Getting off of sleep medication

Discussion in 'Healthful Living / Natural Treatments' started by ChiefDramatist, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. My psychiatrist prescribed Temazepam for my chronic insomnia about two years ago. I'm noticing significant memory loss. I was not informed of this by my MD. I want to get off of the medication, and try something natural.

    We recently relocated from one state to another, and I am having difficulty securing a psychiatrist. It looks like I will have to rely on my GP for Rx management for the time being. Unfortunately, my Rx is having a hard time getting my Tem refilled. I know you need to get off of it very gradually. I've been without medications for four nights now. I do not notice any adverse signs though. After considerable web research, it seems that this is unusual. Then again, people who have bad experiences with medications are generally the ones who comment in forums.

    Does anyone have any input? Anyone had a successful cold turkey experience? I've been praying that I wouldn't have the bad symptoms, and so far, God has been making it easy. [emoji56]

    Thanks in advance.

    PS I can't take valerian or melatonin due to thyroid and HBP medications.
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Temazepam is said to be the most addictive and most difficult to withdraw from of all the benzos. Benzo withdrawal should always be done under medical supervision due to the risk of seizures, which can be fatal.

    Temazepam has a long half-life, and you may still have some of it in your system. I would consider calling a health help line and seeing if they can assist you in finding a mental health professional. medication management can be handled by an experienced, specially trained PA or APNP. In fact, I am currently getting better care from a PA than I did for ten years from a MD.

    Unfortunately, during those ten years, I became dependent upon Temazepam and Lorazepam, neither of which should be prescribed for more than a couple of weeks.

    I would say that if you've been on Temazepam for 2 years, that you are likely dependent on the medication.
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  3. Thanks GoingNorth. I got in touch with my former psychiatrist. He is going to get it refilled. Argh. Psychiatry is so difficult to secure. And good psychiatry, even more difficult.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    When I moved to Milwaukee, my former psychiatrist just cut me off. My regular doctor flipped out and was so worried about me going into benzo withdrawal that SHE wrote my prescriptions for 3 months until I found a provider here.
  5. Every time I had an appointment with my psychiatric, he asked if I was taking the Tam every night. Of course, I answered yes. I mentioned several times that I didn't like the idea of being dependent on any sleep medication. He never, not once, mentioned that most likely I already WAS, and that I would have a stinking hard time stopping.

    Have you ever tried to go off? if so, what withdrawal symptoms did you experience? Did they happen immediately? Or more gradually?

    I've been off 4 days now, and I feel just minimally icky, like I'm catching a cold. Not even that bad. Just sorta... blah.
  6. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    In my case, early on I tried to go off of Lorazepam, before I was put on Temazepam, and after three days of crushing anxiety, I had a seizure. Luckily, I was in bed when it happened, came out of it OK, and called my psychiatrist.

    He said, "that can happen if you don't take it as prescribed. Stay on it. When he prescribed Temazepam six months later, he told me it was like Lorazepam and had to be taken as prescribed.

    I've been on both ever since. I'm not on insanely high doses of either drug, but if I miss a dose of the Lorazepam, I experience extreme anxiety, etc shortly after the time the dose was due. Definitely dependent.

    I don't get a "high" from the medications, though Temazepam is supposedly the most euphoric of all the benzos. I've never noticed a "high" from benzos per se, but I've never taken excessive doses or combined them with alcohol.

    That last is extremely dangerous, by the way. Not only can it kill you, it can lead to blackouts where you do all sorts of stupid things that can hurt you, hurt others, or get you arrested or killed, and have no memory of doing any of them.
  7. Jon777

    Jon777 New Member

    very sorry about your difficulties.

    medication changes should be regulated by a competent professional. Memory loss is serious. You should absolutely discuss this with a medical professional. And, I would think, they would want you to change medication.

    I have used many natural therapies for insomnia. They have all varying degrees. I would certainly encourage you to explore these.

    If you want a marriage of natural medicine and mainstream medicine, I would recommend a "Holistic MD." They are full medical doctors, but with an interest in natural medicine. So, you would get the best of both worlds.

    I am going to post a link to some articles for natural treatments for insomnia. It is from the website of one of these kinds of MDs.

    While I certainly believe in these remedies, I do think implementing them should be done under the guidance of a competent professional.

    Note that the consultant is an MD from a Sleep Center...

  8. Sorry for not updating!

    I was successful getting off it. I was finally able to speak to my PCM, and he monitored.

    Nightly, I now take an OTC melatonin sleep aid: Olly Restful Sleep. It works like a charm.

    I am thankful that I am off of the medication, and am thankful that I have found a good herbal remedy.
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  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I just noticed this. I've been a devout insomniac my entire life. No matter what time i went to bed, I fell asleep around 2 am. I was totally unable to relax...songs would be stuck in my head, my legs would kick, I was irritated that I had only four sides to lay on and none were comfortable...and I was getting MAYBE 3 hours sleep a night. Tried all the OTC stuff, the herbs, the melatonin, the Benadryl...and I still ended up laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, singing Heeeeeeeeey Macarena or Camptown Races or Old MacDonald.

    Along came Ambien. I was reluctant at first, because I didn't want to do the sleep driving (would I remember my glasses? or my clothes?), so Hubby installed a motion sensor across the bedroom door as a precaution. I had no side effects, no difficulties, and the best part is...I can sleep. I love it. Do not take my Ambien. I will fight.
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  10. Janette Romano

    Janette Romano New Member

    I hope this one helps.
  11. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    I read an interesting article. It said that people who are life long insomniacs serve a very important purpose that can be traced back to prehistoric times. While our ancient ancestors slept at night to regain their strength for the next day, somebody had to stay awake to keep watch on the camp site/cave (i.e. predatory animals, members from other tribes who might try to steal food, etc.).
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  12. BloodiedButUnbowed

    BloodiedButUnbowed Active Member

    I use melatonin and it works great.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am happy for you that you found a safe and effective way to sleep.

    I want to say my own experience. I was taking alternating between either Xanex or Ambien to sleep. I got habituated to the Ambien, and it would not work. So I would go on the Xanex. I was unable to fall or stay asleep without the medication. I was dependent. I began to be hassled by the doctor's office when I tried to refill the medication. While I understood, I resented this.

    I saw this as a wake up call and began to research the medications' effects on older people. What I read was very startling. I had already stopped taking Benadryl when I read about the dementia risk. Which is when I began the Xanex and Ambien. But the latter drugs have the same dangerous effect for people 65 and older.

    There is a huge uptick in dementia risk. Like a third higher or something like that.

    But even worse, the effects of these medications linger for old people. You can be sedated driving. You can forget to turn off the stove. You can leave the iron on. This happened to me! The drugged state, driving, the next day. Forgetting to turn off the stove! I was never told by either the doctor or the pharmacist. Shame on me if I didn't read the warnings. (I don't know if these side-effects are listed, or not.)

    As soon as I read about this, I tapered off the medication and would not take them again. I asked my physician why he had prescribed them to me, and he says he believe it was the humane thing to do, when people can't sleep. I disagree. I would rather not sleep than kill somebody. I would rather not sleep than have a much greater risk of dementia.

    It took awhile, but I was able to learn to sleep again. In time, I dropped off to sleep and I stayed asleep.

    There is a lot going on for me right now and I am not sleeping soundly. But I will never again get started on these medications, I hope. I will either find an herbal remedy, or I will toss and turn. Or read. Or watch TV or knit. Or stay awake to keep the tribe safe.
  14. Crayola13

    Crayola13 Active Member

    Valerian is good. I'm not Catholic, but I have found that saying the rosary out loud is a good way to meditate and lull yourself to sleep.
  15. WiseChoices

    WiseChoices Active Member

    I have had the best experience with homeopathy. It is completely free of any side effects. I like the homeopathic combination remedy CALMS FORTE which is by a brand called Hylands and is available even in Walmart .I take 3 caps at a time, let them melt melt under my tongue and will be asleep within 30 minutes .I wake up without being groggy or drowsy. Homeopathy is extremely gentle and natural. I only take this remedy when I need it, ie I drank too much coffee or had it too late in the day or I am anxious or can't shut off my brain which happens sometimes.

    I think it is also worth talking about sleep hygiene. What I mean by that is that I self care myself to sleep . These are ideas that I have all used either alone or in combination: Shutting off electronics 60-120 minutes before I want to sleep; doing some yoga; taking a warm, relaxing bath; drinking a sleep tea (I like Tulsi sleep right now --Amazon); reading in bed; prayer and meditation; listening to a guided meditation (need electronics for this) ; putting a rolled towel underneath my upper back (right opposite the chest area) while laying on my back and resting my head on a pillow. This creates a slight back bend and is very relaxing. Make sure to remove the towel from underneath you when you get sleepy so you don't have a sore back the best day; listen to ASMR (again need YouTube for this). There are hundreds of different ASMR themes available; I turn down all the lights in the house, make sure my bedroom is picked up and clutter free, a true Oasis for rest and relaxation; I run a diffuser with aromatherapy for sleep like lavendar. There is one called Pillow Potion by Aura Cacia I like (Amazon); I may also self massage after my bath and add a drop or 2 of the aromatherapy into a bit of massage oil before applying it to my body; I run a noise machine (white noise); I control my thoughts by focusing on the NOW describing to myself what is happening in the present moment : how wonderfully my matress is supporting my body, how comfortable my bed feels, how fluffy the sheets are against my skin, how well my pillow supports my neck, how good I feel in my body, etc; I read Al-anon's book mark "Just for Tonight".