What comes first – the insomnia or the depression?
A recent article posted on Science Daily reported on research in which scientists studied treatment patterns for insomniacs. The scientists’ findings suggest that doctors are less likely to prescribe sleep aids, even those without risk of dependence, to insomniacs who also suffer from disorders such as depression or anxiety. The data showed these patients were 36% less likely to receive medication for their insomnia. However, there was an exception when it came to psychiatrists, who were twice as likely to prescribe sleep aids to patients with mental disorders.
Yes, it’s better not to have to prescribe sleep aids to anyone, but in extreme cases, a person’s lack of sleep could actually lead to deeper states of anxiety and depression. In turn, being depressed or anxious may cause them to have more difficulty sleeping.
It’s a chicken-and-egg type of story. But research has shown that if one of the conditions is left untreated it can exacerbate the other condition, said senior study author Rajesh Balkrishnan, the Merrell Dow professor of pharmacy at Ohio State University.
Balkrishnan went on to say that the results of this study call for “specific guidelines related to the treatment of insomnia that takes into consideration these different types of patients, because insomnia has become such a big public health problem.”
Bechdel, J. (2008). What comes first – the insomnia or the depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 18, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/02/10/what-comes-first-%e2%80%93-the-insomnia-or-the-depression/