Insomnia or Sleeplessness Causes And Treatment
Insomnia is mainly the incapability to sleep. Insomnia can also be considered a symptom that can accompany several medical, emotional and psychological disorders. There are several types of insomnia:
- Transient insomnia – it usually lasts less than a week. It is caused by several factors such as change of sleep environment, depression and other stress factors. It results in daytime drowsiness and poor psychomotor performance;
- Acute insomnia – it lasts less than a month. It actually represents an exaggerated form of transient insomnia. It presents with the same results;
- Chronic insomnia – it lasts for more than a month. When insomnia reaches this level, it rarely is a secondary disorder. It is the primary disorder. The results are: muscle fatigue, hallucinations and mental fatigue (even double vision);
Causes of insomnia:
- Inadequate sleep hygiene: Consumption of caffeine or other stimulant drugs should be avoided before going to bed, or even in the afternoon, for some patients are highly sensitive. It is not recommended for patients to compensate loss of sleep by sleeping late or by napping. It only damages nocturnal sleep more.
Insomnia patients are strongly advised to keep to a regular sleep schedule and avoid naps regardless of the amount of nocturnal sleep.
- Adjustment insomnia: Acute emotional stress factors can also cause insomnia;
- Psychophysiologic insomnia: Insomnia can persist beyond duration of stress factors, because patients anticipatory anxiety about the prospect of another sleepless night followed by another day of fatigue. Typically, patients spend hours in bed focusing on and brooding about their sleeplessness.
- Physical sleep disorders: Physical disorders can interfere with sleep and cause insomnia. There should be mentioned several disorders that cause mainly pain and discomfort, such as: arthritis, cancer, herniated disk. Nocturnal seizures will also interfere with sleep.
- Mental sleep disorders: Most mental disorders cause insomnia and EDS. Most patients with major depression report these symptoms.
- Sleep deprivation: Patients experiencing this syndrome get a poor sleep during night time thus resulting insomnia. Possible causes are various social or personal commitments. It is the most common cause of EDS, which disappears when sleep time is increased.
- Drug-related sleep disorders: Insomnia can result from intense use of stimulants such as amphetamines, caffeine, other sedatives, antimetabolite chemotherapy, anticonvulsants, oral contraceptives, methyldopa, propranolol, alcohol, and thyroid hormone preparations. Many psychoactive drugs can induce abnormal movements during sleep.
- Cognitive-behavioral strategies and hypnotics – suitable for patients who need rapid relief and whose insomnia has had daytime effects such as EDS and fatigue ;
- Relaxation training;
- Stimulus Control;
- Cognitive Therapy
If depression is accompanied by insomnia, antidepressants that provide strong sedation may as well be recommended by the patient’s physician, such as: amitriptyline, doxepin, mirtazapine, paroxetin, trazodone. There is a small chance that these drugs can cause EDS and other side effects, such as weight gain.