Having trouble sleeping? Are you fatigued during the day even after you have had a good night’s sleep? Do you wake up several times a night staring at the ceiling for hours on end? Frustrated that everyone else in your house is sleeping but you?
Well, you are not alone. Many people have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Perhaps you are asking “Do I just have insomnia or do I have an actual sleep disorder?”
The answer is simple: Insomnia is a sleep disorder.
In the past, insomnia was understood to be just a symptom of other medical problems rather than an actual sleep disorder. As an example, if a person was diagnosed with depression the insomnia was considered a symptom of depression. The general thought was if the depression is treated, then insomnia would go away. Treat the diagnosis, and all the symptoms would be dealt with as well.
While great in theory, this idea breaks down in reality. What about those that do not have any other medical conditions, but still experience difficulty sleeping? How about those that were treated successfully for their other medical conditions, yet still experienced insomnia. What then?
Thankfully, times have changed. Insomnia is no longer considered just a symptom but an actual disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition – the manual from which mental health professional draw their diagnoses – formally cites insomnia as a full-fledged disorder in its own right.
Why does this matter? This is great news for those that suffer from insomnia because it validates their experiences. It further clarifies the distinction between situational sleep difficulties and insomnia. Most people would agree that sleep is diminished during times of personal stress. Likely, when the personal stress goes away, normal sleep usually returns. A difference exists between sleep difficulty that lasts for days than lasts for months or even years.
Only a physician can make an accurate diagnosis of insomnia or a sleep disorder. Check with your primary care physician or call our office for a sleep consultation.