Insomnia is one of the most frequent sleeping disorders affecting practically half of the population based on the data of different researches. Moreover, more than ten percent of that number was diagnosed with a long-lasting, chronic form of the disorder.
In order to diagnose insomnia, it is necessary to examine the general picture. Sometimes, people may suffer from sleep deprivation due to different stress situations such as deadlines or too much work. However, when these situations are resolved, they go back to a normal state of rest.
When is it possible to say that you have a sleeping disorder?
You may clearly state that you have problems with normal sleeping and that there is a respective dysfunction when it takes more than thirty minutes to fall asleep, or if you are unable to sleep for more than six hours a day. If it repeats at least three nights per week and lasts for more than three months, it may be necessary to consult with a doctor.
The disorder affects all people and makes no distinctions between gender, age, or race. However, aging is often accompanied by the growing frequency of insomnia attacks, which may be the consequence of changes in brain chemistry. Despite this, the commonly recognized symptoms are observed in all cases of those who suffer from insomnia. These symptoms are as listed:
- Apathy during the day-time
- Low energy level
- Impairment of attention and concentration
- Mood swings from indifference and depression, to anger
- Severe headaches
- Poor abilities in social interaction
What are the ways of treating insomnia?
It is highly probable that the emergence of sleeping disorders coincided with sleep itself. Scientists have sought to find the ultimate cure, but all have eventually failed. It's possible to subdivide the history of treatment strategies in several subsequent periods.
- Zero period:
The oldest class of medications dates back to past centuries. The most common types of medications included opium, different sedatives, and self-medication such as drinking alcohol. Logically enough, such treatments caused more damages in health than they were beneficial.
- First period:
This period took modern approaches in the development of various medications. There was research carried out in the ninetieth years of the past century with the aim of creating a new generation of so-called Z-drugs.
These drugs were based on benzodiazepines, and changed the way a person sleeps. The period of deep sleep was shortened, resulting in the hangover effect a person has when he or she doesn't get enough rest and feels tired even after sleep.
- Second period:
Newer medications contained no benzodiazepines, but at the same time kept the positive effect of their predecessor. Hangovers and negative symptoms were minimized as much as possible. In addition, they were believed to be most resistant in causing addition, although this notion was later disputed.
- Third period:
Recently, a completely new drug has produced a revolutionary effect in the pharmaceutical industry by presenting a completely different approach in curing insomnia. It was established through numerous experiments that it is possible to influence not the entire brain during treatment, but to restrict its specific sleep zone. Almorexant blocks access to the receptors of a special chemical called orexin. Transmissions that are used in communicating the instruction of staying awake are blocked when necessary, and the drug stops the production of the orexin.
Apart from this, the drug's effects diminish after eight hours, so the possibility of feeling bad the next morning from taking the pills is drastically minimized.
When experiments of this drug are finalized, it will become a real possibility to reduce stress caused by sleep deprivation and to prolong sleep time.
2. Treatment – Insomnia – National Sleep Foundation – http://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/treatment