Treating Insomnia

After completing the diagnostic process, your doctor will prescribe a variety of treatments for your insomnia depending on its seriousness and the underlying cause. if you’ve been diagnosed with secondary insomnia, your treatment will focus on the underlying medical problems disturbing your sleep.

When that problem has been resolved you’ll get better. a 1998 study published in the journal Sleep found that many people with insomnia try to treat the problem themselves. insomniacs who participated in the survey reported using alcohol, over the counter medications and prescriptions.

If you’ve been self-treating your insomnia, telling your doctor what medications or treatments you’ve been taking is vital to make sure that whatever he prescribes doesn’t conflict with those treatments.

More than likely, your doctor will put you through a weaning off period to stop whatever you’re doing so you can get on the treatment protocol he or she believes will be most effective.

One of the reasons it may be so difficult insomniacs to get the help they need is that many doctors still believe that all sleeping pills are dangerous and addictive, which is no longer the case. Today, prescription medications are available to help get a decent night sleep.

Prescription sleep aids are available in the following categories:

oBenzodiazepine hypnotics

oNon-benzodiazepine hypnotics-most of the benefits of the benzodiazepine hypnotics without the undesirable side effects

oSedating antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and antipyschotics-can have significant side effects and may create additional problems when patients stop taking them.

Sleep-promoting substances have evolved over the years. since ancient times, people used opiates and alcohol to induce sleep, long before anyone knew much about their addictiveness and side effects.

In the 1860’s the 1st hypnotic medication was developed: chloral hydrate (alcohol in tablet form). then at the turn of the century, barbiturates came on the scene and dominated the market as the leading sleep-inducing medication until the 1960s.

Barbiturates are dangerous and addictive; therefore the safer and less addictive benzodiazepines were a welcome replacement and quickly supplanted barbiturates as the leading prescribed sleep-promoting substance.

In the last 2 decades, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics have been developed and appear to be even safer and less habit forming.

 

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