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Doctor has taken away my sleeping tablets

(120 Posts)
filee777 Wed 02-Oct-13 23:40:43

When I went on sertraline, I was given sleeping tablets because I just wasn't able to fall asleep. For a month now I have taken them and it's been a massive part of my recovery to know that at night I will sleep

The doctor refused to renew my prescription today and said I had to make the 14 that I have last.

I've just started a degree and my head is swimming. I am thinking I will have to stop taking the sertraline despite them really really helping me. I just can't sleep. It's 11.30 now and I've been lying here for near on 2 hours unable to sleep, getting more and more anxious about the day ahead.

I've taken a tablet now because I NEED sleep. What can I do? Can I buy decent sleeping tablets? Should I just start dosing myself up with over the counter codeine every night?

I need sleep sad

Branleuse Thu 03-Oct-13 16:47:09

btw, i find sominex in the blue packet pretty good - the antihistamine based one. I dont like any of the herbal ones, as even though they work, they give me a terrible hangover the next day. Everyone is different though.

i also sometimes listen to sleep hypnosis videos on youtube on my phone by my bed, which can sometimes relax me enough to drift off

HoopHopes Thu 03-Oct-13 17:15:57

But if you could change your attitude to not sleeping that could help you sleep. That is what I was trying to say. It was only when O had a positive attitude to nights of poor sleep that I could cope and then actually get to sleep.

No dr will give you sleeping tablets long term, most will not give more than two weeks due to addictive nature and people not learning how to sleep without them.

Are you saying the sertraline has caused the insomnia? If so changing ad may help. Mirtazapine is sedating but can increase appetite and thus weight gain.

filee777 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:06:41

I've never had this trouble sleeping before sad I'll speak to the doctor tomorrow but I don't know what else I can do!

I study 3 days a week in a city a 1.5 hour drive from where I live, I then when I get home at about 10 to seven I put the children to bed and I am literally exhausted.

The other two weeks days I work 6-8 hours into the evening and I also work alternate weekends. Up to 10 hours a day.

If I don't sleep I am even more exhausted than I already am.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 03-Oct-13 18:41:43

Could you try a bedtime routine? for the nights that you aren't working in the evenings. So, no study/work on computor after 10, or whatever time you stop. No mnet - nightmare for keeping my brain on overdrive. Bath, trashy book - nothing like a bit of brain dead reading, nothing too highbrow or suspense novels where you want to find out who did it! Classics tend to put me to sleep too as they are hard going so i am usually snoring before two pages. No caffiene after 6pm, or cut it out completely as its a bastard for anxiety.

I sypmathise, there is nothing like having to be up early to make me not able to sleep, fretting about getting up. I went three days with no sleep once - I was hallucinating at the end of it.

It might not be an instant cure but a change of attitude/routine may help long term. I find actually having the zopiclone in the cupboard enough to take the pressure off - so i know if im tossing and turning, i can take a pill and be zonked within half an hour. So i KNOW i'll sleep, if you see what i mean - I haven't had to actually take any.

Do take care with any herbal remedies as things like nytol and kalms shouldnt be taken with SSRIs and need to be taken for two weeks before they work.

If i were in your position i think i would be wanting sleeping tablets for the days your on shift.

Once uni kicks in properly and you find your routine, you'll find yourself feeling much better.

Keep it up - you're doing well x

Branleuse Thu 03-Oct-13 18:47:53

sometimes, nothing works. You can have all the fantastic sleep hygeine in the world. All the warm baths and ovaltine, and lavender.

Ive been recommended a thousand times that maybe I should just try not to actually WORRY about my insomnia and then i would fall asleep, but tbh, although the advice is well meaning, its about as helpful as telling someone with severe depression that they just need to change their attitude.

Branleuse Thu 03-Oct-13 18:48:32

nytol and kalms do not need to be taken for 2 weeks before they work??

filee777 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:49:49

Thanks for understanding me Bran x

I am going to get really drunk tonight so I don't have to take a tablet.

I suppose I will just have to learn to consume lots of alcohol very quickly for the nights when I have a late finish and an early start.

filee777 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:50:26

I cannot have valerian root

Methe Thu 03-Oct-13 18:54:24

Sertraline can take a while to get used to. When I started taking it I did have a few weeks of restless nights but then it improved. I think it's one of those things where you just have to weather the storm for a while.

You would be silly to stop taking them in they have improved your mental well being.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 03-Oct-13 18:54:36

Bran - i am not 100% on that, but i am sure that is the reason why i discounted those when i was struggling to sleep once.

I have to admit filee that alcohol is definately my friend in terms of sleeping - just don't tell my doctor! blush Instead of copious amounts of wine though, what about a brandy? One glass of brandy for me works as well as a bottle of wine.

Sympathies filee. I'm on Fluoxetine (Prozac) for depression, and cos it wasn't hitting the anxiety v much - started waking in the night with anxiety - my GP added Trazodone which is an old fashioned AD and has a sedative effect - and I have great quality sleep on it - even on the lowest dose (50mg) - maybe something to speak to your GP about if you need to.

But I would echo Lem's advice too. This is what I do that helps
- no caffeine after 4pm
- no phone/laptop screen after 9, warm drink
- turn tv off 10.30
- to bed and read 1-2 chapters of something lightweight but just good enough to keep me interested.
- Then lights off and if my head gets busy again I keep taking my mind back to what happened in the chapter I read, and some slow breathing.

And that all usually does the trick.

Hang in the there tho - one month on Sertraline is early days and like Lem says, starting Uni is a stressful time at the best of times, so try and be gentle with yourself. All the best.

filee777 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:29:03

It's been 1 month since the sertraline started working. It's been another six weeks on top since I started.

silvermirror Thu 03-Oct-13 21:07:25

Even if the doctor was to give u another prescription of zopiclone and u took it regular it Would be purely placebo effect.

Overtime u would need to increase the dose as yr body would becone tollrant and addicted.

U will have even more anxiety symptoms over a longer period of time.

I know yr getting anxious about not sleeping but that in itself will cause difficulties with sleeping so its a rebound.

But sleeping tablets Long term is not the answer. Doctors consider Long term use after 6 weeks.

I would Definately get an appointment with yr GP to discuss another Type of AD, and other anti anxiety and insomnia medications.

In the meantime continue with yr presant AD.

maniclady Thu 03-Oct-13 21:50:45

Just thought I'd mention I'm in the same boat so lots of hand holding here. Hope the doctor listens.

PaulSmenis Thu 03-Oct-13 22:14:51

My GP won't perscribe zopiclone now. He said that you get nearly as much rest if you lie still in a darkened room and try to relax. I'm not happy at all and even though he's the expert I think he's chatting it.

I know they are addictive and have side effects, but ffs, I just generally feel much better after taking them even when I wake up. I get an awesome sleep.

I now drink more frequently to help me get off to sleep. I have bipolar, so a lack of sleep can really mess me up and send me into a manic episode. I'm pissed about having to self medicate with alcohol and night nurse.

Seriously, I know Z class drugs aren't ideal, but they really improve my quality of life and I'm more than happy to pay the prescription fee. I'd be sorely tempted to order them from abroad if I didn't know they can be dodgy as hell. Sorry, a bit ranty and here.

silvermirror Thu 03-Oct-13 23:01:17

Resorting to alchol for sleep wont that in itself cause additional short and Long term problems, yr just transfering the problem from sleeping tablets to alcohol.

Alcohol issues is not a joke but an illness itself.

Please dont substitute non availability of sleeping tablets for alcohol.

I think alchol is actually more damaging than anything else sadly its cheep and easily available.

Preciousbane Thu 03-Oct-13 23:07:27

Alcohol is a depressant and not good to mix with meds. Would you consider not drinking at all?

HoopHopes Fri 04-Oct-13 00:05:07

I struggled with awful insomnia for years and worked full time. The only thing that worked for me as I said was to accept sleeps was not always easy and worked on my sleep routine and my attitude to sleep. So nights when I cannot sleep I use that time to do nice things, read lit books, music etc and know that I will get a few hours ( sometimes only 2-3 before I have to be up) but know other nights I will get more. And by being less stressed about it the easier sleep has come. Now it is only a few times a month and I just say well I have sleep in " the bank" and I will make sure I rest as much as I can.

Sleeping tablets do not work long term, it is placebo. Sadly.

Have you tried breathing exercises, yoga or Pilates. I love my weekly class and can use bits of it to help.

MrsFlorrick Fri 04-Oct-13 00:30:19

You should try these

www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/s/ref=pd_sl_2dwareg59m_e?rh=i:aps,k:kirkland+sleep+aid&keywords=kirkland+sleep+aid&ie=UTF8&hvnetw=g&tag=hydrukspg-21&hvadid=25387972887&hvptwo=&hvpone=&hvpos=1t1&hvrand=20090052301941760606&hvdev=m&hvexid=&hvqmt=e

Legal non addictive and in the US by the FDA they have been rated (they as is Doxy Lamaine) more effective that all other sedatives and hypnotics inc z type drug. Google it and you'll see studies.

No need for anything else. Kirkland is good made for or by Costco (ie own brand).

Non addictive too.

I had terrible terrible insomnia. GP refused to help and after 8 months of insomnia hell gave me two nights worth of tablets (thanks a lot!) and I was back to not sleeping. Lots of reasons which I won't go into now and GP maintained it was "for my own good" as all z type drugs are addictive. Doesn't matter when you want to sleep does it.

Any way Doxy Lamaine was something I came across on mumsnet by accident. It is a component of Syndol which is an OTC medication for migraine but aids sleep.

I now sleep well and occasionally use my doxy Lamaine. It's essentially an antihistamine but much more effective than sominex.

I have one more suggestion which isn't entirely well ehm let say its legally frowned upon but a joint? Desperate times and all that. Doxy Lamaine is a better better but you need to sleep.

I feel for you. Hardcore insomnia is awful and debilitating in ways only understood if you've suffered.

And avoid alcohol. It may help you fall asleep for a short time but you'll wake earlier and feel hungover to boot. Ugh.

filee777 Fri 04-Oct-13 04:19:15

A joint would be an option but I've done so so well to give up smoking it and my husband gets drug tested at work and Loves it so it would be a bit mean!

I'll check out this doxi stuff thank you smile

PaulSmenis Fri 04-Oct-13 07:56:30

Does it make you feel groggy the next day? That's why zopiclone is so good, you wake up feeling 100% clear headed.

MrsFlorrick Fri 04-Oct-13 08:29:42

Only makes you groggy if you take it at say 3 am and you need to be up at 7.

If you take it at 9pm and go to bed at 10, you'll feel great next day.

Admittedly this means you have to plan ahead but it's better than no help and no sleep. Besides they seem to help you get into a good pattern of sleep so you don't need them any more after a while.

filee777 Fri 04-Oct-13 08:38:41

I always plan to go to sleep early anyway. This morning both the kids were up at 4am for an hour. I didn't get to sleep until past 11 having lian pointlessly for 2 hours unable to sleep.

I finally took a zopiclone. One of my last ones.

I have an appointment with the doctor today and a full nights shift tonight. I'm going to tell her how this has all affected me, how worried I have been and how I have gone from being cool, calm and focusing to just lying and crying whenever I've got the chance.

I feel totally unsupported by them.

MrsFlorrick Fri 04-Oct-13 09:46:29

I found GPs totally unsupportive for sleep issues. I virtually didn't sleep for over 18 months. It almost drove me insane. No help from GP other than platitudes about not watching tv in bed, going to bed early enough and having a hot milky drink hmm none of which is any use for hardcore sleep issues.

I wish I had taken matters into my own hands much sooner. The doxy Lamaine has changed things for me completely.

I rarely struggle with sleep now. And feel rested and sane most of the time.

Initially I took them every night for about 10 days. This meant 10 nights of beautiful sleep. It sort if broke the cycle of insomnia. Then I went a few nights without and was fine.

It has also helped me tune into what's going on in my head so I know if things are stressful and I can't calm my mind early evening that I can take one of those tablet and still sleep just fine. And most nights when I feel calm I just don't need anything.

I hope you break your cycle and feel better soon.

filee777 Fri 04-Oct-13 10:49:14

I'm just in the doctors now, waiting to go in. I'm going to tell her exactly how I feel right now, how unsupported and just left to deal with stuff.

I am going to ask HOW I am expected to 'not sleep' for half of the next two months and explain that I am exhausted now, I have no days off until next weekend and that I have a job caring for people which being tired/anxious and stressed does not help.

They need to change my medication or support the medication I am on.

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