Insomnia and Mental Illness
Amongst the many health complications that those with mental illness suffer from, insomnia is very common and a significant part of treatment. Insomnia has been viewed in the past only as a symptom of mental health and other conditions. And this can certainly be the case. However, there is increasing evidence that suggests insomnia may actually be a contributing factor to the development of certain mental disorders.
According to a recent article published in the Harvard Health Publications Journal, studies have revealed that sleep deprivation can raise the risk of or even contribute to the development of specific types of psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety. Additionally, these studies revealed that individuals who already struggle with some form of mental illness are at a higher risk of being negatively impacted by problems related to sleep.
Common Symptoms of Insomnia
One of the most important components in the diagnosis and treatment of insomnia is the ability to identify the symptoms of the condition. Insomnia is primarily characterized by difficulty falling asleep or waking up often at night. A person who is suffering from insomnia may take 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep after lying down for the night. Some people who suffer from insomnia will struggle to reach any level of deep sleep as a part of their nightly sleep cycle.
Some of the most common symptoms of insomnia are:
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Waking too early or waking up frequently during the night
- Sleepiness and fatigue during the day
- Tension headaches
- Difficulty focusing
While many view insomnia as an annoying inconvenience, the truth is that insomnia has the capacity to produce highly injurious results, as it can be directly linked to certain types of mental illness. There are a number of causes for insomnia and mental illness, but anxiety is one of the leading causes of interruptions to natural sleep cycles, meaning that one of the most common approaches to treating insomnia is through exercises and therapies that are designed to reduce anxiety.
Treatment for Insomnia can include:
- Mental Health Treatment and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Relaxation Techniques
- Mindful Meditation
- Herbal sleep aids and prescription medications
- Exercise and Stretching
- Improving Diet
Part of the mental health program here at the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is identify and treat the cause and/or consequences of insomnia using one or more of the treatments listed above.
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