Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Insomnia

| December 23, 2011 | 0 Comments

What Causes Insomnia

How to best approach the treatment of insomnia is a subject which receives a great deal of attention from the medical world.  Literally millions of people suffer from insomnia.  There are numerous possible causes for a person to either have trouble falling asleep or to fail to sleep soundly through the night.

The following are among the many causes of insomnia:

  • Caffeine, nicotine, or alcohol in your system, all of which cause sleeplessness.
  • You could suffer from transient insomnia, which is caused by a short-term situation such as jet lag, a domestic dispute, or a fleeting illness.
  • A health condition such as sleep apnea could cause you to seek treatment of insomnia.
  • Stress caused by such things as the loss of a job or the death of a friend or family member.
  • A modification of sleep cycles caused by shiftwork changes.
  • An uncomfortable bed or an environment which hinders rest because, for example, it’s hot, noisy, or not dark enough can cause insomnia.
  • Life habits such as never getting sufficient physical exercise or eating spicy foods when it’s almost bedtime.

Symptoms of Insomnia

If you aren’t sure whether you need to find a good treatment of insomnia because you don’t know with certainty that you have it, the following are some symptoms of insomnia which can help you identify the condition:

  • When you wake up in the morning and begin your day, you don’t feel refreshed.
  • You’re tired upon waking.
  • For hours you toss around or find yourself lying in bed without being able to fall asleep.
  • Your sleep is consistently restless and fails to leave you feeling satisfied.
  • You can’t sleep at night but you take frequent naps during the day.

Pharmacologic Treatment of Insomnia

Benzodiazepines are among the medications often used in the treatment of insomnia.  They are considered to be effective and safe for short term treatment; but benzodiazepines occasionally have a paradoxical effect, meaning that they can cause hyperactivity instead of promoting rest.

Controversy surrounds the issue of using benzodiazepines on a long-term basis.  This is because prolonged use sometimes has negative psychological and physical effects.  In addition, stopping use of benzodiazepines after long-time use can create symptoms of withdrawal.

Nonbenzodiazepines are drugs which pharmacologically resemble benzodiazepines and produce similar benefits but which are actually completely different in their chemical structure.  Nonbenzodiazepines are also proven to be effective in the treatment of insomnia

Other types drugs used in the pharmacologic treatment of insomnia include Zolpidem, Zaleplon, Eszopiclone, and Ramelteon.

Even if using over-the-counter pharmacologic treatment for insomnia, it’s always best to consult your physician.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, also referred to as CPT-I, is a drug-free approach to treatment of insomnia.  With CPT-I, you may be able to determine that you have habits that disrupt sleep, which ideally leads to behavior and lifestyle changes which cure insomnia.

The way treatment and behavioral therapy for insomnia works is that it assists you in identifying things which prevent you from getting proper sleep.  This approach gets to the reason for your sleeplessness.

At least one of the following elements is typically included in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia patients:

  • Restricting the amount of time you spend lying in your bed can help you with sleeplessness.  This is due to the fact that doing other activities in bed besides sleeping can make it difficult to enter into a restful state when it’s time to sleep for the night.
  • Release your worry about being able to sleep; this can be all that’s needed in an effective treatment of insomnia.
  • Examine your lifestyle to see if there are habits which influence sleep and which you could better manage, such as drinking caffeine too late in the day or exercising too close to bedtime.
  • Biological indicators such as heart rate and the amount of muscle tension in your body can provide information which leads to the identification of patterns which affect your ability to get proper sleep.

Psychiatric Disorders

There is evidence that insomnia has a link to some psychiatric disorders.  This is particularly true when anxiety and mood swings are among the symptoms, since these conditions almost always come with some level of sleeplessness.  The treatment of insomnia sometimes leads to treatment for medical or psychiatric illnesses.

Hallucinogenic Sleep Disorders

People don’t necessarily have hallucinations when they have a hallucinogenic sleep disorder.  It’s more like, for example, that people who are sleeping alone have the feeling there is a presence in the room.  About half the time they say that it seems it’s a demonic presence.  Sleep paralysis is a part of this condition, in which a person feels pinned down by an other-worldly presence.  The professional treatment of insomnia in these cases is often as simple as getting routine exercise and forming healthy eating habits.

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Category: Insomnia

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