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What Do You Know About Insomnia

Before going any further, it's important to determine exactly what insomnia is and isn't. Insomnia is a symptom. It's not a diagnosis or a disease. Many medical, psychological, medicinal, dietary, and other factors can cause insomnia. By definition, insomnia is the feeling of not being able to sleep or getting enough sleep when the opportunity arises.

The statistics on insomnia are amazing. In a survey of Americans, 36 percent complained of difficulty sleeping earlier in the year. More than a quarter of Americans say their insomnia is intermittent, while about one in ten describes it as chronic. In total, this means that more than twenty-five million Americans have chronic problems.

Unfortunately, many suffer from years of insomnia before seeking help. Almost 70 percent of insomnia sufferers have never discussed this with their doctor. Instead, they learn to cope, even if it distorts their relationships, their careers, their happiness. Overcoming strategies can destroy their own rights, alcohol and sleeping pills, for example. In fact, 40 percent of insomniacs suffer from sleep apnea or alcohol.

Many people who feed poorly discuss insomnia with their doctor. Only 26 percent of insomnia sufferers tell their doctors about their problems during visits for other purposes. And only 5 percent see their doctor specifically to discuss their sleep problems. About 4 percent of Americans use prescription drugs to help them sleep, and their numbers increase rapidly. But except for certain conditions, sleeping pills are not the real solution to insomnia and sometimes they can make the condition worse. Long-term use can lead to dependence and supplementation, even if medications lose their ability over time to promote sleep.

But there are alternative solutions to sleeping pills. However, in managed care, doctors are not given the time to fully evaluate your condition. That means the burden often falls on you. First, remember that insomnia is a symptom, not a diagnosis. It has many causes, and the right ones need to be found before treatment can begin. Think of it as, say, incessant coughing. The causes are tuberculosis, cancer, pneumonia, allergies, or flu. Chicken soup and rest may help cool, but it won't do much for lung cancer. The same logic must apply to insomnia.

Getting to the root cause of insomnia can be complicated. Often many factors are at work, building each other up for a nap. In addition, insomnia that begins with medical problems often persists long after the medical problem is resolved. This insomnia often causes the patient to develop poor sleep habits. The disease can be cured, but the habit dies.


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