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Brad The Therapist
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience:  10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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What can you take or do when Ambien only helps you sleep for

Resolved Question:

What can you take or do when Ambien only helps you sleep for 3-4 hours? Can you safely try something else to get 8 hours of sleep?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 4 years ago.

Brad The Therapist :

Thank you for your question. Before answering your question, please tell me more about your insomnia. When did this first start and what was happening in your life during this time? After your response, I will be able to give you recommendations.

Customer:

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and shocked into an anxiety state by the unfeeling urologist who wanted me to enter his parnership's protocols: biopsy, radiation doc, robot-assist doc etc. Took me 2 weeks to assemble the data and get a second opinion that my cancer was small, localized and slow growing.

Customer:

But the damage was done and I was in a high anxiety state that produced insomnia. Went to my local doc and was given generic Ambien. Worked for awhile but only puts you asleep for 3-4 hrs after a week or so. Then I can't get back to sleep for the 8 hrs of sleep I need.

Customer:

I am in South Korea now for Proton Beam therapy and worry about being on this generic for the 2 months of treatment.

Customer:

Your advise is appreciated.

Customer:

advice

Customer:

I am also concerned about the addiction to generic Ambien (zolpidem titrate)

Customer:

How long have u taken it m8z?

Brad The Therapist :

Thank you for your response. Ambien is not considered addictive, that you can rest assure of that, however, you should not take more than prescribed. Also, you may benefit form antianxiety medications as your anxiety is causing your insomnia. have you considered taking an anxiolitic?

Brad The Therapist :

I apologize for the technical problems I am experiencing.

Brad The Therapist :

If you see me disconnect, my internet is going in and out

Customer:

my anxiety is lower since I got a second opinion but my insomnia continues

Customer:

I worry about adding more side effects

Brad The Therapist :

When you try to go to sleep, what thoughts enter your head?

Brad The Therapist :

I see...do you take naps during the day?

Customer:

I just count my breaths 1,2 1.2 until I fall asleep

Customer:

do some breathing exercises too

Brad The Therapist :

Great! After only having a few hours a sleep a night, do you take naps during the day?

Customer:

the 4,7,8 method to quell anxiety

Customer:

get tired but can't fall asleep

Customer:

I took 3 mg of melatonin before I got insomnia

Customer:

then stopped taking it

Brad The Therapist :

do you take naps during the day? What is your night time routine? Do you go to bed at the same time and wake up the same time?

Customer:

I go to bed around 10 pm

Customer:

no naps

Brad The Therapist :

what time do you wake up?

Customer:

wake up when 0330-0400

Customer:

when the ambien wears off

Brad The Therapist :

I see and you can't go back to sleep, correct? What do you do instead?

Customer:

internet or read

Customer:

like now

Brad The Therapist :

And the next day, you are able to stay up until 10pm?

Customer:

yes

Customer:

but wearing me out

Brad The Therapist :

When was the last time you had a good night sleep?

Customer:

the first few days on ambien were ok

Customer:

the day before the urologist called

Brad The Therapist :

Is ambien the only sleep aid you have taken?

Customer:

I have tried melatonin 3 mg before that

Brad The Therapist :

Do you exercise?

Customer:

and some over the counter antihystimines with 25 mg HCL

Customer:

yes daily

Customer:

I am over 65 and was strong for my age

Brad The Therapist :

Have you considered taking an anti anxiety medication such as clonopin?

Customer:

I have a healthy diet

Brad The Therapist :

Great!

Customer:

brad I don

Customer:

Brad I don't feel that anxious now that I have the facts re my prostate cancer

Customer:

but the insomnia lingers

Customer:

I analysed all the treatment options and side effects for prostate cancer and chose the Proton beam therapy

Brad The Therapist :

Yes, but you reported that you had a bad experience when you were first diagnosed. You may be experiencing these feelings when you go to sleep as these feelings are unresolved.

Brad The Therapist :

My recommendation for you is as follows:

Brad The Therapist :

First, please consider obtaining a fast-acting anti-anxiety medications.

Customer:

but will another drug resolve these feelings

Brad The Therapist :

Yes, it may because Ambien is only a temporary fix to fall asleep.

Brad The Therapist :

your emotions may be what is causing your insomnia

Customer:

how do I get off ambien then

Brad The Therapist :

Before getting off of ambien, please discuss this with your prescribing doctor regarding your anxiety

Brad The Therapist :

the physician will either titrate you off of ambien or just prescribe you an antianxiety medications instead

Customer:

he told me to stop cold turkey when I saw him after 7 days on it

Brad The Therapist :

great, then you should stop it. it will take a body a day or two to adjust to not having ambien

Customer:

brad some anti anxiety drugs have insomnia as a side effect

Brad The Therapist :

You should consider "sleepytime tea"

Customer:

valarian root?

Brad The Therapist :

Yes, some do, but if the anxiety does decrease, you will be able to fall asleep, if my hunch is correct

Brad The Therapist :

That is correct

Brad The Therapist :

it has both a sedative and antianxiety effect

Customer:

is there anything I can take to get me the 8 hrs of sleep once ambien wears off

Brad The Therapist :

you can try trazadone, which needs to be prescribed by your doctor

Customer:

I just wish I had my old sleep habits back

Customer:

ambien gets u to sleep fast but u don't get 8 hrs

Brad The Therapist :

that is the problem with ambien. Please speak to your doctor of other alternatives such as trazadone or an antianxiety medications.

Customer:

let me copy this down then

Brad The Therapist :

Once you press the "accept" button, a transcript of this discussion will be available

Customer:

what was the antianxiety drug u mentioned

Brad The Therapist :

There are fast-acting antianxiety medications such as xanax

Brad The Therapist :

or clonopin

Brad The Therapist :

long lasting antianxiety medications include lexapro, buspar, or celexa

Customer:

and u substitute them for ambien

Brad The Therapist :

that is correct

Customer:

yes I had a clinical depression at my retirement 11 years ago and took celexa for 6 months

Brad The Therapist :

did you find celexa helpful? It works well with both depression and anxiety

Customer:

but insomnia was a side effect

Brad The Therapist :

I see, the fast acting antianxiety medications may work

Brad The Therapist :

instead

Customer:

no way around the meds ha

Brad The Therapist :

Another suggestion is to see a therapist.

Customer:

I tried cognitive therapy but the doc was just selling books

Brad The Therapist :

Not all therapists are like the one you saw.

Customer:

yes it is hard to find a good one I know

Customer:

you have obvious skills and would know

Brad The Therapist :

Thanks

Brad The Therapist :

do you have any other questions?

Customer:

thanks brad you have definitely given me some actionable answers and I gladly press the "accept" button

Brad The Therapist :

I wish you all the best!!!!

Customer:

thx brad bye now

Brad The Therapist and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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