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Waking with panic or anxiety - managing cortisol spikes

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blazesboylan

Hi Hibari,

 

Thanks very much for your advice. I have decided to give the l-theanine a shot. I managed to get some in a health food store today. It's quite expensive actually. Anyway, if I continue to use it I may try to get some online. The capsules are 150 mg so I will take one at bedtime and another during the day. I will let you know how it goes.

 

I might get an eye mask also. It gets bright here now long before I actually wake up so that may be a factor. However, the anxiety in the mornings was pretty bad in earlier in the year also.

 

Thanks again and Happy Easter!

 

All the best,

Blazes.

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Hibari

Yes, please let me know how it goes for you.  There is a thread on L-Theanine that I have commented on as well as others.  The mask was very helpful to me and even though it wasn't an immediate fix, I just noticed over time that it worked.  

 

Happy Easter to you too! 

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ShakeyJerr

Morning anxiety is my biggest problem right now. And it last pretty much all day! I do breathing exercises, self-talk, decaf black tea (for the theanine), magnesium, sunshine, prayer - but over the past few days, nothing seems to help.

 

I am fearful of adding any supplements right now - I seem to be hypersensitive. I had been taking fish oil, but then the anxiety wave started and I feared that the fish oil might be causing it.

 

I am suffering.

 

SJ

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Hibari

I am one of those people who found that fish oil was making me a bit hyper.   Trust your instinct and see what happens if you eliminate it. 

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ShakeyJerr

I eliminated it over a week ago. But my anxiety has actually gotten much worse. I am thinking of adding a smaller dose back in, maybe trying to find a middle ground.

 

SJ

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Spacely

I found just supplementing with Chamomile capsules helps. Just a few scattered throughout the day.

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blazesboylan

@Hibari - I have been taking the l-theanine (300 mgs a day) for almost two weeks now. I am finding that it isn't helping unfortunately. Well, maybe a little bit. Although the anxiety been pretty bad for the past week or so.

 

I bought a night mask also. I am finding that it isn't making much difference. However, I do find that I have a much easier time waking up rather that sleeping through the alarm like I used to.

 

So, I decided to increase my olanzapine back up to the dose I am prescribed - 2.5 mg in the morning and 5 mg at night. My signature has been updated accordingly. I suppose that I am throwing in the towel on that front in some ways. However, maybe I should just focus on eliminating the Effexor completely because that may be causing some or a lot of the agitation.

 

I had a blood test recently and everything is fine apart from some heightened cholesterol. There's always the fear of developing tardive dyskinesia as I am well in my 40s now. Olanzapine is supposed to help with anxiety though.

 

I am studying at the moment as well as working full-time. I have exams coming up so I am busy studying etc.

 

I hope that everyone is doing well.

 

All the best,

Blazes.

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flatrock

Hi, Shep just linked me to this thread.

So so so glad I found it! Yes, i have the morning anxiety/dread/hyped up bad feelings. I've been wondering what it's all about. It helps just to know, for starters. It tends to feel like some kind of personality flaw, like, What's the matter with me that I can't be happy to get out of bed? So now I can just say Hello corisol spike. Since I'm retired, I'm able to do relatively soothing morning things, although little really helps. It seems to need a few hours to settle down. Sigh.

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SkyBlue

Flatrock, definitely it helps to know what it is. And it's not a personality flaw. (Although I can relate to that kind of thinking -- hopefully withdrawal can help us all become more kind to ourselves.)

 

I didn't have a spike this morning and don't really know why. It was nice! 

 

I see in your signature that you use magnesium -- I've found that taking part of my dose immediately upon waking has been helpful.

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flatrock

Flatrock, definitely it helps to know what it is. And it's not a personality flaw. (Although I can relate to that kind of thinking -- hopefully withdrawal can help us all become more kind to ourselves.)

 

I didn't have a spike this morning and don't really know why. It was nice! 

 

I see in your signature that you use magnesium -- I've found that taking part of my dose immediately upon waking has been helpful.

Hey Sky, yeah, I'm an "expert" at being hard on myself!

 

How nice that you didn't have a spike this morning, yay you. Maybe re the magnesium... it's a really gigantic pill, and I'd hate to have to swallow that first thing. Maybe I'll get a smaller pill of magn.

 

Today was a rough day for me, all fricking day, woke up with the spike and it stayed all day. My policy is to fake it til I make it, meaning I act like I'm fine all day and when I'm around people. Don't know if that approach is helping me or not! Maybe "fake it til you make it" backfires? But at least I'm not complaining to anybody and everybody.

 

If I wake up with the anxiety and dread tomorrow morning, I'm considering going right into an epsom salt bath, with black tea to drink. Or somebody on this thread uses ice packs and hot packs, something to distract the body. If I didn't hate running, I'd consider running first thing to shake it off maybe. Get some running clothes laid out, sneakers and socks ready. Sigh. 

 

It's always this thing when I first wake up... How am I? How am I feeling? What kind of morning will this be? 

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SkyBlue

 

Flatrock, definitely it helps to know what it is. And it's not a personality flaw. (Although I can relate to that kind of thinking -- hopefully withdrawal can help us all become more kind to ourselves.)

 

I didn't have a spike this morning and don't really know why. It was nice! 

 

I see in your signature that you use magnesium -- I've found that taking part of my dose immediately upon waking has been helpful.

Hey Sky, yeah, I'm an "expert" at being hard on myself!

 

How nice that you didn't have a spike this morning, yay you. Maybe re the magnesium... it's a really gigantic pill, and I'd hate to have to swallow that first thing. Maybe I'll get a smaller pill of magn.

 

Today was a rough day for me, all fricking day, woke up with the spike and it stayed all day. My policy is to fake it til I make it, meaning I act like I'm fine all day and when I'm around people. Don't know if that approach is helping me or not! Maybe "fake it til you make it" backfires? But at least I'm not complaining to anybody and everybody.

 

It's always this thing when I first wake up... How am I? How am I feeling? What kind of morning will this be? 

 

 

 

Hi Flatrock, thanks. There is powdered magnesium (Natural Calm or another brand) which is what I use so I can split the doses throughout the day. It's important overall, and it might not always prevent the cortisol spikes but it might help deal with them. People on this thread also mention vitamin C taken the night before which I might try.

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flatrock

 

 

Flatrock, definitely it helps to know what it is. And it's not a personality flaw. (Although I can relate to that kind of thinking -- hopefully withdrawal can help us all become more kind to ourselves.)

 

I didn't have a spike this morning and don't really know why. It was nice! 

 

I see in your signature that you use magnesium -- I've found that taking part of my dose immediately upon waking has been helpful.

Hey Sky, yeah, I'm an "expert" at being hard on myself!

 

How nice that you didn't have a spike this morning, yay you. Maybe re the magnesium... it's a really gigantic pill, and I'd hate to have to swallow that first thing. Maybe I'll get a smaller pill of magn.

 

Today was a rough day for me, all fricking day, woke up with the spike and it stayed all day. My policy is to fake it til I make it, meaning I act like I'm fine all day and when I'm around people. Don't know if that approach is helping me or not! Maybe "fake it til you make it" backfires? But at least I'm not complaining to anybody and everybody.

 

It's always this thing when I first wake up... How am I? How am I feeling? What kind of morning will this be? 

 

 

 

Hi Flatrock, thanks. There is powdered magnesium (Natural Calm or another brand) which is what I use so I can split the doses throughout the day. It's important overall, and it might not always prevent the cortisol spikes but it might help deal with them. People on this thread also mention vitamin C taken the night before which I might try.

 

Great tips, thanks SkyBlue. This morning I had black tea and that seemed to help. Yesterday morning I went outside and sat in the sun, it was chilly out, so I had a coat on... but I just closed my eyes and sunbathed, and it seemed to help. Maybe for me shaking things up is helpful... hmm... I'd better make a plan for tomorrow morning!

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Hibari

I've been reading the thread and considering taking phosphatidylserine.   I bought some but before I do, has anyone taken in during their taper?  I have 17.50mg of Lamictal remaining and have been off of Remeron/Mirtazapine for a little over 3 month.   I know some people take it post taper. 

 

My morning anxiety, foggy brain and hot flashes have returned. 

 

I was curious if adding in 50mgs of phosphatidylserine at bedtime would help.

 

Hibari

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savinggrace

Hello,

I am on the 7th week of a cut which I plan to hold for at least 2 more months.  Sleep is my very worst w/d symptom and has always been a problem for me.  While trying to taper valium, and then hitting a wall,  so to speak, I experienced this same symptom.... a "shocky" feeling that starts around dawn (maybe sometime after 4 a.m) and lasts until I get myself out of bed, completely aroused and distracted.  Shocky is the only way I can describe it.  It is a physical sensation, accompanied by anxiety and even panic,  that usually wakes me up right in the middle of a nightmare.  If the shocks are really bad, and don't let up, I start getting chest pain.  The chest pain has, at times, been really bad, but I recognize it now as w/d and don't panic.  This "shockiness" seems to be a symptom that doesn't go away, thought I do get breaks from it.  During my last hold it went away in the middle and then came back before I cut again no matter how long my hold has been.  It really interferes with me getting any restorative sleep as I don't go to sleep now until 1-2 a.m.  So fatigue, and worsening depression are ramping up.

Does this sound like cortisol spikes?  I try to pray, meditate, deep breathe, etc. but the only thing that stops the shocks is getting up and alert which I don't want to do because I have usually only had a couple hours of normal sleep.  BTW, I never get this shockiness during the day.  The only time I have experienced anything like it during the day was if I took a few sips of strong coffee, and then the shockiness would be fleeting.

Thank you for any feedback anyone has.

 

Grace

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ShakeyJerr
5 hours ago, savinggrace said:

a "shocky" feeling

 

 

Hi SG - by "shocky" do you mean a brain zap? Or is it more of an in-your-body feeling, like pins and needles in your nerves.

 

If it is the later, then I would say it is due to the cortisol spikes. There's a lot of great advice on this thread for helping with those.

 

I'll be praying for you.

 

SJ

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Hibari

I took a form of phosphserine called Enerphos last night to see if it would help with Cortisol spikes in the morning.  I split the capsule in half.

 

I felt weird shortly after I took -kind of spacey t but then went to sleep.  I haven't had that much trouble sleeping in general probably because I am still on Lamictal and some progesterone creme I take at night.

 

Anyway I did wake up with less anxiety but with a small headache.  At this point who knows what causes the headache.  I am tired, still had hot flashes but I may try it one more time this evening.  I think I will take it earlier so it's not in the mix with everything else I take.  

 

Will post again. 

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savinggrace

Hi Hibari and ShakiJerr,

 

My "shocky" feeling is a body sensation...mostly centered through my chest area.  As I said, sometimes, if the shocks last long and come close together, I get a heart attack feeling.  It subsides if I get up and move around, but I don't always want to get up at 4 a.m!  Last night, I awakened with a quick, fleeting shock at 4 a.m. and then at 7 a.m.  So I am guessing cortisol spikes.  I just have never felt anything that I would describe as brain zaps, though I read that here a lot.

 

Hibari, thanks for the mention of the supplements.  I am scared to death to take a single thing anymore.  The other day my therapist told me that my brain is working so hard to find homeostatis that it detects anything "foreign" (food, supplement, chemical, environment, soothing treatments) as an alerting signal.  I think this is really what has happened to me, and is certainly why I have exaggerated physical responses to anything new.  This is tragic as I am mal-nutritioned, and physically in very bad shape.  I know what my body is craving, but it is rejecting any change at all. 

 

Congrats on your remeron taper!!!  Oh, how I wish I could tackle that.  I plan to sometime, but I am too unstable to do so now.  I am only on 4 mg. but with my metabolism and drug interactions, I suspect that my blood level is higher than a normal 4 mg. dose should bring.

 

Thank you both for taking the time to respond.  I wish you well.

Grace

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Hibari

I truly understand that sensitivity.   I am the same way and realize that more and more.   The headache from the new supplement lasted most of the day and I'm not going to take it tonight.  I will see how I feel tomorrow.  

 

The only supplement that works for me right now is L-Theanine.  I take betaine HCL for digestive help and some Vitamin D and C but that's it. 

 

You are doing the best that you can right now and I admire your courage and determination.  I too was on a benzo and before I understood wd, I weaned myself down from .5mg to .12mgs too fast.  I had been on it for  a year.  When I was put on Lamictal, I didn't feel the rest of the wd. 

 

Remeron is a heavy duty drug and I support you in trusting your body to tell you when to do what.

 

Take good care. 

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Daisies24

Can anyone who has suffered with this symptom and recovered say how long it took them to recover? I know we are all different, but just curious if it's normal to suffer with this for years, months, or what. 

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RubyTuesday

I still suffer with this symptom and I have been off of everything for 14 months after a taper that took 3 years. I have tried everything, and my current treatment plan is a sort of mindfulness meditation upon waking, that is I just lie there and tell myself that my cortisol is overfiring and I am actually safe in this moment. the problem I have is that there are millions of people on this planet who are not safe, and I worry about them too in that instant of waking up. also I try to focus on constructive activities in the coming day that involve other people, and that helps.

 

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lexhex
10 hours ago, Daisies24 said:

Can anyone who has suffered with this symptom and recovered say how long it took them to recover? I know we are all different, but just curious if it's normal to suffer with this for years, months, or what. 

Everyone is difference and bodies are dynamic, however, generally speaking, the longer you're on the drugs, the longer the symptoms seem to persist. Are you sleeping? What do you eat in a given day? Are you exercising? Do you work? Environmental factors often play a huge role here. 

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Daisies24

I so wish that would be the case for me, LexHex, about the duration of time on the drug. I had no problems with this at all until just recently when I took 4 tiny doses of amitriptyline. The panic lasts all day and night now and I've been off it 8 weeks, just worsening by the day at this point. I cannot work now, and my physical symptoms have made me unable to sleep. I do a lot of walking and eat healthy (when I can stomach any thing). Do you still take atenolol?

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lexhex

Yes, I still take the atenolol. It gave me back a lot of the control I lost, although not all of it. I still have moments, but I don't spend any time in the ER anymore, I don't wake up climbing the walls or feeling like I need to run out of my skin. I take 12.5mg at night and 12.5mg in the morning. Every single day. I am not drug averse. If it helps, it stays. I tell everyone I speak with on this forum, if I could go back to Lexapro without the kindling effect I got when I tried to reinstate, I would do it in a heartbeat. I only stopped because I thought I was cured. A competent doctor would have told me in the beginning there is no cure, and that the drug was for life. Then I would have just accepted it and moved on. Instead, I lost five years of my life to withdrawal. Never again.

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ChessieCat
45 minutes ago, lexhex said:

A competent doctor would have told me in the beginning there is no cure, and that the drug was for life.

 

This is a myth which we strongly discourage on this site.  Each member needs to make their own decision on whether they feel they need to be on any drug.

 

Other members please see:

 

What is Medication Spellbinding? Simple Truths in Psychiatry Video #3 by Dr Peter Breggin

 

and this:

 

On 16/06/2011 at 4:45 AM, Altostrata said:

- Insisting on nonsense about the causes of so-called psychiatric disorders and withdrawal syndrome. You'll need to do a lot of reading and credible citations to come up with original plausible theories.

Red flags for nonsense often found in pop psychiatry:

  • Reliance on the "chemical imbalance" theory or that mental disorders are due to some kind of neurotransmitter deficiency.
  • Claims that mood disorders are "brain disease,""diseased nerve pathways,""damaged signaling" etc.
  • Reliance on neuroimaging or brain scans.
  • Assigning specific functions to specific neurotransmitters ("dopamine is responsible for pleasure"). All neurotransmitters are multifunction; normal functioning depends on their all operating together.
  • Making sweeping generalizations about "depression." One huge problem in psychiatry research is that there is no one definition of "depression" and studies use different measures for it.
  • Publication in biological psychiatry journals.
  • More to come, I'm sure.

The "chemical imbalance" or "serotonin deficiency" theories for mood disorders, which were in vogue for about 20 years, have been disavowed by medicine. There never was any basis for this. If a doctor tells you that is the reason for your distress, the doctor is wrong, misinformed, or not being straightforward with you.
 
This is also true of alternative or "natural" practitioners. The "chemical imbalance" theory is invalid wherever it pops up.
 
The "chemical imbalance" theory or its variants does not bear discussing any more than does a theory that says the sun revolves around the earth. It is a waste of time. This site will not add to the dissemination of this misinformation. Expect credulous discussion of such to be discouraged on this site.
 
See Again, chemical imbalance is a myth. Stop the lies, please. and Ronald Pies says doctors tell patients the "chemical imbalance" lie as a favor

 

 

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lexhex

What is a myth? That these drugs are a lifetime commitment?  If you have any understanding of pharmodynamics and pharmokinetics you know that once on these drugs, they make PERMANENT changes to your brain chemistry and metabolism. Permanent - as in forever. Most people fall into this category and are impacted for years. Responsible medicine INFORMS in advance so patients can make an educated decision.

 

Whatever your issues are with the so called chemical imbalance myth promoted by mainstream psychiatry have nothing to do with my position or my statements, and the thought policing is unnecessary. My statements related directly to the drug, not to the condition I was being treated for, which wasn't part of the discussion. Instead of listening to reply, next time listen to understand. 

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ChessieCat

My response was made as a general comment to other members who may read your post and not directed specifically towards you.

 

Please keep this discussion on topic going forward.

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lexhex

Your response quoted directly from my post so it absolutely was directed at me. I have been a member on this forum since 2011. My understanding about the site's purpose was to provide a platform where people who were struggling with withdrawal could find each other and share their experiences. At no time was there an implied agreement that a specific philosophy of thought would be promoted or encouraged, and that experiences had to conform to an agenda. I was asked a specific question about my experience and I gave a specific answer. You didn't like the answer I gave, which is irrelevant, unless YOU have an agenda.

 

Now we're done.

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Altostrata

Please stay on topic. The argumentativeness is unnecessary.

 

There is no doubt that if you take any drug at all, your body is changed. That's what drugs are for.

 

We don't know to what degree, or to what extent, the body systems revert to their original state. The passage of time, aging, and normal hormonal status also cause changes. You can't step in the same river twice.

 

The philosophical question of "What does "permanent" mean?", given time and environment change even granite monuments, is something to ponder while you're trying to sleep. It might be a very effective sleep aid.

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kangamangus

So does having cortisol spikes always mean you wake up really early at 4:00 or so??? I sleep until about 9-10 usually and once I wake up I have about 10 second or so before I am hit with the most awful anxiety, panic and depression of my life. All I want to do at that point is cease to exist. Early after my initial CT I was waking up at like 4-5 but now I am able to sleep late but the anxiety once I wake up is awful. Does anybody get worsening depression from cortisol too? I think cortisol is the culprit for most of my symptoms as generally I feel better once the sun goes down and its night time. Not sure what's up with that to be honest. 

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Rebbarog
On 10/8/2011 at 11:39 AM, Altostrata said:

The natural cortisol level starts to decrease in the afternoon.

Is this maybe a reason when I try to take a nap(around noon-2) as I'm falling asleep I wake up with a surge of anxiety, meaning there is no jerk or physical twitch, just good old dread. I can feel myself drifting off and dreaming but it's usually within the first five minutes. Sometimes I have shaking. 

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Sheri755

Yes, I do this too if I fall asleep while meditating. My adrenals have really been struggling for well over a year now. I hope they can hold up!

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Cinnamon7

I'm having the cortisol spikes every morning. I've tried numerous methods and nothing works. I was just put on lexapro 16 days ago to help with my mood and panic disorder. Previous I had withdrawn from nortriptyline in August cold turkey. My system is definitely not working right. I have start up effects of lexapro and withdrawal still from nortriptyline. I have no idea which end is up. Sleep is horrible and my anxiety is through the roof. I feel like this is a hopeless situation. I had one doctor suggest getting off ssri's and taking triliptal bc he feels it would heal the neurons. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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savinggrace

Trileptal induces many drugs. On its own it may help but mixing it with other drugs is not something I would do again. If you want to know what it did to me, you can read my thread. I have been tapering it for 3 years and am approaching 50%  cut. Tapering it has helped my other drugs stay in  my system longer so MAYBE I will be able to start tapering them. I started sleeping much better ( not great) but much better after about a 20% cut. That pattern continues. However, it has probably made my other meds have more side effects, which has caused other problems. Sleep is my bottom line though. Trileptal speeds up, or induces 50% of all drugs. Most charts list Tegretol as a major inducer but many are now including trileptal (oxcarbazepine) as well. It is basically one atom different than Tegretol.  Just read about it. Your doctor will likely think it is not a worry, but trust me, this is a drug I would recommend to no one. 

 

Saving Grace

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Spacely
1 hour ago, Cinnamon7 said:

I'm having the cortisol spikes every morning. I've tried numerous methods and nothing works. I was just put on lexapro 16 days ago to help with my mood and panic disorder. Previous I had withdrawn from nortriptyline in August cold turkey. My system is definitely not working right. I have start up effects of lexapro and withdrawal still from nortriptyline. I have no idea which end is up. Sleep is horrible and my anxiety is through the roof. I feel like this is a hopeless situation. I had one doctor suggest getting off ssri's and taking triliptal bc he feels it would heal the neurons. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Yes. Every morning. What I try to do is get a half night sleep, instead of full, to use the sleepiness as a "drug" itself. That gets me a bit further through it. Sleep deprivation. Measured. Maybe it will work for you.

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savinggrace

Here's just one link I found citing Lexapro and trileptal interactions:  https://online.epocrates.com/u/1042285/Trileptal/Drug+Interactions

 

Trileptal never helped me sleep.  It interacts with over 50% of all drugs.  Charts do not show 50% of all drugs, but everything I read about carbazepine and oxcarbazepine agrees that it has this effect, mostly inducement.  The CYP450 charts do not list interactions between trileptal and lexapro but if you scroll down on this link, it will show that it should be monitored.  Trileptal is a very powerful drug.  Some (many) people have no trouble going off it.  However, if you have a destabilized nervous system like I do (though you don't have my terrible drug history), it is likely to wreak more havoc with your already de-stabiized system.  Though I do not believe adding in more drugs is the best answer, if your doctor insists on adding in something neurontin (gabapentin) would be much safer as it doesn't interact with other drugs the way trileptal does.  In my opinion,  trileptal should be used only as an anti-epileptic for severe cases.  As I said, I have other worsening side effects (or withdrawal/) as I go off it (nerve pain) but other things have changed markedly.  I wish you luck.  I really do.  I HATE this drug and think it is more toxic than valium and remeron which I hate also.  I don't think doctors understand it at all and prescribe it w/o knowing what they are really doing.  It also has 7 inactive ingredients, which makes it even more toxic to your body.  (remeron has 3 and valium has 5, I believe) I have become increasingly chemically sensitive so getting this out of my body has become my priority.  Hopefully it will enable me to get the other toxins out, albeit as a snail's pace, which is where you end up once you have destabilized enough.  I do not intend to scare you.  Far from my intentions.  I hope to stop you.  If your doctor knows something I need to know, please let me know but in 5 years I have not come across one doctor who understands what this drug (or inducement) does.  I have learned it all the hard way.  I am nearly bed-ridden but hope to stop others from making the same mistake I did....trusting my doctor.  That was 15 years ago before the internet was at my finger tips and so much research helped me connect the dots.

 

I agree with Spacely.  Sleep deprivation will definitely give you better quality sleep but in my case, it makes me dangerously depressed and makes my debilitating spinal pain and GI dysfunction worse, so it is not an option for me.  Sleep is my bottom line, though I have come to "accept 5-6 hours" total as okay having been a person who always needed 9 hours to feel normal.

 

Feel free to ask questions or PM me at any time.  I don't mean to over-whelm but I am passionate about not letting what has happened to me happen to someone else.  There are not many people on trileptal cocktails here.  BTW, I meant trileptal is only one molecule different than tegretol, supposedly reducing the above effects.  I don't really think there was much difference.  Just the second generation of a toxic drug, marketed as less toxic.

 

Grace

 

Grace

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savinggrace

Spacely,

 

The last 3-4 pages of my intro explain more about my trileptal journey, though it has been part of my tapering process all along.  Hope I didn't scare you away with too much information or too many warnings!  Just one to save someone from the same downward spiral I continue to live in...

 

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