Q: Over the past few weeks my sleeping has gotten worse and worse.
It has become an anxiety issue. I have gone whole nights with no sleep at all because of my anxiety. It has become a terrible cycle. The more tired I get, the more anxious I get. I went to the doctor and talked to a pyschiatrist who had a doctor write me a prescription for Paxil and Lorazepan for sleep. I am terrified about sleep, and about taking something to make me sleep. I have twitches right before I fall asleep that then cause me to become anxious again. I just want to lay down and feel normal. Do you think that I will ever be normal and just go to sleep on my own? The doctor told me this wouldn’t fix things overnight, and the paxil could take a while to kick in, but I am scared it might never get better. I just want my life back. I am tired of it consuming my every thought.

A: Unfortunately I agree with your doctor in that this may take a while to get under control even with the medications. Give them time to work but in the meantime have you addressed any of the potential reasons for the sleep problems and anxiety? What else is going on in your life? What are you worried about? What are your thoughts before trying to go to sleep and when you can’t sleep? All these things need to be addressed as well or the medications will only deal with the surface symptoms. However, sometimes there are medical or physical reasons for sleep disorders – I am not just saying “It’s all in your head.” I’m just pointing out that there are other aspects of the problem that need to be addressed. I also recommend taking a high quality calcium-magnesium supplement and trying to incorporate physical exercise into your daily routine. Do some research on “sleep hygiene” online or at the library to help you work on a consistent routine. I also recommend listening to guides imagery tapes/cd’s before going to bed. My personal favorites are from healthjourneys.com by Belleruth Naperstek. I wish you a good nights sleep.