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Suggest treatment for sleep disorder and depression

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 637 Questions
Hi My wife has been sufferring from sleep disorders (much less sleep pf around 2.5-3.5 hrs only at night) and she has also been crying a lot and feeling very low and down mentally for last 1-1.5 months now. After consultations with all i.e general physician, neorologist and also a phychatrist I have found that all of them prescribed medicines for depression and sleep. But somehow she is either still not having regular 6-7 hours sleep nor getting out of her depressive state of mind. Pls advise what should I do.
Posted Thu, 28 Aug 2014 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Sunil Gupta 49 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Please see details below.

Detailed Answer:
Dear Mr. XXXX,

I do appreciate your concern regarding your wife's condition. From what you have mentioned, your wife is manifesting symptoms suggestive of depression. All her symptoms: feeling low, crying, sleep disturbance are part of depressive episode.

The problem with anti-depressant medications is that they usually take some time to act (2-3 weeks). In your case, you have been to 3 different doctors over one and half month period. I am not sure how many days has your wife taken the medicines for, but I am assuming that none of it have been long enough to elicit response.

I did went through the prescriptions that you have attached. As you have mentioned, they do have anti-depressants prescribed. I would suggest that you stick to a single specialist, preferably a psychiatrist (depression is his specialty) and take treatment as advised.

Had I been your treating psychiatrist, I would have tried to assess if your wife had even slight benefit with any of the medications. If yes, I would have started the same drug and increased the dose gradually. I personally would have started with one of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like escitalopram (Nexito), or sertraline (daxid). The dose range of sertraline is 50-200 mg and escitalopram is 10-20 mg. So, the dose that your wife received can still be increased depending on the response elicited. Another option that I would consider would be venlafaxine starting at 37.5 mg/day and can be increased upto 300 mg/day.

In addition to the anti-depressants mentioned above, your wife would also need benzodiazepines for inducing sleep in the initial phase of the treatment. Clonzepam would be an effective option (rivotril and zapiz are brand names for clonazepam). The dose range of 0.5 mg to 2 mg/day could be tried.Discuss all about this your treating Psychiatrist.

What you have to remember is that her symptoms of sleep disturbance is due to depression. Once depression starts responding to medications, her sleep will automatically improve.

I do hope I was able to help you in some way. Please feel free to ask any further query that you may have. I will be happy to help.

Wishing your wife speedy recovery,

Dr. Sunil Gupta

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suggest treatment for sleep disorder and depression 1 hour later
Thanks Doctor for your prompt revert. Would like to inform that she was under medicines prescribed by General Physician from 18.06.2014 to 02.07.2014 (i.e. 15 days), of Neorologist from 02.07.2014 to 16.07.2014 (15 days) and of Phychatrist from 17.07.2014 to 06.08.2014 (21 days). Thus she has been under each treatment for at least 15 days and last of Phychatrist of 21 days whereafter she has shown to a Homeopathy Doctor who has prescibed his medicines and asked to stop all elophatic medicines (due to their adverse side effects). I would also like to inform that my wife had been diagonised with Vertigo in Jul 12 which she had for a month then and it reoccurred in Aug'13 for again another 20 days almost. In the light of the above request you to please re-confirm your suggestions/advise with changes therein. Regards
Answered by Dr. Sunil Gupta 25 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Details below

Detailed Answer:
Dear Mr. XXXX,

Thanks for following up and providing me more information. Like I mentioned in my last response, the medicines have not been tried for adequate duration and optimal dosage. I would have liked the dose of the anti-depressants tried to be increased in around 2 weeks time if there is no response to the initial dose.

I would suggest not to worry about vertigo as of now as it is not present currently. First of all you will have to decide if you want to continue allopathic medications or not. I would not recommend mixing both homeopathic and allopathic as we don't know the composition of homeopathic drugs and hence won't be able to predict any interactions between the medicines.

If you decide to restart (and I would recommend that you do) allopathic medications, I would suggest that you should meet a psychiatrist for initiating treatment.

Considering that your wife didn't get any benefit with sertraline or escitalopram, I would recommend Venlafaxine, which could be started at 37.5 mg twice daily and gradually over 10 days increased to 150mg/day. As I mentioned, addition of clonzepam (1-2 mg at night) would be required for inducing sleep in the initial period.Discuss about this your treating Psychiatrist.

You will have to be patient about the response to medications and have faith in them. I am sure with adequate management, your wife will soon come out of depression and feel good.

Please let me know if I can be of further help to you. In case you decide to close the discussion, please do rate the answer.

Best wishes,

Dr. Sunil Gupta

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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