I've done exactly what the author talks about: write long incoherent but beautifully written poetry, dive deep into studies and journals about the most random subjects, and have auditory hallucinations. But, what she doesn't talk about is the horror stories that come with it.
I've destroyed countless relationships. I've had friends that refuse to pick up any of my calls after 12am. I've crashed my car into a tree because of sleep eating. I've withdrawn from the medication, and don't sleep for 3-4 days. I've taken Ambien, then drank an entire bottle of wine, and the next morning to find out that I took 6 more Ambiens. I should be dead.
If you haven't taken Ambien in the past, and are interested, I would just avoid it at all costs.
In April I quit cold turkey and sought psychiatric help. I also had major depression going. Fifteen days of rehab on Italy’s national health service served wonders. I still have trouble falling asleep, but fuck it.
It turns out I have a genetic mutation that makes me fairly immune to withdrawal effects from benzodiazepines and pseudonenzodiazepines such as zolpidem but seriously people don’t go down this route.
The rhetoric about exercise is sound and great advice for 80% of people. But it's annoying for people with mental health issues (particularly those that have (a) objectively valid ICD-10/DSM-5 diagnoses and (b) live a normal life with medications) to be told to walk it off.
It's almost like advising cancer patients to eat some fruit once in a while. (A sudden switch to eating a wide variety of fruits truly seems to have improved my immunity, but I'm not on chemo...)
One thing that helped was to recognize that it's okay if you don't fall asleep - taking the pressure off made it less stressful. Another thing was recognizing I've never failed to eventually fall asleep.
Sleep is a weird thing though - and the lack of conscious continuity, I think people would be more afraid of it if it wasn't something we were already used to.
I’d recommend it to anyone, but for sure talk to a doctor.
I'm ambien right now. I was clean for 1 1/2 month but i cant anymore.
It worked wonderfully. I'd take it and lie down and quickly fade off to a sort of sleep. I say sort of because apparently it isn't really a sleep, and doesn't have all of the benefits of sleep, but it was far better than the narcolepsy I was experiencing.
I looked forward to taking Ambien because it made the sleep process so effortless and nice. I renewed prescriptions and would actually think ahead to the moment when I got to enjoy an Ambien.
Then my insurance stopped covering it. The price is quite low, but it was a flag to me that I should probably stop: The system had said that I'd hit the limit of what I should take.
So I stopped. That was it.
Never had sleep walking. No weird phone calls. No "Walrus". When I took one I always did it with the intention of sleep, and immediately preparing for sleep.
So that is my counterpoint, I suppose. Real sleep is far better, but as an actual sleep aid, especially in high stress, it...works. Should anyone abuse it for other purposes? Absolutely not. Should they try to use it for a high? No, of course not.
I suspect that some of the worst side effects might have genetic risk factors. Hopefully researchers will determine whether people with particular genes are at greater risk of suffering mental problems from Ambien.
There must be better alternatives to get a good nights sleep.
OP description of " I renewed prescriptions and would actually think ahead to the moment when I got to enjoy an Ambien." sound a lot like early stage addiction.
While pill mills aren't ideal clearly they were a form of harm reduction of sorts by ensuring very regularly measured doses - still possible to overdose of course but that is from upping it or taking it again too soon as opposed to having 'one dose' which is more like ten of the normal.
The absolute sickest part of it all is that despite this addicts can get more than enough painkillers yet the quixotic knee-jerk 'Do something! This is something lets do it!' crackdowns are hurting the actual chronic pain patients.
The one where drug companies actively lied about both how addictive their drugs were and the best way that they should be prescribed? Doctors aren't perfect, and there are some that are truly terrible, but in general their opinion is trustworthy.
Americans are misserable on so many levels. I believe most people who really liked opiates, are also very depressed.
Life in America, since the 80'-90's has been not great for many of us.
I'm not suprised people liked a drug that lifted the depression, and completely took away the anxiety.
Does that mean no one should ever take alcohol as well?
The world is not black and white.
Every night for four months? Yeah that is stretching it from everything I've read. I started using it off/on when I went through a period of insomnia almost a decade ago. The doctor was very strict that it was for not more than two-four weeks and that I should try to only use it every second night.
That insomnia passed, but I since used a half dose (5 mg) on average once every 7 days (that's the average but it's more like 2 or 3 nights every 2 or three weeks). I need it when traveling or during anything stressful going on at work. Nothing else works. In a new hotel room I can just lay there all night long unable to sleep because it's an unfamiliar environment. Or if I know I have to be up by a certain hour and give a presentation or have a possibly conflicting meeting the next day - no sleep.
I do wonder what the long term impacts of even this low intermittent usage is though. But the alternative is not working or traveling.
For the sibling comment: I’ve also tried other general anxiety treatments - but they are all be pretty serious stuff you don’t want to use too much if you don’t have too. Since my anxiety seems limited to certain situations I find it best to use the minimum targeted just at those directly.
I have been on the same dose of Ambien for nearly 2 years. I'm fortunate that it does its job with zero side effects. The negative experiences and feedback in this thread are overwhelming - if I were unfamiliar with it, I would be freaked out!
It's generally accepted that Ambien's benefits outweigh the costs. I don't mean to downplay the negative experiences, but it's not as bad as this article/thread infer. Ultimately, it's something to discuss with a GP or Psychiatrist.
A U.S. intelligence worker on a flight back to the U.S. from an assignment overseas tried to dynamite a plane while on Ambien.
Look up "Derek Stansberry": http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/04/28/disruptive.passenge...
I wonder how many people are carrying around deeply weird fucked up memories of their family members high on ambien.
I binge eat when I'm on Ambien, and have intense food cravings. That night I didn't have food, and there was a McDonalds about 5 minutes away from where I lived. I crashed into a stop sign three blocks into it.
Even as an anonymous poster, there are stories that I am too ashamed to even post about. If anyone sees this, and had some inclination to try Ambien recreationally, don't even try it. What's worse is that even after destroying every relationship I've ever had because of Ambien, I still can't quit it.
How to benefit from Ambien if having sleep problems: Take Ambien and immediately go lie comfortably in bed. Have no responsibilities and have the ability to sleep for 8 hours uninterrupted.
How not to benefit from Ambien: Use it to escape life. Use it recreationally. Take it when you have no intention to go to sleep, or even to try. Use it for chronic issues rather than temporary sleep issues.
I certainly don't want to take up the gauntlet of defending Ambien, but in any discussion about it the narrative gets dominated by abusers. And that's an important narrative -- it gets prescribed way more often than it should, and for far longer than it should ever be used -- but there are benefits as well.
That didn't happen at all, instead I started to see the room and objects in my peripheral floating, heard voices, etc. Thankfully I just had the urge to wander around my back yard and stare at the faces I was seeing in trees.
I never took it again after that. I don't think the risks of Ambien can even remotely be understated. I have friends that take it, not abusively, but every once and awhile they have some crazy event happen like being found naked on the beach or in someones house (thinking it was their own). Maybe it's a chemical reaction like the article describes but I don't see any harm in more people being aware of what CAN happen on it.
There are people sleep walking, sleep driving, etc on it. Seems like it has a huge affect on inhibitions/repression like the article mentions. The guy I know who went streaking on the beach would never do that in his wildest dreams if he were sober.
Ambien is a hypnotic. If you don't fall asleep (it will push you close to the edge and you have to take the leap yourself) it absolutely puts you in a dangerous state of mind where you can be "awake" but not all of your controls are there. This is called the Walrus among abusers, and many seek out this state of mind. And when you read about people driving, streaking, doing crazy things, etc, it is usually in this condition.
I’d stay the fuck away from Ambien, period.
I'm not very familiar with Ambien, but this seems like a non-sequitur. Do you mean sleep driving?
Maybe something combined with Life-Alert or On-Star to be sure that they are coherent if it is released to cancel an alert?
IIRC, correct me if I'm wrong, Ambien is prescribed as sleep aid and also used in the USAF to nap on demand. I've never had narcolepsy AFAIK, with or without Ambien.
Here’s the path I went down:
It quickly becomes this cyclical pattern where if you don’t take it, then you don’t sleep for days, so you’re forced to use it. And when I mean forced, I can’t go to work sleep deprived, especially in my line of work. You’ll build a tolerance quickly, then you begin ramping up your dosage, and this helps for awhile. But like a lot of long term ambien users know, you don’t fall asleep as easily anymore. Then the side effects really begin hitting you because you’re awake with a 30-60 mg of Ambien in you.
And if you have a history of drug abuse like I do, you do the dumbest thing possible and drink wine with ambien. This will knock you out for sure, but before that happens, you’ll begin doing extremely destructive things.
I’ve taken a considerable amount of drugs in my life, but Ambien is something else. It’s not a black and white drug as people say to just take and fall asleep. That’s how my first 6 months were like, but after 7 1/2 more years, it becomes something entirely different.
I don't think that it's recommended for the general population though.
1) They say it's not habit forming. That may be true. But I intended to take it during the week, when I needed it most. On the weekends I wanted to stay up a bit later (not crazy, midnight versus 10pm. However, if I didn't take the ambien by 10:30pm I'd start to get a vicious migraine, that first weekend without it was miserable. I took it for a couple more weeks but the same thing happened each weekend.
2) About half the time it had no impact on me. I was wide awake and concious the entire night. Not able to focus well (entirely unproductive), but awake. I'd even eliminated caffeine by this point in an earlier (and ongoing) effort to counter my insomnia. But if I took it at 10 and hadn't fallen asleep by 11, I knew I'd be up until the next night.
3) When I did "sleep", there was a 50/50 chance I'd wake up with abs that felt like I'd been doing crunches all night long. I don't know what I was doing. I felt rested, but man was I sore.
I continued therapy and quit grad school in efforts to deal with my anxiety, and only after that was my insomnia properly dealt with. Which is a reminder, treat the condition not the symptoms.
This needs repeating, over and over again. So much about western medication is about treating symptoms.
Case in point: I was on prilosec for years. I weaned myself off it by moved to another over the counter med, but I was able to completely stop taking that went I went on a low carb diet--my reflux completely went away, which was a great surprise to me. At the time I was taking prilosec, the 90's, it was one of the most profitable drugs on the planet. There is a great incentive for doctors to just treat the symptom.
Btw, the reason I stopped taking prilosec: I had a followup endoscopy and saw from the video that the lining of my stomach was, rather than being smooth, completely covered in small bumps. When I asked the doc about it, he said they were harmless. After quizzing him about it, it was pretty clear that opinion wasn't backed by science, but the consensus among his peers. That was the last day I took prilosec.
Based on the anecdotes you provided here, it seems like your doctor is geared towards treating symptoms rather than conditions. They're not all like that - my doc won't give me an ambien perscription for sleeping while I travel, she won't put wy wife on BP meds until she tries 6 months of changes in diet and exercise, and is very very picky about perscribing antibiotics for most illnesses.
It sucks that your doctor isn't a good one, but the nice thing about the US system is that you generally have a choice in docs, so I'd suggest you go shopping!
Heart disease is the number one killer in the US, and it's preventable. But it's much easier for people to pop a pill than to change their lifestyle.
Pain killers are also massively overperscribed for back and neck pains which can often be resolved with adequate movement, posture, and stretching (i.e. yoga). But after a long day of sitting still in an office chair they prefer to just go home and remain sedentary (i.e. lay on the couch and watch tv), all of which also contributes to heart disease/circulatory problems as well.
The field of psychiatry is almost entirely geared towards treating symptoms with perscriptions.
I don't know who the "they" is there, but the manufacturers don't say this, and the people who recommend its use don't say it either.
> Avoid prolonged use (and abrupt withdrawal thereafter); depression; elderly; history of alcohol abuse; history of drug abuse; muscle weakness; myasthenia gravis
> Zolpidem is recommended for the short-term management of severe insomnia that interferes with normal daily life, and should be prescribed for short periods of time only.
...So you're saying there's a way to get 6-pack abs _in your sleep_?
Not a drug I would take recreationaly, or with a prescription.
In fact, if they would like to remove it from the market, I would be in support.
When Roseanne tweeted that racist twist, and blamed Ambien, a lot of people ridiculed her. The company who made Ambien even stepped up to claim Ambien doesn't make you racist. But I thought if the worst Ambien can do is make you spew out racist tweets, you're lucky.
Saying that (and not trying to be flippant about the previous statement, or the follow statement), I hope Roseanne can find an alternative to whatever she was prescribed Ambien for.
I remember going back to my desk, looking into my PC case (it had plastic windows on the side so you could see inside), and beginning to hallucinate. The cabling inside stretched out into a landscape and it felt like I was looking at the horizon on some alien Giger-esque planet. Then I blacked out and woke up to see I had added a bunch of high school friends on LinkedIn. Nothing bad happened thankfully, but I never took it again.
At least when you black out on alcohol, your motor abilities are severely impaired, to the point that you're just as likely to simply pass out before you make it outside. With ambien, your body isn't limited by anything, but you still have no control over your actions.
The safest alternative is edibles.
That may be true for you, but it is completely false as a general statement. It is quite possible and very common for someone to be blacked out on alcohol while still functioning, sometimes appearing sober enough that people around them have no idea - they can carry on conversations, drive somewhere, hook up and have sex, it has even been used as defence in a murder case.
> These were the frontier days of the internet
I'm not sure 2005 qualifies as the frontier days of the Internet.
By the time Facebook/YouTube/etc. showed up, the frontier was already a memory, and it was more a question of see who the big winners were going to be.
Think like this - first you had dial-in BBSes. Those had frontier days, peak and fall.
After BBSes came Usenet and IRC. Same trajectory. Both are almost dead.
After that we had PhpBB &al. Internet reimplementations of BBSes. Now you didn't go to alt.rec.anime, you went to somethingawful.com and posted stuff that made you cringe in the years after you graduated high school. Or you made webpages on geocities full of scrolling blinking text and slow-loading gifs.
Then we started getting stuff like 4chan, facebook, twitter, tumblr. Very different from one another, but all appeared at about the same time, so I'm counting them as a new frontier.
Currently I'm suspecting that Discord will have the same place in people's hearts that IRC had back in the day. It's practically a very media-rich IRC clone with features geared towards 10-20 year olds who play video games, i.e. the exact group who would pine about the "good old days" in about another 10-20 years.
Basically, whatever technology happens to be young at the time you're in high school is the "frontier of the internet" for you. It may just be a collection of BBS webforums or an entire form of communication like IRC.
My sleeping was never good even on it. I switched to neurontin for RLS and some CBTI for getting to sleep. The combination has been far more helpful for me than ambien, and without side effects.
Also, because someone hasn't shared it yet, the Ambien Walrus: http://ambien.blogspot.com/2010/12/ambien-walrus-collection....
"Most people probably think handcuffs in the bedroom are sexy, but you and I both know mine are just to keep me from driving my car at night."
"Ambien destroyed my life and I remember nothing of what happened. It has now been over five years since your lovely Ambien walrus convinced me to try to end my life and well as the lives of my children. We didn't go on any shopping spread or driving excursions, not that I remember, apparently he wanted more from me than my money, he wanted my life and the reasons I lived for.
My children are fine, thank God, even though now I will never see them again. Its been five years and a month since the last time I remember seeing them. I have been stuck in the legal system since then and it seems never ending. I will never again have the life I once had. I won't get to see my children graduate, I will never get another hug or snuggle from them. I did get my life from them. My nine year old son ran for help and saved all of us and I am thankful for that.
Before any of you take ambien, think of what can go wrong. I am the poster child of what can go wrong on ambien and I was crucified in the media for it and I will spend the rest of my life paying for it.
My name is Rebecca Koehler and I am from Oklahoma. Google it. It happened March 2, 2011. Never let it happen to you."
I can't see why anyone would want to do that intentionally. After it stops being able to put you to sleep, it is just a burden.
10 mg for an average-sized adult is edging into the danger zone, and at 20 mg you'd better have somebody sober in the house to take away your car keys.
I suspect that in many cases doctors are simply prescribing doses that are too large.
I only had a mild hazy kick the first two times I took Klonopin (and I was starting on two or three other meds at once); since then, I've used anything from 4mg to .25mg and never had trouble titrating either up or down. I don't have much of an anxiety problem if I skip my Klonopin altogether (it destabilizes my manic-depression, for which I'm stuffed with medications but titrate Klonopin for marginal effect; but nothing the day I stop Klonopin, only if I'm at ~2mg and skip it for a day.
The literature is slowly catching up too. A while ago there was a full moral panic about benzodiazepines, but I feel like this is part of the full moral panic about psych drugs (some of which is justified, because people (and sometimes unethical docs) are looking for answers in drugs that often aren't there.)
> Auditory hallucinations are common but other senses are seldom involved. Auditory hallucinations can range from a few sounds to an elaborate melody. Threats or criticism are also reported.
In my case, sometimes it's music (usually quite beautiful, and forgotten the next morning) and sometimes like a news broadcaster conveying quite a lot of information (again, quite forgotten the next day).
Have you tried meditation/ mindfulness? Curious if clearing your mind and relaxation techniques would allow you to combat the anxiety of being worried of not falling asleep that causes you to not sleep properly? If not, why haven't you tried it?
Discussed at length in his book:
Also mentioned in this review:
"At last comes an explanation: According to the new book Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, the sleep people get on sleeping pills like Ambien is not true sleep. Drugs like these simply “switch off the top of your cortex, the top of your brain,” he explained to New York Magazine, “and put you into a state of unconsciousness.” That’s not sleep; that’s cryogenics. According to Walker, sleeping-pill sleep doesn’t have the same restorative powers—and there are lots, from an immune boost to emotional resilience—as good, old-fashioned zzzzs.
Sleeping pills don’t even seem to work all that well. It’s true that some people say they fall asleep faster and sleep better on pills. But, as Walker writes, there’s little difference between the amount of time it takes someone to fall asleep with the help of a pill, compared to a placebo. Even a newer drug, suvorexant, only helps people fall asleep four to eight minutes faster, according to one study he describes.
In addition to causing daytime grogginess, Walker argues, Ambien impairs memory and increases the risk of cancer and death. “Do you feel differently about using or continuing to use sleeping pills having learned about this evidence?” he asks the reader. This reporter does.
Luckily, there is a better way. Walker recommends something known as CBT-I, or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. A major part of it is proper “sleep hygiene”—well-known advice like keeping the bedroom dark and cold, using your frigid cave-bed only for sleep and sex, and turning off anything that emits light a few hours before bed. ..."
Note that, as Walker explains in this interview with Joe Rogan, if you are not dreaming at night due to alcohol or drugs, your brain may start making you dream when you are awake, leading to hallucinations.
Opioids are widely prescribed for pain that they're not an effective treatment for.
This is cruel: the patient is still in pain, and now they have an addiction too.
The opioid crisis can be thought of as a mass failure in pain management.
A dangerous/fatal overdose could be as low as 4-5x the therapeutic dose, especially if mixed with alcohol.
The Z-drugs, on the other hand, you can't really overdose on - at least not, as with 'Ludes', in the "stop breathing and die" sense.