Symptoms and Effects of Primary Insomnia
Insomnia is defined as a "difficulty in initiating or maintaining a restorative sleep that results in fatigue, the severity of persistence of which causes clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning" (VandenBos, 2007, p. 485). The pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin, which relates to the ‘circadian’ rhythms which in time helps control sleep (Gillam, 2009). Through use of polysomnography, researchers find that inadequate sleep may be an effect of a longer period of stage 1 sleep while stages 3 and 4 do not get enough time. Insomnia predominately exists among young adults and people who are middle-aged. "Population surveys indicate a 1-year prevalence of insomnia complaints of 30%-45% in adults. The prevalence of primary insomnia is approximately 1%-10% in the general adult population and up to 25% in the elderly” (American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 2000, p. 601).
Some conditions are commonly confused with insomnia, and although they are similar to insomnia, they are not the disorder: "short sleepers" do not have the stress and tiredness and problems getting to sleep as do people with insomnia, but if they are not aware of their condition, they may develop an insomnia style of sleep; people with "Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder" only experience symptoms of insomnia at times they are not used to sleeping; Breathing disorders such as sleep apnea are also confused, but these mainly occur with breathing (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). Primary insomnia shows symptoms to determine whether a person has the disorder and treatments are provided to help with the symptoms, which are mainly drugs or other type of remedy.
In order to be diagnosed, primary insomnia must not occur along with another mental or sleep disorder, or during substance use. In other words, insomnia symptoms must occur independently from other factors. According to DSM-IV-TR, primary insomnia is associated with anxiety, depression, tiredness during daytime, and it negatively affects attention skills. Genetics are linked to the development of insomnia researchers are uncertain how strong the relationship is (2000).
Women and older people are more prone to experience insomnia in general, older people and men have trouble staying asleep, and younger people normally have trouble achieving sleep. Symptoms of insomnia usually begin from a stress-triggering element. Such symptoms may be lengthened can lead to insomnia (DSM-IV-TR, 2000). Studies have conveyed two main concepts related to insomnia are “physiological, emotional and cognitive activation” and how much a person is affected when the person goes through times of hardship. If insomnia is not taken care of then it may cause other disorders such as depression (Alexandru, 2009, p. 68).
Of many treatments of insomnia, two approved ones are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy....