What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is an important public health problem that requires accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Insomnia symptoms occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population and general insomnia disorder in 10% to 15%. Risk factors for insomnia include increasing age, female sex, comorbid conditions, shift work, and possibly unemployment and lower economic status. Insomnia can cause distress because of the fear of not being able to fall asleep at bedtime and lack of sleep affects the ability to completenormal activities daily. This can impair work-related productivity because of daytime drowsiness or fatigue.
Complaints of insomnia consist of one or more of the following:
Insomnia can be chronic (ongoing) or acute (short-term) problem. Chronic insomnia means having symptoms at least 3 nights a week for more than a month. Acute insomnia can range from one to two times for up to 2 weeks.
Medications that can interfere with sleep include allergy and cold medicines (e.g., Zyrtec, Allegra), beta-blockers (e.g., atenolol, carvedilol, metoprolol), steroids (e.g., cortisone, methylprednisolone, triamcinolone), and asthma medications (e.g., theophylline).
Despite the relative prevalence of insomnia only, 5% of individuals seek medical attention for the management of their insomnia. Approximately 10% to 20% of people that report insomnia use either nonprescription drugs or alcohol to self-treat.
Prescription Drugs for Treatment of Insomnia
Primary treatment goals are: