But you might have some insight into my Ambien questions. Any suggestions on what antidepressants might work well for someone whose brain really likes Ambien? Do you find that certain activities/foods/supplements make Ambien work better? If you've tried both Ambien and another heavy-duty sleep aid, how do they compare?
posted by storminator7 to health & fitness (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Background on me: mid-30's female with a history of insomnia (both trouble going to sleep and staying asleep) for as long as I can remember. I'm well-versed in sleep hygiene and OTC supplements like Benadryl, melatonin, and valerian do nothing. Trazodone seems to help in getting back to sleep, but not going to sleep or frequent wakings. So I've been taking Ambien, 10mg a night, for several years, and for the most part, it's been a wonder drug. But here are a few questions that have eluded my Google-fu:
1. I also have a history of chronic depression (predating the Ambien use), mostly of the "never feel like doing anything, don't enjoy things or doing things, what's the point of it all" variety. My pattern seems to be a few okay days, where I feel like I can cope, do the work/housework that needs to be done, followed by a few days where everything is So Hard and I break down crying frequently over nothing. I have been listening to my depression's lies of "you just need to get a hobby, you're just lazy and need to get your butt off the couch" for far too long and something needs to be done. This is where the Ambien comes in: it makes me feel like myself. Some nights it only makes me sleepy, but most nights there's a substantial mood lift to the point where I feel like contacting my friends and making plans, I can see the point in doing the dishes and feel some satisfaction in accomplishing something, I look forward to the future. I don't feel high or euphoric, I just feel normal. Obviously I'm not unique in the Ambien-elevated-mood arena, but I haven't read any accounts quite like mine, where Ambien functions as an ideal antidepressant, at least for the 30 or so minutes from the time it kicks in until the time I pass out. So my question is, given my response to Ambien, which antidepressant would be best for me to try? I've taken a few Ativan recently, and while it takes the edge off the depression/anxiety, it's nowhere near as effective as Ambien, and it's not a long term solution anyway. What about other GABA drugs like Lyrica or Gabapentin? Would that be a good idea, or bad (would it make the Ambien less effective if I also hit up GABA pretty hard with a similar drug during the daytime)?
2. As much as I love Ambien, it doesn't always love me back. I go through phases, usually a couple nights in a row, where it just never seems to kick in, and I have to take another 1/4 pill to get to sleep. I've tried to make a connection between what I've had to eat, or lifestyle factors, that would cause it to work really well some nights and not so much other nights, but I haven't come up with anything. Surprisingly, the up/down times with Ambien don't seem to correlate with my up/down depression times. Have you used Ambien long-term and found that certain foods/behaviors make it more/less effective?
3. I plan to stay on Ambien indefinitely, as long as it continues to function at this level. But I'm concerned that over time it may become less effective, or my doctor my have a change of heart about continuing to prescribe it, or the FDA's new regulations may affect my ability to get it at this dose. What other sleep meds have you found to be as effective as Ambien? How does it compare to Lunesta, in your experience? Unfortunately, the aforementioned depression complicates matters for me; a night or two of bad sleep causes depression to spiral out of control, which of course exacerbates the insomnia, and so on and so forth.
Share your industrial-strength med experiences with a fellow depressive insomniac.