The Relationship Between Depression And Insomnia

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For those who suffer from insomnia, the feeling of having to force their way through each day never really leaves them. The lack of sleep can wear them down and leave them feeling less than capable of doing the things they need to do each day.

The effects of insomnia can present itself in a number of different ways. Whether it is difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep, those who suffer from insomnia can spend their days feeling sleepy or mentally sluggish, having difficulty in focusing on their work or difficulty remembering things. They may become irritable or anxious, concerned with the quality of their lives and distressed at their inability to solve the problem.

Some Causes of Insomnia

For some insomniacs, their inability to fall asleep or stay asleep might arise from a mind that cannot let go when it is time to rest. Financial problems, family problems and job problems all continue to churn the mind at a time when the mind really needs to let go and recharge.

For others the cause might be shift changes at work, which can change the circadian rhythms of the body. These rhythms guide everything from metabolism to body temperature to the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Certain physical ailments – chronic pain, thyroid disorders, prostate disorders, GERD, lung disease and many more – can also keep the body from achieving the deep, rejuvenating sleep it needs.

Depression and Insomnia

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than 20 million Americans suffer from depression. More than half those with depression also suffer from insomnia.

With the disruption of one’s ability to function in their day to day lives, it would be easy to believe that insomnia can lead to depression. It is equally easy to believe that depression can cause insomnia, with the worried mind feeling the stress of depression interrupting sleep. The truth is more complicated.

New research shows that depression and insomnia frequently occur together. They may share risk factors and respond to some of the same treatments. They have symptoms that overlap, and the worsening of one often results in the worsening of the other.

Treatment of Depression and Insomnia

A study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health used cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a treatment for insomnia. This form of talk therapy is commonly used quite effectively to treat a variety of forms of mental illness, including depression.

The treatment consisted of four talk therapy sessions over a period of eight weeks. During the sessions patients were given a set of specific instructions to follow: set and stick to a regular wake-up time each day, stay in bed only when sleeping, do not eat, read or watch TV while unable to sleep and refrain from taking daytime naps.

About 90% of patients who saw improvements in their insomnia also saw their depression lift after two months of taking either an anti-depressant pill or a placebo. That was almost double the rate of those who did not respond positively to the insomnia therapy.

Sources: WebMD ,Mayo Clinic and Consumer Healthday

 
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