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Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

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Irvingkirsch

Here is my theory! I believe sleep to be soo important for our health, I remember until recently I always slept at least 8 hours and sometimes 10 hours! I believe we must get our sleep back to normal! From reading on this forum even amongest the people who have been off of prozac for more then 5 years some of them are only getting 5 or 6 hrs of sleep! and the quality is still questionable! I find that completely unacceptible! I hypothesis that overtime not getting enough sleep is more damaging then being on an anti-depressent. So here is what I propose! 1) perhaps for long-term anti depressent users like myself and many other on this forum (10 years or more) we might have to accept the fact that our brain have been permanently damaged by prozac. and that the neuro transmitters are so unbalanced the only way we can balance it is to go back on a low dose of anti-depressent. 2) the reason for a low dose is two fold, number one minimum side effect, and number 2 to promote sleep. 3) number three i believe it is possible for us long term users to stay at that low dose and be happy, because we have developed so many skills overtime to deal with depression and that we don't need the higher doses to feel the same! 4) I also recommend supplementing with 5 htp if you are using ssri, or tyrosine if you are using wellbutrin type drugs! This is my proposal! For me i have two goals right now, to get back my libido and for my body to function normally, and right now I am not using any anti-depresent, but if i can't get my sleep back to normal, I am seriously considering the above opinions, because I believe overtime sleep is more important! Also not getting enough sleep decreases testosterone overtime!

 

Hi, I know this post is old and I don't know if you still post here, but you have the exact same theory I do and the exact same problem it seens. I have been on AD's for 23 years and about 7 years ago I developed insomnia that has persisted until this day and has ruined my life. There were no medication changes 7 years ago. I had been drinking heavily prior to this point in time 7 years ago and really haven't gone more than a few months without a drink since. Did you ever have a drinking problem? Is it possible that maybe we just need a break from drinking for a couple years and in fact it's alcohol that damaged our brains and not AD's. I read a reputable study that showed that former alcoholics who develop sleep problems do not show improvement in sleep problems until they have remained sober for 1 to 3 years

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Christian

Are you suggesting once someone who drinks a lot quits he can come down with insomnia shortly after ?

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Irvingkirsch

Are you suggesting once someone who drinks a lot quits he can come down with insomnia shortly after ?

 

 

Yeah, there are large studies that have followed people that were alcoholics and at some point many of these people develop insomnia because the repeated alcohol abuse screws up their ability to sleep properly. 

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uncomfortablynumb

I finally got maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep last night without meds! This is not much to celebrate but it is a lot better than zero or 1 hour. I took an Epsom salt bath at 11p and took the following supplements - whey protein shake, AOR ortho-sleep, 200mg mag glycinate, 500mg taurine, a multivitamin, and Advil pm.

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Christian

Nice work. Just curious do you take the multi vitamin before bed. If it has the B vitamins in there it could be keeping you up. I recently stopped my morning dose of the multi vitamin as a result of being more stimulating

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uncomfortablynumb

I no longer take a high potency MV. I usually take it in the morning. I switched things up and I got sleep. So, I dunno. Weird. It has very low b vitamins. I can only hope that I can string a few days where I get at least 2 hours sleep. That would be nice progress.

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Xavier

After years of struggle between 5 and 6h30 sleep night, now I manage to sleep up to 8-9 hours per night though the sleep has very poor quality. But if I try to work out, I'm always punished : the insomnia comes back even if exercising in the morning. Did you experience the same issue ?

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uncomfortablynumb

I have gone another 5 straight nights with no sleep. When does the body's protective mechanism kick in? Has anyone else had this feeling like being constantly wired without an off switch? I am dying to feel the natural tired feeling. Are there any folks out there who have experienced such extreme insomnia? And ppl with similar drug use history?

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Christian

I was wired all day. For the last week it's only at bed time I'm wired and the rest of the day I'm fatigued. I've had insomnia for two months. I know yours is longer and I'm sorry. Let me ask you. Does insomnia effect your concentration ? I'm trying to determine if that's related to the lack of sleep or another part of WD.

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uncomfortablynumb

Hi Christian,

How bad is your insomnia? Lack of sleep definitely makes concentration more difficult. Whenever I am lucky enough to get any sleep I can think and function a lot better. Have you come across any members who have cold turkied or fast tapered and recovered from severe insomnia?

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Christian

It's bad. 3-4 hours but with sleep meds. And that's a worse sleep I'm sure

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Christian

Most people didn't make that mistake like us. Try Coldturkeymomma? I know I've come across members that quit CT and are doing better now. Within a year too. When did you quit? Do you have other symptoms ?

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JanCarol

My new favorite sleep aid, Max Richter's "Sleep":  

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/max-richters-sleep-the-longest-continuous-piece-of-music-broadcast-by-the-bbc-10502454.html

 

8 hours of beautiful, droning, classical music, designed for sleep.

 

I don't know how much research he did into time in theta, delta, REM, but every time I hear it, it is so pleasurable, sweet, drowsy, like a musical massage to put me to sleep.

 

The CD's for the complete series (I recommend this) are expensive - but - I'll bet you've spent more on supplements!

 

I was lucky enough to catch the BBC broadcast on the AussieBC, and just happening to have a home studio, managed to catch most of it.   (ssssh!)  When I hear it, I remember staying up all night one night (naughty) to get as much of it without interruption as possible, and the beauty of this music unfolding.

 

Right now, it is the only "sleepy" music I want.  (sorry Enya)

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Christian

Hi Christian, How bad is your insomnia? Lack of sleep definitely makes concentration more difficult. Whenever I am lucky enough to get any sleep I can think and function a lot better. Have you come across any members who have cold turkied or fast tapered and recovered from severe insomnia?

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Christian

And to answer your question again yes. There are stories all over the site. Insomnia going away as early as 3 months. Sometimes it lingers for a year. I've communicated with them. They probably haven't seen this post as they are catching up on z's. The stories we read on the site are the ones who are really struggling. Like we are right now. The ones that improve in a shorter amount of time don't come to the site as much. That's my opinion.

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uncomfortablynumb

Hi Christian,

 

3-4 hours is also what I was getting when I tried sleep aids like zopiclone.  My once a week Ativan gives me like 6-7 but I have to take a very high dose (2mg).  And the sleeps are not refreshing, it is like coming out of general anesthesia or a concussion.  

 

I quit the Effexor back in April 2015.  In July, I had depression and anxiety come roaring back.  Weird I didn't have the insomnia, dizziness, and light and sound sensitivity then. I have come off meds a few others times without the severe withdrawal either.  I went back on Effexor for a couple months in August/September and it didn't help, so I got off again in October.   That is when all the withdrawal-like symptoms quickly started.   So, I have been experiencing all this crap 4 or 5 months.   

 

Although the insomnia is the worst symptom,  I have a laundry list of other problems - loss of motivation, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, trouble thinking and conversing, little to no joy/pleasure in my usual activities, social anxiety, dizziness (this symptom that isn't quite as bad as it was). brain zaps (not as intense and frequent), sound sensitivity, visual sensitivity and dream-like vision.

 

I went a whole week with no sleep last week.  And my Ativan didn't work for the first time.  I was at the end of my rope, so my doctor got me to try Remeron again.  I feel defeated and feel like it is a step back but it is helping me get sleep.  The plan is to stabilize on a low dose of this and VERY slowly wean off. I wish I knew about withdrawal years ago.    

 

There are members on here who have had pretty awful insomnia for years.  I can't imagine having to wait a couple years only to get 3-4 hours sleep.  

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uncomfortablynumb

I have read that magnolia bark and the other herb in relora can be effective for sleep onset and sleep maintenance. Anyone try it?

Edited by KarenB
merged similar topics

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Petunia

Yes, I tried it during my earlier withdrawal days, when I was much worse than I am now. I was looking back through my thread, trying to find where I wrote about it, but it may have been before I found this site, this was all I could find by using Google, but I can't find where I wrote it... "The last two things I tried Relora and Seriphos, certainly had effects, the Relora put me into a kind of drugged, depressed sleep and the Seriphos did something, but it went paradoxical very fast. "

 

From my fuzzy memory, I know it had an effect on me, but I think I was trying it to combat my awful morning cortisol effect, not so much to help with sleep at night. I vaguely remember that I took it in the morning and found myself laying on the couch all day, unable to move feeling very fatigued and depressed, which was the opposite of what I wanted to be feeling during the day.

 

It might be more helpful at night, you could try it, maybe start with a small dose to see how it will effect you. All vitamins, herbs and supplements can cause paradoxical effects in a nervous system sensitized by withdrawal.

 

If you do try it, please report back here with your results.

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KarenB

merged similar topics

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leahy

 

Sleep seems to be such an important factor to getting through this ordeal. There appears to be a link between sleep and withdrawal symptoms. If you search online for ‘sleep deprivation’ you will notice that the symptoms are very similar. I’m not sure which causes which. Perhaps it’s a chicken and egg situation. Is insomnia just another withdrawal symptom? Or, is sleep deprivation the key that unlocks the door to hell and releases all the other withdrawal demons? I have no idea, and probably neither does anyone else.
 
What I do know is that if I can string together a few nights of decent sleep I feel so much more functional, less anxious and more energetic. And, on the flipside, if I have a few nights of poor sleep, things will turn very bad very quickly. In fact, during every one of my failed CT attempts it was the acute insomnia and the accompanying deterioration of my mind and body that finally forced me to reinstate. 
 
It does seem very common for us SSRI refugees to suffer from insomnia. Virtually all of us have had difficulty getting to or staying asleep. I would be interested to know others experiences with sleep and their symptoms, especially how it affects windows and waves. Do you sleep more during windows? Do you sleep less during waves? 

 

Dan,

 

This an excellent description of my struggle with insomnia and withdrawal. No sleep - bad wave. When I can sleep I feel good and I can experience joy. Not sleeping is awfully downward spiral. I honestly have not figured this out. The past couple of months I was sleeping well. I was falling asleep normally. Now insomnia is back and I'm a mess.

 

Yes. I felt good and I probably cut too much because I felt good. I thought there was a change and I could handle cutting back on meds. Now I am being punished once again for trying to withdraw from medication. I feel so sick. Sometimes I feel hopeless.

 

Thanks for putting this ordeal into words for me.

 

Leahy

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btdt

8 years 4 months post cold turkey Effexor and whatever else I was taking at the time to treat effexor side effects and pooped out effects.... 

 

I still have times where my sleep is just not going to happen it dances around a lot like Invisible Useless I also have times where I sleep I just go to bed and sleep and almost take it for granted...almost but not really cause I am generally making up for days I did not sleep well properly or for any amount of time to count. 

 

I also have broken sleep I can sleep 2 hours here and 2 hours there... and I did wait for years to get 4 hours sleep in a row... but do have times where I can sleep 4-6 hours at a stretch for a wk or a month those are the best of time .. those are the times you will see me post something and think I am kind of smart then there are the other days where I look like an imbecile- no sleep or not enough... I know cause I see those posts when I have had some sleep.

 

Now I try to spare you all and not post when I can't sleep but I do slip at times

peace all

sweet dreams  

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leahy

Thanks, BTDT. I slept last night - all night. I wonder sometimes is it because I was so tired after a week of not sleeping much. I hope I sales again tonight and this is a new trend. Yea - good luck with that, Leahy!

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stan

before tapering i slept very well 9 hours per night

since 7 years off meds, i sleep 3/4 hours per day, always bad nightmares, i sleep from 6 am morning  to 10 morning, sleeping night is finished since 7 years, no progress, seem permanent, and as i have prostate problems, i awake every hour or 40 minutes to pee a little

if i want to sleep night, i cannot, no sleep

and as i have back pains, often have to sleep sitting, or else chest forarms spine very severe pains

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Persephone

Here is my two cents on sleeping in total darkness: 

 

I recently put up blackout curtains because of migraines. I used blackout curtain liner from the fabric store and duct tape. (What can I say? I was desperate.) I also removed all electronic devices, except my husband's CPAP machine and my sunrise alarm clock. For those I covered the displays with heavy black felt.

 

I managed to get complete darkness in the room. As in eyes open, eyes closed, no difference.

 

At first, I felt like I had more trouble sleeping because I kept opening my eyes to check it out. Plus for a couple of nights I woke up in the middle of the night, when usually I don't. BUT in the morning I felt more refreshed, and was easily able to get out of bed. I also had a lot more energy during the day than I usually do.

 

The odd thing is that I didn't think I had a sleep problem because I always fell asleep quickly and slept for a long time.  But I was also always tired and it was hard to get up in the morning.

 

It has made such a difference in my life that I feel I have to proselytize!  ;)

 

I am slowly making blackout curtains, but it is bit trickier to get the total darkness because the curtains are a few inches away from the window. I have some tricks in mind, though, to make it functional and beautiful!

 

Complete darkness is the important bit.

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nz11

Do people think this broken sleep thing will resolve in time or are we stuck with this like for the balance of our earthly existence.

(Didn't want to use the 'p' word).

 

I would like to hear from a long term user who is now 10+ yrs drug free say.

 

I can cope with anything as long as it doesnt have akathisia attached to it...so Im pretty patient as i know things could be worse....and believe you me they were...but at 5.5 yrs drug free it would be nice to see an improvement.

 

Plus when i wake up at 3 or 4am in the morning i seem to want to get up and eat something has anyone else felt like this?

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Meimeiquest

Have you read of GiaK/Monica's sleep adventures? Last I knew she was sleeping about seven hours, but that has been awhile. It might be helpful for you to check your blood sugar when you go to bed, when you wake up early and when you wake up normally (if that ever happens). From what I understand, reactive hypoglycemia about three a.m. Is pretty common. It causes cortisol to rise, and you know what that does....

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nz11

Thanks Meimei i'll have a read.

 

Later...

I think i found it ...

http://beyondmeds.com/2013/02/05/help-for-insomnia/

 

and later still....

 edit window still open so shall post this which i found in Giak's site

 

 

"So tired of never sleeping close to enough. Sleep does slowly come back. For a long, long time (years) it was 0-3 hrs a night, now it’s generally 4-6…I do expect it to continue to improve…that is why it’s good to communicate with those who’ve gone before us in this healing process. I know many others who’ve regained their sleep completely."

 

This is encouraging.

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Shep

Re-learning how to sleep is much harder than I thought after 30 years. Many of my symptoms are already getting better, but sleep is still elusive. 

 

I started taking melatonin three nights ago at .5 mg, like it's recommended in the melatonin thread.

 

Now I'm dealing with early awakening, around 2 am. I PMd Alto and she said there are several other supplements that could help for early awakening - glycine, taurine, and magnesium.

 

She also said I could try .25 mg extra melatonin if I awaken prior to 2 am (but no later than that) and to post on this insomnia thread.

 

So I'll post my questions here: 

 

1. Is it better to go a few weeks or even months working with one supplement before adding anything else?

 

I have no background in supplements and I'm finding them to be confusing and expensive, so I thought maybe I'd work with the melatonin timing and dose, letting it get as high as 2 mg and no more due to my compromised CNS. Since you have to give any changes 3 or 4 days, I'm thinking that it will get very confusing to add in additional supplements, as they will need additional days use to gage effectiveness. 

 

2. Does anyone have any insight into the best way to gage when it's a good time to add in another supplement? Or which one such as glycine, taurine, and magnesium to add? I'm able to fall asleep with melatonin, but not able to stay asleep. 

 

Thanks to anyone who can help me with this. It may be all individual trial and error, but I thought I'd ask. 

 

 

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leahy

I am working on this very same thing, Shep. I can't say what helps yet. But I am trying the things you mention. I always take magnesium.

 

Since you are isolating melatonin, I am wondering how you feel the next day after taking melatonin? Do you feel more rested or better rested?

 

Sometimes melatonin helps me, sometimes it doesn't. I feel hungover most of the time - the feeling go not getting good sleep. It's hard to tell what helps because I feel sick from not sleeping no matter what else I do.

 

I've added taurine again and did not use melatonin last night and slept pretty well...

 

I'm not saying this is the case that taurine works better for me than melatonin. So far this is a one night experience.

 

L

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Shep

Hi, leahy.  I'm happy to hear you had a good night's sleep with taurine. 

 

I'm feeling really tired, but I'm not sure it's the melatonin. It's just my third night, so I guess I do need to give it more time.

 

I fear the tiredness may be a bit of depression, so I'm being very mindful of this.

 

I hope the taurine continues to work for you, as sleep is so important. 

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apace41

Recent addition to this club that I don't want to be a member of. Was sleeping fine after a 2 year taper off klonopin followed with a taper from 100 Zoloft at end of 2014 to 25 now. Had a few glitches in restarting my taper after a 4 month hold and I've just been hit with awful insomnia. I'm on my 4th consecutive night of no sleep. Every time I start to nod off I get a combination of a muscle twitch (could be stomach, foot, arm, etc.) and a wave of anxiety that wakes me again. This is very challenging and has come out of the blue. I'm hoping that once the taper glitches even out I can restabilize and this issue goes back where it came from but I know that I'm also adding second fear to the mix as I am afraid of not sleeping each night.

 

A few more nights like this and I'm afraid I will lose it.

 

Andy

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Shep

I'm sorry you're in the insomnia club, Andy, but it sounds like you're psyching yourself out.

 

Sleep will come. I just posted on your Intro with a link to one of the mindfulness threads because that's what I used to help with the "fear" part of insomnia.

 

Insomnia is one of the worst symptoms of withdrawal because it makes all of the other symptoms so much worse. It's a "haunted" type of symptom because it really can mess with your head. 

 

I'm "haunted" that I won't be able to work, to function, to survive. But that's never happened and I've had really bad insomnia for 2 years now. It's slowly getting better and yours probably won't be as bad because you've been a lot smarter than I was and you've done a slow taper.  I'm still struggling, but I do know that giving into the fear makes it that much worse. 

 

Give yourself time to stabilize from those "glitches" and incorporate as much self-care as possible. I've been on this site and on benzos sites and I've seen a LOT of people go through long stretches of insomnia and make it through just fine. 

 

Hang in there. 

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apace41

Here's an interesting article on the benefits of mindfulness for sleep disturbances in antidepressant use.  Not sure if it's been posted but fairly compelling.

 

http://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/332755

 

Andy

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Help777

How long did your insomnia last? I am implementing these suggestions, but just wondering how long the intense insomnia lasted for others?

Thanks for sharing.

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grandmaD

I've been doing a slow taper since 2011 @5% every 6-12 weeks and for that year insomnia was occasional

2012 was a 2.5% taper every 6-12 weeks and was occasional

2013 was a 2.5% taper every 6 - 12 weeks and was once a week

2014 was a 2.5% taper every 6 - 12 weeks and was once a week occasionally twice

2015 was a 2.5% taper every 6-16 weeks and was almost twice a week

2016 was a 2.5% taper every 8 weeks and is now regularly 3 times a week and occasionally 4 times

 

Each year gets worse for insomnia.

 

I can be awake anything from 1 to 4 hours.

 

My sleeping pattern for several years now has been that it takes 2 hours to get to sleep and I wake up every 2 hours.  When it gets to around 1 or 2am it gets harder to get back to sleep and when I wake at 3 or 4am it is often impossible. 

 

I average about 6 hours sleep on a good night and 4 on the bad nights.

 

This current drop averaged 3 nights each week but week 3 of the drop saw 5 nights of insomnia and week 4 of the drop I had 4 nights of insomnia.

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