Insomnia 2

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Secondary Insomnia

          More common than primary insomnia.

          Occurs when insomnia is caused by a psychiatric disorder (most often depression) or a medical disorder (most often chronic pain

          Underlying disorder needs to be treated appropriately. E.G. many people sleep much better after taking anti-depressants even though these have no effect on sleep patterns of people who are not depressed.

Causes of secondary insomnia

          Hormonal changes in women, e.g. premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.

          Decreased melatonin production: levels of melatonin, decrease as a person ages. By age 60, the body produces very little melatonin.

          Medical conditions: e.g. allergies, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease.

Psychiatric conditions: secondary insomnia is a common symptom of depression. It is also associated with anxiety disorders, PTSD and dementia.

          Overuse of stimulants – caffeine, alcohol, nicotine

          Parasomnias – events that disrupt sleep but don’t cause daytime sleepiness, e.g. Sleep apnoea, restless leg syndrome

Other factors

          Genetics: Watson et al 2006, genetic vulnerability makes it more likely a person will develop insomnia if they experience any of the pre-disposing things.

          Personality: high levels of neuroticism increases vulnerability as linked to increased arousal & anxiety (Heath et al 1998)

          Gender: women diagnosed more with both primary & secondary - ? Have higher levels of neuroticism & anxiety, ? Seek help


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