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PTSD & Medication i.e. Antidepressants, Sleeping Pills

Discussion in 'Medications & Substances' started by Awakening, Aug 30, 2007.

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  1. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

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    What's everyone's thoughts on medication suitable for PTSD?:dontknow:

    Previously I have been on lexapro, which didn't stop my maladaptive coping mechanisms despite increases in the dosage.

    I've been off that for over a year now, and doing 'okay'.

    A few months back I went to a new GP who says she understands trauma, and she feels that my painkiller usage & drinking is me saying I need antidepressants. I'm not an abuser of drugs or alcohol but what I do take from time to time is not ideal according to the GP, but not cause for alarm. She said suggested starting on a low doze of Zoloft.

    My therapist is 'careful' about commiting to this. When I mentioned Zoloft, she said 'well that's a very clinical medical based answer from a GP' and 'im not sure if that's the solution for you, but you need to make the decision'.

    Amongst other stuff my therapist has said about having to confront the trauma head on. I think her concern is that because I repress/supress a lot, that I will use the AD's to numb myself & not proactively go forward with the trauma work, and right now I'm just starting to get right into the whole sorry business. She feels I'm hitting a peak and going through the worst of it, but to keep going don't stop now.

    However - this past fortnight has been crap, and my insomnia is shocking. Broken sleep & not falling asleep until 2, 3 in the morning is one thing, but ZERO sleep is turning me into the Bitch straight from Hell. :crazy-eye

    My therapist has suggested that in this case I do get sleeping tablets but it is only temporary and she will be keep a close bloody eye on it so I don't use it as a crutch. She also said if I want to inquire about AD's then that is my choice.

    When things are bad I turn to either; nurofen plus (which has the codeine), frisium (prescribed by a previous doctor which is like valium) and phernergan (anti histamine over the counter). But the frisium does bugger all now, and the others little impact. The wine usage goes out of control and I'm not even fully aware of how much I drink. Sometimes half a bottle, sometimes one bottle, very very rarely I go over a bottle.

    Then I will go for weeks without touching a drug, and drinking only in moderation i.e. the recommended australian allowance (2 x 100 mls of wine, 2 alcohol free days per week).

    This has become incredibly long, forgive me I am sleep deprived.:crazy:

    The question is; do you try & do this trauma work medication free or do you take medication to assist with the trauma work and if so what meds?
     
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  3. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    OK, I am going to be biased as I cannot help it. I am sure you will get different takes.

    Just my opinion based on my experience, and your mileage may vary here. Zoloft, run run. Zoloft was just a horrible thing to add and then it made it worse (way worse), then I had to go through withdrawals to get off. All the while in trauma therapy. But my buddy has this and takes Zoloft and it is great for him. He does not do therapy though. He wants a mask. He has also had heart attacks before turning 40.

    If you are surviving (yes, surviving) trauma therapy keep giving it a chance. I really like your therapist's take on this. But don't make the assumption of what she thinks, ask her. I really think you are lucky with this one.

    Self medicating though as a sign you need ADs... That one I cannot wrap my mind around. That won't help it or stop it. The therapy you are in will. Last I checked the doctor's criteria was more along the lines of depression. Though it may well be part of why you self medicate, with PTSD it goes a little beyond. Numbs pain, a break we sometimes need, or sleep. That is not the same.

    On ADs sleep will be more often but it is worthless. The sleep is just out time, not rest.

    Meds do not help therapy unless the symptoms are so beyond being coped with you cannot take anything from therapy. From what you have shown here you are doing just that. I Envy you!

    Downside to meds is they to take an edge off. You get comfortable with that. Then soon what you still feel is unbearable. So you take more. In the mean time you can get lazy in therapy as a pill can do what you want. What happens? You take so much it is too much. Doctors then decide OK you need to reevaluate and change drugs or quit. Now you have withdrawals if you go off or switch. Symptoms go bezerk.

    Meds are great temporary tools when you know that once you go on you will come back off. You will go through a long phase of feeling much worse than when you began to take them. Sometimes that is better if you cannot get into therapy and focus enough to start. But just going by what you write, you are not that. You are doing it and you are in a hairy phase. You are making progress. Yes, you are miserable. But you are doing a great job and are seeing changes even if small.

    Like your therapist said it is ultimately up to you. They do not really interfere with that.

    I know you are tired, we all get beyond tired. We can relate. It does get better is all I can say. I got better sleeping for a while then back to old ways. That one I bounce back and forth on hard. A month or so of good sleep (and man it is sweet) to suddenly up again for just as long. It has taken me a long time to learn how to nurse sleep into play. That one I admit is hard. But after meds I say not worth medicating.

    Sorry I got winded.
     
  4. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    I think that sleep is one of the biggest issues that we all deal with. Usually we don't get any......I suffered from sleep deprivation too. Sat up most nights playing cards. Took every drug I could, nothing worked. Finally I tried Trazadone.........Yes it is an AD, but in lower mgs it is used as a sleeping pill too. I was given permission to take from 25-300 mgs a night. I was on it for 11 yrs, and weaned off of it over 2 yrs ago. I now take nothing at all and I do sleep.

    Yes, the drugs do help, but then you still need to deal with the crap... I just think it's a personal thing for everyone. If you feel you need them...Then try them, If you don't feel you need them...Don't.

    Weather we take them or not, we still need to deal with the crap, and eventually you have to come off of them...Ok just came off Cymbalta....NOT FUN!!!!!

    Wen
     
  5. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone!!!!

    I can't believe people suffer like I do. I felt so alone and like something was seriously wrong with me i.e. a brain disease before coming on this site.

    For now, reading all I've read, considering the current stage I'm in with the trauma work, I think I won't take AD's. I can always change my mind if I want to.

    I'm going to see a naturopath again & last time he was surprisingly helpful, so I will see what he recommends.
     
  6. 2quilt

    2quilt I'm a VIP

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    antidepressants

    I have PTSD with Depression.
    I took Amitriptyline, which dries out your intestines, making you constipated enough to go to the hospital. Wellbutrin did nothing for me, Trazadone made me sleep 24/7, Paxil made me NUTZ, so I took Zoloft for 3 years and had no sex drive at all, but it did keep me somewhat stable and controlled my PTSD enough to keep me out of handcuffs due to my anger management problems. I am now on Cymbalta, and I have never been more happy, stable, normal. I have recommended Cymbalta to many people, but I have to tell you that of those I have recommended it to and have tried it, zero have had success. Our brains are all so different.
    I know myself, and I have to have meds and I have to have therapy to get through life. I can't make it on my own. And I have no problem asking for help. I figure that so many people out there went to school to be mental health providers because they just have a passion to help me, so there's no reason for me to sit here and cry alone.
     
  7. Zamboni

    Zamboni Active Member

    I struggle with meds too.

    All I know is that I struggle with the medication issue too. I have had a relapse, which was triggered. But I could bearly function. But I went on medications and started with a therapist.
    I feel for your delema. But as others have said, don't give up. And I am trying to follow the same advice.

    -Zam
     
  8. Awakening

    Awakening Well-Known Member

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    Ugh not-so-great night

    Drank 3/4 of a bottle of wine last night.
    Not too bad, but not ideal either.
    Felt like complete shit last night.
    I'm so over this. :wall:
    I feel like I'm constantly living in the past & as a consequence I'm ****ing my life up. I want to live in the present.
    I want to have little or no anxiety, ZERO depression (some sadness in life I know is normal), be able to sleep, and to live my life rather then pushing through each day. AND STOP BEING SO SELF ABSORBED!!!

    I read some of one persons trauma diary last night & that actually seemed to help.
     
  9. StarWalker

    StarWalker New Member

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    Stilnoct

    True!
    No sleep results in other problems as well. Along with the psycological problems, physical stress causing pain in skeleton/muscles etc. often appears. Result; the day being even worse..

    I think I've tried most of antidepressants and sleepingpills over the years, despit me being totally allergic to meds..

    Antidepressants just made me more depressed, and the sleepingpills.. Well, whats the benefit of prolonging the sleep when having trouble with nightmares..?!? :dont-know

    Finally, a friend of mine, another combat veteran, gave me an advice to try the "Stilnoct" pills.
    - These are pills helping one to fall asleep, but with short-time effect, causing zero hangover the next day!

    Though the pills effect last for only 3-4 hours, one at least get the non-stop rest needed.

    Sleep well needed! :sleeping:
     
  10. dontknow

    dontknow New Member

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    I think Zoloft is really good, I can now sleep and even wake up in the morning and want to get out of bed. But I know people who didn't like the side effects and those who said it did nothing. Since the effectiveness and side-effects seems to be an individual thing, you really need to try a few of the different SSRIs, and have a trial of a few months to give long enough for it to work. Zoloft wasn't the first I tried but the one that I like.

    If you look at the clinical trials regarding the most helpful for use in PTSD Zoloft is one of the recommended ones.

    I don't really understand why some people are so anti-medications, it is just another tool and works for some and not for others. People who are depressed, anxious etc have a physiological problem in their brain and meds help to correct it.
    My psychologist said that if I want to go off it I will need some 'top up' sessions but I have no desire to ever go off it. It is way better than sleeping pills and other addictive medication which generally leave you feeling a bit drugged and drowsy - and alcohol etc which we all know is not a good idea.
     
  11. MistyEyed

    MistyEyed New Member

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    Finding Friends and a Sliver of Hope.....

    Well...here I am. I've tried to find other people that are here for something specific to me but I've not found one that has survived a natural disaster - I didn't think that I'd find anyone that "understood" but what I've read in this forum alone leads me to believe that no matter what the "trauma" the feelings are similar in nature. I'm trying to figure out why after two full years all of a sudden I'm consumed with this -- as I read 2Quilt's reply she gave me some "hope" for the medication I've been given. I'm not happy about taking something to "mask" what I feel, I want to deal with it - I don't want to be afraid, or anxious, I want to be the "pre-storm" me. I want to be happy again, and not be confused or sleepless, (I don't do even a good fake happy when I'm tired) I don't want the nightmares or daytime flashbacks that take over every ounce of what I am...and then I cry, I just sit and weep quietly hoping no one knows...... the "rational" part of me feels so frustrated, it's ridiculous at 40 to be afraid, I've lived my life, gotten over things and now all of a sudden my brain is letting me down.... I feel weak, tired, disappointed and afraid. I'm tired beyond description, my body is weak, my mind feels at times like it's struggling to even recall how to lick a stamp. I have a good career and I have many people that depend on me and I feel like I'm always tried to hide and hold it together... then one day after a really bad night I just "lost it" at work, I sat in my office sobbing for no reason, (that I could figure out) I cried and waited in the dark till I could leave without being seen.... and here I am.

    I hope that this forum continues...it's nice to know that there are others that understand, at least a little. Hope to read more from all of you.
     
  12. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Hi Misty,

    Welcome to the forum...Have you been diagnosed with PTSD as of yet????

    PTSD is PTSD no mater what has happened to you, we all get the same crap to deal with afterwards. How fun!!! NOT! So we all do understand where you are coming from.

    Wendy
     
  13. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Nice to meet you MistyEyed. And welcome to the forum.

    I thought you might find this thread of interest:

    [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread2307.html[/DLMURL]

    We do not subscribe to how you got the PTSD just that you do. That is what matters as the only way to heal is straight through it.

    Again, welcome!

    bec
     
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