SLEEP DISORDERS PSYCHOLOGY
Dr Larry recently discussed sleep disorders and how it affects us in our lives. General feature of the most common sleep disorder without organic cause is the insufficient duration or quality of sleep over a considerable period of time in the sense of insomnia . Here, however, the deviation from the usual average sleep duration should not be used, as, for example, so-called "short sleepers" need very little sleep in order to be able to recover and perform well. On the other hand, an objectively long sleep can not be experienced as recovering from the person concerned.
The Most Common Complaints Of People With Sleep Disorders Are:
Often, a vicious cycle develops: the repeated experience of insomnia causes a fear of not falling asleep or being able to sleep through. Not infrequently there is an excessive mental involvement with the consequences of sleep disorder. As a result, sufferers feel tense, anxious, worried or depressed at bedtime. They are plagued by tears of their thoughts, pondering about inadequate sleep, but also about personal problems, health and illness or death. This inner experience hinders physical and mental relaxation, thereby increasing the likelihood of not being able to fall asleep.
These unpleasant experiences often lead to those affected trying to help themselves with alcohol, drugs or other substances on the sleep disorder, which, however, the problem in the long term reinforced.
In order to diagnose a clinically meaningful sleep disorder, according to international guidelines, there must be a subjective complaint of difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or having poor sleep quality. The sleep disorder must occur for at least one month at least three times a week. Excessive involvement with sleep disorders and a strong concern about their negative consequences, a subjective suffering or a disturbing impairment of everyday activities in the wake of sleep disorders must be present.
Sleep disorders affect both the physical and mental health of humans. Poor sleep affects the daytime mood and performance of a person. Sound sleep is a prerequisite for living a happy and stress free life. Psychological sleep disorders fall into many classes such as bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia.
Bipolar disorder was previously known as manic depression. Bipolar disorder is characterized by energized or activated states of moods in addition to a general mood of depression. The mood changes are often unpredictable and without any apparent reason. The intensity and duration of the mood swings vary from person to person. People with bipolar disorder have a greater tendency to commit suicide than persons suffering from other kind of depressions. This disorder cannot be fully cured, but it can be managed to a certain extent.
Depression, also called melancholia, is a state of sadness that has reached to the point of being disruptive to an individuals social functioning and activities of daily living. The treatment of depression varies from person to person. Medication and psychotherapy are the two common modes of treatment, often used in conjunction with each other. When the conventional chemical treatments fail, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be tried. Alternative treatments to depression include exercise and the use of vitamins, herbs or other nutritional supplements.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by exaggerated ego and personality turbulences creating social and occupational dysfunctions. An effective treatment for the symptoms of this disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Psychological sleep disorders can lead even to serious mental illnesses such as psychosis, if not well attended for.
A drug therapy of sleep disorders is usually rather not indicated, but often contraindicated, as drugs can change the sleep architecture unfavorable and thus rather deteriorate the sleep and its regenerative effect in the long term. Sleeping pills can be helpful in the short term during massive exercise, but in the long term methods of cognitive behavioral therapy are the drug of choice.
An important step in the treatment of sleep disorders is to develop in-depth basic knowledge of the sleep hygiene mentioned above. Subsequently, unfavorable assumptions and thoughts concerning sleep are checked and processed. Sep-tine structured and gradual changes in sleep habits help those affected to find their way back to a healthier sleep pattern. Supportive relaxation methods are taught.
A psychotherapeutic treatment is also very helpful in the other sleep problems mentioned above, where the procedures can not be presented in detail here. The approaches are varied, for example, in the treatment of nightmares, the use of individual, appropriately modified elements of trauma therapy may be helpful.