Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Sleep and Psychiatric Disorders

sleep

 

Sleep and psychiatric disorders often occur at the same time, and untreated sleep disorders can increase the risk of developing psychiatric conditions, such as depression, later in life. Recent reports found that as many as two-thirds of patients referred to sleep disorders centers have a psychiatric disorder. The most common psychiatric disorders associated with sleep complaints include depression, anxiety, and substance (illicit drugs and alcohol) abuse. Treating sleep disorders has been shown to improve the co-existing psychiatric condition and overall quality of life.

 

Depression

 

Depression is a mood disorder identified by low mood and/or lack of interest in activities previously found to be enjoyable. Depression affects one’s appetite, concentration, energy level, and motivation. People with depression report feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and have suicidal thoughts. The majority experience symptoms of insomnia, consisting of difficulty in falling asleep, staying asleep, early morning awakening, or non-refreshing sleep.

 

Studies of depressed patients demonstrate prolonged sleep latency (time to fall asleep), lack of slow wave sleep (also known as deep sleep), reduced REM sleep latency (time to REM sleep from sleep onset), and increased amount of REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement, a sleep cycle characterized by the following physiological changes:

 

Accelerated respiration

Increased brain activity

Eye movement

Muscle relaxation

There is much evidence linking depression with sleep disorders. It has been shown that insomnia increases the risk of depression and that depression can cause insomnia. In a 34-year follow-up study of medical students at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, the risk of developing depression among students with insomnia was twice that of those without insomnia. Of all the symptoms of depression, insomnia is often the last to respond to medications. Failure to treat insomnia increases the risk of a depression relapse.

 

Rarely, people with depression report excessive daytime sleepiness. This is more common in patients with seasonal affective disorder, also known as “winter depression.”

 

Anxiety disorders

 

People with anxiety disorders feel nervous, tense, have difficulty controlling worrying, and find it hard to relax. Sleep disorders are found in over 50 percent of patients with generalized anxiety disorder. Difficulty in falling and staying asleep is the most common sleep disturbance. People with anxiety disorders report a high level of psychological distress and are unable to relax enough to sleep at night. Insomnia in turn can raise anxiety levels. Nocturnal panic attacks are also common; these are sudden awakenings from sleep accompanied by intense anxiety, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and usually lead to difficulty falling back asleep.

 

Sleep and substance abuse

 

People who abuse alcohol and other illicit drugs frequently experience sleep problems. Many people say they use alcohol and illicit drugs in order to fall asleep. However, these substances are not effective in the long run and can lead to a variety of serious health and performance problems, including psychiatric and medical disorders, and psychosocial problems such as impaired performance at school or work. Though many believe in its sleep-promoting benefits, alcohol actually disrupts sleep, causing recurrent awakenings and a reduced amount of REM sleep. The use of alcohol and other illicit drugs to treat insomnia is strongly discouraged.

 

Treatment

 

Treatment of co-existing psychiatric and sleep disorders requires a thorough evaluation by experts with knowledge in both sleep medicine and psychiatry. Medications to treat depression and anxiety must be chosen carefully, as some promote wakefulness while others cause drowsiness.

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a structured and focused treatment for insomnia, typically provided by an experienced psychologist. CBT refers to a variety of behavioral strategies used to correct harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors that can cause or worsen insomnia. This type of therapy is not only effective, but its benefits outlast those of medications. Examples of CBT include relaxation therapy and biofeedback (a type of therapy that uses medical monitoring equipment to help patients learn to relax by controlling their vital signs — heart rate, breathing, etc).

 

People with insomnia should also adopt healthy habits and rituals that promote a good night’s sleep. These include:

 

Thinking positively

Establishing fixed bed and wake times

Relaxing before going to bed

Maintaining a comfortable sleeping environment

Avoiding clock watching

Following a 20 minute “Toss and Turn” rule (giving yourself only 20 minutes to continue tossing and turning, before leaving the bed for some restful activity)

Using the bedroom for sleep and sex only

Avoiding daytime naps

Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine within 6 hours of sleep

Exercising regularly but not within 3 hours of sleep

 

All health professionals should be asking about your sleep habits when they are talking to you.  Irregular sleep patterns, mind racing with thoughts, heart palpitations, inability to sleep for 5 hours straight, are all signs of underlying diseases and some serious conditions.  Many times this can be fixed with the right vitamin and supplement program.  We have found many people who are taking supplements but we the wrong amount or the wrong combination for them.

 

If you would like to make an appointment with us please just call, leave a voice message if no one can pick up at that time, and we will be happy to help you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

P Carrotners

312-972-9355

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Health and Disease

Strep: The Hidden Cause of Psychiatric Disorders

strep

Streptococcus Bacteria: The Hidden Cause of Psychiatric Disorders Almost No One Considers

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is launching a study to see whether Streptococcus bacteria, which cause strep throat, scarlet fever, and other infections such as pneumonia, may also be responsible for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in children.1
According to NIMH statistics, OCD affects approximately one percent of American adults.2
People with OCD are beset with anxious persistent thoughts (obsessions), or feel compelled to perform certain rituals like hand washing or repeatedly checking things (compulsions).
For many people, the condition begins during childhood or the teen years. The Streptococcus bacteria create proteins that mimic human proteins, thereby evading your immune system. Once your immune system identifies them as “foreign invaders,” it begins creating antibodies.
However, these antibodies can also attack human tissues such as your heart, joints, and brain.
Several years ago, evidence emerged suggesting that this attack on the brain can inflame brain structures, which possibly could trigger OCD (or OCD-like symptoms) in children. The NIMH now exploring what causes OCD, and will work on finding a treatment that might help reverse the syndrome.
According to the featured report in New Scientist,3 the Institute intends to find out whether an antibody treatment used to reduce autoimmune reactions might be beneficial.
The Gut-Brain Connection
From a proactive perspective, it’s important to realize that you have the potential to take control over your health, including your mental or psychiatric health.
Psychiatric conditions such as OCD are primarily believed to be the result of chemical dysfunction in your brain, or in some cases hereditary and therefore out of your control. Many fail to realize that a) your lifestyle can override genetic predispositions, and b) your lifestyle can be a major underlying cause of that chemical imbalance or dysfunction.
So, there’s plenty of reason to take a closer look at lifestyle factors such as diet and toxic exposures—whether you want to prevent a health condition, or treat it.
Some may object and say that a child hasn’t had enough time to develop bad lifestyle habits, but when it comes to health problems related to the brain, the GUT is typically involved, and children are now increasingly BORN with damaged gut flora—courtesy of less than ideal lifestyle choices by the child’s mother…
In a very real sense, you have two brains: one inside your skull and one in your gut.
While they may seem very different, these two organs are actually created out of the same type of tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system.
Your vagus nerve—the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen—connects these two organs together. Your gut actually produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin—thought to play an important role in OCD, in addition to having a beneficial influence on your mood in general—than your brain does, so optimizing your gut flora may indeed have tremendous benefit for your psychological health. And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that this needs to begin from birth, or even, ideally, before birth.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived Article
312-972-WELL