Insomnia and depression – two sides of the same coin

Insomnia and depression often go hand in hand. Insomnia is very common among depressed patients, it is actually a hallmark of this disorder, which can change your life for the worse if not taken seriously. At the same time, evidence suggest that people with insomnia have a ten-fold risk of developing depression compared with those who sleep well. Insomnia and depression have a strong connection, they are basically two sides of the same coin and yet, the connection between them is far from simple. However, both problems share risk factors and biological features and they both may respond to the same treatment strategies.

Although 15% of depressed patients sleep too much, as many as 80% have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Until recently, insomnia was considered a symptom of depression but new research shows that it is more than that. Insomnia and depression are two distinct but overlapping disorders which must be treated simultaneously for a better chance at improving a patient’s mood, sleep quality and overall quality of life. The exact cause of depression is not known but many clinical studies show that it is caused by a chemical imbalances, behavioral imbalances or a combination of two. A disruption that triggers one of these imbalances can lead to depression, especially if someone is already prone to condition. Taking into consideration that undisturbed sleep is critical to refreshing the body and Furthermore, the effect of this disruption can into a vicious cycle that leads to a greater imbalance in behavior. The emotional balance is also affected while the ability to deal with stress is reduced to a minimum. Eventually, the patient feels that he is losing control over and his entire life can easily turn into a nightmare.

 

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In many cases, because the symptoms of depression overlap with symptoms of sleep disorders, there is an increased risk of misdiagnosis. Besides, the symptoms of depression usually vary from a patient to another and thus a depressive illness may take different forms, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, dysthymia and so on. However, it is quite easy to understand how depression and insomnia are strongly connected. But the relationship between them is far more than simply cause and effect. When the depressed patient experiences insomnia, the risk of recurring depression is greater than that of patients who don’t have insomnia. To this extent, evidence show that the treatment for insomnia can actually ease depressive symptoms and may even prevent relapses. In many cases, insomnia and depression can be treated as one problem. For instance, when seeking the help of a doctor, it is very common to be provided with a short term dose of popular sleep medications as well as the longer term SSRI meds. Although medication may seem like an effective course of treatment, it only provides short-term results. In order to obtain a permanent relief from this illness, it is highly important to benefit from a combination of psychotherapy (including cognitive-behavioral therapy) and/or pharmacological (drug) treatment. Each of these therapies can be used to treat both depression and insomnia but psychologists must carefully identify the exact cause of these symptoms prior to suggest a particular course of treatment. However, depression and insomnia is not exactly the most pleasant combination that you should learn how to wive with.

All in all, insomnia and depression are dialectically related, which means that both influence each other and both make the other worse. Consequently, improving either decreases the impact for both. Taking into account that these are clinical symptoms that engage many similar brain areas and functions, it makes sense that some things you do to prevent or treat one may help the other. In addition to all the therapies, ranging from cognitive-behavioral to physical to pharmacologic to techniques of rest-relaxation, you should also make some positive changes in your daily routine and enjoy some simple life activities that can help you prevent – or treat- both symptoms.

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