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How To Get Off Drugs for Chronic Insomnia

15 Mar

I have had chronic insomnia for 12 years and FM for 33. I am on 300 mg Elavil and 2 Seroquel at night. Can the Healthful Sleep CD work for me with all those meds. I have tried every tape going, with no success at all, but not guided imagery. I have studied, practiced and used all types of alternative therapies and if I can sleep again, I have a therapy that I would like to use on people and animals, but I have lost both my personal and professional life due to my sleep deprivation. I look forward to your quick reply.
Thanks.
Bonita

Dear Bonita,
I take it that, first of all, you’ve had a recent evaluation or second opinion by a pharmacologically sophisticated doc regarding the drugs you are on? Because, if not, that would be a good idea.  I don’t pretend to be an expert on meds, but I can’t help but wonder what all that Elavil is doing for your sleep.  (How long have you been on it, any way?)  I also don’t know a whole lot about your medical history.  So what I can advise can only be general information.  

Those caveats in place, I can also say that you can have withdrawal symptoms from being weaned off of Elavil.  So you need to be careful with this and get some good medical advice.  It’s not usually the first thing people are given for insomnia - it’s an antidepressant and it’s in a class of drugs you need to show caution with - especially if you are concerned about hypertension or heart disease.

That said, the general answer to your question is that people on sleep medication write in all the time to tell us that they were able to lower their dosage as they listened to the sleep imagery.  Some tell us they were able to immediately go off their sleep meds (but they were not talking about Elavil, so don’t try this!).

In any case, I do hope you talk to a doc who’s either an expert in psychotropic drugs, like a psychiatrist, who understands what these meds might be doing to you; or a doc who’s an expert on FM, and who doesn’t automatically assume you have mental health issues.   I’m just not familiar with these resources in Canada.  If anyone has any ideas for Bonita, please post.

All best,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award