Question for the Dr.

  1. Question for the Dr.

    Hi guys, I had a question.

    About 3 years ago, I lost a child due to a lengthy illness. Well, after a few months of waking up at multiple times throughout the night (it coincided with when I would have to get up to administer his medicene), I was prescribed Ambien. I eventually became dependant on it and could not sleep at all without taking it.

    After a while, I decided that I had taken it long enough and planned to stop. But in November of last year, I was hit with divorce papers and had my house put up for sale, all within one week. I never saw it coming.

    Needless to say, I did not even care about trying to stop the Ambien after that. Now I think I am ready.

    What would be the best recommendation to try and wean myself off of this stuff?

    Not trying to unload my problems, but figured a quick synopsis of why I was taking it would help.

    Thanks for any comments

  2. While I am not a physician, my initial thought would be trying to slowly reduce your dosage. In addition, try to adjust your sleeping environment with proper lighting and sounds to help make sleep easier and more restful.

  3. I think I will start trying to reduce my dosage. I have been at 10mg since starting. It doesn't affect me like it did in the beginning, but I can definately tell when I don't take it because I'm up every 20 min.s or so.

    I will have to work on the sleeping enviroment. It's kind of unfamiliar when you no longer live at the same place you have for the last 10 years.

    Thanks for the input.

  4. In my opinion its best to stay on the same med and decrease your dose slowly over 3 to 4 months. Perhaps you could try decreasing by a quarter of the dose (use an exacto blade or single edged razor blade) I wouldnt decrease by any more than that. If, after awhile you have decreased, you feel odd, go back to a full dose for one day, then continue to decrease. Eventually you will be at such a low dose you will be able to go without it, more often than not. Once you are completely off Im quite sure you will never make yourself habituated again. Give yourself 6 months to be completely free. I hope that helps you. Soft ear plugs and a sleep mask may help.

  5. Thanks Knowbull!

  6. You are more than welcome!

  7. you may want to try looking into something else, and try the step down approach. when i was younger (20) i was a severe life changing accident. after it happened i had such terrible nightmares and migranes that I did not sleep a single minute for 3 weeks straight. which then puts your body in a must sleep situation and everything shutsdown, you cannot function at all. I would sleep for 3 hours and be awake again for another 3 weeks. after the second time i finally went to a neurologist and was given elavil, which helps treat migranes before they happen and happens to make you really drowsy. 7 years leater i still use it every night, so in a sense I am addicted to it, however without it my migranes get so bad that i have to stay in a cold, dark room with absolutely no noise till its gone. this can and has happend as often as 5 times per week but now only happens about once a month.
    recently a very good friend reccommend that i try clonidine, small doses, right before bed and i am able to reduce my elavil dose by almost half.
    so maybe if you tried something else out, stepped down slowly from less addicting / less side effect type drugs eventually youll get off them all. I would much rather be addicted to a sleep med. then not sleeping for weeks at a time. its amazing what your body can go through to survive, but 3 weeks of no sleep and you can imagine all types of weird ****.

  8. Thanks Sledge!

    I think I will look into the clonidine. I have been reading about the GH stimulating effects it has anyway.

  9. God bless you RTM. I hope things are repositioning themselves favorably for you and I know that it just takes time when things of this magnitude occur. Ambien promotes amnesia better than any other drug I've used, so it may be a very good choice right now especially if weird dreams are haunting you. I took it for years and it finally just played out. Now I can take a triple dose and it doesn't even phase me, so I'd say just keep using it and let it quit when it wants to, it tappers itself out with time. It's better to be "hooked" on a pill than to not sleep anyway. That's what they make them for, it's a legit reason to take it. You could phase it out quickly with a high potency benzo like clonopin, ativan, or xanax, they use the same sub-receptor and only take a 1 or 2mg dose to do the same thing as 10 or 15mg ambien. Then your enzymes and receptors can down regulate and it's feels more natural quiting eventually. Ativan in particular has gotten me through so tough emotional periods and probably helped me from clocking out a few times when I was really on the edge. These guys have all given good advise and like Sldg said, clonidine is another well suited choice. It is good for alcohol and narcotic withdrawl. I once knew a guy that was taking ~18 Vicodens a day and it helped him quit real fast, unbelievably fast for how strung out he was. I can testify that it helped me quit smoking too, I just lost the urge to smoke, it's really a special med in many ways. Also, not imposing Christ, but peace will be given to any and all that ask, so consider prayer if you don't already (it is a powerful tool.)

  10. RTM, congratulations, you have reached the point that many people in you situation don't. You want to quit and that's the hardest step. I have personally seen a handful of people in similar situation in the office. I've seen them try to quit cold turkey, try to substitute, and also wean. I think it really depends upon the person which works best. I least like the cold trukey and have seen the best results with the weaning and some psychological support. The addiction is both physical and psychological. Just remember you can do it and it may be difficult. Like Dr. D said, there are things that can help you through this.


  11. Thanks guys.

    Your reply's really mean a lot to me. And Dr.D, if not for prayer I don't think I would have made it this far.

    I am trying to approach this day by day, and keep myself busy. I also have a beautiful daughter that is the highlight of my life right now. I can be having a bad day, and receive a call from her or just think about the next time that I get to keep her, and it immediately makes me feel better.

    This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to go through, and I still have some monumental deciscions coming up.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by rtm
    ..if not for prayer I don't think I would have made it this far...I still have some monumental deciscions coming up.
    You are in my prayers now even as we speak, let me know if there is ever anything I could do to help in anyway. I've done many pills over the years and could offer much info if you need it. There are some really good men here that would all stand with you too, so remember that you are not alone, ever bro.

  13. Thanks Dr. D.

    It really does mean a lot. The biggest problem that I have is that I never seen it coming. (Neither did anyone else around us) We had some stressful times when our son died, but I have talked to others that experienced the same. In fact, I thought we were doing pretty good.

    What's really bad is that she tried to blame it all on me. Told me she had felt that way for a while but just had not said anything. But she conveniently let me know once we made some financial breakthroughs. (Paid off her car, Plastic surgery on her part, etc.)

    And the kicker is that I will be receiving my divorce on grounds of her committing adultery with my neighbor. (I and my neighbor's soon to be ex wife hired a PI, and have solid evidence)

    My biggest deciscion concerns my daughter. I live in a state where the father almost always never gets custody. But my lawyer says that there is a good chance that I could win since she had my daughter over there with her if I decided to pursue it. And that could get ugly.

    I mean shes a good mom and all, but shes changed in respect to how I know her. But I have to decide whether to put my daughter through some big custody battle that could scar her, or trust her to keep the values that we shared in the past when raising her regardless of her own personal values.

    It's a hard choice, but one that I have to make in the next two weeks.

    Sorry to ramble, and not looking to unload any problems. But life can be so unfair and just sucks sometimes.

  14. Life is a test. It's a race too, and you just have to finish strong, that doesn't mean we don't fall along the way or get tripped by another competitor. I've stood and fought big, ruthless men. I've heard demons screaming for my death. I've done some things that I was scared to do, but did it anyway. But nothing compares to a women. It still blows my mind how they can flip with no warning and no honor. It's happened to me before. They are all the same, and all a bit different too. I never figured it all out, but the point is to do what's best for your daughter. She may need a head doc for the next few years just to minimize scaring. I mean, what kind of values would your ex be teaching her after what she did if she were to get custody? It's your desicion, but with prayer, the Holy Spirit will guild your choice and you'll know when the time comes what you should do.


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