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lusia (@lusia)

Weaning off zolpidem (Ambien)

Sleep Health | Last Active: 2 days ago | Replies (328)

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Thank you so much for your comments. Up until recently, I have been content with my dependence on ambien. Before I started taking it, I would literally be dragging my butt through the day just looking forward to bed time. Ambien has indeed changed my quality of life and I don’t debate that. But my family has been on me to quit and have convinced me that I am in denial about my “addiction”. I have never read about anyone who does take ambien every day but would love some positive feedback from those who do. It might help me get over my issues. Again, thank you. I am going to rethink this decision.

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Replies to "Thank you so much for your comments. Up until recently, I have been content with my..."

I take Remeron as Ambien and a couple of other sleep only meds did not do the trick for me and I have no qualms about using it forever if necessary. I also take three other meds for my depression/anxiety and opiates for my pain. I never want to speak ill of anyone, but those who worry about your addiction; Are they content to spend every night that you are awake all night on the phone with you? I think I have overstated my viewpoint, but are there those out there who take Ambien or another prescription sleep medication that they would describe their experiences for us. Have you tried stopping due to dependence or some other reason? What difference has no longer being an insomniac made in your life? I would appreciate anyone else’s experience and views on this topic.

Hi, @arachel — I thought a few other members on Connect who’ve also talked about taking Zolpidem (Ambien) might have some insights for you on 1) needing to take Zolpidem (Ambien) or other medications every day to sleep and 2) family members commenting that you have an “addiction,” like @georgette12, @onewhoknows, @user_che69bc66,@johnhans, @pamelasa, @128128terry11t, @susanlorrie and @lauren123.

Where would you say you are at today regarding your decision on whether or not to keep taking the Zolpidem (Ambien)?

I’ve been taking Ambien since 1995. I cannot sleep without it. I absolutely do not care what anyone says about it, unless they come up with an alternative. Robbinr

Thanks, Lisa. I’ll take a look at the links you suggested. I appreciate the information.
Right now I will continue taking the ambien since I am in the process of weaning off of Effexor. I don’t think my body could handle withdrawal from two different drugs at the same time. I do, however, plan to do something about the ambien. I am going to see the sleep specialist tomorrow and see if he has any input on the matter. I’ll certainly check back with any progress.

It’s good to know that others have no qualms about continuing on Ambien. Have you had to increase your dosage at all during that time? I’m always afraid I’ll build up a resistance to the drug and it will stop working.

I’m up to 10 mg. I also supplement the Ambien with a couple of other “sleep inducing” drugs because it doesn’t work like it used to, but without it, I cannot get to sleep at all! It is kind of a chemical soup right now, but I am getting at least 5 hours a night. RR

Please do give us an update. I am particularly interested in his view of “addiction” to Ambien and any danger it poses. Good luck with your visit.

People are well meaning but can be inadvertently cruel with their comments. Ideally our bodies should be able to function without any drugs BUT we know that the vast majority of people need medication to help them be truly themselves — the best that they can be. Would anyone say to a person who needs insulin that he or she is addicted to it and must stop? Would they say that to a person who is taking heart medication? Of course not. Being able to get the necessary sleep helps us to function better and to be “our best”. We are fortunate if we are helped by medication; there are many who are not. I just moved from New York City where I know so many people who take ambien or other sleep aids and have done so for decades. Their internists, psychiatrists, and neurologists are the ones prescribing it for them. I take alprazolam and without it, I would be spending many sleepless nights. So what if one has to take medication to help with brain chemistry, emotional stability, sleep assistance or any other physical, mental, or emotional reason. Be grateful that these drugs work for you. Please don’t let other people’s words put you on a journey that may cause torment. Whether you are on these drugs or not, please always check with a trusted specialist as to what course is in your best interest. Terry

I posted this reply when I first started to withdraw from Effexor and looking forward to the day when I could eliminate ambien from my daily cocktail of drugs. After 6 months of gradual withdrawal from Effexor, I'm back on it. Severe withdrawal and decreased levels of serotonin are to blame. Therefore, I am still dependent on ambien for sleep. I don't know if I can even attempt an ambien withdrawal until and if I can get myself back to some sense of sanity from the effects of withdrawing from Effexor. I am very upset and depressed right now so I don't plan to change anything else right now.

I seem to recall that Effexor is very difficult to withdraw from. And I have friends that had severe withdrawal symptoms after skipping just a few days. I quit Effexor when it stopped being "Effective":} But I remember starting on Cymbalta at a low dose while reducing the Effexor. It does send one into a tailspin doesn't it? Have you ever tried 5-HTP? You might talk to your doc about it, if you are still talking to a doc. Buck up bucko! I expect you to overcome this bump and move on to greater discoveries. What is the big deal about Ambien? Has there been new research that indicates it contributes to Alzheimer's or something? I don't get it. I can't sleep without it. RR