank alcohol, or felt extremely tired, 


I wake up 3-4 hours after falling asleep and then every 1-2 hours after that.

 

 

 

 

It doesn't seem like withdrawal symptoms (it's the same whether I take the medication or not), and the side effects seem to persist.

 

 

 

Even though the medication is probably already out of my system...

 

 

My case seems to be very rare and hard to find.

 

 

 

I'm desperate because if it's a permanent side effect... it's so hopeless.

 

 

 

It's been almost 5 months since I stopped taking Abilify, 
but there's been no improvement, so I'm losing hope.

 

 


I've had a sleep study - they said there’s no problem but seems like I constantly wake up for no reason. 

I've tried sleep supplements like magnesium glycinate, but they don't help at all.

 

 

 


Does anyone have a experience to mine?

 

Edited by Emonda
Name to title

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped, seems like no withdrawal but lasting side effects

2024.3 drug free

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  • Emonda changed the title to goodsleep: Anyone struggling insomnia induced by psychiatric drugs? no withdrawal but persistent insomnia
On 6/13/2024 at 10:23 PM, goodsleep said:

 

Hello, I’m 27 female


Around April of last year, I visited a psychiatrist due to mild depressive symptoms (lack of energy).

 

Even during my depressive times, I had no issues with sleep.

 

I always slept well and even boasted about it.

 

 

 


I was prescribed 1mg of Abilify and 5mg of Prozac.

 

I woke up just 4 hours after taking them.

 

It continued for a week, so I mentioned it to the psychiatrist, and they changed my antidepressant to Effexor, while keeping Abilify 1mg.


But I still woke up 4 hours after sleeping, and my depressive symptoms worsened due to lack of sleep.

 

 

 


As a result, I continued taking Abilify 2.5mg and Brintellix 20mg for another 8 months, and never missed a single day of waking up after 4 hours of sleep.

 

While waking up in the middle of the night was stressful,
 it was also a period of trying to find the right sleeping pills, 
and I wasn't too worried because I thought the side effects would disappear if I stopped taking the medication.

 

I tried various sleeping pills like Quetiapine, Trazodone, Risperidone, Stilnox, Mirtazapine, Doxepin, etc., but none of them helped.

 

 

 

 


Finally, in January of this year, I stopped taking Abilify and antidepressants,
 and in early April, I stopped taking sleeping pills as well.

 

The problem is that even now, in June, the side effect - waking up in the middle of the night - persists and hasn't improved at all.

 

 

 


Regardless of whether I exercised like crazy, drank alcohol, or felt extremely tired, 


I wake up 3-4 hours after falling asleep and then every 1-2 hours after that.

 

 

 

 

It doesn't seem like withdrawal symptoms (it's the same whether I take the medication or not), and the side effects seem to persist.

 

 

 

Even though the medication is probably already out of my system...

 

 

My case seems to be very rare and hard to find.

 

 

 

I'm desperate because if it's a permanent side effect... it's so hopeless.

 

 

 

It's been almost 5 months since I stopped taking Abilify, 
but there's been no improvement, so I'm losing hope.

 

 


I've had a sleep study - they said there’s no problem but seems like I constantly wake up for no reason. 

I've tried sleep supplements like magnesium glycinate, but they don't help at all.

 

 

 


Does anyone have a experience to mine?

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 6/13/2024 at 10:23 PM, goodsleep said:

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped

 

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped, seems like no withdrawal but lasting side effects

2024.3 drug free

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  • Moderator

Hi @goodsleep, and welcome to SA!  We are a community of volunteers providing peer support for the tapering of psychiatric medications and the associated withdrawal syndromes. 

 

I see that you added some drug history info in your second post- if you could click on the following link, and place that info in the signature box, and click save, this would become your drug signature, and will appear at the bottom of every post.  This will help people see your history at a glance when visiting your thread: Drug signature

 

It sounds like your nervous system has been through quite a lot over the last year or so- taking multiple psychiatric medications can be very destabilizing.   And a destabilized nervous system does often result in poor sleep. Since you have had a sleep study, and there doesn't appear to be any organic reason for your sleep issues, I firmly believe that this is a side effect of the psychiatric drugs that you were taking.  

 

When you say that you stopped your meds, do you mean that you stopped them cold turkey?  Or did you do any tapering prior to stopping?  Rapid tapering and cold turkey stops can be very destabilizing, and lead to all sorts of side effects.  Here, we recommend tapering quite slowly- at a rate of a maximum of 10% of the current month's dose, no more frequently than every four weeks.  This method helps to minimize withdrawal effects.  

 

The medication may be out of your system, but the effects on the body, unfortunately, do not stop when the medication is gone.  These medications alter all sorts of processes within the body, right down to your gene expression, and it can take a while for the effects to disappear.  Read more about how these medications change your body by clicking this link: How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain

 

The good news is that you will heal.  This is not permanent.  Healing is happening all the time, even when it doesn't feel like it.  The key is to be very patient, and to take good care of yourself- avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and recreational drugs, and practice good sleep hygiene.  By this, we mean no screens for at least two hours before bedtime, sleep in a dark room (or with an eye mask), calming activities before bed, such as reading, listening to calming music, or any activity that brings a sense of calm. We have many threads on insomnia here on SA- start with a read of this one.

 

Unfortunately, the only way out of this is through.  There is no magic wand- you just have to try different techniques to help with better sleep, and wait for healing.  I don't think, in your case, that a small reinstatement of any of the meds that you have previously taken would be particularly helpful, as you never had any relief from anything you tried previously. 

 

I wish I had better news for you.  The best news is that you've found this forum, and we will continue to provide support as long as you need it.  I suspect if you type "Insomnia" in the search bar at the top of this page (and make sure the drop down menu says 'everywhere,' you will find that there are thousands of us dealing with the same issues.  You are most definitely NOT alone!

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell for many years.

2009- Daughter born 🥰 Post partum depression/psychosis- no meds taken.

2016- Back on escitalopram due to job change/anxiety

2022- Severe covid infection- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  June 12- 8.5mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  July 8- Brassmonkey micro taper started.  8.4mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  July 15- 8.3mg esc, 1.5mg LDN.  July 18 8.3mg esc, 2.0mg LDN

 

Supplements/other meds: Vitamin D, B12, Claritin

 

I am not a doctor.  I don't even play one on TV.  This is not medical advice, but based on personal experience.  Please consult a medical professional.

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hi, I’m 27 female who have been suffering from psychiatric drug induced insomnia. 


I took SSRI and abilify for depression. 
I never thought they would make my health worse. 
I wasn’t that depressed, but I thought it would be nicer if I could get any help to make it better. 


Consequence is, from the very first day taking pills, my sleep got broken. 

It’s not even an withdrawal. side effects lasting forever. 


and It’s almost 6 months after stopping all drugs, my sleep never comes back. 
No sign of improvements.

I wake up after 3-4 hours of sleep, after that 1-2 hours of sleep. 
Everyday without failure. 


Tried bunch of sleeping pills which didn’t work, and honestly I don’t want to try other psychiatric drugs anymore. 

I have searched almost all places, my case is really rare, even dozens of doctors said “It’s unlikely to have permanent change after antidepressants.” They just don’t know. 
There is no cure to change it back to normal. 


Today, I woke up, and tried to explain my situation to my mom. 
She already knows what I’m going through, but I said it can be permanent. 
I couldn’t stop crying because I felt I ruined my life for this.
I took a break lawschool for this, I barely make part time job.


I don’t know what to do.
Mom cried with me. 
She said she wants to be the one who suffers from this, which makes me so heart broken. 

I don’t know if I can live like this…

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped, seems like no withdrawal but lasting side effects

2024.3 drug free

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  • 3 weeks later...

It’s been like a 6 months, and I feel so frustrated that my sleep doesn’t get better. 

 

 

I can sleep 3-4 hours max at a time, and I suddenly wake up!!!

 

Then I would go back to sleep, then wake up in another 2-3 hours later. 

 

 

 

I feel so hopeless because I really can’t see improvement.

 

 

It happens everyday no matter how tired I am. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Except a week ago, I managed to sleep 7 hours straight all of a sudden. It was just one day, and my broken sleep came back again…

 

 

 

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped, seems like no withdrawal but lasting side effects

2024.3 drug free

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We have the same experience with Prozac. I'm hopeless and I do not expect any recovery, even though I'm young of age.

April 2017 (court-ordered by the age of 16) to mid 2019Risperdal ~2-4mg (can't remember dosage), fast taper by 2019. Persistent anhedonia.

 

Mid 2021 to May 2023 (age of 21-23) — Fluoxetine (Prozac) starting by 20mg, fast taper through oral solution by 20% decreases until May 2023. By late 2023, possible WD kicking in with sleep disturbances, averaging 5-6 hours of highly interrupted sleep with extreme fatigue along with skin/body pain and extreme brain fog (never had none of these, thanks pharma), along with worsened anhedonia (thanks again).

 

By the beginning of 2024, I feel constant tingling on my feet (and, sometimes, up to the knee from behind), possible neuropathy(?) worsening by night. Sleep quality decreased, taking more hours just to fall asleep. NO WINDOWS OR WAVES, but WORSENING of SYMPTOMS through the months (suspected brain damage).

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Suffered from the same problem and recovered significantly. What helped me:

- cutting out sugar, simple carbohydrates (white rice and bread), diary (everything made with cow's milk), caffeine, refined vegetable oils (extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are ok), all canned, bottled and preserved food and sauces, and processed meat (e.g. bacon)
- cutting out beans and legumes
- a diet heavy in meat (lean beef, chicken, fish) and healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil)
- lots of vegetables (especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and carotenoids like carrot and sweet potatoes) and fruits
- vitamin D from sunlight, fatty fish (e.g. salmon) or supplements. Vitamin D is fat soluble, your body can only absorb it from the vitamin pill if you take healthy fats along with it

Jan 29, 2023 - Took my one and only dose of Mirtazapine (15 mg). Developed an immediate adverse reaction with list of withdrawal-like symptoms.

 

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  • Moderator
12 hours ago, goodsleep said:

It’s been like a 6 months, and I feel so frustrated that my sleep doesn’t get better. 

I can sleep 3-4 hours max at a time, and I suddenly wake up!!!

Then I would go back to sleep, then wake up in another 2-3 hours later. 

I feel so hopeless because I really can’t see improvement.

It happens everyday no matter how tired I am.

 

 

 

Six months is a very short time period for withdrawal, especially after abruptly stopping your previous drugs.  Healing takes a very long time, and it takes hard work.  I wish I had better news for you, but the sad reality is, we are all in this for the long haul.  Non-drug coping methods are extremely helpful- many of them take practice, but it's well worth the effort.  Here are some links to some recommended by this site, but you may find some of your own as well.  I love to swim- I feel positively normal when I'm in the water, so needless to say, I spend a great deal of time there!

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 Easing your way into meditation for a stressed-out nervous system

Music for self-care: calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

Ways to cope with daily anxiety

"Change the channel" - dealing with cognitive symptoms

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

 

My sleep patterns are exactly like yours on a good day.  On a bad day, I sleep 15 minutes at a time.  So I understand your frustration.  In the middle of the night, I really like to use guided meditations on YouTube to help me not obsess about how crappy it is to be awake in the middle of the night.  And they always help me get back to sleep.  I also find it helpful to keep reminding myself that insomnia is extremely unpleasant, but it's not going to kill me.  I will survive this,  It is only withdrawal.  These are all my mantras.  It takes time for your body and brain to believe them, but if you just keep repeating these things over and over, your nervous system will create new connections and pathways, and your automatic response will change from one of frustration to one of just rolling over and waiting for sleep to come.  I promise- it works!

13 hours ago, goodsleep said:

Except a week ago, I managed to sleep 7 hours straight all of a sudden. It was just one day, and my broken sleep came back again…

 

 

This is a window!  You will have windows and waves as you proceed.  Having a symptom window is a wonderful sign of healing.  Remember, you are always healing, even when it doesn't feel like it!  Keep a symptom journal- looking back and seeing those windows is very helpful when you are feeling despair.

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Chompoo had some great points above as well.  Healthy diet, adequate hydration, avoidance of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, recreational drugs, etc all help to mitigate some of the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.  I know, it's massive lifestyle change for many people, but you'll definitely need to focus on recovery to get through to the other side. 

 

You can get through this!!!  Every day is a day closer to healing.  Hang in there...

1995- 2007- On and off multiple antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin, escitalopram). Memory poor- can’t remember dates. Always tapered fast or CT.  2007- tapered Wellbutrin, zopiclone and escitalopram over one month to get pregnant.  Withdrawal hell for many years.

2009- Daughter born 🥰 Post partum depression/psychosis- no meds taken.

2016- Back on escitalopram due to job change/anxiety

2022- Severe covid infection- Diagnosed with long covid 08/22.

2023- 01/23- Long term disability approved for long covid.  Started taper under MD advice from 20mg: 11/23- 15mg. 2024- March-10mg. Started low dose naltrexone for long covid-5mg- terrible reaction, reduced to 0.5mg.  April- 10mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 1- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.0mg LDN. May 15- 9.0mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  June 12- 8.5mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  July 8- Brassmonkey micro taper started.  8.4mg escitalopram, 1.5mg LDN.  July 15- 8.3mg esc, 1.5mg LDN.  July 18 8.3mg esc, 2.0mg LDN

 

Supplements/other meds: Vitamin D, B12, Claritin

 

I am not a doctor.  I don't even play one on TV.  This is not medical advice, but based on personal experience.  Please consult a medical professional.

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  • 2 weeks later...

By adverse effect of antidepressants and 2mg abilify, I have been suffering from sleep maintenance disorder.

 

 

I sleep only 3-4 hours at a time.

 

 

I have stopped all antidepressants from March, (abilify which I suspect that caused my insomnia, stopped it from this year)

but no improvement so far

 

 

 

I searched dozens of cases like me, some of them never recovered and I’m so afraid. 

 

 

Only wave was one night 3 weeks ago, suddenly managed to sleep 7 hours, that’s all. 

 

 

Broken sleep again and I’m frustrated so much. 

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped, seems like no withdrawal but lasting side effects

2024.3 drug free

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  • KenA changed the title to goodsleep: Insomnia never go away
  • Administrator

Hi GoodSleep,

I've move your new post back here. Please keep updating this thread.

 

Best wishes, Emonda

Please don't send me PMs. I am not a doctor. My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

Start of taper: Jan ’22 Vortioxetine 15mg, 

End year 1: 4.5mg, 

End year 2: 2.38mg, 

Year 3: 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg, 29 Feb 2.15mg, 7 Mar 2.10mg, 14 Mar 2.06mg, 21 Mar 1.99mg, 10 Apr 1.95mg, 17 Apr 1.91mg, 24 Apr 1.87mg, 1 May 1.83mg, 23 May 1.80mg, 30 May 1.76mg, 8 Jun 1.72mg, 13 Jun 1.66mg, 3 Jul 1.62mg, 10 Jul 1.58mg, 17 Jul 1.54mg

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Hi, anyone here experienced sleep maintenance insomnia due to 2mg abilify or antidepressants?

 

 

I’ve suffering from insomnia induced by adverse effects of drugs

 

 

It’s been nearly 7 months stopping drugs but nothing really improves and I’m crying right now

 

There’s no doctor who understands this and I feel so alone in this battle

 

This happens everyday, no matter how tired I am

 

 

Only wave (or mere luck) was 3 weeks ago, when I managed to sleep 7 hours straight, 

 

 

but things came back to broken sleep again. 

 

 

 

I feel so much pain…

 

 

I stopped almost everything in my life for this…

 

 

 

Anyone know about this?

2022.4 prozac 5mg, abilify 1mg for one week - stopped 
2023.5-2023.5 brintellix 20mg, abilify 2.5mg, quetapine 50mg, lorazepam2mg - stopped, seems like no withdrawal but lasting side effects

2024.3 drug free

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  • Administrator

Hello goodsleep,

I have moved your latest post back to your own topic.

 

Please do not start new topics for yourself each time you post.

 

I'd go back and read the post from Catwoman73.

 

It's not nice...I know.

 

Best wishes

Please don't send me PMs. I am not a doctor. My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

Start of taper: Jan ’22 Vortioxetine 15mg, 

End year 1: 4.5mg, 

End year 2: 2.38mg, 

Year 3: 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg, 29 Feb 2.15mg, 7 Mar 2.10mg, 14 Mar 2.06mg, 21 Mar 1.99mg, 10 Apr 1.95mg, 17 Apr 1.91mg, 24 Apr 1.87mg, 1 May 1.83mg, 23 May 1.80mg, 30 May 1.76mg, 8 Jun 1.72mg, 13 Jun 1.66mg, 3 Jul 1.62mg, 10 Jul 1.58mg, 17 Jul 1.54mg

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