Drugs and Insomnia

Side effects of controlled substances vary depend on the class of the drug. For example, benzodiazepines (Ativan) cause muscle weakness, headache, nausea, vomiting; amphetamines like Adderall cause stomach pain, loss of appetite, palpitations, irritability and personality changes. Percocet and other painkillers cause blurred vision, dry mouth, upset stomach etc…

But one side effect these drugs have in common is insomnia.

When my husband was not on any drugs, he woke up every day at 5am in the morning to go to the gym and then to work. He came home around 4:30pm and we were still able to spend a lot of time together at night and on the weekends. I was a stay at home Mom then, but he always helped with the kids and around the house. We watched our TV shows after the kids went to bed, and did things together as a family on the weekends. We were happy.

As soon as he was on Percocet and other craps, all of that changed. He was a different man.

He was too tired to watch our TV show, could not fall asleep; he had to sleep in to compensate for the lack of sleep but woke up, still feeling irritable and drowsy. He complained all the time: ” I’m tired, I don’t feel good, I can’t go anywhere today, I can’t go to work today, etc…”

When he got home from work, it was already late, and he was in bad mood. He just wanted to be left alone. On the weekends, he took long naps during the day, and woke up looking like he wanted to punch something. At first, i left him alone, but then i ended up taking care of the kids and the house by myself so I brought it up and asked for help. ” Can you give our son a bath?”, “can you play with him”, “can you get him”? He often replied with a big sigh, a sign he wasn’t very happy. If i dared to wake him up while he was asleep, he raised his voice.

We started to argue a lot and he blamed me for being “cruel and uncaring”, while I called him “lazy and irresponsible”. We both were sad, rightfully so…The energy in the house changed, we were no longer looking forward to spending the nights or weekends together. I knew he was going to be drowsy and irritable and he knew I was going to be mad and cold. I felt so sad and mad at the same time. So instead of talking about it because i was afraid he would raise his voice in front of the kids, I just took the kids out by myself and left him home.

He also started to get in trouble at work: was late and called in sick a lot. On the days he worked from home, he slept in and missed important deadlines and meetings. His boss was furious and requested him to commute to work every single day which made him mad at the boss, looked for another job and quit. However, the problem did not stop there. It got worse. Everywhere he went, he had problems with tardiness, absenteeism, and poor performance. At home, we talked less, felt like we were strangers. I could see the pain in his eyes, yet I could not help him. I didn’t know what to do. I needed help myself.

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