The term insomnia basically means having the inability to sleep. Most anyone who suffers from insomnia will tell you that the condition is annoying and can be disruptive to daily life including relationships and employment. But what causes insomnia? How does one lose the ability to sleep? There are several factors that can contribute to an insomnia diagnosis. From medical and psychiatric conditions to biological factors, researchers have done their best to be able to connect the sleep disorder to causes to find the right treatment option. Below are a few categories that are associated with insomnia to provide a better understanding of this condition.
Medical conditions can be a kickstarter to insomnia. The medical condition can cause an individual to begin to experience insomnia or the condition can cause the patient to be uncomfortable which can lead to a lack of sleep. Such medical conditions that can lead to insomnia include arthritis, asthma, sinus problems, allergies, low back pain and chronic pain. Medications that are taken for a number of issues like heart disease or the common cold, can also lead to insomnia.
Insomnia can also be connected to another sleep disorder. An example of this is restless legs syndrome. This condition creates an uncomfortable feeling in the legs where the patient must move the legs on a constant basis. This condition can lead to insomnia.
If bouts with insomnia have become an issue, it is important to review your health. Could there be an underlying medical condition that is attributing to the insomnia issues? You may be able to make small changes in order to sleep better, such as turning off the television or avoiding technology a few hours before bed to be able to enjoy better sleep.
Some psychiatric conditions such as depression can lead to symptoms of insomnia. Struggles in the mind can make it hard for an individual to sleep which can then lead to mood changes as well as shifts in hormones. Major depression disorders often see severe cases of insomnia and when insomnia is present, the individual can have worsened depression symptoms. Review the symptoms of depression to see if this might be the reason you are lacking in sleep.
Anxiety is another common cause of insomnia due to worried or nervous feelings. Symptoms of anxiety include tension, worrying about past events or future events, feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities and feeling overstimulated or revved up. General symptoms of anxiety can make it easy for the individual to have trouble sleeping. The individual can have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep as well as not being able to fall asleep after waking in the middle of the night.
Over time, less sleep can lead to even more worry and fear in the individual who already suffers from anxiety. Treatment is necessary for both conditions in order for the patient to find relief in some form or fashion.
Testing and Diagnosis
A sleep specialist will be able to provide testing and diagnosis for insomnia. You will be asked a number of questions about your medical history as well as sleep patterns. A physical exam may also be included to see if you have issues that could be causing your insomnia. Drug and alcohol consumption will be reviewed as well as possible screening for psychiatric disorders.
A sleep specialist has the ability to determine if the symptoms you are experiencing are due to an underlying condition such as a medical or mental issue. You may be required to keep track of sleeping patterns during the night by writing in a sleep diary to provide the specialist with more information. You may also be asked to take part in a sleep study.
Once the diagnosis has been made, you can then learn more about treatment options and find the best alternative for your individual needs.