Exhausting all my options to treat insomnia...

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Hi, this is my first post, so apologies if I'm in wrong section.

I'm a 23 year old male, I've had history of depression, anxiety, insomnia etc ever since I can remember, from about age 13/14 onwards. I've had a year of psychotherapy, attended sleep groups, had CBT and finally seen a few counsellors, all related to the above issues.

The thing I'm still suffering from is insomnia. No matter what I do I can't seem to sleep.

I've been prescribed 7.5mg of Mirtazapine, which worked for the first week but now is not working at all and it's honestly really disheartening. I don't know what other medication I can try to help with sleep, and my GP has said Mirtazapine is more effective for sleep in lower doses.

There have been times where I've taken Zopiclone (up to 3 x 7.5mg) with my Mirtazapine dose, including propranolol (40mg) with still no sleep inducing effects. I've tried mixing cocodamol with it too, as they normally make me slightly more tired than usual, with still no sleep inducing effects. I've taken over 100mg Promethazine/Phenergen on separate occasions with still no affect. I've tried all natural sleep aids from Boots and Holland and Barrett etc as well. I've even tried diazepam which honestly does nothing, and I understand that mixing anymore of these medications will be more of a risk than a benefit.

Would anyone know what else I can do with the Mirtazapine or any other medication that can help with sleep? I'm honestly so desperate to sleep properly... sad

Thank you for reading

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Honestly wish I could be of help....I read these comments to help me decided how best to use the mirtazapine...right now i'm taking a 1/4 of the 15 mg along with 20

    mg of prozac....it's not quite right yet, but i do sleep well....the doctor is leaving it up to me which way to go lower the prozac and increase the mirtazapine to 1/2 of the 15mg...he says it's up to me, but i really dislike trying something new...will spend this week deciding...sorry i could be more helpful....I do get out of breath which

    is most annoying, would do anything to get the right dosage under control, best

    wishes to you and keep us all posted.

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    • Posted

      Thank you, I hope the Mirtazapine is working for you. I've heard of Prozac but I wasn't aware that they could be taken together. I do get out of breath as well and it's getting worse.. hopefully, it clears up for us as it may be from the meds.

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  • Posted

    Hi Insomniac - try taking the med an hour or even two hours before you go to bed. Don't eat before bedtime. Reading before bed - a real book, not a digital device - can help, especially if it's not particularly interesting. Try not to get anxious about whether you will sleep or not. I found reciting countries by alphabetical order helped. If you still can't sleep, get up and read some more, don't lay there tossing and turning. If all else fails, talk to the doc about upping the med or changing it. Best of luck to you.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your post.. I've noticed that my binge eating is mainly triggered by the stress of not being able to sleep, so I'd practice my usual bedtime routine, brushing teeth and winding down etc, then when I do try to sleep and fail it results in me eating large amounts before bed.. which doesn't help, I will try more reading however

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  • Posted

    Hi

    I think you're in the right place.  Typically, Mirt' can be overly sedating for the first week and then our bodies get used to it a little.  I would agree with you, the lower doses are more sedating and in mho there is no need to go higher for a sleep aid.

    One thing its worth mentioning, stopping Mirt' can cause discontinuation symptoms which are very difficuly with anxiety etc ... so if you want to get off it do it sooner rather than later.

    I was on Mirt for a year before starting a slow taper off it, I underwent different forms of therapy for insomnia.

    What I found helpful was meditation, did you try to practice at all?  

    Have you heard of Professor Jason Ellis ?  He has published a book recently called "The One Week Insomnia Cure", is was feathered in the Daily Mail recently.  He is one of the very very few Sleep Specialists, and if I were still suffering with insomnia this is where I would start today, reading his book, and searching to see if there is a way to get an appointment, not sure about the latter.

    Best wishes.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your post Calmer, I have tried meditation and it has helped, I may try combining this with reading to see if it works well together.

      I'll have a look at that book you've mentioned - thanks. 

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  • Posted

    I know how you feel, I have suffered with anxiety for over twenty years, and I've tried all the over the counter mess, for sleep, but they don't work, zopiclone only works now and again really, but doctors don't always prescribe it, so I have to ask my brother, who is probably fed up with me borrowing his. My friend told me about mirtazapine, so I asked my doctor back in January, 15 mg, helped for roughly three months but they stopped working, so I've upped my dose as I couldn't get into see my docs , I'm now on 45mg, getting quite a few side effects, pain in my right ear, and the usual groggy feeling, hoping these don't wear off..I saw on here on another comment about using Fluoxetine , maybe you could do some research on that ? Maybe ask your docs ? 

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    • Posted

      I can sympathise with you.. I've tried such a wide range of tablets as well, but nothing works. Are you still on the Mirtazapine? I was told it works better in smaller doses for sleeping problems. 

      I think Fluoxetine was prescribed before, but it gave me too many side effects. I think I'm overly sensitive to antidepressants

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    • Posted

      Hi yes Im still taking Mirtazapine, but i think its stopped working as well as it did, Im on the higher dose now, I think my anxiety is better, but ive noticed that it doesn't always help me sleep at night, i have back problems too, and ive been prescribed diazapam for my spasms, i noticed that with taking the two together, they did help me to sleep for a while. bought a book about insomnia, so might try and read that, see if that has any tips.

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    • Posted

      I'm glad it's helped with the anxiety, that's always good to hear. The diazepam and mirtazapine is a pretty strong combination, so hopefully the sleep affects last a while too. Good luck on that book!

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  • Posted

    Apologies for being absent for a while, finally finished my final year at Uni.. here is an update:

    I've decided to stop taking Mirtazapine as it isn't acting as a sleep aid anymore, so the side effects for me aren't worth it...

    One reason that may have affected my sleep was University stress, however, I have handed in my Dissertation last week Monday, and to my disappointment, my sleep still hasn't improved.

    I'm currently sleeping with the use of a medication called Xanax which I got prescribed from a doctor abroad. I know this has risks with addiction and such nor is it a healthy medication to be on for something like sleep, but I'm so desperate that I'll take anything to help me sleep.

    I guess these are my only option until I run out. I'm on the waiting like for another mental health assessment, so hopefully, that'll provide a means of sorting my sleep.

    Thank you

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    • Posted

      at least you got through uni, maybe you will notice the difference after a few weeks of being stress free, that book i mentioned is called, 'The one week insomnia cure', think the idea is that you follow the book for a week, and your cured..ill believe it when i see if lol...i feel desperate sometimes too, nothing worse than the frustration of not getting enough sleep, its the falling to sleep that i struggle with, but once i'm asleep, im ok until the morning. going to start the book tonight,see if it really helps. it from amazon, the author is professor James Ellis.

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    • Posted

      Thank you, and I really hope so, I'll give it another couple weeks to see if I settle down, maybe once I receive my results.

      Ah.. 1 week insomnia cure sounds really appealing.. and it is the worst isn't it, trying to force your brain to shut off so you can rest.. but it just doesn't work, I feel like I struggle with falling asleep as well.

      Good luck on that book, maybe once you're done you could tell us your experience and how it went?

      All the best

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