Trouble Sleeping

Manila Bulletin, July 20, 2009 | Go to article overview

Trouble Sleeping


While you may think continuous sleepless nights are harmless to your mental wellbeing, think again. More research shows that insomnia is directly associated with and is a symptom of anxiety, depression, and mood affective disorders causing one an impaired quality of life. Hence, doctors suggest that any person having trouble sleeping take heed because this isn’t a matter that should be taken so lightly. Defining insomniaInsomnia is not sleep deprivation, says former president of the Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA) Dr. Felicitas Soriano. She explains that sleep deprivation is when one could sleep but is not allowed to, as in a new mother who is sleepy but could not go to bed because she needs to feed her baby in the middle of the night. On the other hand, insomnia happens when one still cannot sleep despite his or her having an adequate opportunity to do so.“Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep, but rather, by an individual‘s ability to sleep long enough to feel healthy and alert during the day,” she relates.There are two types of insomnia: acute and chronic. Lasting for only one to three nights, acute insomnia is commonly caused by stressful events. Chronic insomnia however persists at least a month and is usually brought on by abnormalities that control sleeping and waking in primary chronic insomnia and underlying medical, psychiatric, behavioral, and environmental conditions in secondary chronic insomnia. Dr. Soriano adds that studies reveal that 20 percent to 40 percent of adults are insomniacs but only about a third of these patients seek treatment from physicians. Women more than men and the elderly are affected by it, she says. Indicator of mental disordersBased on to statistics, psychiatric disabilities are the leading causes of insomnia. Ninety percent of depressed patients report sleep disturbance like insomnia. An international clinical study also shows that out of the 811 insomniac respondents, 324 respondents, or 40 percent, had one or more psychiatric disorders. These psychiatric disorders include bipolar disorder that induces dramatic and drastic mood swings that affect one’s ability to function and is one of the leading causes of suicide incidences; anxiety disorders; and depressive disorders.

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