Are you suffering from any of these symptoms?
- Tired during the day
- Can’t concentrate
Do you often back out of activities with family and friends because you feel a lack of energy and then feel depressed and isolated?
Are you having sleep issues, such as:
- Tossing and turning as you try so hard to fall asleep
- Becoming anxious about how you’re going to be able to function the next day as you watch the clock for hours, still not able to sleep
We sat down with psychologist and insomnia treatment provider, Dr. Debra Haldeman, Ph.D., to get some insights on the link between depression, anxiety, and insomnia, and to learn about the new first-line treatment.
BW: What’s the latest research showing on the connection between depression, anxiety, and insomnia?
DH: There was a fascinating study done. 900 people were diagnosed with Major Depression. When they were more accurately diagnosed, only 28% of these people had depression, the other 628 people had insomnia. I believe that successful sleep contributes greatly to physical and psychological health, so I often encourage my patients who tell me about their sleep issues and then we work to get the sleep on track. It creates a tremendous relief for the patient and has the additional benefit of helping improve other areas of concern.
BW: Insomnia is usually treated with medication. What issues do you see with that?
DH: The problem with sleep medications is that they are not adequately researched, they can cause unhealthy, even life-threatening, side effects – especially for the age 60+ population, they are not designed for long-term use, and they don’t treat the causes of insomnia. Medications are like sleep band-aids – remove the medication and the insomnia is back. Some of the most popular sleep medications – Sonata, Lunesta, and Ambien have recently been black-boxed by the FDA. When a medication is “black boxed” it means that the FDA is using its’ strongest warning label before taking the product off market because the side effects can cause such serious health risks. We don’t know the consequences of long-term sleep medication use, and although there is no actual research to prove it, there is a strong suspicion that it may be linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.
BW: Wow, those are serious issues! What’s the alternative for people with insomnia?
DH: I’ve discovered a specialized form of cognitive behav