Can't take Ambien/benzos to sleep. Everything else makes me fat.


Dec 3, 2018
In addition to Major Depressive Disorder and ADHD, inattentive type, I have Fibromyalgia. I am happy to say that I am finally at a good place as far as my depression is concerned. A little under 4 years ago, my brother started his slow march to death due to cirrhosis of the liver. I was his primary caregiver. He died 3 years ago last week and it has been a brutal battle for me to keep going. Despite the fact my brother was an alcoholic, we were incredibly close and I was just lost after he passed. I blew up two relationships. I had to take three months short-term disabilty only to ultimately fired from my job because I couldn't get to work on time. But as I said, I am finally functioning well again and I am so grateful that I am no longer in that pit of dispair. So very grateful!!!

Here's the rub- After being on Ambien and benzos for almost 30 years I have developed a tolerance. I cannot sleep to save my soul! I go through these meds each month way too fast. My psychiatrist is so proud of me for fighting my way out of the slump. I really don't want to disappoint him by now appearing to be needy or worse - drug seeking. I work in the mental health field in our community. In fact, I briefly worked with the woman who is now his nurse. We had a contentious relationship and that is putting it nicely. I'm sure she would be happy to share the news that I abuse my sleep meds. Gossip moves through our professional community fast and it is unforgiving. I am already dealing with a tarished reputation because of the events I described above. I can't afford to appear like I am drug seeking.

So to keep from bothering my doctor, I tried taking variations of Mirtazpine, Clonadine and Seroquel. I slept but OMG I ate ... and ate ... and ate. I've gained 22 lbs in 2 months. I weigh more than I have ever weighed in my life. I weigh more than Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfeld when they had the infamous 1996 bout. I am only 5' 5"! I have gained 55 lbs since my brother died. If I keep this up I won't be far behind him.

I met with my trainer today and we discussed a strict sleep hygenine routine. Still, sleep has never come easy for me. The benzos aren't working and everything else makes me want to eat my shoes. The classic psych med conundrum has bit me in my ass.
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Oct 25, 2017
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. It's hard to deal with chronic pain and insomnia as well as death of a loved one and the judgement of others.
I'm on ambien every night and that alone doesn't put me to sleep. But if i take maximum dose of amitriptyline about 2 hours before the ambien, it always knocks me out.
Wishing you good luck and a good nights sleep!


Staff member
Jul 2, 2008

I'm really, terribly sorry about your brother. I had a similar experience a few years ago. It really strikes at your core...

So abusing sleep meds is gonna make it a hell of a time trying to sleep.

Otherwise, I'd encourage you to weigh the pros and cons of possible choices. In my eyes, sleep is about as important as things go. Without it, all of our issues become 10X worse.

In all, I think that, whatever your choices otherwise, you ought to bring your doctor in on what you're doing. There may be a problem that you're not coping with in a positive manner, one that you cover up by abusing sleep meds.

Also, to lose weight healthfully, an exercise routine, starting slow and gradually increasing, will help counter your gaining weight and will make life just so, so much better in almost all other areas. If we don't move physically, sleep is difficult.

But also mentally! Many of us smart people must do some mental work to feel tired at night. And with the spiritual side, to socialize a bit! I try to get out at least once a day to socialize for a bit. It really does help.

I think the first thing is to be honest with your doc about your abusing sleep meds. Then, go from there. You'll find, in the end, being honest is the much greater, and ultimately easier, path. Let us know how things go!