Sleeping pill dependence - How to wean off them?

I can only sleep when taking Zoplicone, I have been prescribed this for 7 years and have tried nurmerous times to wean miyself off but still can't sleep without them. The sleep deprivation is to hard to cope with when stopping these tablets. I have tried switching to Diazepam in the past with no luck. My GP has no other suggestions… What have others done to come off these tablets?

Posted 19 Mar 2012 at 3:59 PM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    I am new to Sleepio. I take sleeping pills and wonder how this will affect the course. Am I suppose to cut back or stop taking them? Will the course strategy work while on sleeping aids?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 4 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 2

    Hi.I know how u feel .I've been on S/p. for year's D.r.has told me I will have to come off.so I've gone cold turkey again. Only 2 night's .hope I can do this .Just hope no stress comes along

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi – I've just started week 4 of Sleepio. Starting the restricted sleep schedule was hard but not impossible. Don't worry if you stay in bed a little longer than your wake time. Sleepio told gave me 6 hours 15 minutes in bed. It didn't feel like enough, but I did feel myself getting tired late at night and even dozing off. I started Sleepio taking 5 mg of Ambien and then reduced to 2.5 mg and am now at 1.25 mg. I'm still a bit anxious about completely going off it. But am hoping to try in a week's time. Sleepio is providing good tips and techniques to manage the anxiety. I am also being really disciplined about no computer or reading in bed or in my bedroom. Really trying to do what Sleepio and the Prof recommend. Good news is I see it helping and I hope it works for others too!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 2

    Hi I understand, I've been on s/p 5 years Husband had affair for 2 years when I found out but still on pills just can not get off

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 2

    How long have u been on s/p.some time's I have to take 1half tabs as they don't work .so bad I've got such bad Anxiety.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I see this is an old thread, but such an important topic. I can't speak about the so-called Z-drugs (Ambien, etc.) but I can tell you from personal experience that tapering off a benzodiazepine (lorazepam, clonazepam, etc.) is more difficult than many in the medical profession seem to know. Dose reductions cause bona fide withdrawal effects that need to be understood and managed. Sometimes it takes a long time to get free of them. (Suggest looking at Dr. Heather Ashton's work on benzo withdrawal for details.)

    I got off the drugs through a VERY slow taper and was left with anxiety and insomnia. Sleepio has helped a lot with the insomnia. I'm treating the anxiety with exercise and mindfulness meditation. Feeling better and better--I second previous commenter's statement that less sleep off the drugs is better than more sleep on.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I have tried tapering & switching to 25mg Benadryl (diphenhydramine) several times. But I find Benadryl leaves me quite down..almost depressed for days. I'd only take it for a few days while tapering off anything.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Does anyone out there have any experience of getting off of Trazodone? I've been taking this for several years, am now up to 100 mg / night and get to sleep with the hour. After 60 some years of insomnia, it feels like a miracle, but I don't want to stay dependent, and I don't know whether it's affecting my sleep in other ways.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Session 2

    I feel the same , just can't get off the pill I try every week and come off for a couple of days then get so tired .

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Ask your doc for help. A lot of these pills shouldn't be stopped abruptly anyway so if you tell them you'd like to taper off slowly(say over the course of a month or two) and would they help by reducing your prescription for you it can really help. You've got someone else to be strong for you then

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    Hi I am too on sleeping tablets, but I have managed to go down to 1/4 tablet and it has been hard but I want to come off completely, so so hard to do and I think the more you think about coming off them the more anxiety I feel so now I give myself some time and think I have time to wean off. My doctor is very good and knows that I am desperately trying and I have told her that I am doing the Sleepio and have done other things to sort my sleeping out. Mine goes back way down to childhood but I am trying to sort that out too. So I am being kind to myself and know that I am in the right place. Good luck to everyone in same boat and it is great to know that we are all here for the same reason. Good to read peoples shares and know that I am not the only one around that finds it hard to sleep. I too felt so ashamed about being on sleeping pills but I am trying to change this as I know this is not my fault and it is a life changing situation that caused my sleep to mess up. Here for the journey !!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 9 comments
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    Session 4

    I, too, have been using zopiclone intermittently over the last few months, mostly when I am just desperate to get a full night's sleep. I am aware that they are not a solution, so I look forward to weaning myself off them. Initially I was on 3.75 mg, but had to up my dose to 7.50 mg. Currently, I am not taking them, but may go back on them over the next week, if my sleep does not improve. Any advice on how to manage this medication?!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    This discussion has just appeared at the top of my feed at the perfect time. I've been taking zopiclone every night for the last 5 weeks at the recommendation of my specialist (who also suggested Sleepio). My GP had only wanted me to take it a few nights a week, and nights without it resulted in me lying awake for up to 4 hours before finally falling asleep. I've just completed the fifth session of Sleepio and have tried a few zopiclone-free nights with no success. I'm beginning to get side effects from the zopiclone, but am really scared that if I stop taking them my insomnia will return. Has anyone else had success stopping? I know I've been on the tablets for a very short time compared to some of you! I was on quetiapine for a couple of months, and that was wonderful but neither the gp or specialist would prescribe it for any longer due to the long term effects.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 1

    I was on zop for a month and I found that they made me more anxious and the sleep quality wasn't good. They seemed to change my personality. Now I take phernagan when needs be . I also tried zoplidem which I found very effective that can be taken for longer .

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Amanda, the good news is you haven't been on the pills for long so it shouldn't be too difficult. The bad news is the only way I found to get off of them was to endure a prolonged period of almost no sleep until my body started to regulate itself. For myself, this took a long time but I was on pills a long time. Many people taper to make the transition easier. You can do this!! You haven't been on them long so the rough times shouldn't last too long and you will see the light soon. Hang in there!! It can be done!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 4

    Hello everyone,

    I'm currently taking trazodone (75 mg) and melatonin (10 mg) to help me sleep each night and I'd like to taper off of trazodone and decrease my nightly dosage of melatonin. However, I'm now going through the Sleepio course and trying to adjust my sleep schedule so that I can get to sleep earlier in the night and wake earlier in the morning. Since I'm beginning the sleep restriction portion of the Sleepio course this week, I'm wondering whether it's wise to adjust my sleep schedule while taking my current dosages of trazodone and melatonin, only to get my schedule normalized and then begin decreasing the amount of trazodone and melatonin I am taking.

    My concern is that tapering the dosage of trazodone and/or melatonin may lead to further disruption of my sleep, at least while my body adapts to the changes in the dosages, followed by a disruption in my sleep schedule. If so, then I'd have to go through the process of adjusting my sleep schedule once again. Has anyone had any experience with both the adjustment of your sleep schedule and tapering off of sleep medication(s)? It seems that it might be best for me to begin tapering off of one or both of the sleep aids while suffering through the disruption this will have on my sleep, until I am able to get at least a minimal amount of sleep at the desired dosage of melatonin only. At this time, I can begin using sleep restriction to increase my sleep time by 15 minutes per week until I've reached my optimal sleep time at above a 90% sleep efficiency.

    Although this will take weeks (months?) to achieve, and this will likely result in some sleep deprivation short term, perhaps this will allow me to achieve my goals of a more normalized sleep schedule at a higher efficiency without the use of sleep aids (or with a minimal dose of melatonin only) more quickly. Any thoughts? Thank you very much for your assistance!

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi I've just seen your message which was some time ago.
    I've been taking these same pills for about 5 weeks and now have been cutting them so only taking a half each night. First time was bad but since then it's been ok. I still wake but go back to sleep. Last night first time without so only a few hours sleep but my body feels better today. Maybe try a 1/4 of a tablet next.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi, I too am on Trazodone and am slowly tapering. I was on 150, now down to 112.5. I also take melatonin but only a microdose (300 mcg, less than 1 mg) and also .5 mg klonopin/night. My advice with the Trazodone is to step down as slowly as possible. Reduce by about 10-20% per week or every 2 weeks or slower if you want. This helps your system not quite notice the difference, I've found. I went from 150 to 137.5 to 125 to now 112.5 for the past few days and will probably go to 100 in the next couple days. I haven't noticed any difference in my sleep with any of these reductions. I do feel the sleep feels more “natural” and “restful” as I reduce the medication, but that could be in my head. This is also how I tapered off Seroquel (a much stronger med) that I was taking on top of the Trazodone for sleep. I was on 150 mg of that, and tapered off completely over the course of a few months. I still employ a modified sleep restriction but have been becoming more lax.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Hi Amanda since I last posted about zopiclone I've moved on again.
    I took these meds during my 6 weeks, (starting them the week before I joined sleepio) I also had developed dreadful anxiety.
    Whilst I can't comment about your condition, I can about my experience of the sleeping meds.
    I tried to stop to no avail, so then read about cutting them in half. I did that for over a week, I also took them as I was just about to get into bed. I was falling asleep immediately so I knew the tablet wasn't needed for that anymore. My anxiety started to lessen.
    During the 7 nights I've only taken 1/2 ×3 nights. I've had some very good nights sleep and a couple of not so good. I feel so much better and realise that I was also having side affects from them.
    My anxiety has reduced loads as I'm not worried if I have a blip. I feel dreadful today but I know it can only get better, ( this is all from encouragement from the community)
    Only you know what you can manage but it is hard, it's about trying to get through the pain to get to the other side. I'm still working on it, but moving forward.
    Hang in there and you can do it.
    Seabee

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 4

    After having a baby my nights got really messed up. I had to take pills every night for 10 weeks. I really hated being dependent, so decided I needed to quit about 4 weeks ago. Rebound insomnia was a bear the first few nights, then frustrating the next few nights, but after a couple of weeks I feel like I was able to at least get to the point where it's manageable. I only take the pills 1-2 times a week for the past 2 weeks with a goal of getting completely off. So, it's tough, but it gets better.

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