do anti depressants keep you awake?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 4/7/2009 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I must say I really enjoy reading this site even if I don't post much! I'm in pain but don't know if I'm in as much pain as most of you. I have psoriatic arthritis and despite heavy duty drugs that manage my inflammation I'm still suffering. My lower back has been plaguing me for several months with numbness in my right thigh and just below my knee, if I try gentle stretches it can move into my left leg! My osteopath says its an inflammed disc pressing on my sciatic nerve. My rheumy tells me its possibly osteoarthrits, I also currently have bursitis in both hips, though recently had them injected with cortisone which has settled the pain to a degree I can manage them  or push that pain into the back ground. My doctor recently prescribed an anti depressant to help settle my nerve pain and keep my spirit up as I can get quite down with everyday pain. Before I wasn't sleeping because of pain but now I'm waking with my brain going at 110 miles an hour, like I'm in overdrive!!! I've tried endone which I think is the same as the oxycodone you guys talk about but it makes me hallucinate terribly, I get nightmare type visions, so just take codeine to keep going. The anti depressant has helped dull the pain but I feel really stressed on it??? Any ideas or does it just take longer than 3 weeks to settle in to it?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 4/7/2009 9:56 PM (GMT -6)   
It took me a good 2 months to feel the full effect of my medications.  I take Celexa, Trazodone and Klonopin.  I take way to many pills in a day but they all seem to help in the long runl  Anti-depressants always take a bit to build in the system.
Oh my you have been through alot.  I couldn't imagaine having nightmares with Codiene.  Thats my relief!!!!
My advice is to just relax and let it take its course.
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 4/7/2009 10:36 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks for answering so promptly, I live on codeine the nightmares were with endone (oxycodone I think) but thanks for the advice my gut reaction is to keep going even though my brains in overdrive because it has helped my general mood and I can manage to stand at work again. Don't have to drag a stool around with me anymore!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 142
   Posted 4/7/2009 10:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm happy to meet you but sad it has to be under these circumstances. You sound like you have a tough time of it. Don't ever think of yourself as not having as much pain as anyone else. All pain is bad and no one should have to go thru any of it.

It can take awhile for an antidepressant to take effect. It could also be that that is not the right one for you. If it was me I would give my doc a call and see what they think about it.
Thirteen surgeries from motorcycle wreck. Reconstructed right pelvis, DJD left hip, trochanteric bursitis left hip, screws in knee, metal plates on right pelvis, spinal fusion to reattach right pelvis, metal plates right tibia and fibula, metal plates needs replaced on tibia, cannot walk without crutches, drop foot, nerve damage and pain, HTN, tachycardia, delayed sleep phase syndrome, PTSD, chronic atelactesis
Wonderful husband, 3 awesome children that are grown but still take care of me. Two dogs, Buddy- Cardigan Welsh Corgi/Borner Collie mic, Crash- Yorkie, 1 psychotic cat, Precious, 1 anti-social cat, Prissy.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9196
   Posted 4/7/2009 11:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi golitho!

First I want to make a comment. It doesn't matter what your pain level is around here...if you are in pain then we're all in this together. No person's pain is "better" or "worse" than anyone else's pain. Plus, from your description you have a huge amount of pain anyway. Just my opinion...we are happy to have you posting!

What kind of antidepressant are you taking? The SSRI types seem to make more people sleepy or groggy. The newer ones like Lyrica and Cymbalta can really mess with your head, yet some folks have no trouble with them. I would think 3 weeks is a fair trial time. If I were you I would mention it to your doc and see if he wants to change your meds. There are so many antidepressants to try. I had to go through 5-6 before one would work without nasty side effects.

Hope you are doing better!
Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, PTSD, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteoarthritis and a few other side dishes.
Happiness is something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for."

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3700
   Posted 4/8/2009 12:39 AM (GMT -6)   

I also want to welcome you to this forum, I am sorry that you have so much pain, but you have come to the right place for support and comfort! There are a bunch of great people here so make your self at home! You know pain meds affect me differently than what they do some people, Vicodin and also percocet keep me awake if I take one before going to sleep I will be awake for hours, and not a bit sleepy every one is so different, and meds affect every so differently!

White Beard

I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/8/2009 12:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Golitho,
Welcome. Anti-depressants can take 4-6 weeks to achieve maximum effect. And like others have mentioned, sometimes you might need to try different doses or a different type of anti-depressant. Everyone is so different. Another thing you can ask you doctor about if the anti-depressant is working but keeping you awake, when you take it may be able to be switched. Some anti-depressants tend to create insomnia, while others lean toward sleepiness. Taking the former in the morning or the latter at night may be helpful. If you've been on it for 3 weeks and have had no effect, I'd do what Chutz suggested and call you doctor. It's very common to need an adjustment in dose, as doctors usually start you off at the lowest dose.

Also - try to take your anti-depressant about the same time each day, as that will help keep your blood level more stable.

One good thing is there are a lot of anti-depressants to choose from, so don't give up if one doesn't work!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 4/8/2009 1:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Golitho,

Palady wrote you a perfect response. Not to echo her too much, but I'd also like to emphasize the point that some anti-depressants can cause insomnia & others can cause sleepiness. When do you take your medication? If it is the cause of the insomnia & you are taking it in the evening, why not try taking it in the morning? That way, it will hopefully have less of an effect on your sleep.

There are anti-depressants out there that are also used as sleeping aids. Trazodone is a common one. I've been on it several times, and for a little while it really did help me with sleep. Remeron is another one that I've just started. I'm taking it for both it's anti-depressant function & sleep-aid function. I can't comment much about it though, as I have only taken it once so far because it just hasn't been a good time for me to go messing with new meds. Oh, one more thing: sometimes anti-depressants can actually make you feel more depressed. If you look at the drug warnings, it will say things about increased depression & thoughts of suicide. It is real. My depression got much worse when I was on really high doses of Cymbalta. I couldn't stop crying and was just so depressed that I wasn't functioning. That's when I called it quits. Wasn't helping the pain anyway.
If you do decide to stop taking the medication, for whatever reason, make sure you do it under the supervision of your doctor. Anti-depressants shouldn't be stopped suddenly or you can experience some nasty side effects. You usually need to taper off of it slowly. Even then. Coming off of cymbalta was no walk in the park.

Sorry for the rambling. My brain is going in a million directions at once. It's 2:30 am. I think I'm just so tired that my brain won't shut down, but isn't thinking straight. If you know what I mean. Maybe I'm not making any sense. Time for me to go to bed!


There are also anti-depressants that are used to treat certain types of pain as well (mostly neurologic pain). Cymbalta & Elavil are common ones. I've been on both of them. I didn't find either of them helpful in either respect, but there are many people who get great relief from them.

I apologize if you know this already, or it has already been mentioned, as I just skimmed the previous posts, but just some food for thought. Of course your doctor knows best, but I thought I'd share what I've learned. I'd give the anti-depressant another week or two longer. 3 weeks is right about where you will start to feel its effects, but as Palady said, it can take longer. Talking to your doctor is your best bet. He may want to change your dosage too.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 4/13/2009 8:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone for the welcome, advice and great info! Been familying over the Easter break so didn't get any computer time to check for responses. I take the anti depressant, eleva, active ingredient is sertraline. I talked to my doctor and she has taken blood to have it genetically matched to the correct anti -d for me!!! Like wow amazing new technology. Once they do the genetic mapping it'll also show what arthritis drugs will work best , what anti biotics... I'm all agog. Meantime I've decided to hang on to the eleva rather than try another and I really don't want to go back onto prednisone...the eleva has pushed the pain back a bit. The back is the main worry, just have to pace myself when I'm busy. Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate the help. Some times I feel like a bit of a guineapig out there the amount of medication I've gone through, plus dealing with the emotional issue of pain and my bodily memory of what I used to be able to do vs what i am able to do is sometimes a lonely business. Good to be able to write about it. Now I'm raving, must away ... Aliens vs Monsters awaits. (the joy of school holidays!)
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