I feel agitated, hyperactive, and have occasional suicidal thoughts after taking Clonazepam for a sleep disorder. Please help.

Q. I took Clonazepam for sleep disorder. I am feeling agitated,hyperactive and sometimes suicidal thoughts come in mind. Please help.

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 01, 2015 and last reviewed on: Mar 22, 2023

Hello doctor,

It was five years back when I encountered sleep problem for the first time, and at that point, I was doing a night shift. I consulted a doctor, and he suggested me the medicine Clonazepam 0.5 mg. I had continued Clonazepam 0.5 mg for 1 year. After more than a year, I got to know from a medical personnel that, Clonazepam is a sleeping pill, and I immediately stopped taking it. From then onwards, my sleeping problem increased. I was feeling agitated, mentally hyperactive, and sometimes suicidal thoughts came in mind. Sometimes I had difficulty breathing. Suddenly a year back, my work shift changed to day, and I have been able to sleep around 6 to 7 hours, up until two months back. Meanwhile, I also started taking omega-3 health supplement to tackle daily office stress. For a month, I have been able to sleep for 3 to 4 hours only and take a long time to fall asleep. It has been around 3 years that I am frustated with my sleep problem. What should I do?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read through your query in detail. Please find my observations below.

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine group of medicine and prescribed for psychiatric problems including seizure and panic disorder. Having suicidal thoughts is a known side effect of Clonazepam. You did a good thing by stopping Clonazepam medication after realizing that it should be taken only when required and for psychiatric problems. Since you had a normal sleep cycle from recently, you do not seem to have any serious psychiatric illness. However, with the recent change in work shift pattern, you might have developed what is called shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). This is frequently seen in people who work in shifts and suddenly have to adjust to new work timings.

You have to work on two areas to adjust yourself to the present shift timings:

  1. Try to keep yourself awake during your work and while traveling.
  2. Sleep enough during the day to give yourself good rest so that you feel fresh at work.

To keep yourself alert at work and during travelling please follow the guidelines below:

  1. Reduce travelling distance and time if possible.
  2. Avoid working alone and work in a group with colleagues.
  3. Take short breaks and walk a short distance and then get back to work.
  4. Drink coffee slowly, it contains caffeine which is a brain stimulant.
  5. Please do the difficult tasks first and keep the easy ones towards the end of the shift.

During the day, catch up on your sleep in the following ways:

  1. Avoid looking directly at the sun and draw curtains when you reach home.
  2. Maintain the same sleep cycle even during holidays.
  3. Stay away from loud noises and do not watch television when you want to sleep.
  4. Do not drink alcohol or coffee when you want to sleep since it will keep you awake and prevent you from sleeping.

Please try and put the above suggestions in practice for at least 15 days to a month.

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