How Do I Fall Asleep If I Have Benzo Withdrawal Insomnia Keeping Me Awake?

How Do I Fall Asleep If I Have Benzo Withdrawal Insomnia Keeping Me Awake?

I need benzo withdrawal insomnia help!

Many patients who have been prescribed Klonopin for an anxiety disorder experience Klonopin withdrawal insomnia, or clonazepam withdrawal insomnia. Likewise, patients prescribed Xanax often suffer from Xanax withdrawal insomnia.

While Klonopin and Xanax are two of the most prescribed benzodiazepines by psychiatrists and general practitioners, there are many other benzodiazepine drugs, including Valium, Ativan, Restoril, and Librium. Some benzos are for anxiety, and some are used as sleeping pills.

In fact, there are thousands of benzodiazepines that have been produced, and about 15 or so that are currently approved and prescribed in the US. These drugs are among the top prescribed drugs in the country.

It is important to note that benzodiazepine dependence is most often not a form of drug addiction. There is usually no need for traditional addiction treatment or addiction recovery meetings.

Benzodiazepine users often take their medication as prescribed for many years, not as a form of substance abuse or drug abuse, but simply medical compliance. Because of this, some experts describe adverse effects from benzos to be iatrogenic injuries, which means injury by medical treatment.

While the detox from benzos may be similar to the withdrawal process for people with alcohol addiction, with the acute withdrawal risk of siezures, the psychological mechanisms are different for benzo detox compared to alcohol withdrawal. Former benzodiazepine users rarely crave for more benzos. If anything, they often never want to take one ever again.

Benzodiazepine detox should be handled differently from substance abuse treatment. Benzodiazepine addiction is rare. Even Xanax addiction is not common, though Xanax is often associated with addictive drug use and prescription drug addiction. In most cases, the issue is benzo physical dependence, not benzo addiction.

While many facilities for addiction medicine offer services for benzodiazepine detox, they are often not prepared to help patients through the benzo withdrawal timeline. Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms must be handled with caring, understanding, and support in addition to a proper medical detox.

Why would someone who takes a benzo, such as Klonopin, Xanax, Valium, or Ativan, experience benzo withdrawal insomnia?

There are people who take a benzo drug for many years, accepting the drug as a normal part of their lives. A doctor may have started prescribing it for anxiety or insomnia due to trauma. For example, if a loved-one has passed away, Ativan, Klonopin, or Xanax may be prescribed to ease the intense emotions associated with grieving.

Unfortunately, a benzo tranquilizer may suppress the normal grieving process, leading to ongoing mental health issues. Additionally, these drugs can cause long-term neurological and psychological problems, leading the patient to decide that they are going to stop taking benzodiazepines.

Quitting a benzo abruptly can be traumatic for the human nervous system. It is possible for a person who quits a benzo cold turkey to have a life-threatening seizure as a result. Going cold turkey off of a benzo is dangerous.

The safest, and proper way, to quit benzodiazepine therapy is to undergo a gradual taper, which means gradually reducing the daily dosage over a long period of time. When a suitably low daily dose is reached, the patient will be instructed to stop the drug. The final dose taken is sometimes referred to as the “drop off.”

During the tapering process, the patient may experience early withdrawal symptoms as they allow their bodies to become accustomed to the new, lower dosage. And, after the drop-off, they will certainly experience further benzo withdrawal side effects for a period of time.

Insomnia, the inability to fall asleep and to stay asleep, is one of the most common and concerning benzo withdrawal symptoms. Combined with rebound anxiety, patients who find sleep difficult to attain, due to rebound insomnia, become very distressed that they are not able to get proper sleep. Insomnia is one of the worst parts of enduring the benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Is a lack of sleep due to benzo withdrawal dangerous?

Do human beings require sleep to survive? It is generally accepted that sleep is a necessity for life. Of course, a lack of sleep can result in fatigue, leading to poor mental and physical functioning.

We are aware that engaging in dangerous activities, such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery, is very risky without adequate sleep. Drowsy driving is known to be a major cause of motor vehicle accidents.

In addition to the dangers of accidents due to sleepiness and loss of mental focus due to lack of sleep, are there other risks and physical symptoms associated with sleeplessness? Many insomnia sufferers are concerned about serious health consequences that may be caused by not sleeping enough hours each night.

Can a lack of sleep cause heart disease or damage to the heart? What about permanent brain damage?

Is it possible that a person who does not sleep enough could have a heart attack or stroke due to not sleeping? Can a lack of sleep lead to an early death or life-threatening health-related event?

What about high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, depression? And, what about the possibility of diminished immune system functioning from not sleeping enough?

For someone who cannot get to sleep, the possibilities of what might happen from not sleeping can be terrorizing. Reading about the consequences of sleeplessness is enough to keep anyone awake at night.

While it is true that there are some serious health conditions associated with not getting enough sleep, it depends on the individual, other risk factors, and typically, it would be related to years of poor sleep.

The fact is that you should not worry about lack of sleep if you are going through benzo withdrawal. Sleep will come to you as you heal and move through the withdrawal period. It may seem hopeless, but sleep is eventually inevitable.

Even if you are not able to get much sleep all at once, it is fine to sleep a bit at a time. You can break up your sleep during the night, or take naps throughout the day, as needed.

Is polyphasic sleep the solution to benzodiazepine withdrawal insomnia?

Polyphasic sleep is simply an alternate way of getting sleep by sleeping in more than two sessions per twenty-four-hour period. Many well-known creative geniuses throughout history have used polyphasic sleep as a method of increasing their efficiency and productivity.

Some experts believe that polyphasic sleep can enhance brain function, improving the creative process. Well-known entrepreneurs and company founders have used this method of sleeping to boost productive activities.

If you are concerned about not getting a full night’s sleep, are you napping? Are you waking up and then going back to sleep? Maybe you are practicing polyphasic sleep without even realizing it.

What do you do if you wake up in the middle of the night, after getting an hour or two of sleep? Do you worry about getting back to sleep again?

Are you concerned that you may be awake for the rest of the night? One issue that should be considered, though it seems basic to many people, is sleep hygiene.

When doctors respond to a patient’s concerns about insomnia with a lecture on sleep hygiene, the patient often does not want to hear what seems to be obvious. Yes, we know that we should not watch television or play with our phones in bed.

Ongoing engagement with devices often results in preventing sleep from occurring. Yet, taking sleep hygiene seriously is important, especially in the case of benzo withdrawal insomnia.

If you awaken after only a short period of sleep, there is no reason why you cannot go back to sleep and accrue additional sleep time for the night. It may not happen right away, but reading comments in Facebook groups is not going to help you fall asleep.

Are there examples of people who live healthy lives without a full eight hours of sleep?

One example that comes to mind, though not healthy at all, is when people who abuse stimulants, such as methamphetamine or cocaine, stay awake for days on end. Some meth heads have been known to stay awake for many days, even weeks, or over a month at a time.

With this type of drug use, sleep usually comes after long stretches of wakefulness, with no possibility of sleep. There is an eventual crash, where the body simply can no longer maintain wakefulness, even in the presence of potent stimulants.

Before the crash occurs, the meth user will experience negative consequences of ongoing insomnia. Many of the effects we may associate with meth abuse are actually the symptoms of prolonged wakefulness.

Stimulant abusers will experience hallucinations, both auditory and visual. They will have difficulty speaking and having coherent thoughts. The symptoms of meth-induced sleeplessness may mimic various mental illnesses.

Of course, getting no sleep at all for weeks at a time is a serious problem. Fortunately, most people who are tapering or withdrawing from benzodiazepine use do get at least some sleep, even if it is just a few hours here and there at the beginning.

So, what happens to meth users who stay awake for weeks, with no sleep at all? Does the lack of sleep kill, or permanently injure them?

Surprisingly, in most cases, they do very well after getting to sleep. While meth and cocaine are difficult drugs to quit when a person is addicted, the long stretches of sleeplessness do not seem to leave the recovering drug user with any lasting problems.

As you can see, there are examples that demonstrate that the human mind and body are quite robust and able to withstand extended periods of sleeplessness. While the trending articles that are presented to us endlessly like to employ scare tactics, we must take them with a grain of salt.

What is the increase in risk of a serious health-related event from a lack of sleep?

While I do not intend to debate the risk levels claimed by various articles on the dangers of sleep deprivation, I do like to point out that even a doubling of risk is not always a great increase in risk. Imagine that an article claimed that the risk of spontaneous stroke was doubled when a person did not get a full night’s sleep every night.

The first question to ask should be, what is the risk of the event in the first place, for a person who gets enough sleep? Is it one in a million? Doubling of that risk would bring it up to two in a million, which is a very small increase in risk.

I like to compare this situation to buying lottery tickets. If you buy a lottery ticket, you may have a one in twenty million chance of winning the jackpot.

What if you buy two tickets? You have just doubled your chances of winning, but you still have essentially almost no chance of winning with twice as many tickets, or even ten times as many tickets as your initial single ticket.

The point of this discussion is to give some perspective on the issue of benzo withdrawal insomnia. I remember being at a health spa many years ago, and one of my family members complained to the medical director that they were unable to get any sleep for the past several days.

The doctor was thoughtful for a moment, and then replied, “Don’t worry, sleep will come eventually. It is inevitable. They were still concerned. “What happens if I don’t sleep?”

He smiled, and said, “Nothing will happen to you, and you will sleep.” Of course, he was correct. Eventually, they did sleep and there were no negative consequences of those few days of sleeplessness.

How can I get to sleep if I am in benzo withdrawal?

Sometimes, it just takes time, patience, and understanding. Sleep will come eventually. It is always inevitable.

Part of benzo withdrawal is rebound anxiety. People who stop taking benzodiazepines, even after a long, gradual taper, experience significant anxiety over their situation. When will they sleep? When will the symptoms finally subside of feeling restless, or dizzy, or the general feeling of malaise?

In addition to worrying about how long the symptoms will last, people are concerned about the consequences of not sleeping, and what might happen to them if they cannot sleep. Reading online forums is often not helpful. Horror stories posted online by people in similar situations can spark even more anxiety and concern.

On top of the issue of anxiety and multiple withdrawal symptoms, family members can sometimes add to the problem by not being understanding of what their loved one is going through. Benzo withdrawal is a real, physical syndrome that takes time to overcome.

It is not laziness, or exaggeration. It is real, and it is difficult to endure. While a family member may see the person lying in bed all day, it is comparable to climbing Mount Everest, attempting to reach the peak of the highest mountain in the world.

Overcoming benzo withdrawal is a difficult feat and a great accomplishment. It should not be treated as anything less. Support from family is essential.

Sound therapy may be helpful in promoting sleep during benzo withdrawal.

Additionally, there are various tools that may help to promote better sleep. One example is brown noise.

Brown noise is a form of white noise, but at a deeper pitch. It is more soothing and calming compared to the higher-pitched white and pink noises.

There are devices and apps that can produce brown noise. There are also some good recordings available on YouTube of many hours of deep, filtered brown noise.

Another sound therapy tool is binaural beats recordings. In fact, there have been scientific studies that have demonstrated that binaural beats are effective at reducing anxiety. Anecdotal research reveals that they are also helpful in promoting sleep as well.

Binaural beats recordings use slightly differently pitched sounds in the left and right channels of the stereo recording to create the illusion of a beat frequency. These beat frequencies help to entrain the brainwaves to a particular frequency.

Some people prefer Theta programs, and some prefer Delta programs. Theta is associated with relaxation and meditation, while Delta is associated with deep sleep.

While the best way to use a binaural beats program is to listen with headphones or earbuds, they are often effective when played through an open-air speaker, such as on a television. When used this way, they become isochronic beats, which are still known to be effective.

In addition to these sound tools, there are also guided meditations and relaxation recordings that may be helpful. Breath work, such as purposeful deep breathing with a focus of attention on the breath, can also help.

I have also seen a talk about a technique of gradually slowing the tapping of the hand on the leg by the person attempting to fall asleep. The lecturer claimed that the technique could put a person to sleep within five minutes.

It is important for each individual looking for ways to get better sleep to find what works best for them.

One technique may work better for one person than for another person. In the case of benzo withdrawal insomnia, it is generally good to avoid any sleeping medications. However, if a doctor recommends a particular sleep med or supplement, such as melatonin, it may be fine to take it as directed by the doctor. Ideally, trying non-medication sleep techniques is the best solution.

If you are concerned about not sleeping, the good news is that you will be able to sleep. The less you worry about sleep, the more likely it is that you will sleep.

Often, a person who thinks they are not sleeping at all is actually getting hours of sleep. It may seem like you are not sleeping, but people in the house will notice that you are sleeping for long stretches.

Another consideration for improving insomnia is to try praying for sleep. While this may offend atheists, it should not be offensive to anyone. Prayer does not have to imply any specific spiritual or religious belief.

If you have no spiritual beliefs, you may simply think of prayer as a mechanism of the mind to reach the subconscious mind and plant suggestions. For people with specific beliefs, they may pray as they see fit.

Whether you like to call it prayer, or putting a desire out in the universe, seeking for its fulfillment, it is a similar practice. Asking for help to sleep is surprisingly effective.

If you are doubtful about the effectiveness of prayer, because it goes against your beliefs, the mechanism for how it works is not important. It really does work.

While prayer is not effective for resolving many other health issues, it is effective for sleep. I have seen incredible results from people simply praying for sleep to finally arrive.

I hope that you have found this discussion of benzodiazepine withdrawal insomnia to be helpful. If you are having difficulty sleeping, then I hope that high quality, long-lasting sleep comes to you soon, so that you may be fully refreshed and well rested. May you be able to sleep deeply, with pleasant dreams, throughout the entire night.