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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5837
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I would like Dr. Kate McCoy to answer this question. Dear

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I would like Dr. Kate McCoy to answer this question.

Dear Doctor: Last night I tried to go to sleep without any medications. My nervousness had been gone for several hours after taking a relaxing bath, and I thought that was the end of it, but then the anxiety came back with a vengeance and I couldn't sleep until I took 2 xanax and a muscle relaxer. What does this tell you about my condition?

Hello, and thank you for the request.
It sounds like going to bed, or the thought of going to bed, brings your anxiety back up. It could be due to your recent experiences. The mind becomes "trained" to think in patterns. And when you have experienced distress before about something, your mind reverts back to that incident and reminds you that you may experience these emotions again. For example, people who have accidents often are reminded of what they went through when they pass the place where the accident happened. The brain just naturally goes there because that is the memory attached to that place.
It may take a bit to undo the feelings you have attached to going to bed/sleep. You need to retrain yourself to think of it differently. It will help to have a successful night's sleep without medications but to get there, you may need to change something about your routine in order to sleep without medications.
You can try changing where you sleep. A new bed does not hold the same memories for you because you didn't experience the same things there that you did in your bed.
Also, try distractions. Some people listen to talk radio in bed (on low) or they read. Something that will keep your thoughts focused. You may find yourself sleepy before you consciously acknowledge it.
Talk to your doctor about reducing the amount of mediation you might need each night. You want the minimum possible, just enough to make you sleepy so you can fall asleep on your own. Your doctor can help you find a balance.
And try not to worry. Each night you expect to sleep without drugs is another night you get upset and make the experience harder. Try allowing yourself permission to take something. Even encourage it, at least until you can begin to reduce the amount slowly. This is not an quick process. It will take time. But with some work, you can learn to go to sleep without medications. The most important thing is that you are sleeping.
PS There is no doctor in front of my name. Just Kate is fine :)
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Kate

I took 1 xanax this morning just to calm my nerves which just exploded as I tried to sleep. You talked about adrenaline working its way through our bodies during a panic attack and then running out. Would you happen to know how long the adrenaline takes before its replenished?

Although I was nervous for much of yesterday. after I took a warm, relaxing bath, it went away, and I assumed that part of the reason was because the adrenaline in my body was gone.

Isn't there a technique or a medicine to bring those adrenaline levels back to normal, or does it require sleep?

I nodded off twice so far today (although I took an ambien earlier). Do you believe this could help?

It depends on how much adrenaline is released into your body and your own metabolism as to how long the adrenaline stays in your system. But taking deep breaths and practicing how to relax can get the adrenaline out of your system faster. Work on learning the progressive relaxation technique I sent you last night. The more you practice it, the easier it is to use and the faster it works to help you get rid of the adrenaline.
Try to stay awake during the day if you can. It will help you fall asleep faster at night.
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