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Several Symptoms and Causes of Insomnia

Apr 04, 2017

Several Symptoms and Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia or sleeplessness is a medical disorder in which people have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep as long as required. There is dissatisfaction with the quality of quantity of sleep. The DSM-5 criteria for insomnia states that the disorder must consist of the following sign and symptoms:

  • Difficulty in initiating sleep.
  • Difficulty in maintaining sleep with frequent awakenings
  • Early-morning awakening
  • Difficulty in going back to sleep after sudden awakening.
  • The disorder persists for least 3 nights per week and for at least for 3 months
  • The disorder is not due to narcolepsy/parasomnia/drug/medication

Insomnia can be separated into transient, acute, and chronic. Transient insomnia is caused by any other disorder or changes in sleep environment, depression, or stress and lasts for less than a week. Acute insomnia or short term insomnia or stress related insomnia is the lack of ability to have a sound sleep for a period of less than a month. Chronic insomnia lives on for more than a month and is caused by another disorder. It can be accompanied with double vision, hallucination, mental fatigue and muscular weariness.

Causes of insomnia include using psychoactive drugs or stimulants like cocaine, modafinil, methylphenidate, herbs, caffeine, amphetamines, alcohol, nicotine, opoids etc. Diseases like deviated nasal septum, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, nocturnal polyuria can cause insomnia. Insomnia may happen after thoracic surgery in persons with heart disease. Pain is obviously an important cause of insomnia. Stressful life events, fear, anxiety is another pertinent cause.  Mental disorders like dementia, ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder can also cause insomnia. Exercise-induced insomnia is commonly seen in athletes. The risk factors for insomnia include aging, work related stress, travelling to different time zones etc.


Lorediplon and Suvorexant are 2 drugs which look promising in treatment of insomnia and are in the development process.

Disclaimer: The information given in this write-up is purely for educating the reader. It is not meant to be a substitute for any advice from a medical expert.

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