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taking 5mg ambian for 20 years can melatonin help to ween me off
Hi all. Hopping on this thread (and posting for first time though have been reading here before).
I am a 40 year old white male with bipolar disorder trying to *desperately* wean off Clonazepam/Klonopin ("K" for short). Short version of Rx: along the way, I've taken everything from anti-depressants to anti-anxiety and ambien and trazodone…. I'm now down to 1.5mg of K per day, and that is down from 6mg back a couple years ago. Apart from vitamin supplements (C, A, D3, E, Theanine…), I am not on any other Rx.
Help needed: I have a supply of Ambien from my Psych MD, but I have not used it, I use Melatonin (6mg, subligual) which helps, but I wake up by 4:00a and cannot go back to sleep. Even with going to sleep at 10:00p. Any suggestions? I do NOT want to add Ambien to my meds as I am not on it now, and I am trying to wean off K under guidance of a therapist and Pysch MD.
Any thoughts appreciated. Prefer herbal or other supplements. Thoughts?
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Hello, @happy_ira – I'd like to welcome you to Mayo Clinic Connect. That is hard to be waking up at 4 a.m. unable to go back to sleep.
Since you are interested in something that would help with getting back to sleep or just getting a full night's sleep, preferably herbal or other supplements, I'd like to see if @johnbishop @sndishpr @fancyrph @smen @findrest @paulinef @cokie63 may have some thoughts for you.
I'd also like to suggest you check out a thread on bi-polar disorder and consider participating in the discussion https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/bi-polar-issues/
Have you mentioned to your psychiatrist that you are uncomfortable with the zolpidem (Ambien) and that you'd like another suggestion, @happy_ira?
I've been using cayene and it helps alleviate some peripheral neuropathy. It has many other brain and health benefits. Something to look up and maybe try while your lowering your Klonopin. The brain responds to the heat of the cayene and the brain releases endorphins and dopamine and I think serotonin.
Some other things that can help with calming and sleep are: Calm Aid(lavender pill OTC), magnesium supplements or(CALM powder), chamomile (I'm allergic to chamomile), amber lighting (sounds funny but wearing amber sunglasses a couple hours before bed works. Stay away from blue light 2 hours before bed like computers, tv wifi etc.). Meditations CDs or pick your own meditations, a sound machine in your bedroom, air purifier, essential oil diffuser (lavender oil is very calming) ,heating pad, a small snack of oatmeal(no sugar) can help blood sugar, read positive books prayers, poems, affirmations, Trazadone and Gabapentin. Try to get fresh air and exercise and increase bright light exposure during the day. Some people use melatonin but makes me ill the next day and doesn't work for sleep for me. Some things take a little while for the body to adjust for sleep. Of course don't drink caffeine. Another calming supplement is L-theanine(makes my dog tired), ginko biloba(never tried it) keep bedroom cool. Be careful with supplements making sure they're third party tested and approved. Take relaxing epsom salt bath or shower. Rule out sleep disorder. Get a comfortable bed, mattress and pillow. Try to get into a sleep pattern. Don't exercise before bed. Don't drink liquids `1 to 2 hours before bed. If I go to bed at 10pm I wake up at 4am. Going to bed after 10:00pm or 10:30pm for me helps me sleep longer. While your cutting back on Klonopin, try some cayenne and crushed red pepper in your meals. Cayene contains CAPSAICIN which has many benefits including helping with the nervous system.
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.
I have taken it daily (more accurately nightly) for more than a decade. I will from time to time move my dose down from 10mg to 5mg. It's doable based on my general stress level and (bipolar) stability. But something every night. I have no "compulsion" or "craving" for higher doses than what is needed and prescribed. I have found that a great indicator of an oncoming "episode" of bipolar is frequently my sleep. Poor sleep for more than a couple of days almost guarantees "problems". I take it at night, at home, where I have my family. If I don't get to bed within about 30 minutes, yes, I get bitchy, argumentative, and have no memory of it the next day. Funny, but they usually make sure I'm in bed in 30 minutes! I've tried going without my mood stabilizers – never again. Big mistake, at least for me. I've tried going without ambien, again, big mistake. I also have asthma. I take an inhaled steroid, and have for over 4 decades. I will have to do this until the day I die. Nobody says I'm "addicted" to steroids. Yeah, I could live without it, going in and out of the hospital where they'd put in an IV, pushing steroids! I was in a psych ward 1 time. 1 time was enough more me. I will take my psych meds, every day until I die as well. All of them, which means ambien as well.
I always had difficulty falling asleep because being deaf, I was afraid I would miss something. I was sent to schools for the deaf where there was much abuse going on. After having been abused, I would keep my eyes open to be sure no one would slap me. So I became a full-fledged insomniac. This continued until I became a mother when my insomnia worsened because I was afraid I would not wake up if our babies cried. I took nothing until 1989 when the big earthquake in San Francisco took place. I started Zolpidem then, and it was wonderful. My mood was very good. The downside is that when I am especially tense or very worried or panicky about something, then i take half a tablet in addition. I want to quit just so to get the leash off my neck. I don't like being allowed only 30 pills per 30 days. Sometimes I cannot even go out of town because I have to be home so I can pick up the pills. So it is for this reason I would love to quit taking Zolpidem = then I would be free to travel anytime and anywhere.
@cokie63 – thanks for all the suggestions of things that you suggest for trying to get a good night's sleep.
When I've experienced insomnia, I'd say my experience with using melatonin has been mixed – I've noticed sometimes it's helped me get to sleep, and sometimes not at all. I have tried a heating pad with me in bed, and that has helped to lull me to sleep (I noted this by accident when using the heating pad for pain, then tried it on other nights for awhile). I personally can't have the room too cool (though my husband would prefer it), or I can't sleep. I often have to have socks on, too, to keep my feet warm enough to get to sleep.
In addition to getting into a sleep pattern, which of these things has helped you the most?
@lisalucier – hope some of the suggestions help…sometimes it takes more than one try or more than one week trial sometimes even a few weeks but I do find like you the heating pad is wonderful!!! I use two under my spine to my neck. I've been wearing a cervical collar for 3 months at bedtime which has helped relieve alot of neck pain. I used to change my 3 pillows all night long until I got the cervical collar, now I use only one latex pillow. My circumstances have changed. Before I got the peripheral neuropathy in November 2018, I used magnesium and Calm Aid at bedtime and a spritz of lavender in the bedroom. Heating pads are great in fall, winter and spring but not summer. I used to wear socks/booties to bed too because of cold feet util I got this PN. Now my feet burn and I can't wear anything on my feet but when the PN is really severe, I wear compression socks 24/7 which helps it subside but it never goes away. I have always had to use some sort of sound machine due to annoying tinnitus I've had for years that gets worse when my immune system is low or I have a virus. For 2 months now I've been on Gabapentin at bedtime for the PN which helps me fall asleep. I prefer not to be on it but my symptoms are torture so for now I'm using it with the mindset that I will someday be weaning off of it. I've also been on Diazapam for years and have been weaning off that but at a stand still right now. My body right now is backwards. I was not able to drink caffeine for years because it would give me heart palpitations, shakes, tremors and trouble breathing with creepy feelings under my skin with of course loss of sleep. I used to take 3 sips of my husband's coffee when we went fishing and I'd be trying to catch my breath (like a hyperventilation) and I wouldn't want to quit fishing and couldn't sleep all night from the rush and chocolate would do that too. With whatever is causing my PN now, after trying many different things, caffeine is actually reducing my PN and not affecting my sleep. I know it sounds weird but we know our bodies best. I guess what I'm trying to say is trial and error. Listen to your body and try things that are safe. As long as you don't experience bad side effects try it. If I do wake up during the night, I have coffee and read until I'm tired enough to go back to sleep. This is bad because it throws off my time clock and I feel sickly when I wake back up. I am retired so I don;t have a job to go to but if I have an appointment, I'm a mess. What works for one doesn't work for another. I tried Melatonin years ago and it made me sick at 3:00 the next day each time. This chat site is very helpful because of the support and also by writing our experiences we may get that AH HA light bulb moment:)
Hi, all – just wanted to let you know that as the discussions in this thread have broadened beyond weaning off of zolpidem (Ambien) with melatonin to tapering off this medication in general, I've renamed the thread "Weaning off zolpidem (Ambien)."
Hello, @kahill1918 – welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Although I've never been in your situation, I can imagine that you might be afraid to miss something due to being deaf, and have difficulty falling asleep.
I'm so very sorry about the abuse you endured at a school for the deaf. That is heartbreaking. It makes sense you'd want to keep your eyes open and on the lookout.
I would like to introduce you to some of the members in this discussion, like @128128terry11t @bernese53 @lpole @arachel @robbinr @parus @mickie75 @blazytracy and others. Hoping they will have some input on quitting zolpidem (Ambien) and working with the worries that have made sleep really hard. I'd also like you to meet @contentandwell @suecreader and @hopeful33250, who may also have some thoughts for you.
I also wanted to mention, @kahill1918, that Mayo Clinic Connect just opened a new group on hearing loss you may be interested in checking out https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/hearing-loss/
Have you talked to your doctor, @kahill1918, about the possibility of tapering off of the zolpidem (Ambien)? Are you thinking of another prescription, potentially, or using other strategies to manage insomnia?
Hello, I am new here, but I have been on ambien every night for 20 years at 20 mg because I spent a year in and out of hospitals, including some of the top sleep hospitals in the U.S., and I was only getting 1-2 hours of sleep per night because of an unknown problem. I had multiple sleep studies. I also was tried on dozens of medications that didn't help. Ambien wound up putting me to sleep when even barbiturates wouldn't.
I have no psychiatric problems and am a very productive person with a stable career and a graduate degree. I have no history of any addictions at all, substance-based or otherwise. I am middle-aged, in reasonably good health, and married. The insomnia began abruptly, without reason. I would get tired but something woke me up every time I drifted off to sleep, and then again all night long. Before that, I didn't have a single night of sleep missed and was a world champion sleeper.
I went to the pharmacy today, and they simply said my prescription was too high and refused to fill it. Now I have no medication, and I called the doctor, and he doesn't have a way to help since the pharmacy said it was too high of a dose, and I don't have a clear diagnosis. He said he couldn't give me anything else because I'd already tried everything else. And also, he said other pharmacies in this area would be the same. He apologized and said he could help me through.
In the past, I have stayed up for up to five days or more and have had hallucinations and a psychotic breakdown from it that resulted in a very traumatic mental hospitalization, which is when this regimen was basically decided upon. But as long as I take my medication, I am okay and have been fine.
Can anyone recommend what I should do? I've already tried marijuana since it is legal in my state. I have tried drinking but can't tolerate much alcohol without getting sick. I have tried every medication I can humanly think of. I often try falling asleep for hours without ambien, and I practice excellent sleep hygeine. I meditate. I am really calm. But I was just cut off the medication cold turkey and fear the worst now.
And all that makes me really want is to know if anyone on a long-term high-dose of ambien has gotten off of it? I don't like being at the mercy of pharmacies. Doctors have been really compassionate as they see the situation very clearly, and it's all well documented, they just don't understand it. I'm afraid that I may be in an in-patient mental facility within a few days due to the choices of the pharmacies in this area, which are not rational. And I'm working, so this is not a good moment to have a mental collapse due to lack of sleep.
I also had physical problems from such sustained insomnia in the past and became anorexically thin, had a lot of my bodily functions stop working well, like my blood sugar and heart rate, and had to be on IV's for it. I also developed tremors and other, similar muscular problems, as well as extreme and constant terror that was barely managed by anti-anxiety medication.
I don't know what to do or where to turn. I have been told I am a "medical mystery," but I am not receiving consistent treatment even when I follow every rule laid forth to me. Again, I don't abuse my medication or fill them early, ever. Can anyone relate? I basically had total insomnia for almost a year with just occasional sleep before this. I don't know why it would be different now. And I know I cannot sleep without medication. But as of tonight, I am out of it, and I cannot go anywhere for help as I wouldn't know where to go. Plus, I have a heavy work week, and my entire family rely on my income.
I have never heard of a situation like yours, and I am so appalled that you have been left hanging like this. Have you asked that pharmacist about what you can expect when long term Ambien use is discontinued “cold turkey”? Would your doctor lower your dose and prescribe something to work in conjunction with the Ambien?
I was an insomniac for 40 years. About 3 years ago my dr. finally prescribed a safe combination of anti anxiety meds and I have been a 95% normal sleeper since.
Good luck. I’m so sorry this is happening to you.
Just curious what anti anxiety meds did your dr prescribe? I just started a new med for sleep celexa 10 mg. I’m hoping it helps. Glad you are finally getting results.
He prescribed .5 mg Alprazolam and two 50 mg Trazodone. It turns out I'm one of those people for whom less is more. He said on nights when I still have problems I can take a 3rd Trazodone 2 hours after the first 2.
Ambien didn't work for me and made me feel lousy.
Costco/Kirkland makes a sleep aid that doesn't use diphenhydramine. I accidentally left my meds at home when I went out of town earlier this year. My daughter had me try those and I had good results.
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