Should Alzheimer's patient be given sleeping pills?

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She is being given sleeping pills by her care giver and it is not helping her sleep and it seems to be making her more confused...

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I will restate what I said-I'm not saying anyone is addicted. I shared that I WAS with you, vegsister and Kristen and I did not have to do that. It was VERY PERSONAL INFORMATION. Best wishes to you both.
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Vegister: Very well stated. I would love to know if there is another potential intervention that you might take in that week before your period. I think it is really interesting that you can go off and on Ambien without rebound insomnia.
I wonder if you might get helped by taking a calcium/magnesium supplement proactively on about day 15. Have you tried the pill? Perhaps hormonal modulation might be your ticket.
However, one week of Ambien certainly isn't anything to be concerned about, given your ease of discontinuation. Best of luck!
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I agree Kristen3 except on one thing: zolpidem is not addictive for everyone.

I have not had to increase dose over time to experience results, which is among the definitions of an addictive substance. In fact, I have reduced the dose since I started taking it regularly. Recently, I stopped taking it altogether and found that on most nights except for the week or so before my period (I am a premenopausal woman) I sleep just fine. Even the first night off a stretch of needing it every night.

My point being that responses to psychoactive drugs are extremely individual and no one, doctor or layperson, should speak with authority on insomnia absent extensive personal experience and/or research on the subject. Blanket statements that throw all sufferers into the same "addicted" basket and make unwarranted judgements are no substitute for thoughtful understanding based on experience and knowledge. Drug labels reflect a lowest common denominator and are there for other reasons besides to protect the consumer.
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Llamalover: I clearly understand that antibiotics and insulin don't have the "addiction" warnings because they are not psychoactive drugs. My point is that drugs that fall into that category are stigmatized, as are the people who develop a dependency on them. Vegister and I are in agreement that "insomnia" should be a medically recognized condition as much as diabetes is. I personally despise Ambien because after two doses, it is almost impossible to fall asleep naturally again. I CLEARLY recognize that it causes dependency, but if that is the only thing that brings relief to someone, why should we hold them in question as to their "addiction?" We need to reframe our attitudes towards these substances because insomnia is, in some cases, a CHRONIC ailment. The person who has had a liver transplant taking anti-rejection drugs is just as legitimately dependent on that drug as an insomniac is on Ambien. Why talk about "crutches" and other means of eliminating dependency when insomnia is the main issue? You wouldn't try to "reform" a person dependent on anti-rejection drugs, would you? There is a component of blame here that further victimizes the insomniac because treatment involves psychoactive substances. I agree with you Llama that people are taking drugs that cause addiction. Point being is that we must stop judging them. If Vegister is not having the more dangerous side effects, why try to "reform" her? (or him) My sister was "addicted" to Ativan in the last years of her life. My mother was concerned that she was becoming dependent. I was aghast. Would you really expect someone with a terminal disease not to have anxiety?? Again, the drug gets stigmatized and the larger picture gets ignored.
It would be wonderful if everyone were able to achieve perfect inner balance through meditation and "mindfulness." I say, let people use whatever means they need to achieve a good night's sleep unless they become a danger to themselves or others.?
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I am not saying anyone is addicted. I am saying I was and it's EXTREMELY HARD TO STOP AN ADDICTIVE SUBSTANCE
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Kristen: No, insulation and antibiotics don't have a warning on the bottle/syringe as being addictive. I took Ambien-just one or two pills and my doc told me to stop the med. I am probably your best help b/c I used to be addicted to ephedrine. Any drug that you cannot do without is a habit that is indeed VERY HARD TO STOP! Go to Reform U
Reformers Unanimous.
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My point exactly Kristen3. I get a little testy when people tell me I am "addicted" like zolpidem is heroin because I have argued with so many doctors who don't know a thing about insomnia, who tried to convince me that I needed an antidepressant or needed more exercise or needed not to drink alcohol or caffeine or to eat meat or eat less sugar, when what I really needed was just. something. to help me. sleep.

I mentioned head injuries because I had a serious one as a child, and there is evidence that they can lead to chronic insomnia (not to mention early-onset Alzheimer's-like symptoms--ask a retired football player).

Incidentally, I slept well last night with no zolpidem. Last week, I went a week with almost no sleep trying not to take zolpidem. There is definitely a hormonal/cyclical component.

There is a long history to the classification of insomnia as only a secondary condition to depression or trauma or other disease, and not a condition in its own right. This is why doctors and laypeople are unwilling to accept that sometimes we just need to treat the insomnia and not try to blame the insomniac for not sleeping well. That classification is now changing. I'll recommend again the excellent book _Insomniac_ by Gayle Greene

I am sorry for your woes KM1027, I've had good results with zolpidem and noticed no difference between that and Ambien, but we all respond so differently to these things. I hope you find relief.
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Llamalover and vegister: Would you be talking about medication being a "crutch" if it was insulin or an antibiotic? Insomnia is a legitimate medical condition that needs legitimate treatment. Why are we as a society having judgments about sleeping meds? Just because a drug has psychoactive qualities, why do we refer to that classification of drug as a "crutch?"
Granted, I have had bouts of insomnia in my life for which I took sleeping medications. I am happy to report that I have moved through those periods. However, I wouldn't hesitate to take something if I were in a situation that was preventing me from sleeping. Implying that Vegister needs to get off the medications is basically telling that person that they are doing something wrong. If someone is functional on Ambien, and can afford it, I don't see why they need to be made to feel guilty for taking it. Personally, I cannot stand that drug. Restoril is a better drug in my opinion since it has a longer half-life and doesn't have any hangover effect. I like the comments regarding the lemon balm and Kefir as alternatives to medications.
My point is, we must try to have compassion for the journeys that others are taking regardless of their medication status.
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Vegsister: If you need it every night, then it is now your crutch. I would seriously suggest you, with your doc's help wean yourself off from it. I am not trying to be mean. I was addicted to ephedrine for years.
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There is a app for smart phones called GoodRX that allows you to type in a med and get a price from pharmacies in your area
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