For many people, depression and insomnia seem to go hand in hand. In fact, which comes first is a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario. Are you losing sleep because you're depressed, or are you depressed because you aren't getting enough sleep?
Perhaps the answer is a bit of both. Studies indicate that 90% of depressed people suffer from insomnia. Conversely, people who are already have insomnia are at greater risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders than those who sleep well.
When treating people with both these disorders, doctors have found that treating insomnia issues often helps patients overcome depression more quickly. There's a misconception that people who are depressed sleep all the time or have trouble getting out of bed.
Yet, in reality this isn't often the case. Studies show that this particular reaction only occurs in about 15% of depressed patients. The majority of people suffering from depression don't sleep well - and depression and insomnia are much more likely to be found together.
Moreover, data reveals that seniors with insomnia who have no previous history of depression are nearly six times more likely to develop symptoms of depression to coincide with sleeplessness.
Sleep Deprivation and Your Emotions
Sleeping disorders, and the subsequent sleep deprivation, have a significant impact on your physical and emotional health. Poor concentration, a short-temper, aggression, or tears are much more likely when you're tired.
A study completed at the University of California found that people lose a certain amount of control over their emotions and reactions when they are sleep deprived. The findings showed that lack of sleep seems to trigger a type of hyperactive response in the region of the brain that normally keeps emotions under control.
As both anxiety and depression are highly emotional conditions, this helps to explain the strong link between depression and insomnia. Additionally, research conducted at the University of Basle in Switzerland found that persistent sleep disturbances are associated with significant risk of both relapse and recurrence in mood disorders and an increased risk of suicide.
The findings indicated that patients with major depression show profoundly altered patterns of nocturnal hormone secretion, increasing their risk for developing anxiety, depression, or mood disorders.
Treating Depression and Insomnia
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often used to treat depression. These can be beneficial in treating people who are suffering from both depression and sleeplessness, as they produce both sedating and mood-lifting effects.
SSRI's include the medications Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft and Paxil. Sometimes a hypnotic sleep medication such as Ambien or Sonata may also prescribed by your doctor.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, and psychotherapy can also be helpful in treating the combination of depression and insomnia.
Some doctors recommend both combining prescription medicines and therapy for the best long-term results. The drugs often work in an immediate way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression or insomnia. While,the therapy helps people learn coping strategies and ways to reduce the triggers, which can reduce (or even prevent) recurrences.
Once the acute symptoms are under control, there are a lot of different things that you can do to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. You'll find lots of information, tips and advice that will help you get a better nights' sleep, on this site page: How To Sleep Better.
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Published by Jules Sowder