Insomnia: Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Article on Insomnia, its Causes, Symptoms and methods of treatment.

What is Insomnia ?
Causes of Insomnia
Symptoms of Insomnia
Treatment of Insomnia

What is Insomnia ?

Find it difficult getting to sleep? You are not alone.

As per an estimate more than 70% of world population is struggling with insomnia which is characterized by lack of adequate and/or good quality sleep, difficulty in falling asleep and change in sleep patterns which result in symptoms like emotional instability, confusion, loss of coordination and lack of concentration

Other allied symptoms of Insomnia include depression, fatigue, loss of memory and reduced efficiency.

Sleeping pills ranging from barbiturates to benzodiazepines, despite their side effects are an ever growing multi billion industry.

Diagnosing the cause of Insomnia


Insomnia can be caused due to a variety of factors.

Psychological causes:  Anger, mental tension, resentment, bitterness, worries, overwork, anxiety and overexcitement due to a stress situation or staggered working hours.

Physiological Causes: Irregular or bad habits of sleeping, obstructive apnea, constipation and other digestive disorders.

Extrinsic causes: Addiction of any kind, excessive consumption of alcohol, tea, coffee and other condiments, Overeating or eating too less in the night.

Symptoms of Insomnia


Besides difficulty in falling asleep, which is the main symptom of insomnia, there may be other allied symptoms which may arise due to lack of sleep. They are:

  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Lapses of memory
  • Emotional instability
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lack of concentration

Treatment of Insomnia


Diagnosing the cause is the fist step in treating Insomnia. This can be done by conducting a detailed physical, psychiatric and medical history check-up.

Acute Insomnia is generally treated without resorting to drugs. Drugs are prescribed only if insomnia is chronic or has some predictable trends of occurrence.

The steps followed in treatment of Insomnia (in order of their application) are:

1)         Cognitive and Behavioral measures

2)         Drug therapy

3)         Intermittent administration of hypnotics