January 28, 2011
There’s a topic that’s come up from time to time in my posts. And it’s time once again to bring the topic up. Yes, the one about my relationship with zolpidem tartrate, commonly known as Ambien. I’ve pledged previously to stop taking these little sleepy pills because it’s just not good to take them all the time. Even the Ambien company points out that side effects include next day drowsiness, headaches, sleepiness and dizziness. And when the company itself tells you about those issues, there’s clearly reason to stop. Despite all of these very clear reasons why I need to stop taking them, I have made my way back to the arms of this night-time companion (as pictured above).
I realize that if I’m serious about quitting, I need to devise a plan. And How to Stop Taking Sleeping Pills and Stay Sane pretty much hashed out what I should watch for when choosing to get off sleeping pills.
- Taper off gradually
- Expect that you may have trouble sleeping for about 1 to 3 weeks
- Be patient and know that it is temporary
- Don’t be surprised if you dream more.
- Might experience physical symptoms like anxiety, shaky hands, muscle tension and dizziness
- Keep a sleep diary
There’s also the usual stuff that people should/shouldn’t do anyways if they want to get good sleep .
- No caffeine after lunch
- Wind down gradually before bed
- No TV in the bedroom
- Read in bed if it helps you
- Practice relaxation exercises
Okay. Now that I’ve laid out some guidelines, I should be ready to leave behind this terrible habit, right? They say, old habits die hard. Well, we’ll see just how hard…..
January 28, 2010
Just found a column on Huffington Post about the effect of sleeping pills and how they work.
Here’s the entire article. and below’s a portion of that post:
1) Benzos cut down on your rapid eye movement sleep. That’s when you rehearse your daily activities, like how to tie your shoelaces if you are a toddler, how to drive with a stick shift if you are a teenager, or how to hit the ball out of the park if you are Babe Ruth. Being on benzos means you will most likely strike out.
2) Benzos reduce slow wave sleep which is really deep sleep. Since slow wave sleep is important for the consolidation of facts and events, those of you on benzos are going to be less likely to ace that exam or make the right calls on the trading floor.
3) The good news for drug companies is that the more you use benzos, the more you will use benzos. You will need larger doses of them and more often. You may even get to the point (and many people do) where you cannot sleep without them. Addiction and dependence are good for selling drugs on and off the street.
4) Benzos exacerbate sleep disorders like sleep apnea. Sadly, all the increased snoring will bode poorly for your spouse or partner who may then need to go on benzos themselves.
5) Being on benzos long-term can produce memory loss that mimics dementia. True.
6) Chronic benzo use causes daytime sleepiness, reduced concentration, irritability and anxiety. These symptoms occur regardless of dosage.
May 19, 2009
One of the most important barometers of mood is your sleep cycle. It’s extremely important that I get at least a certain – and consistent – amount of sleep. A little change here and there isn’t a bad thing, but that meter can’t swing too far to the “too little sleep” or “too much sleep.” It often signals the beginnings of either a deeper depression or a magical mania.
At first, 10mg of zolpidem tartrate did okay. Then, it turned to 15mg, 20mg, then I still couldn’t fall completely asleep. We’ve tried clonazepam this past week. For a day or so a few milligrams seemed to let me fall asleep, but by last night, I finally fell asleep after 6 mg of those cute yellow pills and a vodka/cranberry drink. Despite all the issues with going to bed, I’ve still been waking up around 6:30am in time to watch “Morning Joe” and take a walk. But I recognize this is a problem. I e-mailed my doctor, and she called in a new prescription.
Anywhere between 50-150mg of Trazodone, a type of antidepressant that can also work as a sedative. Oh, I hope this works. With my parents being here, I need as much quality sleep as I can get so that I don’t look so exhausted in front of them.
I’m not quite sure why I’m even writing about this, so sorry for this rather negligible post. But not having enough quality sleep is making me lose any sparks of ideas in my head…
On a related note:
Science Daily: Genetic Link Found Between Sleep Disorders And Depression In Young Children
Counseling Resource: Sleep and the Treatment of Depression
February 17, 2009
The main thing I forget is the Japanese language, in bits and pieces. It’s odd that I really don’t have a problem with English. The hard thing is that when my mother speaks to me, I get stuck wanting to speak just English and cannot get a single sound out of Japanese. I will look at my sister and speak English. How odd is it that the one language I learned first is the first language to go??
Now that I’ve passed the 13th treatment, I’ve begun to wonder if my doctors are getting tired of caring for me for this amount of time. I hope it’s okay with them. I do wonder if my taking sleep aids cause my seizures to shorten. If that’s the case, I really need to stop taking the sleep aids so that I can finish up the seizures. I also need to figure out how many seconds the seizures lasted with the sine-wave machine. Really, I want someone to take some pictures of me having that seizure. Pictures aren’t the most appropriate pics to be getting, but I don’t plan on getting more ECTs after this time. ..
Today, I went to West Elm, the furniture store, to find some furniture pieces. It’s the first time in a long time that I actually got to go to a furniture store with my sister. One thing is a fact: I won’t be able to drive for at least another three weeks……