What is Chronic Insomnia? | Best Review for Counselors

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Chronic Insomnia


Let’s think together for a minute about chronic insomnia. I’m not speaking today about occasional insomnia, which everyone suffers from, but chronic persistent insomnia and some of the reasons and forms of that insomnia takes. We have some of those on the board behind us.


For the next few minutes we’re just going to talk about those together. The first form of chronic insomnia I want to go over is psychological insomnia. Psychological chronic insomnia is due to anxiety or fear about the inability to fall asleep. The fear itself of not being able to fall asleep keeps the patient from falling asleep.


This is so persistent and chronic that it does create problems. It is an issue that needs to be dealt with on a psychological level, but it can cause a great deal of stress to the person who increases in their phobia the more times they are unable to fall asleep, which only exacerbates the situation.


Another reason for chronic insomnia is sleep state misperception. In this particular example someone has, in sleep study, been recorded to have normal sleep patterns through all five states of sleep and a normal duration of time, and yet when asked about their sleep will report that they’ve got no sleep, or very little sleep, or that the sleep they did receive was of a poor nature.


Even when they’re shown the results that you slept a normal amount of time, and at all five levels of sleep, will still persist in the belief that they got little or no sleep and that the lab results must be lying to them. Also, difficult psychological situation to deal with as the person has a hard time believing the lab results over their own experience.


It’s not entirely understood why this happens, but it is an issue of chronic insomnia where the person is getting plenty of sleep, and yet they believe and feel as if they get little to none. Moving on then, other forms of chronic insomnia would be hypnotic dependent sleep disorder.


In this case, someone trying to deal with their insomnia has started taking hypnotic drugs. In this case, we would commonly call them sleeping pills in order to sleep and has become dependent on them and found that they need to take higher and higher dosages in quantities in order to get the normal amount of sleep.


When they realize they become dependent on them and they’re not working as well as they had in the past, oftentimes their doctor will take them off of them. What they find when they are completely removed from the person, they are no longer taking the sleeping agents, that the chronic insomnia kicks into high gear and they report a great difficulty in falling asleep, a great deal of irritability, and other issues and problems not only from the lack of sleep but the inability to sleep because they’ve come off of the sleeping pills or hypnotic drugs.


Another and the final one we’ll talk about under chronic insomnia is fatal familial insomnia. This is a genetic disorder and in this particular form of chronic insomnia, you have a situation where the person is genetically, because of a protein that is tweaked, completely unable it’s a neurological disorder they are unable to sleep.


Of course this is very damaging to our health and it is fatal. The average length of time a person from the onset of this particular disorder lives is between 7 and 36 months, 18 months being the average. They go through various stages, the final ones concluding in a type of dementia, an inability to speak. There are lots of disorders associated with this, but there is no known cure for this fatal familial insomnia.


It is a neurological disorder that is incurable and always fatal. These are some of just a few of the chronic causes of insomnia that we’ve talked about today. I hope you understand them a little better.



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Last updated: 10/12/2018

 

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