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Anyone Else On Long-Term Ambien For Sleep?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 pittguy578

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 10:10 PM

I didn't want to put this in the other depressive medications forums because it is really not an antidepressant.

I have been suffering through a major depressive episode this past year. I was at an unbearable job that I recently lost (may have been a blessing in disguise), my grandmother was diagnosed with alzheimer's and passed away, and my father moved to Florida.

I had been on Ambien long term through a previous doctor-up to 20 MG per night if needed. My sleep had become absolutely dreadful. My old doctor retired at end of September of last year, and I was referred to a new doctor. He initially kept me on the same dosage of ambien-up to 20 MG per night. However, he got on a kick this past few months and is trying to wien me off of it with no alternative at this point, I was out of the medicine this past week and tried to sleep with only seroquel. I was literally up 4-5 times a night and completely exhausted without taking the ambien. I finally found a pill I had lost last night and was able to sleep normally last night.

I am just worried about this doctor stopping something if it is not broken. I know Ambien can become addictive, but I believe the side effects are pretty mild compared to those of Seroquel and other drugs which could knock me out and cause diabetes, weight gain, permanent tics. . I need something to sleep at this point...I am just not sure what to do,,,

I don't want to doctor "shop", but I do need to sleep. Has anyone else been on that high of a dosage of ambien long term? Did your doc have any problems with it? It is not causing me to do anything crazy or bad.,.just gets me to sleep. Any insights are appreciated?

#2 starr

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:46 AM

Hi,

I was on ambien in the past and while it did help
me sleep, my pharmacist said it could make your
depressive symptons worse. I came off the
ambien and now I am on a mood stabilizer (neurontin)
which helps with anxiety and my insomnia. I also
have xanax for extreme occasions which I hardly
ever use. I know how hard it is to function without
sleep so I hope you find something that works for
you soon.

best wishes,
starr

Edited by starr, 06 April 2012 - 09:46 AM.


#3 govinda

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:19 AM

Hi P-Guy, I am sorry you are having such trouble sleeping. That is the worst! Insomnia is horrific- to me, sleep deprivation feels like torture!

In answer to your quetions, I have been on ambien for 10 years! Am I addicted? probably, I can not sleep without it. My old doctor( who I still see) actually is not a good docto at allr. But I am afraid to switch doctors for fear that no one will want to keep precribing sleep medication becasue I have been on it for so long. If I did not get some sleep, I would not be functional AT ALL. The ony thing my doc prescribes is ambien 10 mg per night, so that is whatIi take along with 1/2 a seroquel tablet. Ambien puts me to sleep, but I wake up about every 15- 20 minute without additional medication. I have really weird brain waves with alpha intrusions. The seroqul somehow works on my brain so that I only wake up 1-3x per night and I get more rest.

Good luck to you, I really feel for you. I hope that you can find a doc to help and the rest you need.

Sometimes I get down on myself for taking sleep meds for so mnay years, but my therapist reminds me that I am doing what I have to do, for now to survive and function. It may not be like this forever. Also, people who have been through what I have been through in my life are in a lot worse places. Many are dead, some are addicted to horrible drugs and others cant funtion at all... so I guess the scheme of things, I am in a much better place... I hope that you are too

Hang in there and let us know how you are doing.
We come from stronger stuff than feelings,
Essence does not fail or fade, diminish, or trade reality for illusion.

We are wordless, wide and wise beyond time. Within us is a flame of truth that never dies. Let that be the focal point of life. Let that be the light aht guides us from the shadows.- Danna Faulds

#4 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:30 AM

Hey pittguy578. I think with everything that you say has gone on in your life, it is understandable you would have major trouble sleeping. I'm sorry about that. Lack of sleep ... well, it sucks bigtime! I've heard that you can get a tolerance to Ambien, so I don't think it would be good for long-term use. Have you tried other meds, like antidepressants? Some of them are sedative.

Maybe try to tell him you are having severe sleep issues and ask what your options are. Have you ever been to a sleep study to rule out other issues?
Many Blessings,
SW
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#5 Arwen36

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:37 PM

I was put on Ambien nightly about 6 years ago now when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia and lost the ability to sleep at all. I was also in excruciating pain. Ambien made me at least be able to sleep and not want to die every day. My doctor then added a small dose of klonopin, and this helps me sleep through the night without pain most nights. My doctor is awesome, and says I should not feel bad about taking this as long as I need it. Going without sleep can really, really mess with you.

I often have wondered if the Ambien makes my depression worse, but I know that when I didn't sleep, I was beyond a basket case. So, I'll go for sleep right now, than, you!
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There is always hope.

#6 govinda

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 09:53 PM

Thanks for your post Arwen, and for sharing your expreince. I too have fibromyalgia and can totally relate to your experience of" now being able to sleep and not wanting to die every day". I started taking ambien a bit after I was diagnosed. Wow, I did not know that someone else felt like I did....

Would you mind posting more about your experience with the Klonopin? I was thinking abiut getting off of the seroquel, becasue I am really sensitive to side effects and the health insurnace I have now will not pay for it anymore. Do you feel groggy the next day, or can you wake up feeling normal? Has it had nay side effects on your memory or cognition?

I really, really appreciate your post.

Thank you.
We come from stronger stuff than feelings,
Essence does not fail or fade, diminish, or trade reality for illusion.

We are wordless, wide and wise beyond time. Within us is a flame of truth that never dies. Let that be the focal point of life. Let that be the light aht guides us from the shadows.- Danna Faulds

#7 rachface

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:17 PM

i love ambien. it's only bad if you take a bunch or take them often (like during the day). if you feel you are in control of it you can always have your general doctor prescribe them to you. they're not bad. and they help. so if they're helping you, go for it. working out helps make you tired too. but i take ambien (i started after not sleeping for 4 days). melatonin is a natural supplement you can take for sleep. it fixes your sleep wake cycles according to light. so if you're shades are drawn you will sleep, if there is daylight, you will wake. pretty nice waking when it's light out...

Rachel

My Diagnoses: depression, anxiety, PTSD, SI
My Current meds: nothing
My Previous meds: Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Cymbalta, Ativan, Ambien


"It takes ten times longer to put yourself together as it does to fall apart." ~Finnick, Hunger Games, book 3


#8 Arwen36

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 10:45 PM

Klonopin is the one thing that really finally controlled my fibromyalgia pain, and also aided in my sleep. The Ambien helped me sleep, but not with the pain. Klonopin also helps with my anxiety/panic issues. I would say I definitely wake up somewhat groggy in the mornings, and don't feel completely myself until I've had my 2 cups of coffee. :) But I feel like that's a small price to pay for sleep and controlled pain.

As for cognitive issues, I do have some, but it is hard to say what this is attributed to. I am on several meds in addition to the klonopin and ambien, including Paxil and 2 meds for my juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. All of these have a side effect of grogginess or cognitive problems. Also, the diagnoses I have themselves: depression, the arthritis, fibromyalgia, can cause cognitive problems. So, it would be very hard to pinpoint what is causing what on any given day! :) I've just learn to accept it as long as I am functional.

Hope this helps!
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There is always hope.

#9 govinda

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 08:45 AM

Thanks Arwen,

That does help! Its great to hear you are in acceptance of your cognative and health issues just as they are. Sometimes i can do that , sometimes I cant. I particularly stuggle with the cognatve issues lately- But just as you said, acceptance is the key! That is soooooo important. At least I am functioning- and may pain is undr control and sleep is better than it was, so I guess I have a lot to be grateful for.

Thanks again for your message. I hope you have a great holiday!
We come from stronger stuff than feelings,
Essence does not fail or fade, diminish, or trade reality for illusion.

We are wordless, wide and wise beyond time. Within us is a flame of truth that never dies. Let that be the focal point of life. Let that be the light aht guides us from the shadows.- Danna Faulds

#10 Energizerhoney

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 02:59 PM

I've been taking ambien for a few years now. I have bad insomnia also, it makes my mood worse if I can't sleep. Its not a perfect drug, but its better than the alternative which is no sleep! My AD helps also. Probably be on both for life which I don't even care. I need to be rested and happy to enjoy life.:)

#11 govinda

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:59 PM

Amen.
We come from stronger stuff than feelings,
Essence does not fail or fade, diminish, or trade reality for illusion.

We are wordless, wide and wise beyond time. Within us is a flame of truth that never dies. Let that be the focal point of life. Let that be the light aht guides us from the shadows.- Danna Faulds

#12 taysmom1016

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 04:00 PM

I've been on 1.5 mg of Ambien for almost 4 years now since Legionnaire's left me in a 5 day coma and afraid to fall asleep. I haven't built up a tolerance, it still helps me fall asleep, but I can't STAY asleep for more than an hour at a time. I also take clonazepam .5 mg 4 times a day (2 at night to help sleep). I take melatonin also, along with some supplements like L-tryptophan and L-theanine which again, will help fall asleep but still awaken several times a night (kava kava is another good one).

I think as long as the Ambien is working, it's okay to take long term. I don't think my doctor has any plans on taking me off of it. I'd be careful about "doctor shopping" though. I switched a few years ago after my doc retired and I didn't like my new one because he wanted to change everything (he was young) and I was accused of "looking for a doctor who will prescribe medications". After hearing my side of the story and how the other doc never took my personal situation into account (wanting me to drive 45 miles for physical therapy twice a week when I had a little boy in kindergarten, even though I'd tried PT about 10 times in the past), my new and current doctor LISTENED and understood and has been my doc ever since. And he's young enough that I don't have to worry about HIM retiring!
Taysmom


Major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, insomnia, chronic pain and neurological damage from legionnaires.

Medications: Mirtazipine, clonazepam, ambien, and various vitamins and supplements.

#13 KeepinOn

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 09:16 PM

I took it for a long time, and sure enough I started to tolerate it. That was a real bummer. It's great while it works! I am an insomnia sufferer for 33 years and just in the last 5 months have I broken through and can sleep without sleep aids. It's the first time in my life I can sleep through the night (well, 60% of the time) with no meds. I thought it would never happen!



#14 edmondy99

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Posted 23 September 2014 - 07:55 AM

I know this thread is kind of old, but I have been on Ambien 10mg for about 10 years.  It still works because without it, I can not fall asleep.  My Dr. is very understanding and we have worked together for about 5 years and we have a found a combination of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and Ambien.  I feel good most days, still have the occasional depressive dive, but it does not last long






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