Saturday, December 9, 2006

Chronic Insomnia

Chronic insomnia is one of the sleep disorders, which affects one’s quality of life. Statistics shows that one third of Americans are facing the danger of chronic insomnia. The sleeplessness is generally classified into different categories, according to its period of consistent occurrence. Of these, chronic insomnia is the most serious type, which lasts consistently for a prolonged period of time, say one month or more. It is clear that insomnia does not result any lethal problems, however, it affects the normal functioning of a person and results in reduced productivity.


On the basis of the cause of occurrence, chronic insomnia is classified into primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. Primary insomnia is caused by personal ill-effects, whereas secondary insomnia is resulted as a side effect of any external disturbances such as medication, environmental reasons, and psychiatric conditions.

The general causes for insomnia include poor sleep hygiene, anxiety, depression, hormonal imbalance, and circadian rhythm disorders. Most often, chronic insomnia is not a disorder of its own but a symptom of more serious physiological and psychological disorders. The people suffering from the diseases such as allergy, asthma, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), rheumatologic complaints, neurodegenerative diseases, endocrine diseases, kidney failures, and restless leg syndrome are more likely to get affected by the disorder. The behavioral disorders such as excessive consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and drugs could also lead to insomnia. Due to biological specialties, women and elderly people are more prone to the risk of chronic insomnia.

Effects of insomnia

Chronic insomnia affects the mental stability of a person and weakens the immune system. It shows the symptoms such as dizziness, dilemma, anxiety, impaired concentration, lowering thinking capability, and deteriorates decision making skills. Chronic insomnia will increase chances of accidents while driving and may lead to many serious clinical manifestations.


Chronic insomnia feature troubles in a sound sleep, such as reduced sleep time, frequent wake ups in the middle of the sleep, and day symptoms of irritability and sleepiness. A person has to seek the assistance of a physician, if he experiences any of the conditions such as absence of sleep even in tired conditions, only light sleep in night that results fatigue on awakening, and waking up very early.


Physician will diagnose the disease, with the help of certain questionnaires such as the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS). Multiple Sleep Latency test is the diagnostic tool to confirm chronic insomnia. An expert physician will focus to find out underlying reason for chronic insomnia.


Chronic insomnia is often a curable disease. Early diagnosis and proper medication will help for speedy recovery. Physicians generally suggest hypnotics for the treatment of insomnia. The common prescriptions for chronic insomnia include benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, and antihistamines. The behavioral therapies such as stimulus control, progressive muscle relaxation, paradoxical intention, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, and light therapy are recommended in some cases of chronic insomnia. The natural herbals such as Valerian root, Kava kava, and melatonin are practiced in alternative therapy as remedies for chronic insomnia.

Remember, healthy sleep habits and proper lifestyle including balanced diet and exercise, relieves a normal person from the risk of chronic insomnia.