Zopiclone withdrawal help or advice needed

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I am a 63 year old man who has been retired since I was 55. I have struggled with anxiety and insomnia all my life but managed to hold down a successful professional career. I found retirement hard as I had no support for my sense of ‘worth’ and too much time on my hands.

I have been taking Zopiclone for over 7 years and often with alcohol. I have tried many times to stop this cycle as it has cost me many friends. In March this year I quit both for two months without any major side effects apart from depression during the day and nightmares that seemed to know exactly which insecurities to target. However I hung on in there and managed to lose over 2 stone in weight and I felt  a lot better and proud of myself

I had a relapse in July and have just started what I see as my ‘recovery’ again. However this time I am finding it much harder mainly because of the nightmares which scare the life out of me. If I manage to get through the night though I can put them behind me and have a reasonable day although fighting the depression is a daily challenge. I am however taking 2 x 7.5 Zopiclone about every other night if the nightmares prove to be too much for me.

I feel very alone in this struggle as I buy the drugs off the internet and have not shared this struggle with anyone.  I am hoping to share my struggle here and would appreciate any help or advice I could get

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28 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Nigel.

    Google The Ashton Method. It explains how to taper off zopiclone using diazepam, which lasts longer in the system than zopiclone.

    If your GP won't prescribe diazepam, go to your local drug addiction centre and they will help you.

    I'm in the middle doing a diazepam taper, to get myself off zopiclone. It really is the best way.

    Good luck

    love Tess x

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    • Posted

      I don't have many nightmares, so I can't really judge.

      By the way, not all areas of the UK have walk-in centres for drug addicts. The government is trying to force local authorities to set them up but there are huge gaps in the services. In many cases, the clinics will ony see people on heroin/cocaine etc.

      This needs to be addressed urgently. And so does the education of GPs who have patients wanting to come off zopiclone etc and have no idea how to help them.

      love Tes xx

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  • Posted

    I've taken zopiclone  nearly every night since I was 53, I'm now 64. I've managed to go the odd month, week or weekend without them but generally I need one a night, sometomes two. When I have managed without the sleep has often been very light, and at one time at least I thought I was in the middle of a break in, only to wake up (completely) and find it was a dream.

    "The deepest sleep is meant only for children and perfect fools. Everyone else must pay each night her restless due."

    Jill Essbaum in "Haufrau"

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    • Posted

      Thank you Robert, it is comforting to know I am not alone. Do you suffer from nightmares too? Does your Doctor give you Zopiclone. I sometimes think taking them is better than suffering the withdrawal symptoms as I am happier but know I should stop.
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    • Posted

      I do dream, but (fortunately) nightmares are rare. At one time it was thought zopiclone caused poor REM sleep which is probably when we dream most. I remember pointing out to a psychologist once that despite taking zopiclone, I had at times "dreamt my head off".

      Yes, my current doctor(s) have allowed me repeat prescriptions for 7.5 mg once a night. Really, I don't think I'd have a positive quality of life at all without them, and without at least 5 hours sleep a night, I think you also risk other serious health problems, diabetes for instance.

      My case may differ from yours, however, in that I don't believe I have clinical depression, though I have in the past been treated with antidepressants.

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    • Posted

      Hi Robert.

      i also take one 7.5mg zopiclone a night, and have been doing so for the last fifteen years or more.

      i also dream, but never have any nightmares.

      i agree that my quality of life would be impaired if I didn't get at least five hours of sleep, which is all zopiclone will,let you have , it seems. 

      Others on this forum would disagree but I have tried giving them up and felt very ill indeed.

      I am 71years old now and feel that it probably doesn't matter too much.

      ideally, I would love to be able to sleep more, but who wouldn't.

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    • Posted

      Hi Vivien.

      I agree with you entirely. It probably DOESN'T matter too much.

      I have struggled and struggled with my tapering and am still making mistakes, although it's generally going well.

      But I do often wonder WHY we all need to come off benzos or Zs.....

      And since doctors put us on them, doctors ought to know how to get us off them.

      It sounds like you've made peace with zopiclone. That's good. As you know, I was taking MASSIVE doses (all 28 in the box at a time) so I really needed some help.

      I was lucky, because where i live HAS got a clinic which has helped me.

      But I wonder.........will I be able to stay off them???

      And yes, it does make us feel very ill indeed just to suddenly stop them.

      My love to you.

      Tess  xxxx

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    • Posted

      Wow. What a LOVELY quote, Robert.

      If I can't sleep, I don't care any more. I just feel awful the next day, and know that I will sleep the next night.

      When not sleeping, I drink a little milk and read books that I've read before. I find that concentrating on books I haven't already read keeps my brain too active to fall asleep.

      I'm sixty and have been taking benzos and Zs for forty years.

      Loooooooooong story....................

      love Tess xx

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    • Posted

      Actually, on the subject of dreams, the ones I have most often which are very disturbing are what i call my 'tube train' dreams, where I am stuck in the tunnel and a train is coming. Or I'm stuck on the roof and approaching a tunnel. or I'm stuck in a train and have to get out - onto the tracks instead of the platform, whilst avoiding trains coming the other way.

      My daughter (aged 33) also has 'tube train' dreams, and she has never taken benzos or Zs or any illegal drugs. She (and I) find them terrifying.

      I also dream, very occasionally, that I am stuck on the roof of a very tall building with the Yorkshire Ripper.

      But as I said, I don't have these nightmares very often.

      My favourite dreams are the ones where my husband is making love to me.............and then I wake up and find him fast asleep next to me, and I am disappointed.........TMI but it happens.

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    • Posted

      The greatest lesson I learnt was that it is the fear of not sleeping that can cause insominia. As I don't work now it doesn't matter if I have a bad night but the fear is so entrenched it's hard to kick the feeling. I panic and reach out for zopiclone. If it wasn't for it's horrible side effects I would just take it.

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  • Posted

    I have decided to try a taper. I don't know why I stopped in March for two months but I am having so much trouble this time. I am struggling with day time anxiety and depression butlearning to get myself up and about to stop the cycle of negative thoughts. This is a very addictve drug which has caused me to do foolish things. I have struggled all my life with anxietey and had nervous twictch in my teens after a disruption in my familly life. I am determind to bring back a qulity of life without resorting to dring and zopiclone butit is s very hard struggle.

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    • Posted

      Please don't taper off zopiclone by using zopiclone. Its half-life is so short that you have terrible withdrawal symptoms.

      Switch to diazepam and taper slowly of that. diazepam has the longest half-life of all the benzos and Zs, so tapering is easier.

      Have you googled the Ashton Method yet?

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    • Posted

      Only just saw this - sorry.

      I was addicted for forty years to every sleeping pill and tranquilliser ever invented.

      At the height of my addiction I could take 14 - 28 tablets of 7.5 mg at a time. Plus other sleeping pills - all bought online.

      This was wrecking my marriage and terrifying my husband and children, needless to say, so I saw my doctor and confessed. For two years she gave me as much zopiclone as I wanted (legally) and still i found it impossible to taper, although the doc was very supportive.

      Then we moved, so we had to move surgeries. The doctor I saw at the new surgery told me about the addiction clinic and calle them for me, although it is actually self-referring. I went along, sceptical.

      Wow. The doctor saw me the next day (at the clinic) and immediately started me on 30mg diazepam a day. He gave me daily prescriptions so I only had 30mg each day. He saw me every fortnight and uncovered all the reasons why i got in so deep.

      The man is a saint.

      After three months he tentatively suggested going down to 28mg diazepam daily for a month. i agreed.

      Now I'm on 16mg daily and about to go down to 14 mg.

      Ashton suggests that 20mg diazepam is equivalent to 15mg zopiclone. You take the diazepam how you want - a little during the day, most of it at night was what suited me.

      Professor Ashton has recently suggested that her original tapering method was TOO FAST and that the addict should only go down a dose when comfortable on the one they are on.

      I know it sounds like a long haul but you'll NEVER achieve it using zopiclone.

      Love Tess     PM me any time........xx

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