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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sarafino's Avatar
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    Anxiety and Insomnia

    Not sure which came first, but I seem to be stuck in a horrible pattern now. I have been stressed out for about 6-8 months with my own degenerative disability and my able bodied husband going through some scarey medical stuff of his own. He seems to be getting to the other side of his stuff while I am stuck in anxiety mode and it is destroying my sleep. I have had to have prescription meds for sleep for the last 20 or so years. For the last decade a cocktail of 100 mg Trazodone, 10 mg Ambien, and 3 mg of Melatonin worked like a charm. Now it seems to have quit me, I had my doctor switch me to Lunesta and it doesn't seem to be working either. I took 1/2 of a Valium the last few nights which helps me initially fall asleep but I still wake up after a few hours. Now I can't even tell if I am exhausted, anxious, depressed, despondent.....etc. I am so messed up. I take 100 mg of Zoloft in the mornings, and have been on it 20 years. I am wondering if it has quit me too?

  2. #2
    Stopping Ambien after long term use can often cause insomnia to worsen. Ambien increases levels of the neurotransmitter GABA which slows down brain activity and helps you fall asleep. It can take a while for the natural cycle of sleep-wake to return as your body adjusts to not having the Ambien.

    There's a newer sleep drug called "Belsomra" by Merck that was approved in 2014. It's not without controversy itself though: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b093be51bc7b0f

    Are all of your medications being prescribed by the same doctor? If not, please let the one you trust most know everything you take and have them check for potential drug interactions.

  3. #3
    I had a little trouble falling asleep before my accident. I could be physically exhausted, but my mind would race. It could take almost an hour or more to fall asleep. Sometimes I would go from the bed to our living room couch and within 5 minutes I would be asleep.

    After the accident I told my doctor in the hospital that I would need something to fall asleep because I knew my mind would really be racing. While in the hospital and at home for quite a few months I was on Resteral(?). My doctor told me during the cold war era it was used as a truth serum. This seemed to do ok, but after awhile it would only help me fall asleep, but I wouldn't stay asleep. I then tried Ambien, joking with my doctor, saying maybe I'll get one of the side effects, walking. After 2 nights of vivid dreams I stopped that. I then started taking 10 mg of valium just before bed and that worked well for quite a few years. During that time I did try the Belsomra, but after about a week I stopped that because I found it was not doing anything for me. Ibuprofen, 400 mg, worked better.

    In 2014 I stopped taking valium because of the long term effects of memory loss as well as becoming hypersensitive to all opium based products. Since then it is back to a nightly struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. For now I cannot take the ibuprofen because of cervical fusion, C4 and C5. So....I'm open to suggestions.

    As for you, Sarafin, being on those medications for so long it is quite possible they are not doing anything and you're using them out of habit. Stopping any medication after that long is going to have some impact on your body. I think regardless of a medication saying that it is non-habit forming, after 20 years of taking it the body is going to notice it missing. It is also very possible that it is not doing anything and you're taking it out of habit. My opinion.
    DaDutchman
    C5/C6 since 2007 due to car accident

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sarafino's Avatar
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    I have a dr appt on Thursday, we'll see where that goes. I will sleep ok, have a good day, then sleep ok and have a day on the couch being a zombie. Looks like today is a zombie day. I thought I slept ok, but my brain says otherwise. I even got outside and pushed myself a mile and a half yesterday, didn't help me sleep. I am beyond frustrated. Dealing with being disabled is hard enough without this being piled on. I am almost totally incapacitated by it.

  5. #5
    No true advice. Going through the same issues here. Also watching the hubby suffer bad pain from things falling apart with no insurance to help. I hate it especially needing his physical help so much right now.

  6. #6
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    Insomnia suggestions

    I too deal daily with anxiety and my sleep has been off for months. In my case, we know it's the increased pain that's the biggest problem. I am chemically hypersensitive, so we are very careful with meds. Ambien gave me awful hallucinations. For a while, Flexeril helped a lot, but I developed blood sugar issues. I know some people benefit from Baclofen, but it actually increased my pain. Just to remind you, I'm not a health professional, just related to a family of them and I read a lot. 😉

    I'm sure you've tried loads of other things like drinking chamomile tea, meditation, calming lights or music? I use a sound machine at night and if my eyes can handle it, I read a bit. After that, I put on a show I find calming on my Kindle. I like Bob Ross; he's on Amazon now if you have that. I've also watched The Great British Bake Off or QI, but everyone is different. I know someone who relaxes by watching baseball! I know many docs say don't do things in bed that could keep you up, but with insomnia, especially with an anxiety component, I think you have to do what works for you.

    Though many may scoff, a stuffed animal can help to hug. When my anxiety was really bad, I used to freeze limes or mandarin oranges (The former is cheaper.) then take them out and hold them when I was having an episode. They helped a lot. Some people benefit from counting backwards from 100; that never really worked for me. You can also try doing sums in your head, unless that's too frustrating. The last one I'll suggest helped when I could write better; I wrote down all items in my room beginning with the letter A and proceed through the alphabet. This one is simple and requires little thought and I found it worked after a while. I hope you get some relief soon!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sarafino's Avatar
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    So here is my update. I had a sleep study and it turns out I have sleep apnea. I have been on a cpap machine for about two weeks and it's making a big difference as far as how I feel the next day. I am still on all the sleep meds, tho. Under the advice of a psychiatrist I am going to slowly cut back on them, one med at a time, over a period of months and see if the cpap is all I need, or if the meds are needed. Personally I think I need the meds to deal with anxiety and depression, but we will see. For now my sleep is much improved.

    Lemur Wheels, I have a rice sock for my comfort item, even in the summer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarafino View Post
    So here is my update. I had a sleep study and it turns out I have sleep apnea. I have been on a cpap machine for about two weeks and it's making a big difference as far as how I feel the next day. I am still on all the sleep meds, tho. Under the advice of a psychiatrist I am going to slowly cut back on them, one med at a time, over a period of months and see if the cpap is all I need, or if the meds are needed. Personally I think I need the meds to deal with anxiety and depression, but we will see. For now my sleep is much improved.

    Lemur Wheels, I have a rice sock for my comfort item, even in the summer
    I am so happy to hear about your progress! My father has sleep apnea as well. He found the CPAP made a huge difference too, although he does still take some meds for sleep; I know he was able to cut back significantly. Good luck with everything!

    I'm curious: was the sleep study rough? Since sleep apnea runs in the family, it's recommend I do a study, but I've been worried about anxiety there and all the stress involved trying to sleep somewhere new. (I have a hard enough time in the comfort of my home, you know?) Do you mind sharing a bit about it?

  9. #9
    They (doctors) cannot even cure sleep problems. It is a huge problem for sci people and others. My sleep is better but will never be good or normal. always feel burnt out. It is all very sad and for some reason just adds to the burden. I think our bodies go through phases with more daylight and that keeps us awake more than in winter. When I get really tired now I rest and usually fall asleep, which is an improvement as sleeping naturally has not been easy for me since this injury took me out. Anxiety and depression are just part of the picture.
    For a long time I did not know whether to sh t or go blind. Not that much fun but that is how I felt and still do everyday.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarafino View Post
    Not sure which came first, but I seem to be stuck in a horrible pattern now. I have been stressed out for about 6-8 months with my own degenerative disability and my able bodied husband going through some scarey medical stuff of his own. He seems to be getting to the other side of his stuff while I am stuck in anxiety mode and it is destroying my sleep. I have had to have prescription meds for sleep for the last 20 or so years. For the last decade a cocktail of 100 mg Trazodone, 10 mg Ambien, and 3 mg of Melatonin worked like a charm. Now it seems to have quit me, I had my doctor switch me to Lunesta and it doesn't seem to be working either. I took 1/2 of a Valium the last few nights which helps me initially fall asleep but I still wake up after a few hours. Now I can't even tell if I am exhausted, anxious, depressed, despondent.....etc. I am so messed up. I take 100 mg of Zoloft in the mornings, and have been on it 20 years. I am wondering if it has quit me too?
    I am very sorry you are struggling so much. As I'm sure you know and others have said, you can certainly build up tolerance to meds of any kind, especially ones that work on the GABA receptors. It sounds like the situation is complicated by your husband's struggles. Have you tried dietary modifications? No sugar and no white flour often benefits those of us with dopamine issues. Also, caffeine intake can effect a body more than most people realize. Staying hydrated is paramount as well. You have to find the right balance for you; for some, removing caffeine completely is best, whilst others just limit their intake or when they consume it. These kind of adjustments take time and patience before you benefit, but speaking from experience, you can learn a lot about your body with perseverance. If you haven't already, you may want to consider trying one or all of the above. I've also been working on meditation. I find it helpful. It doesn't need to be "by the book" either; sometimes I just roll outside with my pup to a shady area and sit. I breathe and just watch the bees pollinate the flowers, feel the breeze and just BE in the moment. It may help you if you don't already have a practice. I know that also takes perseverance, but I think it's good for the mind and body. 😁

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