Saturday, 11 December 2010

Sleep, tablets and depression

     Back at the end of January my doctor issued me with a prescription for an antidepressant as a sleep aid. Amitryptiline in low doses stops you waking up in the middle of the night as I was, it doesn't space you out as sleeping pills do and I am assured by my doctor it's not addictive. Going from several months of unrelenting insomnia to sleeping normally within a week meant it was a complete success, and I've taken it ever since. On the few occasions I've missed a dose the insomnia has returned instantly, so I know it's still necessary and still working.
    This week I had a couple of evening events at which I was likely to drink alcohol. Alcohol intake is not advised when taking amitryptiline, so I missed my dose for a couple of days. I was rather shocked by the mood change I experienced on the second day, strong GD and hovering on the edge of agitated depression. Nothing I haven't experienced before, but I'd not had it at that intensity this year.
    So I'm taking an antidepressant and it's helping to shield me from depression. Earth shattering news flash. Part of me dislikes being committed to taking a medication that might be unnecessary , I guess this tells me that this one's doing some good.
    I also can't say I'm that pleased to be in a position where I need medication for my brain to function normally, however I have the consolation that I'm in as good a mental form as I've ever been, at work I seem to be ticking the right boxes.
    I just wish I could tick all the right boxes at home.


  1. Somewhere between the lines there are you inferring that your depression, insomnia, and GD are related?

    If so, a lifetime of having to be medicated, doesn't sound like so much fun to me.

    I'm sorry you have to put yourself through that.

    I'm also glad I don't require any medication, and that I sleep like a rock, every night.

    Though my means of achieving that is to doll myself up every chance I get, go out, and find a man to deal with the woman in me, that the man in me can't.

    Perhaps neither of them are "proper" solutions. But we all do what we need to through this thing called life, hoping there's something better on the other side.

  2. Gosh I am sure I wouldn't like to depend on drugs to aid my weird sleeping pattern either. It appears to be doing something good for you though! I think if I took something to keep me asleep I'd wake up wet every morning, if you see what I mean. I used to be a nervous wreck and an obvious candidate for medication but I prescribed a dose of alcohol now and then and it cured my problem! LOL
    Shirley Anne xxx

  3. Maybe the way to frame it is not that you are constantly dependent on drugs, but that you are fortunate enough to have access to drugs that ameliorate a constant medical condition to which you are subject... I used to be v puritanical about drugs and didn't even take aspirins or paracetamol for headaches. Silly me, not least because I was also taking silly quantities of 'recreational' drugs... I'm happy that you've got things more-or-less under control, anyway.

  4. And like Dru I used to be quite puritanical about taking any kind of medicine but today I got a sore arm carrying back the repeat prescription for all my medication!

    Well there's quite a lot between the BP and HRT but there's nothing to help me sleep at night. I used to go through much what you described until the GIC gave the go-ahead for the HRT and now I've forgotten what it feels like to wake in the middle of the night.

    Caroline XXX

  5. It sounds like you have found a very workable solution to your GD.

    If it works Don't Fix it.


  6. If you feel normal with this treatment, then it is the right way to get on with your life, and congratulations my friend! Taking drugs is what we do every time we eat, as far as I can see. People can call that natural if they like, but what you eat affects you too; just ask my friend with the wheat allergy.

    I truly wish that the medication the doctor proscribed twenty years ago for depression had 'worked'. Instead it made me feel like a zombie, like part of my brain that actually thought about stuff had been disabled. Some might actually have suggested that would make me a better person (easier to get along with), but I didn't like me that way, so I stopped.

    In other words, do what you think and feel is right. Too bad about the alcohol, and yes it is a pain to be committed to take a pill or two, or in my case these days, four, but as my gp once said, get used to it, you aren't getting any younger! :)


  7. I recall hearing someone say that not sleeping properly resulted in them feeling awful and feeling GD more severely.

    I don't like the idea of taking medication either but yet I don't have a second thought about wearing glasses to restore my eyesight to normal. Thing is like being a diabetic on insulin it gets results you want so I can only view it as a good solution to an anatomical condition.

  8. Hey I am 63. I look like I am 43. I take 15 pills twice a day.

    So.......quit yer whinning ;-)

  9. Morning everyone, back from a day away in a cold and damp but strangely beautiful Fenland.

    Keeping on top of all this sometimes feels like one of those stage acts with the spinning plates on sticks. Most of the time you can keep all the plates spinning, but every now and then you lose control and one or other of them falls down.

    When I was a spotty young oik people stood in front of me and taught me all sorts of really cool maths for modelling complex systems like this, if I hadn't forgotten most of it I'm sure I'd have made a stab at trying to figure out the relationship by now.

    I've never been averse to taking a Paracetamol for a headache, I guess it's the realisation that I'm taking medication to fix my head. Since I consider myself to be a sane person this comes as a shock.

    I think I would severely scare any bloke I tried to pull :)

    I count myself very fortunate that I don't yet look 43.

  10. Why, you young wippersnapper! You think it's funny getting old?? :D

    I have shoes older than you I expect! LOL

  11. Just been looking at Dorothy Rowe's website, a lot of articles about depression may be worth a look at. In "A Single Step, The Magazine for supporters of Depression Alliance, Nov_2007" she states as a fact it is not due to a chemical imbalance in the brain nor is there a genetic basis.

    That's not saying pills which increase serotonin or help you to sleep so that you have strength to function better aren't helpful though. She's not suggesting stopping taking medication.

  12. I did say I don't yet look 43. It's still just about morning here.

  13. @Alex: true, it's something that defies simplistic explanations.

  14. Bananas are supposed to aid sleep I once heard. They say they increase serotonin levels too.

    Shirley Anne xxx

  15. Well, as I read this, I'm a walking Zombie. With few exceptions, I take two Tylenol PM's (offered in the UK?) at bed time. I started this several years ago after endless insomnia. Absolutely took care of the problem without any side effects. Self medication, however, may not always be the right thing to do. Never did tell my doctor about it.

    Anyway, I had a few glasses of wine last night and decided not to take the Tylenol and the insomnia came back, along with nightmares.

    I'll have to ask my doctor about the stuff you are taking.

    Calie xxx

  16. I am at least fortunate in not remembering my dreams very often.

    10mg amitryptiline as a sleep aid is an off-label use of the drug, however it's a fairly common one, it's mentioned quite frequently on info pages about it.