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Ambien addiction
I have been treated for depression since 1991 and am on lexapro and just started gabitril.  The problem is that I never sleep well and have become addicted to ambien but do not know how to tell my psych this.  I get the ambien over the internet and sometimes take 100mg or more at a time.  How do I stop on my own? I cannot afford a clinic and I know my psych will make me go to the hospital if I tell her.
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I started taking ambien after a painfull surgery I had so I could sleep.  When I stopped taking it after about a week I had bad insomnia, so I continued.  Big Mistake.
I would not recommend this drug other than once a month.  I had to continually increase the dosage over time to get the same effect.  When it no longer worked even at 20mg, I knew I was f  ked excuse my french.  I went into a psyce word severly deprived from sleep and the usage of this drug and the negative effects it had on me...lethargia, poor memory, no appetite, anxiety, worsening of my depression.
All I can say is be very carefull, I am done with ambien, it ruined a better part of 3 years of my life.  Yes I still experience occasional insomnia, I just have to deal with it the best I can.  I know I need to increase exercise once again especially now with winter and fewer hours of daylight, I suffer from Sad, so I know when winter approches what I am up against.
Mandy, dont give up or anyone struggling with this drug.  I never thought I was going to have my life back again, when I was in the grips of it, I wanted to die I was so sick.  But I did get it back, and I do think it does have an effect on ones brain, because I have memory issues also.  But you will get there.  Keep the faith, dont stop the drug cold turkey , gradually decrease it over the weeks especially with the extremely higher doses.  I am extremely appalled at 100 mg usage of this stuff, I truly feel bad for anyone on this so high, but you have to do something about it or it is going to take over your life at some point if it hasnt already.
Please people dont dabble with this drug, BE CAREFULL!
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Well here is my story,
     At the end of June I had trouble breathing and ended up going to the doctor to get it figured out.  It all scared the hell outta of me due to having to get xrays and a scan of my lungs with contrast to see if it was cancer which turned out to be pneumonia but scared me enough to quit smoking after 10 - 12 years.  About 2 months after quiting smoking and also quiting alcohol cause it made me want to smoke and which I was drinking several nights every week and drinking about a 12 pack of beer or more each night for a couple years or so,  I started all of a sudden not sleeping and didn't sleep for 3 days at all and which was absolutly horrible.  I link the initial not sleeping now to the quiting smoking and drinking which were I believe my coping with stress and what not but am still glad I quit.  After not sleeping for 3 nights I started taking OTC sleep aids then after a month or so of those they started loosing thier effectiveness.  So I went to the doctors and he prescribed me Ambien.  I started taking it and all was well and slept wonderfully for about a month then crashed hard.  I hit bottom.  I had for the first time in my life a severe panic attack and the whole weekend to follow was some of the worst feelings I have ever had.  Went to the doctors and was prescribed Xanax for anxiety and still took the ambien for not sleeping.  I didnt take the Xanax just the thought of having it was enough to get me through the worst of the anxiety.  But in January I started taking the Xanax due to feelings of not feeling normal and still feeling anxious.  Took the xanax and ambien for about 2 weeks and the memory loss and what not was very bad.  I could not concentrate at work at all.  Would for get conversations as they were happening.  I stopped taking the xanax after couple of weeks could not deal with the side effects.  I have been taking the Ambien every night since prescribed.  I have noticed it does not work as well anymore.  I wake up a couple times a night and I take 10mg dose and sometimes take 2 which I am fighting not to do in fear of what this stuff does and building an even more tolerance to it.  I have noticed I still fight with alot of side effects including headaches during the day which never go away and dry eyes and memory loss and tiredness and feelings of not feeling normal.  I have tried several times to not take the stuff to fall asleep tonight being one of them and each time is the same although this is the longest I have lasted with not taking it cause I usually give in and take it around 2 - 3 am after going to be around 11pm and not sleeping.  But each time I attempt to not take it I start out fine but then it starts and I start loosing it and go into a panic mode and my heart races and I end up going into sever sweats even though it's 65 in my house and I never sweat.  I have never had this kinda reaction from not taking something and the thought of being this dependent scares the hell outta me.  Not sure if it's all mental or if I am really hooked on this stuff but its some bad stuff.  I dont know what to do at this point.  The not being able to sleep is bad but the not feeling normal all the time which I have and I believe is caused by the Ambien is taking its toll.  I always feel abnormal everyday and sometimes bad thoughts happen and I feel so numb.  I am not sure at this point if what I am saying is making sense I am not good at writing and or exspessing my feelings.  But anyways I am trying to quit this stuff it is very hard tonight where I would have just given in and taken it I decided to just stay up and try sleeping tomorrow.  I dont know how much I can take I just want to go back to being able to sleep.  I think well maybe if I go back to drinking and smoking then it will all go back to normal but then I am back to a very unhealthy life but which is really better.  I feel like I am going crazy.
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ambienoverdose.org has a ton of information on this subject.
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I know this may sound stupid to ask but if you order over the internet what should you look for to know if its legitmate? I have a script from one dr for lunesta and another dr for ambien and some how manage to finish both in 3 wks. I havent really been keeping track of how many Im taking. I guess I should. Lunesta work good once it kicks in but does not kick in as fast as ambien. The only time just one works for me is if I don't eat All day. Other wise if I have a meal even at 5:30 and take it at 10 it take 2 maybe 3 10mg to knock me out. I started seeing my psyc 2 1/2 yrs ago after I went to him for 50-10mg of Hydrocodone per day to get on Suboxone. I've only been taking both lunesta and ambien for a few months but once I was on to that I could get both at the same time from different drs I guess I felt comfortable with taking more if I thought I needed it. Now I'm scared to death because Im about to be out for a wk because I won't be able to sleep. Is there anything I can take over the counter until then. I plan to taper down back where I need to be but need something to get me through til then. Please help!!!

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1218318 tn?1266812201
Hi Ashamed, I'm in the process of getting off Ambien right now. I'm on a taper program. I don't plan to sleep for a few days when I'm done with the program. Ambien is scary stuff for me. I didn't abuse it, in fact used less than prescribed, but I still want off. My WDs from it are bad. You can't quit the stuff cold turkey. Too dangerous. Use what you have sparingly, cut up remaining drugs into rations and use to prevent bad WDs. Tell your Doctor (at least one of them)!! Your Dr. will help you out. Also tell a pharmacist. He/she might help you out suggesting OTC sleep aid to help you sleep, and possibly what to do to prevent trouble with WDs. You need the rest of your Lunesta/Ambien to prevent bad WDs. Don't run out. Good luck
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Well, it has been several months now and no Ambien no nothing.  I dont sleep some nights and those nights I do I wake up several times each night but it is all worth it.  I feel good for the first time in a long time and it seems to be getting better and better.  One day at a time.  I have some bad days where I get depressed but then I will have a week of good days so it is all good.  Getting over Ambien was one of the worst things I have ever had to do.  DO NOT START IT.  Find some way of figuring out when the not sleeping started and figure out how to fix it without it.  Trust me it is bad bad stuff.  Anyone ever wants to chat about it or has questions or how to quit it dont hesitate to contact me.  ***@****
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Oh.....Ambien almost ruined my life.  I almost died in a car accident, and I don't even remember getting in the car!  I was so hooked on it that I took it day and night!  It was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I have ever had to detox from.  I literally went WEEKS without going to sleep, had seizures and everything!  It was awful!  

I think they should take it off the market! : )
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Thanks guys for the info! I had forgotten I took my two already then a cpl hours later I took two more. The I counted my pills and realized omg i have taken four! I'm fighting my sleep because I'm afraid I will die
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Avoid this drug at all cost. It has robbed me of my health, looks, vitality, memory and family.  I researched this drug and for some reason, even though some of these post are nearly 7 years old, I was not able to find the info that is posted here. I started using as needed to help get to sleep. The very first time I used it, I did not know that you had to take it and immediately get in the bed.  I walked the dog. I had no recollection of what happened, nor do I know how I made it to bed. When I first started taking Ambien, I think that I was driving while under its influence and going to the local all night Walmart or grocery store. I wound up spending a lot of money on purchases I didn't recall making and would eat and put on a lot of weight. I even ordered things from infomercials that I didn't recall. The most embarrassing was sending text messages and calling people and having conversations while asleep. I was in the middle of a break-up form a long-term relationship when I first started and was told that I said some very revealing things to the person I was dating afterwards.

More recently, as I have progressed through perimenopause and upped the dose from time to time to nightly, I have suffered the consequences. After a hip replacement, I suffered the return of night terrors - which is the equivalent to me of panic attacks while sleeping. I have had some of the most horrific symptoms – tooth decay, bone deterioration, nerve damage, panic attacks, etc. People think I am a senior citizen and offer me their seats on the train or try to help me in and out of the car. They call me “sweetie” and smile that smile people reserve for old ladies.  I looked at myself in the mirror one night and sobbed. I looked like a skeleton. I  had gone from being slightly overweight, to looking malnourished and aged.  There is no other clinical/medical reason for this accelerated aging. My friends do not recognize me and I am amazed when looking at pictures just a year apart of the difference.

Sorry this is so long. I could go on and on about how awful I feel everyday, but I think you get the picture. I am trying to detox by decreasing the dosage by cutting the pills down but that is a challenge in itself trying to maintain a measured dose.  Please, try anything, but do not take this drug.
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Please someone can help me? I stop taking Ambien 10mg/day 5 days ago. Now I feel like I am dying......how long it will take to get back to normal from withdrawal symptoms?
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Please someone can help me? I stop taking Ambien 10mg/day 5 days ago. Now I feel like I am dying......how long it will take to get back to normal from withdrawal symptoms?
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I don't know if you're still seeking advice and help about your ambien addiction since your original post was so long ago. I know all too well what ambien addiction is all about and I was taking 300 mg. a day. Yes, 300 mg. As in, 30 times the recommended dose. Please let me know if you've beat this or if you're still looking for help.
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""""Please someone can help me? I stop taking Ambien 10mg/day 5 days ago. Now I feel like I am dying......how long it will take to get back to normal from withdrawal symptoms?"""
well I feel your pain and anguish especially going CT but try to bear with it because it will take time for your body to detox this chemical so your brain will once again kick in producing its own sleep/wake cycle.     What a country this is when this kind of garbage (meds like ambien) is given FDA approval.    Then again,  we still allow the free sale of alcohol,  cigarettes,  and other stuff.

as for other poster who was on 300 mgs daily,  glad you're still with us and congrats on staying clean



Though this thread was started so long ago,  wasn't gonna reply but.....300 mgs ambien each day!!    Glad you're still with us!!    but how long was the taper process for THAT?
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I found this site with a lot of Ambien users .... My God ...


http://www.topix.com/forum/drug/ambien/T91ALGSPM3EDEGPFD/p12

Anyone have night terrors when they just stopped taking Ambien ? What do you feel like after 3 days ? Do you feel normal but can't sleep ? Your head feel clear ? less depressed ? I'm cool with less sleep if I get my thinking back  ! I cant even type words right . Think to slow or to fast
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Yes, night terrors, night sweats (completely saturing my clothes), anxiety attacks, vicious heart pulpitations.  Cutting Ambien cold is very hard and probably dangerous for some.  I am back on and right now just waiting on the inner strength and circumstances, and support to get off for good.  
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Also, the depression was something terrible.  I would have joint pain, tenderness, soreness all over my body.  I would often "blank" out, have headaches and racy speech.  The anti-anxiety med helped out but didn't put me to sleep.  It is advisable to taper off Ambien, not cold turkey.  Have a support group.  It is definitely possible.  I have read many testimonys (go back and ready Mandy's)...
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I have been takin ambien 10mg For one year now. I have tried to quit cold turkey. It has not worked. I can not sleep without it and have started to take an additional pill in the middle of the night to goback to sleep. I don't know what to do either.
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I noticed some posts on here are getting a little old.  Is anyone still following?  I'm hoping to wean off of Ambien, I dont' know how it will work.  For the last year and a half that I've been on it I finally slept consistently.  My social life improved, my overall health improved: by that I mean my mental state, there is nothing like feeling happier and able to deal with life in general.  So I am not looking forward to stopping, but I really feel that I should pull myself out of this addiction.  I am in the middle of moving after buying a house and I don't think I have the days it will take of no sleep.  I tried to wean it down last week and paid the price.  I was run down and had no energy, among other symptoms.  And I never went without it, I tried taking half to at least help me to sleep, but that lasted all of 2 hours.  I went back to taking the full pill this weekend and I'm glad I did because i was able to get work done on the new house and not be tired at 4pm.  I've suffered from insomnia since i was a child.  I suppose that means the chances of it going away are slim.  I'm feeling discouraged.  Either I stay on this pill that I don't know what long term effects it has, or I go back to living as i was before, irritiable, tired, etc etc.  On a side note, I do feel that the ambien has somehow affected my mental capacities.  I have foudn that expressing myself aloud is more difficult, and I pause before talking.  Even though my mind is racing and I have thoughts to say, they do not come out.  I have also lost memory of experiences, and have a hard time remembering vocabulary.  I have only noticed this issue in the last year.  Anyway, sorry this is so long, anyone care to comment or share?  It would be greatly appreciated.  For anyone who used melatonin (I was even on a prescription for this and it didn't work)  How might I help ensure that it will work well?  How much do you take?

Thank you!!
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Yes,  this thread has been brought back time and again by those surfing through the back pages.     Anyone can start a brand new thread at anytime.  
Anyway,   these chemicals were never meant for long term use.    Like many other drugs, it causes changes in brain chemistry that disrupt your sleep/wake cycle.     Your brain actually produces its own natural chemicals that control bodily functions.     So why you ask do they make a drug that is supposed to help you sleep?      I still don't understand it myself because once you've been on this for any length of time,   your brain says to itself that it doesn't need to produce its own since there's this chemical already in your body.    That's why when you attempt to stop using it,   your brain doesn't immediately begin producing its own and thus your body is starved for a chemical to induce sleep.    The lag period between stopping the drug abruptly and waiting for the brain to naturally produce its own is what makes this period,  the withdrawal process, so rough to tolerate.        
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That's exactly one of my worries - at night I know it's ok if I'm not tired, because I can take the ambien and sleep anyway.  My brain isn't producing what it needs to fall sleep.  I'm not sure it ever has, but I'm certainly not helping with the Ambien.  I did read that taking Diazepam while weaning off of Ambien, then slowly weaning off of the diazepam might be easier to go through than just cutting the Ambien.  I experienced some weird symptoms last week as I tried to cut my ambien dosage, but I didn't think that was what it was from.  Stepping down might not be a bad idea, but isn't diazepam valium?  I've had valium before as a Rx a long time ago - but it never seemed to work for me.  I have a high tolerance to certain drugs, though I do not take any regularly except the ambien.  
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1304379 tn?1376571037
I just want you to know I have been in the same boat before, and I was able to pretty much quit cold turkey(maybe I was lucky?) I could take 2-4 pills during the day and NOT get tired... just feel high. Nevermind, I didn't do it cold turkey, I did have about 3 10mg valium and I chipped off small peices here and there. You are going to have to tough it out, but it is nowhere near as hard as an opiate habit. There is a website dedicated to Ambien addicts. I will find the page and post it for you. This, you need to understand: Your life is more important than a dirty secret... stay in touch with your body, and if you feel in danger, you must go to the ER and seek help... I did, and they treated me well, and helped me through.
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Thank you!  I will rough it out, I'm going to try my hardest to work at kicking the habit.  I have enough prescription to really ease off it slowly, so I will put myself on a plan.  I'm trying a 25% reduction this week.  Day/night 1: went pretty well.  Looking forward to many more.  
Should I supplement with melatonin as someone suggested previously?  I am not sure how my body will get tired on its own after all of this.  
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i hate it but love it..am addicted  but my life is not what i want it to be..tapering off does not help...i cant sleep without it...sonata does not help, nor does lunesta! what have i gotten myself into?
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i hate it but love it..am addicted  but my life is not what i want it to be..tapering off does not help...i cant sleep without it...sonata does not help, nor does lunesta! what have i gotten myself into?
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iv been taking ambian for about a year now. its not my own perscription and i only take 2 or 3 at time. i overdosed on it and was in the hospital and dont remember any thing about the incident except waking up in the hospital. it freaked everyone out. how did you stop using?
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When I was in Thailand a Mental Heath Doctor from Bangkok Hospital.
Prescribed me:
[  The Doctors words are in between ( )  ]

1: Xanax 2mg ("To put you to sleep fast")
2: Klonopin 2mg ("So you can sleep all night")
3: Rohypnol 1mg ("To give you a deep sleep")

Rohypnol is now a green pill so if dropped into a drink it turns the drink green to help stop it from being use in a vary bad way. I hope the US will bring it back with this added security.

I have to say I had the best sleep in my life & I was able to get up with the sun fresh eyed and bushy tailed ready to take on the day.
I will admit from what they say here in the US, I was nerves to take such a combo but I trusted the Doctor, not the US Propaganda. I am glad I did since for the year I lived there I slept like a baby it was great! but now sleep is hard to find!!!.
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1929318 tn?1323240723
Hello all,
My name is Dale. I'm 51 years old
I've been taking ambien shortly after June 10th of 2000. I remember the date because I suffered my 1st heart attack on that date at the age of 39. I was having trouble sleeping after that due to stress about my heart problems etc.
At the time I had 4 young children ages 3,5,7 and 14 and my wife was suffering from depression. I remember talking to my doctor and him telling  me how my heart needed the rest and for me at the time he felt that was most inportain thing. He started me at 5mg.
After about a month or 2 he moved me up to 10mg.
At the time I really didn't know all the side effects. If I had realized the long term effects it would have on me there is no way in hell I would have ever started on it. I would have taken the chance of my heart not getting the rest my doctor felt it needed by me taking this med.
As anyone that has taken ambien even for a short time could amagine I could fill a book with all the mishaps I have had while under the influrence of this drug. Yes i've driven, yes i've crashed, i've fallen asleep nude on my couch not knowing how I got there. Wandered into the street.
Argured with my wife, teens ect and wonder why they were upset with me the next day. Well my 14 year old is now 25 and moved on with his life. My 3,5 and 7 year olds are now 14, 16 and 18. My wife still suffers from depression and my teens are a handful to say the least. I own a small landscaping business and my wife is a Rn that works 3rd shift 7pm - 7am.
Something happened today that made me realize more than ever before I need to get off the med today. It's been 11 years and i have never, not even one day gone without it. I called my doctor and asked him whats the best way for me to go about getting off ambien? He told me to just stop taking it. I won't sleep I explained. I tried cough and cold medicines, etc in the past and nothing worked. Tonight is the night, I doubt i'll sleep at all for days but this is something I have to do. I have to be here for my kids. To many things can and do happen when i'm unconscious from midnight to 6am everynight. This is my 1st time on this site or any chat site for that matter. If anyone has any advice for me in the coming days I would really appreciate it.

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Hi there I hope you succeed to overcome your ambien dependency.  I am sure you will as you were never taking more than the dosage.  I have not being to break the grip it has on me even though I have never had any bad experiences on it other than needing it for sleep.  The problem is I have developed a tolerance over a period of 12 years to about 50mg twice nightly!!!  Recently I tried to cold turkey off this (in a rehab) but was not successfull and after 17 days of absolutely zero and I mean zero (not even microsleeps) I caved and was tranferred to a psychiatric hospital for 3 weeks.  I have read almost everything on the internet and joined all sorts of forums but nobody seems to have suffered mor than 7 or 8 days without sleep.  Melatonin does nothing for me and nor does Aterax or any other kinds of tranquilizers.  I have tried to taper but when I wake after 2hours of sleep for more than a week I give in.  If there is anybody out there who can give me any help I woult really appreciate it
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stop what exactly what?
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It's better to start a new thread instead of reviving this old one.
""50mg twice nightly!!!'''    that has to be a typo, has to be 5 twice nightly,  I can't imagine anyone taking 100 mgs a night...and who exactly prescribed it or what pharmacy would even accept it.    
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I'm continuing with this thread because it comes up if you search for zolpidem addiction.  I have never posted on a bb before, but have decided to reach out in case there is someone out there like I was, someone searching the internet out of desperation because they would never admit they have a problem to family or friends, let alone a doctor.  

Today was 4 nights without sleep.  Today was the day I had set that I was allowed to take my last pill.  If I just made it until today I could feel good about myself.  At the time, I could not imagine making it through one night and making it through 4 would feel like a miracle.  Frankly, I could not imagine making it through one afternoon or even a few hours.

It has taken a sheer force of will, but I made it.  And, I've decided that I will wait another night.  Maybe, just maybe I will be able to wait another night after that.  I have hope again that life might be worth living without Ambien after all.  

Does my head hurt like hell so I want to dig out my eyeballs?  Yes.  Is my husband pissed because I haven't come to bed in 4 nights and am irritated by everything?  Sure.  Do I have coffee spilled all over my shirt because my hands are shaking violently? Absolutely.  But all of this is to be expected after 4 nights without sleep.

Let me tell you what I did not do.  I did not search every pair of pants and handbags in my house looking for a pill I forgot.  I did not check the floor for pills that had dropped while intoxicated or left in hiding spots. I did not scour the internet for websites where I could order more pills with quick delivery. I did not run out to buy benadryl or tylenol pm or anything to dull my brain from racing.  

I have hope that I can overcome this obsession and enjoy my life again.  If there is anyone out there like I was, everything looks different from the other side.  You CAN break free.  
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1967134 tn?1325652199
Wow! I have Fybromyalgia developed after I severely injured my back and neck, after being diagnosed with sleep apnea I became an experimental guinea pig in order to find the right combo that would work for me. I am taking three 50mg of Amitriptyline at 9pm and it normally knocks me out within 2-3 hours.
I refuse to take pain meds, for I just do not like how they make me feel, and though the pain gets really severe, I take nothing more than an 800 mg of Neurontin, and this with the Amitriptyline, I sleep solidly all the night through, and without the dopiness other sleep agents make me feel.
I also credit this combo of drugs with a 335mg aspirin regime for helping me to quit smoking after 36 years and I did not have one craving and six years later are smoke free, I also get sick when I smell the strong smoke odor on those who do smoke...I hope this helps some of you, It did wonders for me and are now sleeping really great and without all the whole dependency thing to worry or fuss over. Give it a go after of course with your Doctors approval, we are all wired different of course and may find this inadequate!
God's Speed and I pray your sleeping better...
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No it was not a typo 50mg's twice a night.  No doctor would prescribe this so I went doctor shopping and collected the scripts at various pharmacies.  I am now on 20mg's and tapering at 10%every 15 to 20days.  My point is high dose long term users should NEVER cold turkey but taper
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May I ask how Many Zolpidem you were using and have you recovered
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I was probably averaging 40-60 mg daily for the past few months but really I am not sure. There are large chunks missing completely. My last refill of 30 was gone in  I think 4 days.  I can't believe that I actually took that many; it doesn't seem possible now but the empty bottle seemed to prove it.  

The effects of severe sleep deprivation are intense and debilitating.  I certainly would not say that I will never take zolpidem again out of desperation but the concerns for my long-term health and the safety of my family finally outweigh my anxiety over just not sleeping.  And I managed to have a few social interactions over the holidays that I can actually remember.
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ya mann.. im all about rational recovery, 12 steps did nothing but give intro me to my dope addict girl friend? like thats what i fn needed? anyway just dosent work for me atleast.. the point i stoped using hard **** i wanted to move past that not sit with a group of em n tell sad stories? i used good nug,kratom,sex to quit my opiate/benzo proplem..n im 35 days clean,only this ambien i just got from doc, wel see
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I agree with you 100%.I think Psych ER wouldn't hurt her. they can get her on the spot therapy and a good nit sleep....
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I have been taking Ativan and Ambien for 5 years now every night... I really need help... PLEASE HELP... Any one out there please help I caint stop and I don't know what to do anymore... If I try to stop I feel like Iam going to pass out or die.. Please please help me.... ***@****.... Iam willing to pay for help...
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I've been without Ambien for more than 3 weeks now and reduced to what I would consider medical use for several weeks prior to then.  Before this spell I had not slept a night without  medication for at least five years.

I was taking at least 60 mg/day and stopped cold turkey several times (for 5-7 days at a stretch).  I am confident that all of the side effects I felt were results of the sleep deprivation, not withdrawal itself.  This can be debilitating I still feel its worth it.

My memory and cognitive function are greatly improved and I am much less anxious of social interaction.  The prospect of a sleepless night is no longer as terrifying as the drug.  Best of all, I can sleep a little at night.  Once I broke the idea of "never" being able to sleep again withouot drugs, the rest became manageable.
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I am 71 years of age, have been taking Zolpidem for 10 years. Just one tablet a night 12.5mg.  It knocks me out, I am totally unconscious until the alarm clock wakes me in the morning.  I have panic attacks when I only have two tablets left and become irrational with the pharmacy when they tell me no more till the end of the month.
I have tried to stop, due to memory lapses.  When I do not take a tablet it causes horrible and scarey nightmares.  I have been diagnosed with COPD and am scared that with a severe panic attack I may stop breathing.    Which has happened on one occasion in hospital.
I originally started taking Ambien/Zolpidem because of severe night cramps in lower legs, ankles and feet.  Which I did not feel once I had taken my sleeping pill.  This no longer works.  I crave my pill and sometimes am not quite conscious when the cramps hit and I try to stand up to get rid of them.  Yes I do get a pain in my shoulders (in reply to a previous posting) the left one, and cannot raise my arm very high.
I am going to try and break this habit.  I managed to give up smoking but this seems to be worse.
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i am amazed by this thread.  i could not live with out my zolpidem.  but i have never taken more than 5mgs (my doc Rxs 10 mg pills) and that was before i knew i could use much less.  i can usually FALL asleep, but i will wake up 3-4 hours later and then be awake for 3-4 hours until i can fall asleep again.  that was before zolpidem.  now i take a tiny bite 2 mgs and read until i feel the slightest bit tired, i can read thru the dose so i quit reading as soon as i feel tired and turn off the light and take deep breaths until it works.  i wont take it after 3 am tho cuz it makes me half alert during the day if it do.  also i try to get cold cuz your body temp needs to go down to be sleepy...
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also,
i do think it screws with your memory.  
and my boss had to quit taking it - he said he would get up in the
night and do stuff and not remember.
and i think it might have effects on the heart - i think it makes my arrhythmias worse.

you know your body much better than a doctor ever can.  something like a sleep aid is not medically necessary (usually) so you should aim for the least amount necessary, and not rely on what they prescribe.  10 mgs gets me goofy and i can hardly walk to the bathroom.  yeah, if i was 22 it might be fun, but thank god all we had to get high was pot and psychedelics.
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i took 10 mgs once when it was first Rxd.  after that i went to 5mgs.  then to 2.
and not every night cuz i want it to keep working and cuz i do think its not good for us.
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To those taking ambien... It has a lot of side effects... If you google it, it's not just the normal list of side effects every drug has... Many people have a lot of side effects with this medicine as well as its dependency...
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If you have anxiety it can and a lot of ties causes rebound anxiety if your on it awoke cause ur body needs it at night... Body aches,irritability..

I know this because I am taking it... About 20 mg a night and I gotta get this down to 10
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i take about 80 per night. i have just run out. doctors dont know what to do. they have put me on 30mg of diazipam. tonight is the first night. so so hard already. i have tried to stop before its really bad. and when i run out the panic is awfull. some times i feel like just jumpig of a roof. i dont know anyone who knows how to stop after taking so many. but i am trying tonight. and i will be thinking off you. i wish my doctors would put me in rehab. but they wont. its to expensive
becky
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I take 3 a night and thought this was just me. I'm glad theres more people out there then just me. But now I have to quit cause I'm  pregnant :/ its gonna be hard
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God bless you, the true hero!  I hope the best for you and your family for the rest of you lives.  It is going to be tough, but I hope and pray that with the love, suooprt and companionship you con get fro groups like NA, AA, groups for vets.  I am sure there is not enough, but hopefully you will find the right one.
                                                                   Thank you for defending our country.  Now I think it is time to fime some people that will return th favor.
                                                              Leighab68

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After reading your remedy, I figure it's possible to quit a 10 mg, 2 year process. My process did become multi-purpose as it actually worked two-fold as a pain-killer.  I would break a pill in half and use that during the day.  It took the edge off the pain.  But this wasn't the use Ambien had intended.  Previously, the pain from the herniated disc in my neck was not being remedied. That pain wouldn't let up and I had noticed how the ambien would ease the pain...even though I wasn't trying to go to sleep.  I would be driving somewhere and the ambien eased the pain, almost as an anti-anxiety. I felt no euphoria.  I was completely aware and it worked for pain.  This was before I found a chronic pain management doctor.  Then I was prescribed Nucynta 50 x 4. They make you strange.  Or they have made me strange.  I am now down to 50 x 3 a day.  I itch, runny nose, no interest outside, etc.. Just want to stop the weirdness but then I have to deal with pain. How do I do this?
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Hi MarleyAN, I know exactly the feeling you are going through. I take 100mgs of Nucynta x3 and I get the exact feeling, I just don't want to do nothing at all. When I don't take it I get a runny nose and sneeze and yawn all day.
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I know it has been years but are you still answering questions regarding the ambien. How is your sleep cycle now?
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I have been on Ambien for over 10 years, including 3 or 4 during the day to 'take the edge off'. Your post has to be one of the better posts I have ever read.  I know it's old and you probably have a different email address now. You probably won't ever see this comment. Thank you sooooooo much. I'm gonna make that the last post a read on the subject because it is so positive. Thank you very, very much..
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