Sleep Disorders Community
4.87k Members
Avatar universal


I have been taking 10mg of Ambien daily now for 3 years. My doctor said it was not addictive and continued to fill my prescriptions. I called last week for a refill and she send a letter to my home saying I would have to find another doctor.  I guess she realized that it is addictive and instead of being a good doctor to help me get through it, she just drops me. I'm also taking 150mg of Effexor, which I've been on over 3 years as well. I haven't been able to sleep since I've stopped taking Ambien. I have no motivation to do anything and fill like my life is just a big disappointment. Any advise as to a good way to fall and stay asleep, would be greatly appreciated.
16 Responses
242516 tn?1368227505
Ambien is a benzodiazepine and all of the medication in that class are addictive and habit forming.  It sounds like it has been some time since you ran out, so I'm glad it sounds like you didn't have problem with withdrawl.  A new primary care physician would be a good person to talk to about your sleep.  They'll discuss things like exercise, avoiding exciting things in the evening, and possibly beneficial medication.  Good Luck!

Dr. Enoch Choi, MD
Palo Alto, CA
Avatar universal
Thanks for the comment. What are the symptoms of withdrawal? Now I just drink myself to sleep every night.
Avatar universal
i have been on ambien/restoril/lunesta (at different times) for 10 yrs (i am 51). i have been taking them every night for at least 5 yrs, and cannot even take a nap without a pill. every doc i have been to has filled the scripts without incident. i have been to a sleep specialist and he suggested an anti-depressant to help wean me off, which i didnt want to do. now i am taking generic ambien (zoldipem tartrate) for about a month. i am having lots of side effects including sore muscles & dizziness (i take about 5-10 mgs per night). anyone who tells you sleep meds are non addictive is either stupid or a liar. i rue the day i ever started taking them - now i am addicted.

other side effects are confusion and lack of motivation, to name a few. i am going to doc on mon. to talk about weaning off  - you are lucky you didnt have serious withdrawals from the drug!! sleep deprivation in itself can cause all kinds of problems including depression, lack of concentration, forgetfullness etc. i urge you to get to another doc in the meantime. hang in there!! i am scared to death of weaning off bc i am the sole provider for my son and myself, and fear the sleeplessness will jeopardize my job.

drinking alcohol actually causes sleep disruption in itself. i have a lot of trouble sleeping even with the meds when i drink. i know this is a tough time for you, but try and do something else if you are sleepless - read, take a hot bath, anything but alcohol...!! i am sorry you are having so much trouble, but this too, shall pass...hang in there!!! personally, i cannot wait to feel better again, and i know it will get worse when i wean off before it gets better. i am not expecting immediate results.

good luck & keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I really appreciate your long reply. I was so upset with my doctor for just dropping me when I needed her the most. You are so right about lack of motivation. It takes everything I have to come home from work and fix dinner, not to mention laundry! I just want to go to bed and watch tv. The house needs cleaning, but I have no desire to do anything. I am in the process of finding a new doctor and hopefully I will find one who understands insomina. It doesn't help that I worry all the time about my 18 year old son, who doesn't do anything but sleep and want money. I feel like a failure and I wish I could make him want to make something of his life. All I have ever done was give him love. I would give anything for some Ambien right now. I hate sleepless nights! I hope you get to feeling better soon too. You are very kind and it means a lot to me.
Avatar universal
i can totally identify with your situation regarding your son. mine is 17 going on 35 and thinks he knows it all. i am just a "nag" because i tell him to pick up his wet towels off the floor!! it does make you feel like a failure when all they do is complain and all you want is what's best for them. his father doesnt live in this country, so he's no help at all.

when you go to the doc, have a plan in mind about how you want your recovery to go. sometimes we place way too much responsibility on the medical system thinking they always know what's right. i intend to tell my doc that i have failed in the past to stop the sleep meds, and i need a support system and proven plan for weaning and STAYING off. if she cannot help me, i will ask for a referral to a doc who specializes in addictions (i also tend to drink too much on the weekends & take the sleep meds which leads to amnesia & bizarre behavior - a whole other story!). I don't want another script and a 2 min instructional on weaning off...!!!

hey, don't worry about the house - trust me, the mess will still be there when you are feeling better to clean up :-).  and you WILL feel better...but it will take time. i have a friend who quit smoking about 7 mos ago after 50 yrs...he had all kinds of weird side effects that you would never imagine (chest pains, cold sweats, confusion), but most finally disappeared after about 3-4 months.

for the record, i was prescribed effexor at one time. i couldnt tolerate it but everyone is different. i tried just about every antidepressant (paxil, prozac, serzone, to name a few). they did help me through my divorce, but i didnt like the side effects so i stopped cold turkey (i was told they were non addictive - yet another story!!) i decided that life has lots of bumps in the road and the anti depressants seemed to smooth out the edges - including the high points, which i really missed.

hopefully your son will emerge from his cocoon. for some reason, the late teen years seem to induce a sense of complacency in kids - like opportunity is just going to come knock on the door - (like an $80,000 a year job that you only work 3 days a week!) with no effort on their part. i think they will snap out of it if they have a good foundation from the past. i just keep plugging away at my son hoping it will sink in!

omg, ambien is the enemy - keep that in mind! you are doing the right thing by getting off of them. i have been up since 3:30am the past 2 days and i know it is going to get worse. do you have anyone close to you that you can confide in? it helps to have someone to talk to (even if it doesnt lead to sleep)..

take care and keep us posted.
Avatar universal
I think we can become best friends! When I read what you write I feel like your talking about my life, exactly! I'm calling today to make an appointment. I guess my main problem is I like taking a pill that makes me forget about reality, which isn't smart I know. I think that is why I drink, especially on the weekends! I can relate to you so well and that's a good feeling for a change. I don't have any friends I can talk to, but my husband, who's wonderful to me, but not to my son. He legally adopted him when we married 7 years ago, but has never been a father to him. My son's first father, who was the devil himself, terminated his rights as a father when he was 4 years old. I think that is one of my son's biggest problems. He doesn't feel wanted or loved, even though I love him, it would have meant more to have some type of father figure in his life.
I'll keep you posted on what the doctor says today. I really enjoy what you have to say, and it helps to know there is someone out there who listens and cares.
Thanks again,
Avatar universal
lol..perhaps we were separated at birth...

hey you can email me at lynnatdas-group.com

i would like to know how you are progressing and i can share my recovery with you, too...:-)
242516 tn?1368227505
I'm glad you gals are encouraging each other, that's the thing I love about this site!
Avatar universal
Hey girl,
i just wrote out this long replay and then hit the back to forum botton instead of post comment and lost it! I hate when that happens. What I wanted to tell you was I loved my new doctor and he prescribed Cymbalta for me to take. He said it helps with both anxiety and depression. He gave me a month free to see if I liked them. I start off on 30 mg. the first week and then up to 60 mg. for the rest of the month. He wants to see me again after the 30 days to see how I'm doing. I know this is one area that we don't agree on, but I asked him for a prescribtion for Ambien and he said okay. I had the best night sleep last night and feel better already. I know it's addictive, but I don't care if it means a good night sleep. I'm glad the weekend is almost here so I can finally relax and try to unwind. Who knows, I might even feel like cleaning. I'm not rushing into anything though. How come Men don't see what needs to be done, and just do it? It would make me so happy.
Have a great weekend.
Avatar universal
lol...well i am glad you are feeling better. as for men, i can only think of them as being useful for one thing (and it aint bringin home the bacon :-). just kidding...

i cant for the life of me understand why a man cant pick up or just fix dinner when he knows you are feeling bad or having a bad day! they r clueless...and then they complain that we arent sexually agressive (after we have worked all day, cleaned and cooked dinner)...

anyway, i wish you the best with the cymbalta and ambien. i am gonna start weaning myself from the sleep meds this weekend and that means no alcohol since it disrupts my sleep so i have a bit of a challenge ahead of me. yes, i self medicate on weekends - i have convinced myself that i cannot enjoy myself or let go without the benefit of the devil water...i have to start thinking in a different way now coz i am sick and tired of being TIRED. and i do work out regularly and eat right, so i know its not that.

have a nice weekend and do something fun for yourself (besides cleaning)>>

Avatar universal
You are so sweet. I think we really are sisters! You really can put into words what I'm thinking when it comes to men! ha I'm with you on the devils water. I never heard that expression before, but that's exactly what it is.  I hope you can stay away from it. Just think how good water is for you. I just think I have an addictive personality and everything I do, it's in excess. It's hard to explain to others when they have no idea where your coming from. I like sleeping, drinking and gambling. How that for some issues!
well take care, and I talk with you on Monday.
242516 tn?1368227505
Horse1 is right, the devils water (alcohol) is disrupting your sleep.  It helps with sleep latency (getting to sleep) but wakes you early and you don't get good rest.  I've seen many patients get a lot of help avoiding it by Alcoholics Anonymous or other recovery programs.  Even if you're not physically dependant on alcohol, it's something that you can use their techniques to avoid it.
Avatar universal
Can you tell me if it is normal to experience itching all over the body, plus the throat when withdrawaling from Effexor 150mg? I stopped taking it, and now take Cymbalta, and I can't stop the itching feeling. I just wanted your opinion.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
242516 tn?1368227505
Many people have different experiences withdrawing from different medication.  You should ask your doctor if this may be the case.
Avatar universal
Hey I'm 21 and just stopped the drug, I've been on and off of it for about 2 years, and I've been on it longer term for a while. I am a horrible insomniac, between stress of daily life, school, and work, I'm a headcase. It is best to be off of this drug, obviously benzodiazepines are addictive, but I tried the whole alcohol approach too, and eventually the two evils combined and that is why I quit, I had one too many experiences with behavior problems and not remembering them, the last almost cost my life. It is very very very difficult to reset your sleep schedule, but it can be done, just stay away from Zolpidem and alcohol before bed. If anything just read the most boring thing you can find until it wipes you out, there is plenty of talk about a set sleep regimine too, which can be more than difficult, and this seems like an unordinarily long rant, but I go to school full time and work on and off midnights in a hospital, so the whole to the minute wake/sleep times isn't always an option, but from personal experience, and working in a retail pharmacy for 3 years, and seeing how these drugs affect peoples lives, for your own sake find the will power to stay off medications unless they are absolutely necessary!
Avatar universal
I am one of the unfortunate people who respond to the original brand Ambien, but not the generic forms.

Now, that's almost $600 for a month, so....not able to use.Even higher doses of generics did nothing.  

My doctor has me using 100mg Trazodone, and it is helpful. Sometimes I add a 25mg Benedryl or Aleve pm.

I have to go to bed at bedtime, and read books to wind down, avoid blue lights (like this screen or any screen), go with warm red / yellow tones to read.

I avoid caffeine and anything containing it (chocolate) after noon, and carbohydrates in general, and will eat high protein for the evening meal.

If I stubbornly miss the window when I am sleepy, I won't be able to sleep.

It does not make me too groggy. I really miss being able to just SLEEP on command. I often am up late with work, and have to be up early, and it's hard to manipulate my brain, and stressful.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Healing home remedies for common ailments
Dr. Steven Park reveals 5 reasons why breathing through your nose could change your life
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.
How to lower your heart attack risk.
Trying to lose weight? Grab a snack that works with your diet, not against it. Check out these delicious, slimming foods.