Author Topic: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?  (Read 1415 times)

[Buddie]

Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« on: October 14, 2010, 03:53:57 pm »
Hello All,

It's been several weeks since I last posted here and I am happy to report that though there have been some major ups and downs my good days are starting to become more numerous. About 2-3 weeks ago my insomnia and non-stop anxiety throughout the day and evening were my worst and only symptoms. Just to give you some background I took higher doses of klonazepam for 2-3 weeks during a particularly stressful period in my life to help me sleep and shut my mind off and then cold-turkeyed them back in June. I went through 4 weeks of hell and then returned to almost 100% for the remainder of the [...] with only the odd night of insomnia. Then in early september another stressful event triggered another (and dare I say more challenging) episode. My insomnia and anxiety reached epic proportions. In recent weeks, after taking the advice of the clever ppl on here, I stopped using OTC sleep aides and though still broken and not great my natural sleep has started to return. I had one really great week where I would sleep 3-4 hours solid, wake up and have at least 3 more hours of broken, light sleep before finally getting up. Now I'm having a not so great week.....I'm still sleeping, but my nightime anxiety is awful. I am still usually able to use relaxation techniques and get to be eventually, but it would be great to be able to sit down in the early evening after a busy day and watch my favourite tv show or read a book without that feeling creeping in. Can somebody who has been through something similar please tell me this also gets better with time?? I guess my fear is that all that I've been through in the last 4-5 months with regards to poor sleeping has trained my brain to associate nightime with feelings of fear and panic....almost as if I've developed a phobia of nightime....or insomnia itself...whatever...and I don't know how to UNTRAIN it. Logic tells me that my brain may well correct this on its own, the more and more I am able to sleep at night, despite my fears that I wont. The thing is I think it started out as a fear of insomnia, butnow that I know I can sleep despite it, why does it still persist? Am I just conditioned now to feel anxiety at nighttime no matter wht?
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2010, 03:56:04 pm »
I'd also just like to mention that I never struggled with anxiety before taking benzos...a little of a worrier and a perfectionist...but NOTHING like this.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 11:29:18 pm »
anyone....please?
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2010, 01:15:37 am »
Hi, [...].  I'm sorry you haven't received any replies to your post.  I think it may be because you don't have a signature line indicating what medication you're on or tapering from so that people have a context for your story.  Do you think you could go to your account page and enter that information?  When you do, it will automatically appear at the end of any messages you post.

I'm sorry that I can't speak from experience concerning nighttime anxiety going away.  I'm still tapering Klonopin and have plenty of anxiety at all times of day and night.  However, I did relate to the fear you expressed about your brain associating nighttime with feelings of fear and panic, almost like a phobia.  I have that same feeling about mornings.  As soon as I realize I'm awake, my brain goes into high anxiety mode, recognizing that another day has begun, another hard day to get through.  I also have that feeling about meals since it has been a long time since I've had any appetite and the thought of food makes my benzo nausea even worse.  Like my brain is conditioned now to associate food with nausea.  I only hope this will go away when I'm off Klon and healing happens.  But, believe me, that day can't come soon enough!  L., ~~[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2010, 06:54:44 pm »
Hello [...],

I remember you. I see you had only taken Klonopin for 2 or 3 weeks for anxiety and insomnia during a stressful period in your life. You have been benzo free since June 2010. That is great. Now, regarding the symptoms you are having. It looks like after 4 weeks of withdrawal difficulty you felt 100% for the remainder of the [...]. Then in early September another stressful event triggered insomnia and anxiety. I put together some information I thought might be helpful to you.

I am the type of person who seeks to know what is happening and why, it brings comfort to me. I hope it does the same for you.

My insomnia and anxiety reached epic proportions.

Insomnia:

“The Ashton Manual” by Heather Ashton, 2002

INDIVIDUAL SYMPTOMS, THEIR CAUSES AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM

“Insomnia, nightmares, sleep disturbance. The sleep engendered by benzodiazepines, though it may seem refreshing at first, is not a normal sleep. Benzodiazepines inhibit both dreaming sleep (rapid eye movement sleep, REMS) and deep sleep (slow wave sleep, SWS). The extra sleep time that benzodiazepines provide is spent mainly in light sleep, termed Stage 2 sleep. REM and SWS are the two most important stages of sleep and are essential to health. Sleep deprivation studies show that any deficit is quickly made up by a rebound to above normal levels as soon as circumstances permit.”

“In regular benzodiazepine users REMS and SWS tend to return to pre-drug levels but the initial deficit remains. On withdrawal, even after years of benzodiazepine use, there is a marked rebound increase in REMS which also becomes more intense. As a result, dreams become more vivid, nightmares may occur and cause frequent awakenings during the night. This is a normal reaction to benzodiazepine withdrawal and, though unpleasant, it is a sign that recovery is beginning to take place. When the deficit of REMS is made up, usually after about 4-6 weeks, the nightmares become less frequent and gradually fade away.”

“Return of SWS seems to take longer after withdrawal, probably because anxiety levels are high, the brain is overactive and it is hard to relax completely. Subjects may have difficulty in getting off to sleep and may experience “restless legs syndrome”, sudden muscle jerks (myoclonus) just as they are dropping off or be jolted suddenly by a hallucination of a loud bang (hypnotic hallucination) which wakes them up again. These disturbances may last for several weeks, sometimes months.”

“However, all these symptoms do settle in time. The need for sleep is so powerful that normal sleep will eventually reassert itself. Meanwhile, attention to sleep hygiene measures including avoiding tea, coffee, other stimulants or alcohol near bedtime, relaxation tapes, anxiety management techniques and physical exercise may be helpful. Taking all or most of the dose of benzodiazepine at night during the reduction period may also help.”




Anxiety:



“The Ashton Manual” by Heather Ashton, 2002

Mechanisms of withdrawal reactions.
“Drug withdrawal reactions in general tend to consist of mirror image of the drugs’ initial effects. In the case of benzodiazepines, sudden cessation after chronic use may result in tranquility being replaced by anxiety and panic. These reactions are caused by the abrupt exposure of adaptations that have occurred in the nervous system in response to the chronic presence of the drug. Rapid removal of the drug opens the floodgates, resulting in rebound over activity of all the systems which have been damped down by the benzodiazepine and are now no longer opposed. Nearly all the excitatory mechanisms in the nervous system go into overdrive and, until the new adaptations to the drug-free state develop, the brain and peripheral nervous system are in a hyper- excitable state, and extremely vulnerable to stress.”


“The Ashton Manual” by Professor C. Heather Ashton, 2002

One of the things you can do to help yourself, as Ashton says, "Calm your emotions. Above all, stop worrying. Worry, fear and anxiety increase all withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms are actually due to anxiety and not signs of brain or nervous system damage. People who fear withdrawal have more intense symptoms than those who just take it as it comes and think positively and confidently about recovery."


How we can help ourselves post benzos:

“The Ashton Manual” by Heather Ashton, 2002
Mechanisms of withdrawal reactions. …. “Nearly all the excitatory mechanisms in the nervous system go into overdrive and, until new adaptations to the drug – free state develop, the brain and peripheral nervous system are in a hyper-excitable state, and extremely vulnerable to stress.”

How stress affects recovery.

“The Ashton Manual” by Heather Ashton, 2002

 "Vulnerability to extra stress may last somewhat longer and a severe stress may-temporarily-bring back some symptoms. Whatever your symptoms, it is best not to dwell on them. Symptoms are just symptoms after all and most of them in withdrawal are not signs of illness but signals of recovery. Furthermore, as your mind clears, you can work out more and more effective ways to deal with them so that they become less significant"

One of the things you can do to help yourself as Ashton says, "Calm your emotions. Above all, stop worrying. Worry, fear and anxiety increase all withdrawal symptoms. Many of these symptoms are actually due to anxiety and not signs of brain or nervous system damage. People who fear withdrawal have more intense symptoms than those who just take it as it comes and think positively and confidently about recovery."

I hope this is helpful,
[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2010, 07:05:57 pm »
Hello [...],

I wanted to let you know I think you are doing great. This is not easy to experience. Stress can play a role in anxiety and insomnia. I am in the process of tapering and have night time anxiety. Did you have night time anxiety before Klonopin? I have found that my anxiety gets higher at night. I have also found that when I am able to keep my anxiety as low as possible throughout the day to be most helpful. When my anxiety gets really high then I need to do several relaxing things in a row for instance: go for a walk, take a warm bath, rest, eat a snack, maybe watch a calm movie or show. I keep doing calming things until my anxiety is as low as I am able to manage.

How are you feeling today?

[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2010, 01:37:32 am »
Thanks so much everyone. I have my good days and my bad days. The bad days ate getting fewer and fewer. Even w the nightime anxiety I am usually able to calm myself down enough so that I can sleep. I do feel extra reactive to stress....it's just reassuring to hear that this will improve with time.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2010, 02:13:59 am »
Hi [...], I am glad to hear that you are seeing improvements. [...] has given you some great info. It will definitely get better with more time, so just hang in there.
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2010, 01:29:14 pm »
Hi [...],

It's that night time anxiety that got me into this benzo mess that I'm in. The fear of not sleeping caused my anxiety to skyrocket like nothing I had ever experienced before. So I know exactly what you are going through. I'm glad you are learning how to calm your self down enough to sleep. That is something I will need to learn to do myself.

Leslie
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.

[Buddie]

Re: Nightime anxiety...does it go away?
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2010, 04:13:25 am »
Hello [...],

It is so nice to see you again. That is great news to hear the bad days are fewer and fewer. What wonderful news. That is great progress.

How did you sleep last night?

[...]
Suggestions, opinions and/or advice provided by the author of this post should not be regarded as medical advice; nor should it substitute for professional medical care. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your medication. Please read our Community Policy Documents board for further information.