Insomnia Defined

Insomnia. We’ve all heard the term thrown around in ordinary conversation. “She’s such an insomniac… she’s up all night!” Most of these “insomniacs” tend to be those who choose stay up late on a voluntary basis. However, insomnia is a serious medical condition that many people have to deal with on a daily basis.


By definition, insomnia occurs when someone is unable to fall asleep or stay asleep as long as they need to or would desire to. In some cases, insomnia is actually not a disorder in itself, but rather a symptom of another type of underlying medical or psychiatric disorder, which acts to deprive those suffering from these illnesses from sleep. Due to lack of sleep, insomnia can lead to physical impairment while a patient is awake. Insomnia is most commonly seen in those over 50, but it can affect anyone at any age. It can last anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more. Effects of insomnia include irritability, depression, memory problems and an increased rate in automobile accidents or heart related problems.
Insomnia can be grouped into primary insomnia, in which a patient does not experience insomnia due to any underlying mental illness, and secondary insomnia, where there are other problems present which keep one suffering from insomnia from sleeping, such as a chronic illness. Those with primary insomnia can be categorized as having There are three other ways of describing the kind of insomnia a patient may be dealing with: translent insomnia, acute insomnia and chronic insomnia.


Translent insomnia typically occurs for no longer than one week at a time. It can sometimes be caused by other disorders, but is more commonly the result of a change of sleeping environment, extreme depression, or stress. Its consequences are similar to sleep deprivation. They include impaired psychomotor function and sleepiness.


Acute insomnia is a more severe form of insomnia. A patient suffering from acute insomnia generally cannot get restful sleep consistently for nearly a month’s time. In this situation, insomnia is present despite an atmosphere conducive to sleep, yet refreshing sleep is not achieved, or worse, the patient has difficulty falling asleep staying asleep. Typically, stress is the root cause of acute insomnia.


Lastly is chronic insomnia. This disorder usually lasts for longer than one month. Chronic insomnia may be a primary disorder or caused by other underlying disorders. It’s common for people with elevated stress hormone levels to experience this type of insomnia. The results of chronic insomnia can be very different depending on their causes. These ailments can include mental fatigue, muscular fatigue or hallucinations. Chronic insomnia can be so serious that patients who live with the disorder see things in slow motion or deal with double vision every day.
Whether or you or someone you know is dealing with insomnia, or you are new to learning about the condition, its good to learn more about the condition so you can help yourself and others you know that may be dealing with insomnia.

Attached Images:
  •  License: Creative Commons image source

This article was contributed by, an employment search engine for finding physician jobs based on location and specialty.