So my dad has been on sleeping meds (currently Hypnodorm) for what has probably been years now. He has a host of medical problems and a long history of chronic fatigue and other stress related lifestyle illnesses.
He really is a text book example of how CW in the medical system can screw your health up. Problem after problem, and years spent (IMO) as his Doctors' guinea pig/science fair project, have left him switching between a host of meds and with nothing to show for it but more pain, more problems and an empty wallet.
For once and for all he wants to be rid of these darn sleeping meds so we're trying to deploy a strategy to wean him off. Of course, I'm scared for him because I've heard horrific stories of the side affects, especially if one goes cold turkey. So we're looking to slowly decrease his dosage. Naturally, I've tried sharing with him my thoughts on diet and health and he's well aware that a lot of what he does, well, he shouldn't do. But telling him is one thing, him doing it is another. Somehow he justifies his sugary late night binges as a way to cope and although he's not overweight, I can see how it all ties in to exacerbate his problems. These are things I'll try and work with him over time but for now, sleeping meds is first priority. So I'd thought I'd reach out to you guys to see if anyone knows anything about coming off them or has personal experience to share. Any specific things that will help him manage/mitigate the side affects?
Note: Please, I just want to stress, my intent is not to offend doctors in saying this and I am by no means trying to take away their credibility or anything like that as they have their place. Regardless of their intentions though, I really feel strongly that in my father's specific case, they've done wrong by him.
asked byCoconutBliss (1930)
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on March 16, 2013
at 09:21 AM
I highly recommend that you check out Dr. Heather Ashton's, BENZODIAZEPINES: HOW THEY WORK AND HOW TO WITHDRAW, (aka The Ashton Manual). It can be found here: http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/index.htm
Dr. Ashton is one of the few researchers that have quantified the evidence of what benzo drugs do to you and how to deal with withdrawal from the stuff.
I was on Ambien for eleven years. It was hell; a living hell coming off of them. I did a six month taper. Going off benzo drugs too fast can give you all kinds of problems, including seizures. Benzos directly affects GABA receptors in the body. After being on sleeping pills for a short time, the body downregulates endogenous GABA and when you cold turkey or taper off the drugs, your body is in a serious GABA deficit. You sleep bad. You have anxiety. Your skin will crawl. Your muscles will feel like you've been doing hundreds of push-ups a day. You will be exceedingly cranky, afraid, and may think you are going out of your mind. Your nervous system is screaming for relaxation and it ain't getting it until you start making GABA again.
Did I mention that it is hell going off these drugs?
If you can do it, you are in for a bad time, but eventually it gets better. My local doctor still can't believe I got off of them. He says that it almost impossible.
Magnesium helps a lot, specifically magnesium oil. Soaking in a hot tub everyday with the stuff makes the muscle cramping/clamping a little better.
I celebrate five years off the demon Ambien this September.
on March 16, 2013
at 05:10 AM
Holy _rap, I just looked up hypnodorm, haven't heard of it. Wow, powerful benzo with muscle relaxing and hypnotic properties. For those who might read this post hypnodorm is also called Rohypnol aka roofies, the date rape drug. Oh shame on those doctors getting him hooked on something that powerful. I had to add this to my earlier post about the magnesium. You have got a BIG problem you are trying to help fix. But big does not mean insurmountable or impossible. I still highly recommend all the stuff in my earlier post but this may take help from someone who has addiction experience. Benzo's are a hard drug to give up, they have a very high "feel good" element to them. If your dad is anything like mine he would never admit an addiction to anything a doc gave him, it just is "medicine he needs". So hopefully just try to get him to see the real negatives of the drug and start trying to titrate down in dosage. Every little milligram he shaves off his dose is a positive change no matter how long it takes. And don't give up, some parents have to use tough love on their kids, with our parents aging we may need to tough love them. I really really hope you find ways to help him and I will keep sending positive thoughts your way.
on March 16, 2013
at 04:25 AM
MAGNESIUM!!! It has helped me get off of an over the counter sleep aid, herbal sleep aid and several benedryl I would take at night along with my Ambien. Paleo and supplements generally and magnesium specifically have helped. Now I'm looking to start cutting the Ambien in half and quarters. Since he likes a little sugary something in the evenings look at the Natural Calm brand of drink mixes they have lots of flavors and some have sweetners others don't. Also if he is willing a nice warm Epsom salt bath just before bed can help get more magnesium in your system and is relaxing. A good pre-bed routine something like: turn off the tv, dim all the lights (blue light stimulates), turn on some nice relaxing music, take a long hot Epsom bath, have a sweet Natural Calm drink, then off to sleep. Same routine over time preferably at the same time will help his body know its time to rest. Also let the sun in his bedroom in the morning preferably wake up to it and look at D3 when he gets up to reinforce the circadian rhythm he is trying to establish. Good luck!
on March 16, 2013
at 11:04 PM
Acupuncture helped me learn to sleep again when I stopped Ambien. I had to quit cold turkey because there is no such thing as weaning off of it. It was physically painful and I went 2 or 3 days of only sleeping for 15 minutes at a time for a total of 2 or 3 hours a night. I can't imagine what Hypnodorm will be like. I will never, ever, ever take sleep meds again!
Look for someone that was trained in and practices true Chinese medicine. There are a number of American hacks out there that do NOT know what they are doing.