Altostrata

Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes

522 posts in this topic

Hi All,

 

I just joined this site yesterday and I'm really glad I found it. I wanted to ask how the niacinamide at bedtime is working? It looks like a couple of people recently tried it. I am thinking about buying some and trying it myself. It would be great if it helped with early morning wakeups.

 

Thanks,

 

Phil

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I'm seeming to do okay with evening niacinamide.

 

I have found in the past that if I take enough of it, it makes me sleepy.

 

I don't think it will help with early morning wakeups, except in that overall it might help stabilize your nervous system. Some of us have found room darkening with blackout shades, curtains, and sleep masks to block out early morning light helps smooth the wakening.

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anyone tried holy basil? Its supposed to reduce cortisol. I know it may sound crazy to some of you, but I purchased a fisher wallace stimulator which they say lowers cortisol in the brain. I get pretty desperate sometimes...

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I tried niacinamide but it didn't agree with me. I think it didn't agree with diazepam/clonazepam, actually.

 

I've using l'theanine and that helps me to a degree, maybe like melatonin. I use a low dose, 50-75mg. Here' the wikipage.

 

Alex

 

PS - Never tried Holy basil, never even heard of it. But I'd try any, especially if it's Holy. j/k

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Alex,

 

I hope you don't mind me asking, but how did the niacinamide not agree with you? I do take Xanax a couple of times a week so I am curious.

 

I tried 500 mg niacinamide two nights ago but I didn't notice anything. Last night I took 750 mg and it took me forever to fall asleep, but I was feeling amped up before I took it so I doubt it was the niacinamide that kept me up, but who knows.

 

Thanks,

 

k

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As I understand it, you can take holy basil only a couple of days at a time, or the effect wears off.

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Alex,

 

I hope you don't mind me asking, but how did the niacinamide not agree with you? I do take Xanax a couple of times a week so I am curious.

 

I am very sensitive to the effects of my benzos. For instance, alcohol in small amounts causes a withdrawal effect for a few days after drinking. Niacinamide caused a similar feeling, a benzo w/d feeling, the day after taking.

 

I take the exact same dose of Valium and konopin every day without exception.

 

Hope that helps.

Alex

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I think I started a topic about this somewhere else but I'm not sure where.

 

Some studies have shown that especially with older females, using melatonin supplements can cause an increase in cortisol. I've experimented with it myself (I'm a postmenopausal female) and found that for me, at least, there's a definite correlation between how much melatonin I use and how bad my morning cortisol surge is. (Although the main thing that affects my morning cortisol surge is my benzo taper.)

 

I still use very small amounts of melatonin but quite cautiously.

 

You might want to experiment with this for yourself.

 

I also take ashwagandha, which sometimes seems to help, although I'm not really certain.

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so since it was posted somewhere on here to not stimulate the adrenals, what exactly does that entail? Like any type of so called adrenal support supplement? I ask because my adrenals have been acting up lately. Like I didnt have so many problems with my cortisol for a long time until now. I have been off AD for four months and a week ago decided to try an adrenal support supplement from Gaia herbs (http://www.gaiaherbs.com/products/detail/5/Adrenal-Health-). It seemed to help with my stress response, but lately I have been waking up super early with the cortisol anxiety and am worried I am overstimulating them or something. I actually only take half the recommended does because the full dose made me feel a bit weird.

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Correct, zepp. When your adrenals are doing such a good job of producing cortisol, the anxiety hormone, as they do in antidepressant withdrawal, if you stimulate them, you will get an unpleasant increase in anxiety or wakefulness.

 

Don't take adrenal support supplements, adrenal extract, adrenal tonics, or anything containing licorice.

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I haven't been able to find niacinamide or nicotinic acid alone, only a small amount in a multi B vitamin pill.

 

I'm still taking Seriphos. One before going to bed, one when I wake up too early. I take the Seriphos at night and some magnesium chloride. In the morning I take the seriphos and sometimes more magnesium, and sometimes 1mg of melatonin if it's still dark outside (which I really shouldn't... but it does help me go back to sleep). The combined Seriphos and magnesium in the morning seem to really help me ward off the horrible morning anxiety.

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Correct, zepp. When your adrenals are doing such a good job of producing cortisol, the anxiety hormone, as they do in antidepressant withdrawal, if you stimulate them, you will get an unpleasant increase in anxiety or wakefulness.

 

Don't take adrenal support supplements, adrenal extract, adrenal tonics, or anything containing licorice.

 

ok thanks for the advice. Just lately the morning anxiety has been bothering me and this is unusual for me. This only happened the first couple weeks of my fast taper and went away. Honestly, my adrenals just seem out of whack period and I want to reach for an adrenal support supplement because I have read some positive things about supporting the adrenal glands. Likewise, I read that adrenal dysfunction could be a cause of mental health problems so perhaps one day i can get them checked out. For now I will hold out and see what happens.

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Hi Elizabeth. I used to have this, but don't anymore. I had no idea it was related to something biological. I just thought I was paranoid. I just looked online and see this at Women's Health - 6 Tips To Reduce Cortisol

 

5. Take anti-stress supplements like B vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, chromium and zinc, and antioxidants like vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, grape seed extract, and Co Q 10. Adaptogen herbs like ginseng, astragalus, eleuthero, schizandra, rhodiola and ashwagandha help the body cope with the side effects of stress and rebalance the metabolism. These supplement and herbs will not only lower cortisol levels but they will also help you decrease the effects of stress on the body by boosting the immune system.

 

But of course, remember to start out new supplements slow in case it aggravates your CNS.

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Hello Elizabeth,

 

Their are some folks who have achieved calming effect with supplements. I don't know much about the lab tests for cortisol or interventions that will affect lab values.

 

I've never tested my cortisol. What sort of test did you use?

 

I have achieved anxiety reduction with exercise, specifically walking -- gently and briskly -- outdoors. I live in a sunny climate, nd right now the weather is amazing.

 

I also have had relative degrees of success, t varying times, with ginger tea, niacinamide, l'theanine... Of course, I recommend caution in the use of supplements if you have symptoms of sensitivity. Finally, magnesium is famous for its calming propensities. I find that mag citrate agrees best with me, but take much smaller doses than the bottle recommends.

 

I'm coming off bad period triggered by an adverse reaction to over supplementation, so I hope you take precautions if you think you're likely to react.

 

Good luck,

Alex

 

Ps ... I'd use the search feature as each of the supplements mentioned should have its own dedicated thread. Additionally, there are multiple threads on cortisol, so searching 'cortisol' will also probably have decent yield

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Yes, this very question is discussed here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/871-reducing-cortisol-levels-with-supplements/page__p__7349__hl__cortisol__fromsearch__1#entry7349

 

An early morning cortisol spike is a problem for many of us. Also see Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems, scroll down to the sleep problems section.

 

elizabeth, the saliva tests for cortisol are of limited help. Usually they're done in connection with an expensive supplement program prescribed by a naturopathic practitioner. We don't recommend those expensive supplements; they are not appropriate for people whose nervous systems have been sensitized by withdrawal. Also see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1371-no-recommendations-for-commercial-programs-to-assist-withdrawal

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I experienced abrupt early morning awakenings, panic with racing pulse while I was tapering. I didn't realize the wakenings and panic were due to withdrawal and opened the curtains in my bedroom to allow morning sun to hit me, hoping that might help. (Sunshine consistently helped mood in past) The intense awakening continued until I found this info and realized what was happening. I tried blackout curtains and they helped immediately.

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Altostata you said in another post that Cortisol is a daytime hormone and it starts to get going at about 4:30am and peaks at 5-6AM.

 

This explains alot to me about me. I have AM anxiety and have had it for years. It scares me. There are siutations that an cause anxiety for me, but this has always been a huge issue for me. I could use ne Levelors in the bedroom, my Westie broke off a panel and the little light does bother me.

 

Can you/anyone please provide an info/suggestions/solutions on AM anxiety. The worst it has ever been is from a taper/crossover.

 

"I" believe alot of it may be damage (physically/emotionally) from these drugs....

 

Thanks

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I am having trouble with this too. It comes and goes with my taper. This and agoraphobia are my most troublesome withdrawal symptoms.

 

The one thing that I have found that helps me a bit is to have a morning routine. I get up and make my tea (noncaffeinated) and check my email and maybe visit a forum. Then I make my bed and mix up my day's meds. I'm not sure if it matters what the routine is, but for me there is something about having a pattern and knowing exactly what I'm going to do every day that helps me feel less anxious and more grounded.

 

I would like to hear other peoples' suggestions.

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I take some magnesium when I wake up with anxiety and it seems to help a little, but past a certain point I just need to get out of bed and start my routine. Going on a walk helps most.

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Thank you....

 

Doctor told me to take a small amount of Propanolol at about 4:30ish to offset any anxiety and it does work. She suggested it as a means of 'interrupting a cycle'.

 

Alto....my Westie broke a slat in my levelors and that small stream of light is what I see when I open my eyes and it does bother me. I believe what you said is true of me 'hypersensitive'.

 

I have purchased Calms Forte and would like to try that instead of Propanolol.

 

I am trying to train myself to watch my thoughts and change them around from Dread to Positive Thoughts in the AM.

 

Celeste

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This has been very helpful. AM anxiety ~ he had it since 1996. Began with panic attack - didn't know theywre panic attacks. Scared the daylights out of me ~ and I think the "fear of AM anxiety" can bring it on for me.

 

It's been soo many years of coping with this. For myself, the horrific AM anxiety from Withdrawals chas contributed to the problem....almost like PTSD.

 

Daily readers, journaling and self talk help. Didn't know about cortisol spikes, or black out curtains, etc.

Big trigger is not sleeping well.

 

When I sleep well, I can cope sooo much better.

 

I've been told numerous times, that when problems crop up, these life's issues bring on anxiety. Anxiety if a part of life. Lucinda Bassett says 'give yourself permission to have anxeity.'

 

I am so sensitive to it, I see it as a major FLAW - defect of character - weakness, something that sets me apart from others. I am working on being kinder to myself. I want so much to get passed this issue.

 

Thanks, Celeste

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Give yourself permission to have anxiety... I'll be repeating that to myself all day!

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Nadia...so funny - we relly are hard on ourselves so giving permission seems hard to do. I would never tell someone "stop, right this minute, you cannot have anxiety."

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Nikki, if you've always had some difficulty sleeping, you still might want to use some of our tips to improve sleep.

 

Morning light might have been a problem for you all along.

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In the past few weeks, I've been waking up between 1 and 1:30am (go to bed at 10-11). I noticed that my mood at that time is significantly better (anxiety and dread not present). I have been able to fall back to sleep but then wake at 5-6 with the dread. Anxiety has calmed significantly.

Has anyone else noticed this? I assume the difference in mood is cortisol-related. I know little about sleep architecture although I recall something about endorphins spiking at night in some cases- not certain if this is in healthy or disrupted sleep. I tend to prefer my endorphin spikes when I'm awake, but perhaps there's a function to nite spikes. ??

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I've been having problems with several hours of being extremely irritable and hyperactive early in the morning and didn't recognize what it was. Apparently, I just have a different reaction to the rise in cortisol than most people.

 

Keeping the curtains drawn really helps, and keeping a pair of sunglasses handy does as well. Keep in mind that I live in a house with big windows and can't escape the sun exposure. It will take some time and some money to get all of the windows satisfactorily covered. (Note that I had some problems with light sensitivity before I'd ever heard of Lexapro.) I can calm down in minutes by wearing the sunglasses.

 

I've found that taking a high dose of fish oil (3000 mg. three times a day) also helps, although your mileage may vary.

 

It *does* get better as time goes by. I'm almost at the point where I can talk myself down.

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Hi...

 

Finally....the AM anxiety has lifted quite a bit...hard to believe.

 

A friend told me to ask myself "how is this (anxiety) serving me?" I keep saying that and for some reason it clicked.

 

I think that maybe the Celexa is helping???

 

I have made a conscious effort to 'turn it over' each morning.

 

And yes, there is too much light around my home @ night.

 

And here is the biggy: The fear of having morning anxiety - brings it on for me.

 

I read that if you get mad/angry at the anxiety you can chase it away. Maybe that is part of it too.

 

Please God.....let this last....it feels sooooooooooooo much better.

 

PS....still not sleeping:

 

More later...hugs

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Has anyone tried high doses of Seriphos to lower cortisol (~10 capsules a day)? I seem to be a very stubborn case, and I might try it. I have been off Celexa for 4 months, and i was doing well for a couple of weeks (with 4-6 capsules a day) but now my cortisol has shot up the past week. I did take almost a week off of Seriphos when I was feeling better so perhaps that allowed my levels to rise. To be honest though, I am not sure if it is doing anything.

 

I'm sorry I haven't set up my introduction yet, life has just been so busy lately.

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I havent tried it but am desperate as my AM anxiety is ramping up again and lasting several hours - I have a few decent hours at night although the 6pm hour has been weird with hot flash everyday awhile back and now more of an anger attack for lack of better descriptor - I wondered if it might be related to Sundowning that happens in dementia patients -

I have a whole new respect for the Circadian rhythm -

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Does Cortisol ever return to normal after years on these drugs. From the majority of posts I've read, it seems so many people have this issue - costisol dumps - big time.

 

Alto do you know anything about this. Are we permanently damaged.....I feel like I am.

 

Hugs

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Has anyone tried high doses of Seriphos to lower cortisol (~10 capsules a day)? I seem to be a very stubborn case, and I might try it. I have been off Celexa for 4 months, and i was doing well for a couple of weeks (with 4-6 capsules a day) but now my cortisol has shot up the past week. I did take almost a week off of Seriphos when I was feeling better so perhaps that allowed my levels to rise. To be honest though, I am not sure if it is doing anything....

 

kerrip, I would not take ~10 capsules of Seriphos, or anything. Start with very low doses to begin with. Try perhaps one capsule a day for a week, then perhaps 2 capsules, morning and evening, for a week. Listen to your body. Don't do anything dramatic.

 

Does Cortisol ever return to normal after years on these drugs. From the majority of posts I've read, it seems so many people have this issue - costisol dumps - big time.

 

Alto do you know anything about this. Are we permanently damaged.....I feel like I am.

 

Yes, the nervous system and cortisol regulation very gradually return to normal. Do what you can to very gently help them.

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Does anyone know more about diurnal mood swings? This is the symptom of feeling like crap in the morning which I know we have well discussed on this site.

 

My pnurse said it is a classic sign of depression.

 

I'm just so bloody exhausted dealing with it.

 

I know about eyecovers and keeping things dark.

 

Would love to know if there is anyway to rest the circadian clock.

 

Thanks!

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I think many of us feel worse in the AM, and it may have to do with high cortisol.

 

I try to tell myself "you'll feel better in a little while" and get going with my morning routine. Especially going for a walk/jog really helps. I also have been taking ginseng in the AM and feel immediately better after taking it, especially combined with the walk. I don't necessarily recommend this, especially if you are in the first stages of withdrawal (it's been 17 months for me). Also, everyone reacts differently! But the walk I recommend wholeheartedly!

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Elizabeth -

Pffft to doctor who said 'it's depression' *#$%$

It is most certainly DEPRESSING and DEFEATING when everyday is Groundhog Day regardless of how much progress was made the previous day -

I dont have an answer for you but I've also become interested in diurnal patterns and how their disruptions are effecting us - SSRI effects on endocrine system are profound -

 

I'm especially interested in what happens at 6pm (give or take) - I had an intense hot flash every day for months and now that has stopped but I get a strong surge of anger - it's bizarre and scary because I've never experienced unprovoked anger or rage attacks in my life-

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-->Do any other people readying this experience the same?

 

My therapist suggested I work on taking 'responsibility' for how I feel, which is what Nadia is suggesting by reminding myself I'll feel better in the morning.

 

I'll try that in the a.m.

 

I've gotten into such an awful anticipatory anxiety situation...I know and expect this to happen, and get so anxious when it does. I've never had anything like this before in life. It is not like just being tired, it a soul level not wanting to move and just go back to sleep.

 

6 p.m. will be here, my time, in an hour. Cannot wait for the relief!

 

-->Anything to stop the cortisol?

 

I believe that all of this relates to the adrenal glands, which produce the dang hormone that causes the problem.

 

NADIA-any particular type of ginseng? I've gotten some relief from valerian.

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Elizabeth -

I don't recall if you had endocrine workup - Karma has alot of good info on adrenals in THYROID thread -

Learning that traditional endocrinologists test adrenals differently than more holistic docs and there are many degrees of adrenal dysfunction -

 

My issue w your pnurse comment is that underlying cause is not being looked for - exactly how I ended up with polyendocrine failure as I was getting worse being treated with antidepressants and other psychotropics -

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