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Getting back on track - sleep and Li taper

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fer1

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Hi yall. Just wondering how long does insomnia persist after tapering Lithium?

I'm embarking on a psch - sponsored taper and he has offered a shedload of sleeping tablets.
I'd rather not use them to be honest as they tend to only work for 1 hour for me.
Should I be worried about insomnia after /during a Li taper?
Ps I'm not BP officially, family history , but I have had 2 depressions in my 43 year history.
(Ps am also on Mirtazipine 15mg)
Any opinions? I've convinced myself that I will die!
 
Wish4TheNight

Wish4TheNight

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I've been off lithium for over two months now and I still have very bad sleep.
I would also like to know how long this is going to last because the lack of sleep is really taking a toll on me.

Why do you think you will die? At what dose of lithium are you at the moment?

Since you're also on mirtazapine there's no other option for sleeping then sleeping pills (benzo's). All sedating antidepressants work in the same way mirtazapine does, namely by blocking histamine receptors. I have that same issue with Seroquel.

I'm recently trying cbd oil but so far no good, maybe it takes more time to work though.

I wish you all the best. Insomnia sucks.
 
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fer1

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OK when you say your sleep is bad - how bad? I hope you re getting at least some...
Are you still on the Seroquel? How often do you take sleepers? (I reluctant to take these)
Currently, I'm on 800 mg of Li.

I guess we are both asking the same question , how long will it last. . .
I guess i'm on the other side (not yet started a taper)
PS im not really afraid of dying, just scare of not being able to function at work and it escalating...
 
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fer1

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Ps I'm on Lithium since last summer.
How long were you on it for?
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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The problem with your situation is that now you feel like you're not going to sleep when you go to bed, so you'll start thinking, and thinking, and thinking about it. Your brain won't relax and you won't sleep. Rinse repeat. Go back to square one and do the whole sleep hygeine routine all over again: no sleeping in the day, no bright lights in the evening, nothing too stimulating for your brain, sleep and wake times the same etc. If you're anxious, which it sounds like you maybe are as well considering you're saying you think you're going to die (you're not) then you need to deal with this too.
Benzo's do help to calm you but if you don't want to take those then you can try self-help for dealing with the overthinking and anxiety, as well as putting a good sleep routine into practice. Have a look at the following links:
 
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fer1

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Thank you.
That's a useful site and useful advice .
BUT . . . I know it was tongue in cheek when I said I was going to die !!


Basically, the kernel of my initial post is to find out from others (who have gone through the same) how specifically Lithium removal was causative of poor sleep quality.

I think the first reply to my post interpreted me correctly.

Specifically, does Lithium withdrawal/ gradual removal cause / worsen sleep at least in the short term.

But; you are right, sleep hygiene , correct habits, can complement what is a natural process for most of us.

I guess I'd like to know how others coped during and after removal of Li.
I'm looking forward to getting my feelings and emotions back. But not looking forward to the insomnia!
But , therein lies the challenge. . .
Facing fears and not overthinking will help a lot.
Talking to a counsellor also.
And the aforementioned sleep hygiene.
 
Wishbone

Wishbone

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Well I was only on Lithium for a relatively short time, less than a year (I think!), and I didn't have any problems coming off it at all. But if I remember rightly others on here have had some problems coming off it, but I don't recall if sleep problems were a part of that.
 
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fer1

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Thanks. I really needed to hear that it was OK for some people!

Generally, it's supposed to be OK with regard to withdrawals. I know I have tapered it slightly before and it always had a knock on effect on my sleep pattern.
But, overall, I'm encouraged that it didn't cause you too many problems.
 
Wish4TheNight

Wish4TheNight

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OK when you say your sleep is bad - how bad? I hope you re getting at least some...
Are you still on the Seroquel? How often do you take sleepers?
Very bad. It takes me 2-3 hours to fall asleep and then it's broken up, short sleep. I'll sleep for 15-60 minutes and then wake up again.
I take the benzo's too often right now because I really need to sleep. If I don't, I risk psychosis. I'll take them non-stop for a week, then stop 2-3 nights. Now planning to take one every three days.

Good to hear you're not suicidal. If you decide to taper, better do it slow. I was only on lithium for 18 months but I tapered too fast, I think. I did 100 mg every week. Sleep issues didn't show up right away, this took a few weeks.
 
F

fer1

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Very bad. It takes me 2-3 hours to fall asleep and then it's broken up, short sleep. I'll sleep for 15-60 minutes and Google.ie wake up again.
I take the benzo's too often right now because I really need to sleep. If I don't, I risk psychosis. I'll take them non-stop for a week, then stop 2-3 nights. Now planning to take one every three days.

Good to hear you're not suicidal. If you decide to taper, better do it slow. I was only on lithium for 18 months but I tapered too fast, I think. I did 100 mg every week. Sleep issues didn't show up right away, this took a few weeks.

OK. Thanks for your reply.

Did you ever consider going back on Lithium and why did you go off it?
I suppose this is what I want to avoid - I hate Lithium and I would like off it.
I have major depression and have never experienced mania.
But I have experienced psychosis.
Even my psych says for me to taper 50% .ie 400 and then jump off from there.

I'm in 2 minds going off it now if it causes such rebound insomnia !
Once I tapered 800 to 600 and 4 days later had a sleepless spell so I pulled the plug.
 
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fer1

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Very bad. It takes me 2-3 hours to fall asleep and then it's broken up, short sleep. I'll sleep for 15-60 minutes and Google.ie wake up again.
I take the benzo's too often right now because I really need to sleep. If I don't, I risk psychosis. I'll take them non-stop for a week, then stop 2-3 nights. Now planning to take one every three days.

Good to hear you're not suicidal. If you decide to taper, better do it slow. I was only on lithium for 18 months but I tapered too fast, I think. I did 100 mg every week. Sleep issues didn't show up right away, this took a few weeks.

OK. Thanks for your reply.

Did you ever consider going back on Lithium and why did you go off it?
 
Wish4TheNight

Wish4TheNight

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I actually stopped taking lithium before because I was afraid of the long term side effects and also because after already 18 months I noticed it's effectiveness had decreased. I had to up the dose. It started to affect my thyroid (this showed up in my blood tests, it was still okay but had definitely deteriorated) and I suffered from constipation so I stopped.
I went back on it because of the insomnia but it didn't work as before (regarding my sleep as well as my mood) and I didn't want to up the dose. So I stopped again.

I have to say though I am very prone to insomnia and it might be different for you.

The weird thing is, on the internet you don't find much info on lithium withdrawal. Most sites say it doesn't cause withdrawal effects, there's just a big chance of relapse (into a manic episode). I didn't get manic, I had about a week where I experienced some mild mixed symptoms. But the insomnia... Well. It's strange. You can read on the internet about how lithium effects the GABA receptors in the brain, it would make sense that if it does that, there will sure as hell be rebound insomnia if you discontinue. But no info on that.
 
F

fer1

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I actually stopped taking lithium before because I was afraid of the long term side effects and also because after already 18 months I noticed it's effectiveness had decreased. I had to up the dose. It started to affect my thyroid (this showed up in my blood tests, it was still okay but had definitely deteriorated) and I suffered from constipation so I stopped.
I went back on it because of the insomnia but it didn't work as before (regarding my sleep as well as my mood) and I didn't want to up the dose. So I stopped again.

I have to say though I am very prone to insomnia and it might be different for you.

The weird thing is, on the internet you don't find much info on lithium withdrawal. Most sites say it doesn't cause withdrawal effects, there's just a big chance of relapse (into a manic episode). I didn't get manic, I had about a week where I experienced some mild mixed symptoms. But the insomnia... Well. It's strange. You can read on the internet about how lithium effects the GABA receptors in the brain, it would make sense that if it does that, there will sure as hell be rebound insomnia if you discontinue. But no info on that.

I agree. What I have noticed is something similar. It was knocking me out at night BUT
that reduced gradually. My sleep time is gradually reducing each month.

You're right - I've been online and have to say that it's been frustrating as there appears to be general stuff there , nothing specific about sleep.

For me, it's a big call.
My hunch is reduce it to maybe a half of my current dose.
And see how it goes .
Thanks for your help.
 

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