General Question

IsshoNi's avatar

How can I deal with extreme sleep deprivation?

Asked by IsshoNi (126points) October 24th, 2011

I get bouts of no sleep sometimes upwards of about 6 days sometimes a few more consecutively. I’ve been to my doctor. Several doctors. I was put on ambien. Then it turned into an abusive addiction so I quit myself. (Since the ambien I have had trouble with pills and alcohol) One thought I had bi-polar. Another is saying I’m depressed, which I agree with based on things I’ve done and how I feel, but I cannot sleep!!! I need sleep to start getting better. Honestly I have taken valium that wasn’t prescribed for me and just got plastered off of it just to get knocked out for a weekend of sleep. I’m reaching out to people who are close to me. They are telling me to admit as an inpatient. In all honesty, it is very scary. I’m delirious when I go so long without sleep, I never know what will happen. What should I do?

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24 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

How long have you been taking sleep aids or benzos?

IsshoNi's avatar

Ambien for 3 months. Then quit. Then valium without prescription since then. Overall about a year.

njnyjobs's avatar

Have you consulted with a therapist? You may have some unresolved issues that’s just bothering you and keeping you awake. Unless you acknowldge them, they will haunt you and keep you restless. A visit or 2 to a doctor will not get such troubles resolved. you have to get into a program that’s specifically tailored to address your issue(s).

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Why not try a sleep center? Is there something preventing you from trying inpatient treatment? What is your normal, healthy sleep schedule like? What is your sleep history like?

IsshoNi's avatar

I don’t know how to go about doing it. I didn’t used to have sleep problems. My normal schedule would be 0800 to 1500 or 1600. As for inpatient treatment, because of my family, if I were to be open about how I’m feeling they would be angry at me. I was raised not to talk about feelings. I’m really depressed.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Well, it sounds like you know the problem. Is there a reason you can’t seek counseling without your family knowing?
I know that for me, personally, when my insomnia gets this bad.. it’s a combination of anxiety/depression along with trying to make adjustments to my natural sleep schedule (which is not a typical sleep schedule for society). However, it sounds like your natural schedule is quite healthy, so it seems like you need to address the depression.

IsshoNi's avatar

I tried. Cymbalta. It worked then made things worse. I’ve seen 5 doctors. It’s really taxing to go through all of this. As of right now due to my circumstances I am again dependent on them. I wrecked my car and have huge expenses because of it. So they would know.

IsshoNi's avatar

@njnyjobs I have not consulted a therapist. I have seen psychiatrist who gave medicine that didn’t work though.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@IsshoNi often you have to try multiple medications to find what works for you. And the medication should be combined with talk or behavior therapy, in most cases.

IsshoNi's avatar

Thanks for you help.

njnyjobs's avatar

@IsshoNi if you haven’t seen a psychological therapist, then maybe you should try that. A psychiatrist operates differently from a P Therapist.

blueiiznh's avatar

What you are explaining is well beyond OTC or home remedies.
A Dr & Therapist is the only thing that can help you figure this out. Do this for yourself because this can lead to even more serious issues.
As @ANef_is_Enuf stated, it takes several rounds of changes of meds to find the right one that works. That is why you go in to see them in a month to 6 weeks.
They will help you unravel why you can’t shut your mind down to rest.

marinelife's avatar

You need to go to a sleep clinic to find out why you can’t sleep. You need a complete workup.

wundayatta's avatar

What was the medicine the psychiatrist gave you? And what was the diagnosis?

Pandora's avatar

Exactly what happens when you try to sleep?
Do you have moments of micro sleep without the meds?
Are you on any other meds that may interfere?
Are you drinking?
Are you stessed about other things not related to sleep?
Have you gone through a divorce or bad illness?
Are you ill now?
Do you also have sleep apnea?
Is your sleeping enviroment poor?
Do your work different shifts that make it hard for you to fix a proper time to sleep?
There can be so many reasons you can’t sleep.

Buttonstc's avatar

This is clearly not a DIY situation. There is way too much going on here.

You’ve got emotional issues (you cited depression) bio-chemical imbalance (you’ve mentioned bi-polar) all of which is worsened by withdrawal from meds both self-prescribed and Dr. prescribed.

It’s really not clear how long ago you detoxed from any of this nor how successful it was or wasn’t.

You really need to find a Dr. whose judgement you trust and be totally honest with her/him.Let someone with the initials MD after their name make the decision as to whether a short inpatient stay to get your chemical situation under control is warranted.

Your family are not medical professionals. Neither are you and neither are any of us here on a website. You need a competent medical professional to sort this out.

I don’t care if that’s a Neurologist, an Internist or a Psychiatrist. There is so much going on here that you need to find ONE MD to oversee it all. And you need to give them the COMPLETE picture and all of your medical history including stuff you’re taking on your own.

A medical professional needs to be in charge here. Not your family, not you, and not a bunch of well-meaning random people on Internet sites.

You may need to interview several different MDs to find the one you feel comfortable with. Put you energy in that direction and when you find that Dr., follow their advice regarding in-patient or outpatient and everything in-between.

I’m also sending a PM to one of our Fluther members who is an MD in real life. His SN is “Rarebear”

If he weighs in here, LISTEN TO HIM.

IsshoNi's avatar

When I try to sleep I get depressed. I was given lamotrigine by a pshychiatrist, which did nothing at all. @Buttonstc <—-Thank you

prasad's avatar

As everyone said, it takes time for doctors to come to effective med. But, don’t try on any meds on yourself, don’t take without asking them, without their prescription. And, don’t leave the course in the middle (if the doctor prescribes so). I mean, don’t play doctor.

But, in the meanwhile, you may try these ways.
– Avoid watching TV, computers, etc. before going to sleep
– Do exercise in the day
– Try breathing exercises
– Calm down, say to yourself you can sleep, and try
– Ideally, after eating, you should become a little drowsy. Since, the blood circulation concentrates to digestion, brain gets less blood, so drowsiness comes
– Try reading (boring) books
– Pray to God

Here are some tips.

cazzie's avatar

You need to go back to a doctor you trust, not one over a chat group.

Anti depressants are not a ‘one size fits all’ type of medicine and they shouldn’t be quit without a doctor’s consultation. Withdrawal from them is real. Side effects from them are real. Solving your problem will take more than one 15 minute visit to a doctor and filling a prescription and that’s just the reality of it. Try to be patient with yourself and get the care you need. It sounds like it’s been going on for quite a while, so it will need some time to be sorted out.

It sounds like you’ve seen a different doctor every time you’ve sought help. Is that right? I suggest working with one doctor you trust, who will listen to you and who you can get back to when you need.

Joining a group where you can talk might help.

You are not alone.

I know someone with a similar sleeping problem and he used to use ‘things’ to help him sleep. Turns out he’s on the autism spectrum, and with the help of some great doctors and clinicians, just knowing that about himself has made him feel better about everything. It took months to get the right appointments and tests.

Try to realise that you are your own best advocate and it’s a really hard job when you feel so useless. If you don’t have a support system around you, find one. Keep knocking on the doctors’ doors if you don’t think things are going right. Get a proper diagnosis so you can start feeling better.

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wundayatta's avatar

How long did you take lamotrigine? If you didn’t take it for a month, then it was too short a time. What dose did you take? Presumably you started small and worked up, watching for a rash.

Did you go back to the psychiatrist to try something else? There are literally hundreds of combinations of drugs used for bipolar, and some people go through more than 20 combinations before they find something that works. You can’t give up after one drug. But most people don’t know this and they think the shrink is no good. A lot of shrinks don’t tell patients this. I don’t know why. Maybe they don’t think it’s important.

If you’re on Lamictal (lamotrigine), then you most likely have a bipolar diagnosis. I very strongly urge that you find a bipolar support group in your area. Go to to find one. It was the most helpful tool in my recovery, although I did meds (went through 3 to find a combination that worked), and therapy. I also read and tried to learn mindfulness on my own. Making music and dancing and fluther all helped me, too. Playing sports and hanging out with friends also help.

Rarebear's avatar

As the resident doctor here, my advice is to not get your advice on Fluther. Go to a professional and stick with them.

wundayatta's avatar

What he ^^ said.

janbb's avatar

I agree with the finding a doctor and getting medical advice. And as far as your family being critical of emotional problems, all they have to know is that this is a physical problem that you are taking responsibility for dealing with.

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