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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Sleeping problems and anxiety


 sbrown87 - Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:24 pm

Alright, so I have some pretty serious sleeping problems and anxiety. I haven't seen a doctor for this yet but I have an appointment setup within the next week. But for now I'm just trying to get a general idea of what I'm looking at because I'm a bit confused.

I have what seems to be a pretty serious problem at falling asleep. Last night I took double the dose of recommended OTC sleeping pills along with recovery / sleeping supplements that I bought for working out. I took them at 11 PM and fell asleep at 4:30 AM while lying on my bed in complete darkness the entire time. This was coupled with the fact that I had 5 hours of sleep the night before, made sure I hadn't worked out 5 hours prior to trying to sleep, no caffeine, and wasn't playing games / doing anything exciting.

I think the major reason why I'm awake is because of anxiety - mostly social. I often lay awake thinking about the social situations I was in, how I handled them poorly, or social events that are coming up. Since coming to college I've learned to deal with my social anxiety, it's better than it was. But sometimes it just seems to be awful and I'll have a string of nights with horrible sleep and anxiousness.

The problem is I'm not sure how I can fix these problems. I refuse to take any sort of pill that will help me with anxiety or sleep. My mother's side of the family has a horrible history of abuse, especially with prescribed drugs. To the point where one of her brothers is dead, my mom left my family completely when I was 13 and is still struggling, other members with addictions have divorced or cleaved gaps in the family, etc, etc.

What sort of things do you guys think could help me?
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:10 pm

Hello sbrown87,

I'm glad to hear that you have already scheduled an appointment with your doctor. I understand your hesitancy to take prescription medications based on your family history, but would like to point out that taking a low dose of an effective, prescribed medication can be less of a contributor to potential addiction than taking less effective supplements - which are still medications. I urge you to reconsider your stance on that, at least for a trial. Your doctor can help you carefully monitor your usage of any medication, so that you don't get dependent on it, if you discuss it with him/her beforehand. I believe you would benefit from psychological support, as well. The intensity of your anxiety could be reduced through therapy. Until then, please don't just lie there in the dark worrying about sleeping. Instead, read or watch a movie, to help you relax. With concentration and practice, you can tell yourself that you will not think about social events, past or future, until morning, and then keep directing your thoughts elsewhere. It takes effort, but does work. And finally, keep a record of your sleep pattern; make your entries in the morning, no matter how much you may be tempted to record things through the night.

Good luck to you.

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