Lower doses better for sleep?

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I've recently come off of Clonazepam at 1.0 mg and it's been 3 weeks today. All I can say if anyone is thinking about a benzodiazepine medication please dont do it because it's a living hell to come off of! That being said it has really opened my eyes to the dangers that some of these medications pose to us physically.

I'm currently on 22.5 of Mirtazapine which I had down to 15 mg but my doctor wanted me to go back up when I came off Clonazepam, I also take 25 mg of Seroquel that he also added to help with sleep. I'm really tired of all the medications period because I've never felt this awful physically my whole life. I've seen people post about Mirtazapine being more sedating at lower doses but wanted to ask people who were on higher doses and came down if that is the case or not.

The medications I'm taking are basically just sleeping pills for me at this point and I really want to get off them even though I'm not going to rush tapering off like I did with Clonazepam. My main fear right now is my insomnia coming back but I think if I can get through coming off Clonazepam I can make it through anything. Any feedback would be appreciated as I know that this is what I need to do to get where I need to be but I'm not sure how to get there.

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  • Posted

    Hi Rob, I understand how you feel about clonazepam as I came off a benzo only to go back on them after a couple of years. Purely for anxiety and I buy them in the Internet as Dr s won't prescribe then.

    I am prescribed Pregabalin at night but that again can make you very sedated the next day. I take 15mg of mirtazapine but like you I would love to get off them all. Pregabalin is bad but I've gone from 300 to 150 night but i will remain in mirtazapine.

    I think if you bought melatonin caps from Biovea that helps you drop off but not maintain you asleep. I take that at 9mg every night.

    There are sedatory antihistamines like Phenergan, diphenhydramine known as nytol in the UK. I worked as a psyche nurse but chronic insomnia I believe from shift work, days and nights in the same week and now I'm so depressed and anxious I need mirtazapine and other meds at times knowing the long term effects is frightening.

    One day when stress and family issues are settled I might have time to think about me. Very best wishes and yes lower doses help sleep 7.5 - 15mg but you might need to split the 15mg tablet.

    Good luck, sounds like you're doing really well. 😊

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    • Posted

      Lynn,

      Thanks for the response and I definitely think I want to go down on the Mirtazapine and I see my therapist today so hopefully we'll get a good game plan. I wish I could say I'm doing better but coming off the Clonazepam has been the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life and after 22 days off I'm still having a really hard time. The long term affects are really what worries me a lot also and after seeing just what a benzodiazepine can do to you I really want to get off them all together in the near future.

      I hope you have an easier time of it in the future with your medications and you figure out what you need to do that is best for you. I'll be praying for you and all of us that are struggling so bad with all these medications.

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  • Posted

    Rob, how fast did you come off of the clonazepam? Were you taking .5mg two times a day or just 1 mg at one time a day?
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    • Posted

      Tonia,

      I took 1.0 mg once a day for a little over 3 months and I weened off it in 10 days. This was way too fast as I know now and I definitely suggest a much slower taper for anyone coming off of a benzodiazepine as it can be dangerous coming off too quickly. It amazes me just how strong these drugs are and how they're prescribed to anyone at all unless no other options exist.

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  • Posted

    Hi Rob.

    Boy you're not kidding about the benzos. I was on them for 18 years. By the time I realized that they were only hurting me now instead of helping me the doctor had me on 5x30 mg Oxazepan per day which I ended up having to take all at once just to be able to sleep at night. Because I took them all at night that meant that I was going through withdrawal throughout the day so he gave me 2 more benzos per day at a lower dose. When I decided to go off of them I had to be hospitalized for 2 weeks because there was a very real danger that I would have sezures. I managed to get off of them altogether in spite of the fact that my doctor wanted me to keep taking at least 1 of the 30 mg Oxazepam each day. I said "NO" if I do that I'll just end up going through withdrawal every day for the rest of my life. Well I got off of them but I can tell you without a doubt that it was the battle of my life!!! I went through withdrawal for a full one and a half years. It took that long for my brain to begin to produce the normal chemicals that calm us and help us to sleep because it didn't have to for 18 years. The benzos were doing it instead. I'll tell you...I quit smoking many years after I quit the benzos. I was a heavy smoker for 30 years and in spite of that quitting was like a walk in the park compared to what I went through getting off the benzos. If anyone in this forum is thinking of starting to take benzos please please listen: THEY ARE BAD NEWS ALL THE WAY AROUND!!!!

    I can honestly tell you Rob that if you feel you are only taking those meds to sleep it is a very slippery slope you're climbing. If you stop taking those meds (under a Doctor's supervision) and you end up with insomnia it's only because you need to give the drugs time to leave your system and for your body to readjust. I can absolutely promise you that when your body absolutely needs sleep it will sleep. And after that first time that you sleep it's all uphill from there my friend!

    I wish you all the best Rob. When I quit the benzos it was at one of the lowest and weakest times of my life...but I did it. If a weenie like me can do it you can to.

    Take care my friend

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    • Posted

      Jadekar,

      Thanks so much for the reply and all I can say is wow and kudos to you for getting off of the benzodiazepine medications after being on them for so long, that is one hell of an accomplishment!!

      My therapist wants me to stay on the Mirtazapine and a low dose of seroquel until I get through the withdrawal period from the Clonazepam. I definitely want to get off these medications but I'll admit I'm not sure what to do right now as the withdrawal is kicking my butt! I truly believe the medications are only helping my sleep and doing nothing else and they may be even making my physical symptoms worse. I'm still working barely and I want to be able to continue to do so but it isn't easy.

      I'm thinking that I may try going to a lower dose of Mirtazapine over the weekend to get the process started and see how things go, at this point I don't think they can get any worse..

      Thanks again for all the info it really is quite helpful and good luck to you moving forward in all you do!

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    • Posted

      Hi Rob and thank you for the kudos. Sorry it took me so long to respond to your post but I've been trying to get off of Mirtazapine completely and I'm having a hard time with it. Hard to believe considering that I managed to get off of all those benzos but this Mirtazapine is a real b**ch...please pardon my language but it makes me very angry that we are not all advised of the withdrawal effects and difficulty of coming off of these medications before we begin taking them...it should be the law!!!!

      But I wanted to tell you that once I got off of those benzos all those years ago and they were completely out of my system and my body began working properly again...I felt like a MILLION BUCKS!!! I couldn't believe what they had actually been doing to me until I was off of them. They made me feel exactly as you describe...barely able to function. I realized AFTER I was off of them that it was the medication that was causing me to not be able to function. I've been reading these forums and I see people talking about switching one medication for another because one doesn't work right or stopped working. I've suffered from severe depression for most of my life. So badly that I am on permanent disability for it. I went through literally decades bouncing from one medication to another until I was on so much of it that a nurse at the hospital where I had been admitted told me as she was giving me my nightly dose of mediations that if she or most people were to take what I was about to take that it would most likely kill them from a drug overdose. She was appalled that I was prescribed so much medication in such high doses.

      I lost years of my life to these medications...years that I can never get back. I look back at how difficult it was for my son (an only child) seeing his mom all messed up on these prescription drugs and barely able to function. Him seeing me being frequently hospitalized because the frequent changes in such medications would cause me to completely lose touch with reality. I am begging each and every one of you to take charge of your own health and your own bodies and at the very least do as much research as possible about your condition and if you can please find alternative ways of aleviating your symptoms if possible and if not possible please please BE PROACTIVE WITH YOUR DOCTOR!!! Ask questions until your doctor is sick of hearing your voice. Find out all you can about the medications they are prescribing...because I can guarantee you that they are NOT going to volunteer the information. IT'S YOUR RIGHT!! Pharmaceutical companies are NOT about helping people...helping you...they are ALL about the bottom line...the almighty buck. So the more of this poison your doctor prescribes to you the more money they make.

      Please don't get me wrong I understand depression and anxiety more than most people. I'm 55 yrs. old now and I've been living with it since I was 15 yrs. old. I was severely abused throughout my entire childhood. I grew up being terrified almost every hour of every day. I grew up a frightened child and have lived my life as a frightened adult...so I really do understand, but if I had it to do all over again I absolutely would not turn to drugs to fix it because it doesn't work. If you go down that slippery slope of trading one drug for another because one isn't working well enought you will end up being ten times more messed up than you otherwise would have been. Don't lose all those years of your life the way I did. If you can...find another way. If you need the meds...ONLY TAKE THEM FOR A WHILE. They are not meant to be a permanent fix even though the doctors still treat them as such. If you can afford it...the very best way to deal with your issues is through talk therapy and perhaps other kinds of therapy as well. Most hospitals here in Canada offer it for free via referral and I believe that the U.K. has a pretty good system too.

      Sorry that this is so long winded but I felt it was very important to say.

      You sound like a wonderful person Rob and I wish you all the best that this life has to offer my friend!

      Warm Regards Rob,

      Karen

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    • Posted

      Karen,

      Thanks for all the info again and I agree with you 100% about the medication and especially the benzodiazepines. I'm 5 weeks off and just now starting to feel like myself again and that is only because I'm taking an anti inflammatory for my headaches and I now have to use eye drops 4 times a day because my eyes aren't producing any oil in my tears so that is why my eyes have been hurting so badly. Of course my therapist, family doctor and eye doctor don't attribute any of this to coming off the Clonazepam so I guess it's all just coincidence.. I think that these will only be a stop gap until my body heals itself but they have definitely made a difference for me. I find it amazing how the medications have affected me so negatively also and I never even knew it until I started coming off of them. I feel much better mentally and physically I'm getting stronger everyday.

      The only medication that I have to beat is the Mirtazapine as I've gotten off of everything else I've ever taken and I'm not going to go on anything else ever again for sure!! I've decided not to rush coming off the Mirtazapine and I'm waiting until I feel close to 100% mentally and physically before I tackle my last and final hurdle even though I do feel that will be in the near future.

      Going to work has become much easier since I've gotten the anti inflammatory medication and the eye drops and I've been exercising daily and pushing a little harder each day. I've also started trying to eat a more paleo diet to cut out any foods that may make my symptoms worse, at least the best I can anyway and I've been taking fish oil, a multivitamin, vitamin d and magnesium daily and I think these have all had positive effects on me also.

      I wish you nothing but the best going forward and I'll be praying for you to have an easier time coming off the Mirtazapine. Thanks again for all your help as it really is helpful and means a lot that you would take your time to help me out and get me where I need to be!

      Rob

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    • Posted

      Hi Rob.

      I don't even know you and yet I'm so bloody proud of you!!! It sounds like you're doing everything exactly right. As far as your doctors not attributing the symptoms you're having to benzo withdrawal...they don't think that's the reason because most doctors don't know the full scale of benzo withdrawal symptoms...mostly because they DON'T WANT to know but also partly because most of them have never been through it. I experienced the same withdrawal symptoms myself along with a whole slew of others but it all cleared up in time. Doctors won't tell you how these drugs are damaging your system. Your body just needs a little time to heal (But if your symptoms persist you should keep seeing your doctor). It sounds like you're doing so well. You seem like a strong person. Just think...if you can overcome this...you can overcome anything.

      I went for 15 years after coming off of the benzos and all the other meds I was on for depression without going on any psychotropic meds until just about 9 months ago when I was having a particularley difficult time with the depression and my doctor put me on Mirtazapine. I wish now that I had never taken it. But my point is that in all those years that I managed not to take meds for the bouts of depression and anxiety I learned to realize that "THIS TOO SHALL PASS". In fact that's my favorite mantra when things get really bad. Something that also helps me tremendously is meditation. I know it's not for everyone but it sure helps me and it's increadibly easy to do now with all the free apps and stuff that are available. Once I manage to kick the Mirtazapine I'll be sticking to natural cures forevermore.

      I'm so glad that things are going so well for you Rob. You are a wonderful example to others on this forum and elsewhere of what can be accomplished if you put your mind to it and do it right and what the wonderful benefits of that are. Thank you for sharing your experience Rob...it is very uplifting indeed.

      Warm Regards to you Rob,

      Karen

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    • Posted

      Karen,

      Thanks so much for the kind words as it is good to hear from someone who knows what I've gone through and what also lies ahead of us. I believe that doctors definitely don't know all the damage that benzodiazepine medications do and I believe they also don't want to admit that something they prescribed is doing this to there patients but unfortunately this probably won't change anytime soon and there isn't much we can do about it except try to worn others that want to take these medications.

      Your battle with depression has been much longer then mine and you have to be an extremely strong person yourself to still be fighting after all that you have been through over the years.

      Hopefully we'll both be off the Mirtazapine sometime this year and put all this behind us soon and get on with living the life that we both want!! I meditate myself almost daily and it has helped me a lot along with exercising and trying to eat a much better diet.

      I will continue to pray for you and all of us going through these daily struggles with getting off these medications can bring. Keep me updated on how your doing and hopefully we can help each other get off this final hurdle of being medication free for the rest of our lives in 2017.

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