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

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Petunia

I'm a good example of WD insomnia improving and then disappearing completely, along with your correct assessment of why there are so few posts about improvement and recovery.

 

During my worst, acute period between 2012 -  2013 I was barely getting 1 - 2 hours of broken sleep a night. Some nights I would doze off for a few seconds and then be startled awake, only to have the cycle repeat over and over all night long.

 

My ability to sleep properly has recovered slowly in a windows and waves kind of pattern, with it being disrupted by a variety of changing symptoms through the process.

 

Today, I can say that its 99% back to normal. Sleep is wonderful and restorative again and I never need to take anything to induce its onset. I reserve that 1% for the rare waves that I'm still getting from time to time and because I'm still sensitive to stress and some substances and these will also temporarily effect my ability to get a good night sleep.

 

I'm also an example of your correct assessment that when people start to get better, they visit the site less and therefore, don't post their increasingly more positive experiences or continue to document their ongoing recovery process.

 

You may have already seen it, but here is the link to our sleep topic:  Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

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DrugfreeProf

My daughter, Lexi (Lex1992) had HORRIBLE insomnia early in withdrawal. In fact, it was one of her first symptoms, which was followed by a cascade of many other terrible symptoms, which at this point have abated to a large degree, except for some anxiety and cognitive symptoms. In other words, in many ways, she is much better, but she is still not back to normal functioning. In any event, her insomnia, which was absolutely total for at least a month if not much longer, has now pretty much gone away completely. She is sleeping entire nights, sometimes 10 - 12 or more hours, although from time to time that block of sleep moves from nighttime to daytime!  Right now, her sleep is sound and pretty normal!  So yes, there is hope for relief from withdrawal-related insomnia!

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AliG

I was the worst case in terms of sleep. I had long term WD insomnia for 2 years.  I had the odd doze on the lounge but it was brutal with no relief for a long time . I sometimes managed to get a couple of hours sleep during the day when the exhaustion would finally overtake me.

 

I'm now sleeping normally . My improvement was quite sudden really. There is really no other explanation for my insomnia except withdrawal. I'm 99% improved but still have the odd sleepless night every now and then.  Having said that , I feel I'm over it and I usually sleep  approximately 7- 8 hours nightly.

 

I feel I'm doing better than most who haven't even had W/D , and I don't use any sleep aids including natural supplements. I had some success with Melatonin for a period of time but I didn't want to become reliant on it so only took it sporadically. I do feel it helped me at the time.

 

I know I get real restorative non - drug sleep now but it's been a challenge getting there. I was determined to avoid drugs of any kind.

 

Have I healed ?  I believe that I have and everyone can. It mostly takes time and patience.

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Daisies24

Petunia, DrugfreeProf, and AliG, thank you so, so much for sharing your stories of recovery and hope on this thread. Those of us still suffering with this symptom so need to hear these!

 

Catnapt, I am so sorry you are going through this. I do hope that these stories will give you some hope and encouragement. My insomnia actually began when I started Prozac in May of 2016, and when it did not resolve, I quit taking it in July, thinking that would fix everything quickly. But, the insomnia has been ongoing since.

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Cookson

Close too my heart this one. You can only really judge it on an individual basis and how uniquely screwed up your nervous system is. I'm sorry too have too say that, Probably not very comforting too hear eh? What I can give you is a cast iron guarantee that it will get better but it's going too take time and patience.

You must be kind and forgiving too yourself.

When this all began for me after putting my nervous system through the ringer beacause I thought I was indestructible doing very naugthy things too it my sleep was absolutely destroyed. My sleep had done a Dorothy and said goodbye too Kansas. I'd go two days without sleep regularly and even when I did I'd only get a few hours at a time.

I drank heavily every night for a month just too knock me out completely which just exacerbated symptoms making me worse off! I'd dread the entire day about bedtime knowing that I woud not be able too sleep and when attempting too sleep the horrid HORRID feelings of disassociation and terror you know I can't even give it the justice with words it was bad.

And now, besides a hiccup recently, 99% of the time I can fall asleep with ease. Best advice I can can give you you is you must be as relaxed. For me, I had too try too clear my mind completely. Feelings and even thoughts were stimulating! What worked for me well back then was melatonin and a hopps/valerian mix.

Rest as much as you can and stay strong.

What was especially problematic for me at bedtime was I had trouble entering R.E.M. I found myself constantly stuck in R.H.M which my doctor diagnosed as rapid hand movement syndrome and that it was a chronic condition. Gotta have a sense of humour through all of this. It's kept me going.

All the best

Cookson

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Mimi11

Thank god for you Cookson and your sense of humour! I laughed so hard reading your intro in another thread. Please keep posting and making us (me) laugh. I need it. This is such a crazy journey. I'm here for you too! Although, not quite as funny as you are...but I try ;)

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Altostrata

We have many people who recovered from withdrawal insomnia. I had it myself for quite a while.

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Daisies24

Cookson and Altostrata, thanks for the replies! Do you mind my asking how long each of you experienced the insomnia? Mine actually started while I took the medication, and only worsened when I went off. It's been almost a year of this. 

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UnfoldingSky

I'm having sleep difficulties lately, I am all over the place, sometimes I can sleep long periods, other times I wake up midway through the night and can't get back to sleep.  I'm finding this hypnosis video to be helpful though when I recall to use it:

 

 

It's also great as an active "change the channel" program, I had a massive stressor lately and it's all I can do to think about anything other than what happened, when I put this on though I can stop focusing on it so much.  Oddly I don't even have to pay attention to what the speaker says to get benefits. 

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lobster

I'm a good example of WD insomnia improving and then disappearing completely, along with your correct assessment of why there are so few posts about improvement and recovery.

 

During my worst, acute period between 2012 -  2013 I was barely getting 1 - 2 hours of broken sleep a night. Some nights I would doze off for a few seconds and then be startled awake, only to have the cycle repeat over and over all night long.

 

My ability to sleep properly has recovered slowly in a windows and waves kind of pattern, with it being disrupted by a variety of changing symptoms through the process.

 

Today, I can say that its 99% back to normal. Sleep is wonderful and restorative again and I never need to take anything to induce its onset. I reserve that 1% for the rare waves that I'm still getting from time to time and because I'm still sensitive to stress and some substances and these will also temporarily effect my ability to get a good night sleep.

 

I'm also an example of your correct assessment that when people start to get better, they visit the site less and therefore, don't post their increasingly more positive experiences or continue to document their ongoing recovery process.

 

You may have already seen it, but here is the link to our sleep topic:  Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

Your sleep then sounds just like mine is now . very aggravating. I'm hoping mine improves soon .  

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Kestrel777

I am tapering off of Lexapro and have trouble finding more than three hours of sleep per night. This was the case before I started the drug also. I am dealing with a great deal of health related anxiety, financial anxiety and CPTSD. Getting help with all of the above but I feel that if I could get a good solid 4 for 5 hours of sleep that I could deal with life more successfully.

 

Recently I read that Benadryl has been found to contribute to dementia. It crosses the blood brain barrier. I used to take Benadryl 25mg for sleep no more than 3 times a week, about two weeks ago stopped after I discovered a link between the drug and back pain not to mention the dementia news. 

 

QUESTION: What can I take to help me relax and fall asleep? Any herbal teas? I have hot flashes several times in the early morning but I am used to them. I won't take hormones. Sleep is of utmost importance to me right now. Sleep is healing. 

 

I am starting a cardio routine 45 minutes a day now. I am practicing Mindfulness also each day. 

 

Your advice is greatly appreciated. 

 

Kestrel

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KarenB

You could look into a small amount of melatonin which some people do find helpful.  Have you tried all the sleep hygiene ideas in this thread?  

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uncomfortablynumb

In withdrawal is it normal to feel constantly wired? It is like I don't get sensations of being tired and drifting to sleep. I am feeling really sick from the insomnia - headache, nausea, weakness and muscle pain.

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uncomfortablynumb

I read through this list. I don't know what would fit the description. It is like constant, unrelenting adrenaline pumping but I am exhausted and mental functioning is becoming really difficult.

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uncomfortablynumb

My blood pressure is pretty low-ish 110/70 and HR is 70bpm. Not sure about cortisol levels. Maybe I could do an AM/PM test.

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AliG

UC.

I read through this list. I don't know what would fit the description. It is like constant, unrelenting adrenaline pumping but I am exhausted and mental functioning is becoming really difficult.

 

That sounds really normal in withdrawal. In fact it's a perfect description. You could do a cortisol test if you felt so inclined. It may be on the high side which is really no revelation. It's to be expected at this point. Maybe it will be better next year. I just had a full blood panel done - my only visit to the doctor and my cortisol has started to come right down from just a year ago.There have been many other improvements as well since I quit the drugs.

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uncomfortablynumb

Thanks AliG,

I am really having a rough time. I am desperate for some kind of relief because I am losing it now. I can only imagine what you went through. Psyc gave me three options - clonidine, seroquel, or to tough it out. The remeron reinstatement has not helped at all. I settled on 3.75mg for the past week but it hasn't helped at all.

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mFrustrated

I am having issues with waking up at 3am. I go back to sleep, but it takes a while and it's super annoying. I dealt with it right after my initial reaction to ssris, but it got better overtime. I've had a pretty long & hard wave recently and with that, came waking up in the middle of the night. Anyone have ideas on what I can do to help? It's more annoying than anything.

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ChessieCat

Have you checked out the links posted in Post #1 in this topic?  Have you read through this topic?

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Findingmyidentity

Hello all. I've been on Paxil for the last 11 years. I started at 20mgs, and then the last 6 years or so i go from 17mgs to about 15mgs. Recently i went down to 15mgs and got terrible insomnia and night twitching. Does this sound like a withdrawal effect or could this be my anxiety about reducing my dosage? Any thoughts? Thank you.

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JanCarol

Topics merged, from:  "Has anyone who suffered with severe insomnia for months from withdrawal, ever healed from it?" by Daisies24

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uncomfortablynumb

I am suffering horrific sleep deprivation. In the last 25 days, I have had only one night of a few hours of light sleep and the rest none or microsleeps that I am unaware of.  I don't even get the sleepy sensation.  

 

I am not taking any meds and trying to weather the storm. Nothing works anymore anyway.   My drug history is long and complicated and I am wondering if sleep returns even in messy situations like mine.  Really hard just hanging on right now.   

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DrugfreeProf

My daughter, Alex (Lex1992), had HORRIBLE, total insomnia for at least a month if not longer early in WD from Lexapro, shortly after the initial symptoms hit (she is still in protracted withdrawal). Then, when she was able to finally sleep a bit, she slept only in stops and starts. After several months, maybe 4-5 months after symptoms hit, she finally was able to sleep normally. She now sleeps like a champ.  My guess is that your insomnia, also, will level off and eventually remit, as the symptoms most definitely do change and morph over time, and many of them improve.

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uncomfortablynumb

Thanks DrugFreeProf, 

 

I need more reassurance like this. Your daughter is a tough cookie. It is hard to be hopeful when the situation is so extreme and doesn't show signs of improving. Wide awake wired and no change.  I am pretty sure the anxiety and depression would be much less if I was getting a little bit of sleep.   

It is amazing that the brain doesn't want to shut down after such a long time. I have this burning sensation in my brain that worries me.    

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DrugfreeProf

The thing is, remember, our brains and bodies are WIRED to sleep. The body knows what to do, and so does the brain, as part of their homeostatic drive and inner wisdom. Unfortunately, psychoactive drugs screw with the homeostasis, literally CAUSING the very imbalances they claim to correct.  Therefore, it takes the body and brain time to re-regulate and re-establish their homeostasis, their intended balanced condition.  You'll get there. At the very least, know that it's virtually impossible for a human being to go on indefinitely without falling asleep. Everything in your nervous system will, sooner or later, cry out for it.

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uncomfortablynumb

Hi DrugFreeProf,  

 

It just would be reassuring to know that this is not permanent. Feel like I am dying and cannot function at all.  I have been on and off so many drugs I wonder if my body even knows what homeostasis is anymore. It seems like the worst cases usually can still get at least an hour or two per night.  

Did your daughter feel totally wired and completely awake before getting better?  It is messed up my eyes don't get tired and I no longer have the sleepy sensation.  

I end up questioning if there is something else going on - hormonal, endocrine, psychological (maybe I am keeping myself awake with sleep anxiety or obsessing).  You would think though even if it was psychological I would still have sensations of being tired, but I don't know.   

This has been going on since January when I got off Remeron and all Hell broke loose. Reinstatement didn't work and a whole bunch of drugs were tried and failed one by one.   Ativan worked a bit at first but quickly turned on me.   

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Happy2Heal
6 hours ago, uncomfortablynumb said:

It just would be reassuring to know that this is not permanent. Feel like I am dying and cannot function at all.  I have been on and off so many drugs I wonder if my body even knows what homeostasis is anymore. It seems like the worst cases usually can still get at least an hour or two per night.  

Did your daughter feel totally wired and completely awake before getting better?  It is messed up my eyes don't get tired and I no longer have the sleepy sensation.  

 

 

hi, my insomnia is not as severe as yours but it was pretty bad at first, and has only gradually improved, however it HAS improved.

 

I too, don't get the sleepy feeling.

 I lay down and if I am lucky, and if my brain is occupied with something that interests me, I will be awake one minute and asleep the next- without ever having that feeling of drifting off to sleep

 

it is often hard to tell when I am awake and when I am asleep.

 

my sleep is very broken but it IS improving and I do believe that you will improve too. it's been painfully slow (all my other symptoms got better much faster)

I know it's super hard right now but you are going to get better.

 

you can see in my signature what I've done to help with the sleep issue.  mods here did NOT recommend that I take the low dose lamictal but I felt I needed to try it, as I'd been on it in the past and was at least somewhat familiar with it.

it was NOT a magic bullet, not by a long shot, but I do believe its made it possible for me sleep deeper and for somewhat longer periods of time (a couple of hours in a row, vs just 20 mins at a time before that)

 

I also added some glycine which seems to help me to sleep more deeply when I do fall asleep.

 

the first 60 to 90 mins of sleep that i get each night are, by far, my best. I have trouble getting back to sleep after that and wake up often but at least i am getting probably 3 to 4 hrs of sleep, sometimes a bit more, and on maybe 3 occasions, as much as almost 7 hrs (those were GREAT nights!)

 

so things should improve for you too. I know it's hard to believe.

 

I had to get to the point where I just didn't care any more if I slept or not, and just accepting the insomnia helped me to be able to get a bit more sleep.

 

i am trying now to tell myself that there is no reason why I can't sleep the whole night. My reasoning is that my thoughts about sleep may be a self fulfilling sort of thing: that is, I believe I can't sleep and so I don't.

 

I have no idea if changing my thinking about sleep will make any difference but I figure it's worth a shot, right?

 

all the best to you

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rupa

Hi uncomfortably numb

I am using olanzapine 5mg just for sleep.Though it is an antipsychotic it is working great for good nights sleep.

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scallywag

Hi rupa, thanks for sharing how you are dealing with sleep issues.  Just a reminder, we don't encourage getting a prescription for a new medication to treat the problems caused by another medication.  Said more simply, no drug recommendations. ;)

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uncomfortablynumb

Hi everyone, 

Thanks for your responses. I really don't want to any more drugs to this mess. I should have learned the first time when I got off Effexor and waited it out when that reinstatement didn't work. I was lead to so many drugs after that. Maybe I could have avoided this horrible situation if I had gone super-slow off the Remeron.   

 

I have heard low dose Lamictal can sometimes help. Also heard it is risky just like anything else and it would be another drug to eventually have to come off of. I haven't tried glycine but I may give it a shot.  In desperation, I also thought of Zyprexa but I have heard that it is super-difficult to come off with rebound insomnia.   However, I am happy for those who are doing well on the meds. I just think my brain is pretty much rejecting everything now. 

 

Last night I had my second night in 4 weeks of sleep other than microsleep. Hard to believe I am still alive. It was a couple hours of dream-filled non-restorative sleep. Am I to assume anything other than microsleep as progress?   I hope so.  

 

On top of the insomnia, I am dealing with paralyzing anxiety, depression to the point of anhedonia,  massive pressure headache that sometimes turns into stabbing, and GI pain. Trying to white-knuckle out of this Hell.  

 

 

 

 

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Happy2Heal

no words, just gentle (((((hugs))))

 

 

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Why

Hi. I'm sorry for you.

It must be terrible to sleep so little.

 

From my tapreing i didn't get insomnya, but instead delayed sleep cycle . Basically instead of sleeping the night i was sleeping the morning.

 

It lasted some months after last dosage cut, then it solved itself.

 

Now i'm sleeping normally from midnight to 9 am, even if sometimes i feel exhausted and i wake up at 10 :30 AM

.

 

I think it will improve with time for yourself too.

I would avoid any more drug, ESPECIALY neurleptics which are the most dangerous and damaging drug.

 

If you really need it, you could try some benzo, but be careful to use them in a stable way (always taking them at same time of the day ), for short period of times, and tapering them (gradual increase and decreases). And do not take short half-life benzos but mid and long-life instead

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uncomfortablynumb

Happy2Heal - thanks.   Need any support I can get right now. Family and friends have a hard time understanding what is going on and why it is taking me so long to get better.   They can't truly empathize. They seem to think severe insomnia is no big deal. I don't think some people would even be able to handle more than 10 days sleepless.   

 

Why -. It is weird what these drugs do to our sleep.   I can't even nap. There is absolutely no chance of sleep for me in the daylight. Think my body is just too sensitive to light and sound now.   

 

I can't do the occasional benzo anymore. I was intermittently taking Ativan but was dealing with interdose withdrawal.   I don't think starting and stopping meds again will do me any good. Benzo sleep became worse and worse over time and it wasn't restorative.   I regret taking anything after I got off Remeron. If I hadn't done drug trials and the Ativan, I might have seen some improvement by now.   It was pretty much a wasted 6 months.   

 

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