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Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 4756
Experience:  Doctor ( General Medicine)
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Hi. Im 53 (female) and my insomnia started in my twenties.

Customer Question

Hi. I'm 53 (female) and my insomnia started in my twenties. It has been a progressive problem and now I don't sleep at all, day or night. I am prescribed 75mg of zopiclone which ceased to work many years ago. I may get anywhere between 0 - 2 hours a night; never more than 2.5.
The spin off problems I have from years of insomnia are panicking at work (have lost a few jobs in the last 10 years), socialising and high anxiety levels for which I have been prescribed citalopram. The citalopram has had no effect on my anxiety levels. Over the years I have tried natural remedies, and most recently melatonin, and I have seen a psychologist.
I don't have the "can't turn off the brain" type of insomnia. I know all about the regime of making the sleep environment conducive to sleep but nothing works. It is purely physical - my body won't allow itself to go to sleep. I am getting now to the stage of running out of options, and feel myself both physically and mentally deteriorating. I of course can't share a bed with anyone so I've never been able to have a proper relationship with my boyfriend.
I know one other person with insomnia as severe as mine (an older chap) and he is in a state of panic all of the time but refuses any type of treatment. His mental health is clearly impaired and I'm sure mine is going the same way. This of course increases my anxiety levels.
I would very much appreciate advice.
Thanks, ***** ***** Vere.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Kaushik replied 3 years ago.

Welcome to the site.

I am a psychiatrist and i believe i can help you with your problem.

I can understand how debilitating it can become to have chronic ( long standing) insomnia. as it starts affecting one's functioning and productivity besides compromising on the quality of life. Sleep is a biological drive which if one is deprived of leads to physical and mental health problems which invariably affect one's way of living.

So, i greatly empathize with you and i will suggest the below mentioned strategies that you should consider applying so as to overcome your perpetual sleep disorder.

1) Get Sleep Study aka Polysomnography done on yourself which will reveal the possible cause behind your insomnia. Polysomnography is a test which is used to diagnose sleep disorders including chronic insomnia by recording brain waves, heart and breathing rates, oxygen level in the blood, eye and leg movements in the person while he is asleep. This test is usually carried out in a sleep disorder unit of a hospital or sleep center at night time so that person's overnight sleep activity on different parameters can be recorder and interpreted to know where the probem lies.

2) Try a drug called as Trazodone at dose of 25-50 mg at bedtime, replacing the current sleep aid drug. This drug is an anti depressant with an additional strong sedative action which is most often used in cases of insomnia in people with similar sleep disorders like yours. In addition to sleep induction ,this drug will also take care of your anxiety.
You need to try this drug for at least 2 - 3 weeks so as to reap proper benefits from this drug.

3) Continue with the sleep hygiene routine and do not take citalopram at nigth time since it can cause insomnia as a side effect.

I believe you will started on the road to recovery from the sleep disorder if you can try the above mentioned strategies.

I hope this helps.

Wish you all the best.

If there is any further assistance needed please feel free to ask.

Please kindly leave a Positive rating if you are satisfied with the answer.