The Link between Insomnia and Mental Health Disorders

For many years, the psychiatric community believed that insomnia was simply a symptom that could accompany various mental health disorders. Today, researchers believe that insomnia can actually play a much more instrumental role in the development of a mental health problem.

In fact, medical studies have demonstrated that insomnia can contribute to the onset of mental health disorders in both children and adults. Understanding the link between sleep and mental health disorders may help individuals recognize symptoms early on so they can seek the medical treatment they need.

What is Insomnia?

Sleep problems are common in America – roughly a third of Americans have reported sleep disturbances. Although there are as many as 70 different sleeping disorders, insomnia is one which is both common and severe. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep.

Without an adequate amount of sleep, people will feel tired and drowsy the next day. People who experience insomnia frequently may have a mental illness that contributes to their insomnia. Conversely, their chronic insomnia could lead to the development of a mental disorder.

The Connection Between Insomnia and Mental Health

Insomnia is related to a mental condition in about half of all cases. Anxiety, depression or psychological stress can cause or result from insomnia. Poor sleep has been shown to worsen the severity of mental illnesses like anxiety and depression. Mental illnesses alone can cause people to feel drained, listless, or without energy.

When these feelings are coupled with an actual lack of sleep symptoms can become exacerbated and grow increasingly severe. Fortunately, good rest can have a positive impact on mental illness symptoms. When insomnia abates, sufferers may be able to better manage their symptoms and cope with their anxiety or depression more successfully.

Treatment for Insomnia

Individuals who suffer from frequent or chronic insomnia should definitely be assessed by a healthcare provider. Some sufferers may require medication for a sleep disorder while others may require medication for their mental illness.

While medication can help, psychotherapy may also be warranted. In addition, trying to adopt healthy sleep habits, practicing relaxation techniques, exercise, and light therapy may also help someone reduce occurrences of insomnia, thus improving mental health.

Keep in mind, however, that medical assessment is the key to determining how to proceed with treatment. In some cases, your doctor may choose to treat your mental disorder. In other cases, you may only require treatment for your sleep disorder.

When feeling depressed and unable to sleep, it can be difficult to determine which issue is causing the other. This is why seeking medical treatment is so important. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can obtain some relief.

The link between sleep disorders like insomnia and mental health is well-established. These two conditions are often intertwined, but both conditions can be managed effectively with treatment. If you are currently suffering, don’t hesitate to seek help.