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Sleep Disorders Message Board

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Yes, I have experience being dependant on sedatives, and that was a long time ago, but I was 32 years old, and had been taking Methaqualone 300 mg. for almost 10 (ten) years, and developed a tolerance from one tablet for insomnia, over time, to 6 x 300 mg. of the William H Rorer Quaaludes, or the later Lemmon Quaaludes, as I became so dependant on them that I took them during the day for perceived anxiety issues, and, took at least 600 mg in the evening, worse yet, I added alcohol to the formula, as I was always running out of the sedative hypnotic, and the medication developed a stigma with ethical M.D.'s who would curtail from writing me the prescriptions that I had been accustomed to taking! In the earlier days I substituted immediate release barbituates, like Nembutal 100 mg, Tuinal 200 mg., and Seconal 100 mg., but the the last 5 or 6 years of my ten year dependency, no Medical Doctors would prescribe me any of those Barbs, I got cut off from the Quaaludes as well, and switched to high doses of Valium with alcohol, taking as much as 80 mg a day, or taking Restoril, which were very weak to me, and sometimes a 500 mg "Doriden" hypnotic when I could get them. I had to enter a 28 day treatment facility, which in my case, probably saved my life, as I had two serious car accidents the last two years, and yes, I worked for a Fortune 500 company as well, based out of midtown Manhatten, and, I was not as lucky as you, I got fired. I entered a 28 day treatment facility, and the staff felt like I needed 42 days of inpatient treatment, as well as a geographic re-location, which I moved 2,000 miles away, from the SE USA to Phoenix/Scottsdale for 8 years in exile. Why? I needed a completely new set of social friends, that did not partake in recreational drugs. I have been sober for 27 years now, much of it was due to the education I received in the treatment center. It was $4,200.00 back in 1982, now, it can run as much as $42,000.00 for 6 weeks at places (inpatient) like "The Meadows" of Wickenburg, AZ, or Sierra Tucson, of Tucson, AZ or Father Martin's Ashley, in Maryland. Addressing the Zolpidem, I have a Psychiatrist, who is a Addictionoligist, who knows that I have 25 years of unbroken sobriety in AA, and he has been prescribing me Ambien since 2001, almost 10 years. I believe your story, but, am befuddled as to what to say. The Ambien, or, now the generic versions, I take, also up to 20mg. at night, sometimes, I take one of the Zolpidem's on occasion, during the afternoon, because I have built up a tolerance to them, such that they are so very, very mild to me, that the tranquil effect to me, is so insignificant, that it sometimes often feels like I have taken nothing at all. In fact, I underdose the Ambien, and deliberately stay off of them for at least a week, at a time, so, "they begin to work again" for me, in my opinion, they are addiction proof, meaning, if I take more than 20 mg at a time, I am only wasting them, the Zolpidem always wears off in about 2 hours with my body chemistry. I take them during the day 2 or 3 times a month, when my co-morbid ADHD, makes me ill tempered, from drinking too much coffee on the amphetamines. Due to my history with very high powered drugs from the 1970's and early 1980's, ,many are no longer manufactured, (Methaqualone "Quaalude" "Sopor" "Parest" (USA) Pallidan (Spain) (Mandrax) Europe, Australia, Canada, "Toquilone" (Switzerland) discontinued the last Methaqualone in 2006. Doriden has been discontinued, (worldwide), as well as Nembutal capsules. Only Seconal is still made in the USA. I know from the school of hard knocks how addictive Schedule II barbs & hypnotics are, as well as high dose Alprazolam & Valium use "every day" beyond 120 days of use gets most folks dependant. I have a great fear of Alprazolam, IMHO, a very addictive benzo, and much respect for Klonopin & Valium, since I do not drink anymore, I take both of these meds sparingly. In fact, ethical dosing, has little effect on me with the latter two benzo's.....I just do not increase the dosing, because I know "self-medicating" only gets me in trouble. Regarding the Z drug's Sonata, Lunestra, and Ambien, you are the first person I have encountered that feels like you really need "Ambien every night"..are you sure is isn't just a habit? Do you experience withdrawals? I have had seizures coming off of Diazepam from 80 mg a day to zero over 48 hours cold turkey and that is scary, and it took me 4 months to feel half way normal, and I needed group therapy and a Psychotherapist to cope. It is simple but not easy. Your post is a bit dated, I hope you have worked somethng out with your M.D to substitute another med. Seroquel is too strong for me, and it is popularly prescribed by Psychiatrist's these days, like Trazodone, due to the low addiction liability. Have you tried Xyrem? I found it disappointing in my case. It would not keep me asleep for 8 hours straight. I honestly take my Ambien 10 to 20 mg along with Klonopin 4 mg in the evening, and the "Ambien" is really a psychological habit I have, if I skip a few days, I have a limited supply of diazepam 10 mg (Valium) to substitute.
Chloral Hydrate is sometimes prescribed by a few shrinks, otherwise, the really dangerous, and super addictive sedatives, are no longer prescribed any longer. I wish you well in your endeavors. 12 step meetings, can be of some help, if you cannot afford private group therapy. I am not a M.D, but you may need a sleep study done overnight, to see, if another med can be substituted for you with your fears of the Zolpidem dependency. Believe me, the withdrawals are living hell, coming off of high dose Xanax or Valium, or extinct barbs, and they require a anti-seizure med and a slow taper for your personal safety. Ambien Addiction has been documented (rarely) on medline/medscape/pubmed but it is usually someone who takes like 7 to 10 pills a day of those ten mg I/R versions. Just my 2 cents worth.

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