The People's Perspective on Medicine

Sleeping Pills, Anti-Anxiety Drugs & Dementia

Sedatives and sleeping pills are taken by millions to calm nerves or sleep but do such drugs pose a risk for dementia? New research is worrisome.

Can medications you take to get a good night’s sleep or ease anxiety increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? That was the scary question raised in a study published on September 27th, 2012 in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal).

Benzodiazepines (benzos for short) are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. They are used to calm jittery nerves, ease anxiety, relieve stress and help people fall asleep.

According to the BMJ article, in France nearly one third of the people over 65 take a benzo. One fifth of those in Canada and Spain rely on such drugs. Here in the U.S. the numbers are also amazing. Millions of people take a daily dose of alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax), temezepam (Restoril) or Triazolam (Halcion).

Then there are the so-called Z-drugs which are prescribed for sleep. An example is zolpidem (Ambien). Other Z drugs include zaleplon (Sonata) and eszopiclone (Lunesta). Tens of millions of prescriptions are filled annually for these sleeping pills. Like benzodiazepines, the Z-drugs also affect activity of a neurochemical called GABA and its brain receptors.

The French researchers investigated a possible link between benzos, Z-drugs and dementia. Between 1987 and 1989 they randomly selected 1063 older men and women from the southwest region of France who had no signs of dementia at the start of the study. These people (65 years of age and older) were interviewed face-to-face every two or three years for up to 20 years.

Trained neuropsychologists tested them for cognitive function and asked about psychological well being, health habits and medication usage. None of the participants took a benzo until at least three years into the study. Here is what they found: Roughly one third of the benzodiazepine users (32%) were diagnosed with dementia (memory loss, difficulty thinking clearly, etc) sometime during the trial. Only 23% of nonusers got such a diagnosis. The investigators wrote:

“In this large, prospective, population based study of elderly people who were free of dementia and did not use benzodiazepines until at least the third year of follow-up, new use of benzodiazepines was associated with a significant, approximately 50% increase in the risk of dementia.”

The researchers controlled for things like depression, living alone, diabetes, hypertension and age, but the association with benzos persisted.

Now, we would be the first to point out that association does not prove causation. This was an epidemiological study, meaning that it was not the most foolproof research. But it is not the only study suggesting such a link.

The authors of this report point out that: “Our findings are consistent with three previous case-control studies that also showed an increased risk of dementia in benzodiazepine users.”

The latest Update on Benzodiazepines and Dementia:

Over the last few years other researchers have also looked for a relationship between such medications and dementia. A study published in May, 2015 (Expert Opinion on Drug Safety) asked the question:

Is there really a link between benzodiazepine use and the risk of dementia?

The researchers analyzed 10 observational studies and concluded that:

 “Out of the ten studies retrieved, nine reported an increased risk of dementia in benzodiazepine users. The risk increased with cumulative dose and treatment duration and when long-acting molecules were used…the body of evidence seems sufficient for avoiding prescriptions or renewals that are not fully justified and indiscriminate long-term use.”

Another meta-analysis of available research published in PLoS One (online, May 27, 2015) also concluded that long-term benzo use is associated with an increased risk of dementia. The authors note that:

“If confirmed, long-term benzodiazepine use should be considered as a critical public health issue in the context of the widespread use of benzodiazepines and the huge burden of dementia across many countries.”

What This Means:

The alarm bells are starting to ring that commonly prescribed sedatives just might be contributing to forgetfulness, cognitive dysfunction and dementia. In other words a giant experiment has been conducted on hundreds of millions of people worldwide for decades. We do not know for sure that these drugs cause Alzheimer’s disease, but we do not know for certain that they don’t. That scares us.

In the meantime, here are some things we do know.

Benzo Side Effects:

  • • Drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, lethargy
    • Clumsiness, impaired coordination (not good for older people)
    • Memory problems
    • Cognitive impairment, difficulty concentrating
    • Dry mouth
    • Sexual difficulties
    • Low blood pressure
    • Depression
    • Difficulty stopping the drug

Getting Off Benzos Can Be Challenging!

One reason so many continue to take benzos for so long is that such drugs can be incredibly challenging to stop. When discontinued suddenly, symptoms can be almost unbearable.

Doctors used to say that it was just the underlying anxiety returning. We now know that these medications can rearrange neurochemicals in the brain. For some, it can take many weeks or months to return to “normal.”

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal:


  • Anxiety, restlessness, jitteriness, agitation
  • Irritability, sensitivity to sound, light and touch
  • Impaired concentration
  • Panic
  • Insomnia
  • Faulty memory
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitching
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased appetite

Unanswered Questions:

Is this association between benzos and dementia causative or just an association?

  • Which brain centers are affected and what could the underlying mechanism for cognitive dysfunction be?
  • Could there be some other underlying factors (such as anxiety) that are the real culprits?
  • Will younger people who rely on these drugs for years be at greater risk for dementia as they age?
  • Are there alternatives to benzos that could be effective for dealing with anxiety or insomnia?

If you would like to learn more about benzodiazepines and strategies for weaning off such drugs we offer our FREE Guide to Psychological Side Effects. We hope it will facilitate a conversation with your physician.

You may also find our Guide to Getting A Good Night’s Sleep of interest.

And we would like to hear your story. Please comment below if you have pros or cons to share about benzodiazepine-type drugs. If you have had trouble getting off benzos, share that story too.

If you find this kind of People’s Pharmacy Health story worthwhile, you may want to let those you care about know that they can sign up for The People’s Pharmacy electronic newsletters and health alerts. Staying informed on breaking health news stories is the best way to protect yourself and those you care about.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
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Interesting

What was the dose and how many other meds did the people in these studies have in common?

I wonder if over the counter sleeping aids called PMs like Advil PM Aleve PM etc. could cause forgetfulness remembering names of Football teams or something that you are usually familiar with and can’t think of it quickly in a conversation. PM’s do help me sleep but are they not a good idea? Could PM’s start dementia?

You are right. The “PM” in these nighttime pain relievers is diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl). This medication does make people feel drowsy, but it is highly anticholinergic and can interfere with thinking and memory. Here’s a link: https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2015/02/01/where-can-i-find-a-list-of-anticholinergic-drugs/

My mother had alzheimers. She was never on a benzo or a sleep med. She was however on statins for years. I suppose I might then think that could have caused it. Who knows. I take a benzo for anxiety. I also have muscle issues from a very bad back. It helps with muscle spasms as it relaxes the muscles. I use the medicine responsibly and feel it allows me to live a normal life with less fear and pain. That is more important to me then a maybe.

For people who would like to discontinue the use of benzodiazepines the site below is probably the best there is for all the necessary information and encouragement –

http://www.benzo.org.uk/manual/bzcha02.htm

I turned to drugs as the last resort and I finally found the ones to work. They are anti anxiety drug with melatonin. I went without sleep for so long I was a walking zombie. There are more car accidents due to lack of sleep. I think it is a brain disorder. Some people fall asleep easily and the other type seem to overthink. The brain does not shut down. When you have headache you take an aspirin. The whole aim is that good restorative sleep enables you to feel less depressed and you are able to function. It is not a weakness to take pills. When you do not sleep, you feel anxious.

In reading the article and comments, not one reference to “taking benzos” mentioned HOW MANY benzos.

Being high-strung, I’ve always had trouble sleeping. Finally, after MUCH experimentation, I discovered an OTC supplement (well, it’s Schiff’s “Knock-Out,” to be exact) which does the trick. Yay! However, when I’m away from home, around other people, or have to get to bed earlier than usual, I still cannot sleep! So I take a 5-mg or 10-mg tab of Ambien. This happens maybe once every 2 weeks. So my question is: is the damage kinda pro-rata? Or would taking any benzos at all set up some kind of predilection for Alzheimer’s? (assuming there is, in fact, a causal relationship).

I’ve noticed many times that, when various statistics are cited regarding probable health impacts (+ or -) connected to the use of a certain substance, it seems like there’s ONE OF TWO MAJOR WAYS those statistics are arrived at. IN THE FIRST, effects of using the substance are pro-rata, i.e., the amount one uses is directly connected to the amount of impact. IN THE SECOND, use of the substance may or may not catalyze something else happening, like the development of a certain disease or disorder, etc. You may get the thing, or you may get off scott-free… and if you get off scott-free, there aren’t any other negative effects to worry about even though you may have used the substance copiously.

Quite often, this distinction is simply not well addressed, or you have to really dig around to find it. (e.g., a big component of the mortality statistics re use of Ambien in older people has been not Alzheimer’s, but deaths from falls!)

Anyway, I have digressed. But I’d still like to know whether I can consider myself pretty safe taking only 1 Ambien every 2 weeks. Thanks and Happy New Year!

Any pill active during the hours of sleep can cause dementia if it disrupts the sleep cycles particularly REM sleep. During REM sleep, memory files are compared and duplicate files are deleted. Without this housekeeping task, the brain quickly fills up with disorganized files which is usually a reversible dementia.

From statins, Topamax, to benadryl and benzos, many people are susceptible to sleep disturbance from these drugs. Some big pharma drugs did not get sleep studies done because they would not have been approved if that evidence appeared. Doctors largely quit using Mevacor in favor of Zocor because of sleep disturbances but that collective knowledge was forgotten when Mevacor was available generically and greedy insurance companies insisted on its use. Sleep studies are underutilized in preventing dementia.

I should have said that maybe Margaret Thatcher might have taken Xanax since it only lasts about 4 hours, but I don’t know.

Lack of sleep can also contribute to dementia. Margaret Thatcher slept for 4 hours per night and got dementia. Some people have committed suicide because they had severe insomnia. All of that conventional wisdom contained in those guides to getting a good night’s sleep does not always work. We live in a world governed by chance.

I have been using Restoril to help me sleep for about 4 years now. I absolutely do not sleep at all unless I take it. I have definitely noticed loss of concentration, memory and mental clarity. I used to be considered a very “smart” person, but with the short-term memory loss, I certainly don’t consider myself to be very smart anymore. I wish I could get off them completely, but what do you do when you can’t sleep without a sleeping aid?? I certainly don’t want to have dementia, but going without sleep causes lots of other problems too.

You may need a health professional to help you get off the pills. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be useful against insomnia (without side effects) but you’ll probably have to get through the rebound insomnia from withdrawal first.

I would like to know if Dementia symptoms start while taking a benzo or 20 years later. I took clonazepam for rls for 15 years with no negative effects. I quit cold turkey with only one bad effect..insomnia. And, of course, my rls returned. Seems to me I would have had symptoms of dementia after 15 years, but maybe that’s still to come. I took only 0.5 at bedtime in all those years. I’m 70 years old and worried!

The research looked only at people who were currently taking benzodiazepines, not those who had taken them years before. We suspect you may be all right.

I took Klonopin (a benzo) for years to prevent panic attacks. Since the publicity about its link to Alzheimer’s, I’ve been weaning off it slowly–as in 1/4 tablet reduction per month. Even at this rate, there are withdrawal side effects. I am interested in knowing what people are taking instead of the benzos.

I began taking 1 mg of Ativan at bedtime 14 years ago when diagnosed with cancer. The cancer is gone, but I was left with the addiction. Several times I tried to stop the drug. Doctor’s prescription was to stop the ativan and take an alternative drug immediately. Each time I would feel terrible thinking it was the new drug and continue with the Ativan.

At the beginning of this year my doctor would not renew my prescription. He told me that long term use can lead to dementia. I was then determined to get off the Ativan. He gave me a limited prescription. I was able to get off the Ativan very slowly by weaning. It took me 3 months. My doctor was not very cooperative when I suggested following Dr. Ashton’s Manual. I even brought him a copy which he handed back to me.

During the three months there were days that I went through withdrawal. This was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I did succeed and and feel empowered by this. I have changed doctors since. I’m writing this in hopes of helping others.

I have taken xanax(.025) for over 30 years (I am 72) for panic attacks and for sleep when the mind needs calming down. I have never increased the dose all these years. Cannot take the depression drugs out there. They make me feel worse that is why I have to depend on Xanax. My mind works fine.

My sister takes them she is ten years older. My mother took this drug or Valium before Xanax as long as I came remember but we have never abused. She died at 92 from heart failure but her mind was very intact. We don’t take this to feel euphoria only to feel like a normal person. Your study is not very conclusive when it comes to my family.

Totally agree with this article! I took a Benzo for sleep for 2 years. Not knowing that I was becoming chemically dependent went off them and it through me into a bizarre world. My doctor who prescribed them to me did not recognize the problem I was having. Took lots of google research to see what my problem was. Took me a year to get my body functioning normal once again.

Doctors have no clue how powerful these drugs are and the consequences of taking them. Warning to all! Do not stop cold turkey, very dangerous to do that.

15 years ago, my father, a very reluctant pill taker, told me that 1/2 of a Serax (brand name at the time) tablet helped his anxiety at night, and he only took that periodically. He knew even then that it had the shortest life in the body of all that type of drug.

I have never forgotten that (because he was a man worth listening to) and in 2003, I got a prescription for Serax (brand name.) I am also a hesitant pill taker and would take 1/3 to 1/2 tab every now and then before or after an exceptionally stressful event. It’s now 2015, and I am just now trying to get a new prescription. Turns out I can’t. Nothing but generic in the U.S. and only in capsule form which is not conducive to my control of dosage. Plus, I now don’t know where the med is made or of what safety/health oversight.

I have long known that generics are NOT THE SAME, but pharmacists (and certainly doctors) are defensive of their territory and thus will not discuss with me a mere human. If anyone knows where I can get quality control Oxazepam (generic) please inform me.

Let me add, the book Worst Pills Best Pills II (it’s obviously an older version) is extremely informative and forthcoming and helped me choose what was least harmful, shortest lasting, etc.

My mom was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She has been on both of these medications for years and now is being taken off of them. It is so scary to hear what medications can do to you. It is probably to late for my mom but I’m sure happy that other people might be saved from this horrible disease.

I’ve been taking Halcion for 30 years with no ill effects that I’m aware of. However, I use it very little — typically 1/4 tablet to get back to sleep after waking in the mddle of the night, and usually only 2 or 3 times a month. I also take a larger dose — 1/2 tablet at bedtime — if I feel like I’m getting the flu, believing that good night’s rest is important for fighting it off. Seems to work.

I agree with you, that moderation(and good sense) are the key to making medicines work for us.

Benzos are intended to be used short term! I started on 1 mg of clonapin per day 10 yrs ago. Progressed to 3.5 per day and after a 1 yr taper switching over to Valium, have become benzo free. benzo use contributed to an 80lb weight gain-lost over 70lbs during wd. over time they effect your metabolism. Benzo use cost me over 30k.
My memory has slowly returned but not at previous level. I don’t know long term effects. The wd was horrible w regular brain zaps. I worked w a physician exper w tapering and followed The Ashton Manual.
We need more support groups for people wd from benzos. Few rehabilitation programs are adequate in helping benzo wd-its very protracted and does not fit into a 30 day program that most insurance covers. I strongly suggest that no one take any benzo beyond 6 months!
There are options available that don’t have the level of toxicity caused by prolonged levels of benzo in the blood plasma and suppression of natural GABA production. GABA is a critical substance that regulates many physiological and cognitive functions. My impulse control was not good and there are other aspects of behavioral change I feel directly attributed to my benzo wd-overeating, saying offensive and inappropriate comments, lack of boundaries. I hope that others can learn and be proactive in harm reduction regarding these very dangerous substances that are insidiously deceptive.

Love your analysis.
Feeling the same, 41 going on 42. Ha!

I have one comment on this subject already, but reading all of the other comments I thought I might have another one that might be of some help. My wife who takes a pill to help her sleep, has become a couch potato. Nothing I say to her about exercise, of which I do, helps. I believe that when you become a couch potato you WILL have many problems with your health. My wife hurts all the time just about everywhere. I love her dearly but I’m helpless with her situation.
There are many factors to anyone’s health. Some people can take a certain pill without any effects, and another taking the same pill may have all kind of problems. But in reality we are our own worst enemy. I have anxiety, but believe the way I have lived my life caused most, if not all of it. We live in a fast paced life style and wonder why need pills to get by. It’s because we have chosen a life style that will demand a pill. The bible tells us to “be content with what you have”. I have yet to find anyone that fits the bill. Sorry for the long letter.

BLK said:
The question is: Is it the drug one takes for trouble sleeping and/or anxiety that increases dementia OR ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY SLEEPING OR DEALING WITH ANXIETY AT HIGHER RISK OF DEVELOPING DEMENTIA REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY TAKE MEDICATIONS TO TREAT THEIR SYMPTOMS OR NOT?
———–
This is *exactly* my question. If the people began taking the drug 3 years later, but had not earlier, it is perhaps because they began experiencing symptoms for which the drug provided help. In other words, the symptoms of difficulty sleeping may have appeared, indicating a problem, and the drug was prescribed subsequent to that issue.

To D.A., I am sorry. I have similar problem with insomnia and anxiety. For me it has been lifelong… But it kicked in hard about a year ago. I have tried all the things you mentioned.
The greatest sleep aids for me are 1) daily vigorous exercise, 2) worrying less, 3) daily sunshine. I have most control over the first; it is also the most effective.
I suggest you read Say Goodnight to Insomnia by Gregg Jacobs. The author provides insight that may help you worry less and a plan that may help you move toward better sleep. My sleep is not great but it improved greatly soon after reading this book and might be better if i was more compliant with his program…. But here I am on the internet at 11pm…
Regular yoga helps me. Yoga is relaxing and can get you some needed rest (i know it is no substitute for sleep). With practice, yoga can also help you learn to stay present with discomfort… Which somehow makes it possible to believe the future can be better… And it frequently is.
I wish you a good night’s sleep …

I am so very frustrated to the point of crying anytime I read why sleeping is good for you. I am suffering from insomnia! Does anyone wake up saying “today I’m not going to sleep?” I’ve been to the psychiatrist, who took me through journaling, cleaning my bedroom of any distractions, etc to no avail. I’ve taken chamomile, melatonin, all the herb teas supposed to induce sleep. I’ve taken Ambien with disastrous results. I’m currently doing acupuncture, I exercise about 4 -5 times weekly and I still can’t sleep.
I have high cholesterol and a family history of strokes and heart attacks. Am the only one without hypertension. Am scared anytime I read these medical stories and get stressed out. What should I do? I need help. It’s been going on for three years. I need help please… somebody out there. Please help me. I have to wake up and go to work every day but gradually I’m losing it. I forget things easily and I work with students. Help.

Let’s not forget that the immediate adverse effects of benzodiazepines can include, but are not limited to, drowsiness, poor concentration, and mental confusion, all of which could impair performance on tests of cognitive functioning and suggest possible dementia. What happens to the symptoms of dementia in these long time users when the medication is withdrawn?

exactly!

When used in combination with another antidepressant (i.e. Effexxor) or gabapentin, the benzos definitely effect short term cognitive function. These adjuncts are commonly co-prescribed for anxiety accompanying depression and/or sleeplessness. In absence of engraved in stone proof, we have to strongly infer that if the short term effects of these combinations or singly prescribed drugs create memory dysfunction and absent minded behavior symptoms, then we should assume that they will have a definite causative effect in older patients when taken for chronic conditions. One of my favorite adages is that the main cause of problems always seem to be the solutions to the previous problems.

Could it be that chronic anxiety diminishes the hippocampus, which is vital for memory, and that anti-anxiety meds actually prevent memory loss from being worse than it otherwise would be?

Retired now, I was a nurse for over 42 years. The increase in the use of these addictive drugs is staggering. No doubt, in my mind that these drugs change the way people think. These symptoms appear as poor logic, poor memory and impaired reasoning even before dementia appears. Worse yet, these meds tend to come in very tiny pills, somehow making people think they are safer. It was very common to see withdrawal in patients who were hiding their overuse of these drugs, and the withdrawal was a frightening thing to watch. Severe confusion, agitation and even hallucinations can result and last for days.
Please report on Ambien in light of it’s dangers. I am not sure how that drug made it to the market, but people who use it seem to have problems similar to what you are reporting here with benzos.

FTH ask your doctor to give you a small amount of == Clonezepam (Klonopin)===
My Doctor suggested that to me instead of Zanax== it seems to be milder & last longer with no withdrawal systoms.
Paul

Magnesium helps, and is good for you anyway.

Additional questions to be answered:
What dosages and lengths of treatment were looked at in the study? If these were considered, were there low doses or short treatment periods which did not increase the risk of dementia?
Does a later period without the drugs result in a reduced risk of dementia (again)?
Were confounding factors of other drugs considered? For example, did the risk of dementia go up when the person also had been exposed to anesthesia for surgery, especially lengthier surgery?

BLK has a darn good question (wouldn’t people who have anxiety and sleep problems be more likely to develop dementia anyway?) I think they would be. The “mind-body continuum” is quite real and compelling. This is similar to the recent study which reported that people who use sleeping meds are more likely to “die early.” YES, but how about the lifestyle, behavioral and psychological factors which often accompany anxiety and inability to sleep? Many of these factors might lead to an earlier death all by themselves.

Typical sensationalism – The article states an “approximately 50” increase in risk.
In my math, which is apparently different than the author, 32%/23% = 1.391 which is a 39% increase. I am not saying that 39% is not significant but it is quite a bit less than 50%. Please lets not be so flip with the numbers. It makes the whole article lack credibility.

I am a 71 year old female diagnosed with anxiety disorder. I take one half of a Xanax 0.25 pill several times a week. I don’t like to take it because it always affects my memory while it is in my system. This always happens, and did from the first time I took one.
I used to be a social drinker when I was younger, and even when I was in my forties, alcohol had the same effect. I over react to medications, so I take the least amount of what will benefit me. I wish I knew of a different drug. I really need somthing as the anxiety affects my heart.

Torrence, you alone are a sample of one. It means you are one of the fortunate, but some people will have adverse affects. Terry and Joe are notifying the rest. Thousands of people have to be tested to see which adverse effects even occur. Even placebos have had side effects reported.

When I travel, I take 1/2 or 1 Ambien to put myself on the time schedule of my destination. I know that when I get home, be it two days or two weeks later, that I have an awful 2 or 3 days of non sleep, jittery, restless legs – the whole kit and kaboodle of body reactions – until the Ambien is out of my system. My husband takes 1.5 ambien every night as well as Tylenol p.m. I’m afraid he’d really have to check in to a detox center if he ever decided to quit. I’m going to have to rethink the usage of this drug. Thank you for this alert.

A PS. I was once on ativan and got off it by walking the floor. I would not take it again. But prednisonse can make a nervous wreck out of you also.

I will be 88 years old on 3 Oct. I have taken 45 mg mirtazapine and 2 to 3 .5 mg clonazepam every day as well as .5 mg ambien occasionally since 2008. I am doing better than most people my age. I can’t remember everything from the past but I think I do very well. I also lead a pretty dull life. Reading has been the one constant of my life.

The question is: Is it the drug one takes for trouble sleeping and/or anxiety that increases dementia OR
ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY SLEEPING OR DEALING WITH ANXIETY AT HIGHER RISK OF DEVELOPING DEMENTIA REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY TAKE MEDICATIONS TO TREAT THEIR SYMPTOMS OR NOT?

My wife is in late stage alzheimer’s. She is 80 and lives in a memory care facility. They often give her lorazapam to calm her agitations. I wonder how this study might relate to her.

Is Buspirone HC1 the same thing? I hope not. That is the only thing that helps with severe anxiety for me. For the first time in my life, now I can enjoy a day and sleep at night.

I would like to hear more on this subject.

I am going through a crisis with my husband. Can’t sleep at night,
altho bone tired. I try to take ativan once a week or I take
1/4 of Xanax tablet. I noticed on the next day that I take the Xanax
I have a lot of energy (and believe it, I have never been a person
with a lot of energy).
I am aware of the addiction problem with these drugs and I try not
to over use them.
Some one suggested Unisom to me…so I am going to try that.
I also have anxiety in the middle of the day with all I am going through
and if I take ativan or xanax it just makes me sleepy. I don’t know
what the solution is. I am 80 years old, I exercise at a gym several
times a week. I don’t have any memory problems except where did I
put my keys this time???? Funny stuff.
Any suggestions for daytime anxiety would be helpful.
Thanks for this update Terry and Joe.

I take Lorazepam for anxiety caused by sudden hearing loss and tinnitus. It helps me to go sleep.
However, I DON’T DREAM when I take it. When I do not take the pill, I have vivid dreams. It is then affecting my brain function somehow, right?. The problem now is that I cannot go to sleep without it.

I’d be interested in knowing if Lexapro has any place in this discussion. Have been taking it for many years and would like to stop.

I’ve been a nurses aide for 13 yrs and have noticed in the last couple of years that many resisdents on these drugs are seriously addicted to them. It’s not just the elderly living in long term care facilities anymore and many are coming in allready addicted.

I was given a prescription for Xanax…for anxiety…but did not take any. The more I read, the less I wanted to take it…but I did go off of Priosec (generic form omemprazole) and I do not seem to have as much anxiety?
It was terrible going off omeprazole but thanks for ginger, apple-vingar and TUMS..am down to 2 a nite….(when I have the most problems)….

I’ve been using Triazolam occasionally for close to 30 years, but in dosages like 1/2 tab every other month or so. So far, no dementia issues that I remember.

In 1989 I had foot surgery, was given the “Valium cocktail” to relax before the anesthesia. For the following six months I felt “foggy headed” just not quite with it. Had no clue why.
Several years later, needed another foot surgery. Mentioned to anesthetist and was given one-half the Valium cocktail. For three months felt “foggy headed”.
Another surgery many years later, I refused the Valium completely, was already prefectly relaxed about the surgery and felt clear headed immediately following the procedure.
Have thought I was just particularly sensitive to Valium, but maybe I’m just more particular about thinking clearly.

I have a problem with this report. I have been on Clonezepam for years. I am 75 going on 76 and do not have the problems stated. I write articles frequently for a local newspaper without any problems. Yes, I have some memory loss. BUT, also remember many things from my distant past.
If this study is correct why is there not more serious problems in all the countries listed? The numbers listed should create an epidemic in all the countries, even here. This would certainly be a serious problem and DEMAND action in the mediacl field, and even the government.

Are there epidemiological studies that found similar results for antidepressants like Wellbutrin?

In reference to the use of stimulants for ADD:
You had a speaker state people don’t think a pill is an answer to everything. I am a pharmacist and people actually do think that way! Why diet or exercise? There are pills to fix cholesterol and BP.
I see families where all 3 children are on medication. Children are by nature undisciplined and need to be taught focus and structure as part of the maturation process. Stimulants are definitely over used

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