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About MarkP

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  1. I basically went through the catalogue of 'traditional' sleep meds and didn't find anything that worked particularly well for me. And then I went non-traditional. Currently pop a 10mg pill of Ritalin (methylphenidate) for sleep. For some reason, it works very well, and my sleep feels awesome, waking up quite refreshed the next day. There's also sodium oxybate, in the form of Xyrem (the licensed version), or GHB (the highly illegal version) that can be prescribed by a doctor but is tragically expensive.
  2. Graduated in 2001 with degrees in Engineering and Computer Science from a top-20 university, in the upper quartile of my class. Right in the midst of massive layoffs in the technology sector, and pretty much everywhere else in the economy. Apparently having good marks, being white, and having good communications skills counts for nothing these days. Sent out thousands of resumes, and rarely got a response to any of them. Basically, I would stay awake for days at a time, for weeks/months/years after graduation, for a few years, sending out resumes, only knocking myself out every few days with a few drinks and basically crashing. Now its 2011, and I'm still sending out resumes, even though my sleep problems have been brought under control with ativan, restoril, and zopiclone as medication when I get really agitated about things. I don't even know what to do anymore; I invest pretty much the entirety of my day either applying to jobs, or keeping my skills up to date with personal projects or research. I've done well in the stock market and managed to keep myself alive for the past decade, but now I'm getting suicidal urges. I live in a place where it gets down to -40 in the wintertime so I was considering driving out to the middle of nowhere, taking a bottle of my sedatives drinking, and going for a walk (essentially freezing myself to death), yet every time I think of doing that, just for a moment, I imagine that if I only wait a few more days, some employer will pick up the phone and interview me for one of many positions they advertise that I'm eminently qualified for. Does anyone have any advice? My life has basically been ruined. I rarely get interviews, and they tell me, "you're too smart to work here", or they see that 10 year gap on my resume and basically think I'm some sort of loser even though I graduated in the midst of a recession in the industry and never got a chance. Please, I need some help... Everyone who cares about me is basically at a loss, or they just offer useless platitudes like "isn't Google hiring", or "you just need to apply more". I already have 2 drawers of my filing cabinet full of job applications, and nothing to show for it.
  3. If benzos help you sleep, then, in some cases, this ends up fighting depression. Sleep plays a huge role in depression.
  4. Temazepam is good stuff. Wish the Dr. would've kept me on it instead of pulling me off and telling me to use (blech!) Zopiclone.
  5. Finally took myself off temazepam 15mg (~1 year of 5 nights/week intermittent use). 2 weeks later, my lower back pain is gone (and thankfully, no other benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms!). Anyone else have a similar experience of muscle pain dissappearing once they withdrew from benzodiazepines?
  6. Anecdotally, I believe that higher potency benzodiazepines lead to more rapid development of tolerance and dependance, than the lower potency benzodiazepines. In other words, the neurologist that is pushing clonazepam over diazepam, is actually wrong; to wit: diazepam is far less potent, on a mg for mg basis, and probably easier to withdrawal from. The current recommendations for benzodiazepine withdrawal, almost universally include switching to diazepam, away from other benzodiazepines. Switching to chlordiazepoxide would be recommended, but chlordiazepoxide is generally only available in capsule form and not as easily dose-subdivided as 2mg diazepam tablets. If the OP is managing her/himself well on diazepam, and not dose-escalating, then there is no reason to switch to clonazepam. Diazepam does have a more rapid onset, which might explain the 'addiction' angle.
  7. The withdrawal symptoms from benzos, in a dependant person, are similar to those of alcohol. Begins with "the shakes", panic attacks, anxiety, and sometimes, chest pains. Progresses to hallucinations and delirium tremens. Ultimately, in severe cases, to seizures, coma, and death. "Treatment" for these symptoms is generally, to go back onto benzos. The risk of becoming dependant on a benzo is a function of how much benzo is taken, for how long. Certain benzos provoke dependance much more quickly than others, even at equivalent therapeutic dosing. For instance, most people can take temazepam (Restoril) or flurazepam (Dalmane) for months at a time, without becoming dependant. But triazolam or alprazolam (Halcion and Xanax),are likely to induce such.
  8. temazepam works great for me. For sleep, 7.5mg up to 30mg is great (30mg if I have to sleep on concrete floor or in a noisy hotel!). And every so often, I pop a dose in the daytime if I have a very stressful situation. Temazepam is basically a low-potency form of lorazepam. Withdrawals from low-potency benzos tend to be easier than withdrawals from the high-potency benzos. In the various online benzo support groups, problems with low potency benzo dependance and withdrawal are comparatively less common. Temazepam addiction is pretty rare, but the forums are filled with stories of people trying to kick clonazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam habits.
  9. Yeah, basically, that's the truth. The new ones are significantly weaker, and they tend to cause diabetes, weight gain, etc. haloperidol is still the 'gold standard' for treatment of schizophrenia. 4-5mg risperidone is not a low dose by any means. That's actually at the higher end of the overall dosing range.
  10. I prefer not to be, but I'm into my 2nd year of temazepam 15mg PRN ("for sleep"), and I actually feel that the medications' efficacy has increased over the past year, to the extent that I break open the capsules and only take half doses. The benzo haters are always quick to point out, "benzos aren't a treatment for mental illness". But they've changed my life, one ravaged by chronic sleep-onset insomnia and mild anxiety, allowed me to pick up better eating habits, reduce my consumption of soft drinks for their stimulant properties (ie: caffeinated/sugared Coca Cola), and overall, generally helped me improve my life. Because I have better control over my sleep patterns, I no longer miss meals, and thus, don't binge eat like I used to (to make up for missed meals). And because I eat properly now because of good sleep patterns, I eat practically no junk food. The sad thing was that getting this life-changing treatment (benzos) took a lot of arm-twisting and doctor shopping. I had to endure lectures from pharmacists, "you really only want to be on these tablets a few weeks". I was taunted for months with anxiety from websites such as Dr. Ashtons describing her experiences with high dose benzo users in the UK. I even had family members horrified that I dare take a benzo claiming, "if you would only stop drinking caffeine, you wouldn't need that stuff" (I tried a caffeine-free period of 2 months, and it didn't help!). A pharmacist in the family still insists that I am at a much higher risk of cancer because I am on benzos, but cannot produce any evidence other than anecdotal accounts of some of his chain smoking and heavy drinking patients (who also happen to be prescribed benzos!). Oh yeah, and I had to fire my therapist because she was pushing the anti-benzo angle. Meds aren't for everyone, but I pray that I can remain ahead of the benzo dependance fairy. That the medication still works just as strong, if not stronger today, than it did a year ago, is a good sign. Also a good sign is that I can not take temazepam for a few days, and not experience any sort of side effect if I am already sufficiently sleepy. I have an awesome GP who gives me a huge prescription so I don't have to endure the wrath of ignorant pharmacists more than once a year. Life has almost never been better, and I enjoy the mornings now with a good night's rest, sometimes temazepam-induced, sometimes not.
  11. I used to drink to get to sleep. Now that I take temazepam 7.5mg-15mg-30mg (usually 7.5mg, although I'm allowed to go up to 30mg if its a particularly bad night) PRN, haven't touched the liquor in many months, even socially. And no hangover on temazepam. And I can take temazepam alone, whereas, with alcohol, I'd have to mix hard liquor with something like pop in order to tolerate the taste. So my answer to this question is a definite "no", temazepam has done completely the opposite.
  12. If you're getting sleepy, that means you're taking too much. Try half a tablet next time? Clonazepam really isn't a very good medicine because it causes the permanent down-regulation of benzodiazepine receptors, such that, basically, you get reset to a 'new normal', and, then, basically you end up with clonazepam in your blood all the time. And its high potency, which means, its harder to withdraw from, than, for instance, diazepam. Maybe you'd do all right on a PRN of a short-acting benzodiazepine, such as oxazepam or bromazepam (two seriously under-used anxiolytic benzos, IMHO).
  13. My opinion would be to aim to bump up the clozapine, and ditch the benzos to the extent that you can. 100mg clozapine isn't really very much. A starter dose, essentially. Whereas, 4mg lorazepam is already pretty heavy duty. The escitalopram (why not just use citalopram instead -- far cheaper!) would be something you'd want to take first thing in the morning. Clozapine generally at night. Lunesta (eszopiclone) is basically another benzo with some horrible side effects in terms of taste. If your clozapine dose is high enough, I doubt you'd even need it, and the benzos should be PRN anyways.
  14. Any chance of decreasing the clonazepam? The paliperidone should be covering many/most of the anxiety symptoms, and venlafaxine is, itself, quite stimulating, typically. I know a typical medication cocktail isn't something that's prescribed overnight, and is the result of many tweaks, but there is quite a propensity for psychiatrists to leave patients, often innappropriately, on benzodiazepine therapy, when treating with the anti-psychotic medications. I suspect the trazodone isn't doing much good either in the cocktail. Throwing a stimulant, or even another medication into the mix, is very likely not a good idea. Also, it might be possible to tweak when the medications are taken. Many patients do very well on clozapine monotherapy (ie: all the benzos and mood stabilizers are dropped), taking their dose entirely at night. It knocks them out pretty much cold, but the anti-psychotic efficacy is excellent during the daytime.
  15. I had the same problem with Ativan (lorazepam), and was up to 3mg nightly on it. Switched to temazepam (Restoril), and that worked much better, at the 15mg dose, which I have since reduced (by breaking open the capsules and dumping some of the powder out). Those Ashton benzo equivilancy charts are quite misleading, IMHO, and are only for tapering purposes from chronic use (ie: round-the-clock use of short-half-life benzodiazepines), and not therapeutic equivilance. Alprazolam (Xanax) is marketed as a "daytime" tranquilizer, ie: its goal is to provide relief from symptoms of panic disorder, with a minimum of sedation. Temazepam (Restoril), on the other hand, is marketed as a sleeping pill or hypnotic. So that'd be my suggestion; if you need a sleep med, get onto a product that is licensed and studied as a sleep med, and whenever possible, stay off the high-potency benzos as tolerance tends to develop most rapidly for them.
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