Worried about Zolpiclobe addiction and telling docs

Posted , 3 users are following.

Hello everyone I am new to this forum

Yuk were do I start? i have been on and off this drug since I have a mental breakdown back in 2010.

To skip a long story story I was told I have depression and anxiety. And the highest it has on me is myself. i suffer terrible insomia.

As i write this I have taken 5 7.5mg and I still cant sleep. So not only am I obviously addicted to these, I still cant get a sleep. And the worst thing is my GP does not know.

I want to tell him but my biggest worry is be labled an addict.

I am current awaiting to start my degree in Social Work and I am terrified that if its down on paper it will go against me.

and the main reason I joined this forum is because of the great advice and support each member show each other.

looking forward to ur replies.

p.s iIm typing ona. Phone so sorry about grammar etc.


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  • Posted

    Hi FearofSelf smile

    5 zop 7.5, that's getting up there.  All it means is, we get to this place with the meds where you get a tolerance for it, so that it doesn't have the effect it's supposed to have. If you take enough, that will happen, at least in my experience.  And i think that's part of the definition of addiction, having the tolerance.

    I relate to not wanting to be labeled an addict because of course, that is a loaded term, it has a "dirty" meaning. Addiction is a kind of illness, but long before it was recognized as an illness, it has been seen as moral depravity, and i think probably some doctors look at addicted patients that way. Some are very compassionate, i think it goes the whole range, just as it does in society in general.  

    Beginning in the late 60s, drug use became a popular kind of recreation, so the attitudes about addiction have changed some, but i think there is still an undercurrent that someone who takes too many sleeping pills is just weak and there is something fundamentally wrong with them. i relate to your worry about that label. Even on this forum, when i write about the addiction medicine doctor i am working with, i feel a hesitance to write the word addiction.  

    But insomnia is really really hard, for anyone, and it's understandable to become dependent on medication for sleep when it's not happening in the natural way. People who judge that don't know how lucky they are that they don't have insomna.

    You said you've been on and off the drug.  when you went off it, how did you do that?

    Having a doctor you can trust to be understanding and compassionate really makes a difference.  

    I'm in the US. i don't now about the UK, but here, i believe your medical records are absolutely confidential.  There is no reason why an employer or anyone else should know about anything medical.  Someone could be sued for sharing medical information.  The medication you take for sleep and your need for it, and your anxiety and depression, at least here, would be nobody's business but yours and your doctor's.  

    I went to a specialist for a medical problem i'm having, and i wanted to give him all the information so he could help me, and i told him about all the sleeping meds i'm taking.  He asked how i was getting all those medications and i told him about how another doctor is prescribing my sleep meds, and i was taking a lot at the time, mostly zolpidem, and also one 7.5 zop per night, but almost 30mg of zolpidem which is kind of a lot, and that doctor acted kind of morally judgemental about my other doctor prescribing the meds. and i also told him that i bought more from overseas too. And then when i picked up that he was judgemental, i got scared that he would tell my other doctor that i get more zolpidem overseas, and i asked him, "please don't tell him," and he said "I can't, because you are telling me not to."  That was good to know.  He meant legally he coudn't talk to my other doctor unless i waived the right to confidentiality. I expect it's the same in the UK too. I don't think medical confidentiality can be breached.  

    And good for you that you are starting a degree in Social Work.  I can see you have the qualities for that profession.  That's what i did for my career for 25 years til i retired, taking sleeping meds most of the time, and addicted part of the time.  

    I used to take diazapam for sleep, and after taking it for about 20 years and never increasing how much took, just 10mg a night, in the last year, i started to increase it, because of some things in the environment that made it harder to sleep, and eventually, i was up to 30mg a night, and that was 1993, i didn't have internet, and i had no way of getting enough diazapam to keep doing that, so i just quit, i just stopped taking it, mainly because, like what you were saying, i wasn't sleeping on it anyway. i would get maybe one hour of sleep, toward the end, so what was the point, i thought.

    i expected to not be able to sleep for a while when i went off it. I didn't know what else to expect.  It turned out that by the end of the second day, i was having some pretty intense tension, and muscle twitches and seeing things out of the corners of my eyes that weren't there, and sweating, and that went on for a couple of days. i was taking Chinese herbs for something else, and i think that may have helped because on the 4th day, it was like a fever breaking, i stopped sweating and i just felt better, not tense and after that, all those withdrawal symptoms went away. But i still had insomnia.  i was really really happy to be off the diazapam. i wanted to get healthy and clean out my body.  My doctor, when i told him i wasn't sleeping that much, prescribed zolpidem. i didn't want to put another poison in my body, but i took it occasionally when i didn't sleep much for a few days in a row. My sleep did get better, very very gradually. But over the years, i slowly increased the zolpidem.

    I think anxiety can play a big part in insomnia, or in not being able to rest, not to mention depression.  Back in those days, i was reading Louise Hay, You Can Heal Your Life, it was about positive affirmations, and as hoaky as that sounds, it was really helpful to me, not all the time, and i had trouble staying wiht it, i would forget, but i have to say, it helped me to be more restful, even if i wasn't sleep, and it counteracted depression.  It's kind of like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, just in the sense that it gives you ways of talking yourself out of tormenting yourself.  it's reassuring and soothing.   I hadn't tried CBT at that point. I have only just tried it in the past year or so, and i really like that too, having some ways of contesting distorted thoughts that are making my life harder and more negative than it necessarily needs to be.  

    Anyway, i never told a doctor that i was addicted. i didn't want to discourage my doctors from prescribing my meds.

    Now, there is internet, there is information, there is support, and there are a lot of people who are addicted to Z drugs and benzos, and from reading those forums, i have learned about ways of treating addiction.  In the case of zopiclone, i think the most common or well known treatment is the diazapam crossover where they just switch you to an equivalent dose of diazapam to get you off the zopiclone and then you taper off the diazapam with medical supervision.  i think that 10mg of diazapam is about equivalent to 15mg zopiclone.  So for you, an equivalent dose of diazapam would be something like 20 or 25mg.  It doesn't have to be exact.  

    In my case, i am kind of in the process of doing that and kind of not.  I tapered off the zopiclone in January and February, that was not very hard, i was only on one 7.5mg, and i had a lot of zolpidem to use to make sure i didnt' have to go without sleep, so really it was easy.  

    But i was still on 27mg of zolpidem a night and i reached out this doctor i found on the web, and he advised that i switch from the 27mg zolpidem to 10mg diazapam.  I had never wanted to take diazapam again, but he made it sound pretty easy.  He said most people taper off the diazapam in two weeks.  So, i thought, why not?  i have to get off the zolpidem and i haven't been able to, i'm too unwilling to go without sleep.

    It worked at first, i just switched and the diazapam easily took the place of the zolpidem. But then, i was eager to taper off of it, it was making me feel too hung over during the day. So i started taperign off it, under the doctor's supervision, and i found that some times i would not go to sleep on the smaller amount. So then, i would take a little bit of the big supply of left over zolpidem i have, and that would get me to sleep.  

    I only got down to 8mg. That is still good. It's less diazapam than i used to take. But i have developed a tolerance for it, so that i wake up after 3 to 5 hours, and then, i could just go without more sleep, that is the solution, but instead, i take 10mg zolpidem.  This is where i think CBT can help me.  

    But i found out i have this crazy somewhat serious health problem that is going require surgery, abdominal surgery, it's a benign tumor on the pancreas that secretes insulin and makes the blood sugar extremely low, which causes all kinds of crazy and some dangerous symptoms. like seizures and coma. So i have to get that taken care of. After that, i want to really deal with getting off the sleep meds. i don't think i'll every be 100% off of sleep meds, but i think a realistic goal is to be able to sleep without them most of the time, to just go with less sleep, if i sleep 4 hours, fine, then if i don't go back to sleep, just get up and if i'm tired, i'm tired, i'm not always tired when i don't get much sleep. But if i don't get much sleep, eventually i will get tired enough and then i'll sleep. So that's my goal, to adjust to a life where i don't insist on having a certain amount of sleep, or a lot of sleep. For a long time,  i have been really committed to getting that sleep. But i believe i can do this. For me, zolpidem will be a good medication to take now and then, maybe 3 or 4 times a month, i don't know, but i don't think i'll ever be completely off taking it. 

    Tolerance is a big problem.  After i had tolerance with the diazapam, then 20 years later when i started increasing the sleeping meds i take now, the two Z drugs, zolp and zop, i could see the tolerance starting to happen, so that the amount i was taking wasn't working and i was increasing it. When that happened, i remembered what happened with the diazapam, so i made my self go without sleep, i limited how much meds i would take because i still wanted it to work. I wasn't ready to stop using it yet, and the only way to be able to have it still work  was to cut back on how much i was using. That has worked for me, so that they still work.  sigh..

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, you have given me an amazing look at how peopel can be suck into this addiction. 

      I should have made it clear that the doc thinks I'm off these pills a good while, I mainly buy them on the street from someone I know. 

      I know its my own stupid fault getting addicted to these, but know I do not know what to do, I live in Ireland and there would be no way that I would be able to dizapaiem (sp) to help me come of these things, so I am doing it cold turkey, I have a months supply there, and I am tampering myself off these. 

      Thank you so much for say that about the Social Care, it really gives me a boost. With the depression and anxiety, I am really doubting myself about this degree, but thank you smile 

      I am currenly on Mirap for depression. I have seen it being mentioned here that people have used that to help them tamper off, but unfortunately I have being on these the past four years for my depression, and the last time I was upped on them, it near drove me mad lol.

      Today my eyes were woken up, last night, again took 5, and all day today I was feeling really off, kind of like unwell, but come night time and I took one I am feeling ok. This is my red flag to tell me to get off them before it is too late. 

      Thank god for a place like this. 

      As others have mentioned I don't think anyone really knows how much this drug really is an addictive. 

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  • Posted

    Hey FearOfOne Self. Sounds like an awful time you are going through. I just find if I am struggling with anxiety I have to acknowledge my fragile, sensitive state and take really good care of myself. I also need to remind myself that I have strengths like you obviously have with your uni work. I would take a lot of caution with taking more than what is prescribed with medications as increases in a medication may worsen things but I can understand how anxiety affects this. I would recommend sharing what you have said with a medical professional. I find a burden shared is a burden halved and honesty goes a long way but it is easy for me to say that when I am getting a lot of good medical care now when so many are not. I have not always got good medical care either and I know it is hard to trust doctors but building a good rapport is worth a try. Because zopiclone is so addictive there is many many others are dealing with the same thing requiring careful medical treatment and slow withdrawal. I am not an expert but I would advise perhaps accessing links already listed on the Zopiclone page for support connections to contact. It is a great step you have made sharing this online for the support of others. Take care.
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    • Posted

      Thank you Jennifer for taken the time out to reply to me.

      I am really going to try and come off these before uni starts. 

      I really think they are making my health worst, especially my anxiety.

      I really need a wake up call 

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  • Posted

    No worries FearOfOneSelf. It is great you are sharing this online. It is also great you want to get off the zopiclone but just be careful - it is really hard to get off being so addictive so I would withdraw slowly with monitoring from a GP and/or nurses. I am sure you can continue with your uni work if you are on it or not. I find it makes me sleepy but it is not too bad in the afternoon. I would stick to the prescribed dose though - I know it is hard though when so anxious and not sleeping. I find if I do not sleep it catches up with me eventually on the second or third day anyway. If you are getting more anxious I am sure there would be the mental health phone line to ring for support or a counselling line - that is what I ring and it is good. Also, take really good care of yourself like treating yourself to a favourite meal or something if stressed, chill out and watch a good TV programme or go for a walk. Not sure if this will work for you - works for me usually but different things sometimes work for different people. Take care and keep posting.
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