The treatment of insomnia can be divided into two areas: treatment with medication and treatment without medication. Alcohol consumption is the most common sleeping aid used by many to help produce sleep. Yet, alcohol intake is of limited benefit and often has a rebound effect. Additionally, alcohol use can also result in tolerance and dependence. Intake of prescription pills like antihistamines, benzodiazepines, melatonin, ramelteon, anti-depressants, and non-benzodiazepines will help an individual get some sleep. However, as with all drugs, there are potential side-effects associated with its intake.
In rare cases prescribed and over-the-counter medications for insomnia may cause allergic reactions, unusual behaviors, impaired thinking, balance problems and night wandering. Similarly, herbal medicines like chamomile, valerian, and kava-kava are often used to sleep; however, such forms of medications do not assure any long-term effectiveness and safety (The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. , 2009). Non-medical treatment methods applied in helping insomnia patients are centered on helping patients regain their normal sleeping habit.
Some of techniques employed can be done by the individual himself such as developing regular schedules, avoiding stimulating drugs, heavy meals before sleep, and alcohol intake, exercising, minimizing light use and noise during sleep, and maintaining comfortable room temperature. However, the use of behavioral techniques which are usually conducted by professionals are considered as the most helpful form of treatment, for insomnia patients as these are more durable compared to medication intake.
Behavioral techniques include (1) relaxation therapy, which consist of strategies that promote relaxation, elimination of anxiety and body tension; (2) sleep restriction technique, which is a treatment process wherein an individual’s bed time is decreased, causing partial deprivation of sleep then gradually increasing the hours of sleep until it returns to a normal night sleep; (3) stimulus control, which is a technique that teaches the patient to use the bedroom for activities that are associated with sleep; as such, patients are encouraged to use the bed only for sleep and sex; and (4) cognitive therapy, which consists of techniques that replace the patient’s worries of not sleeping with positive thoughts in order to reinforce them to get enough sleep (The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. , 2009). In conclusion, insomnia is a sleep disorder that is familiar but is still disregarded by many. Most people are not aware of the medical options available in curing the said disorder. As such, the lack of knowledge about treatment availabilities often compounds the problem, and in the long run, it affects an individual’s quality of life. In this regard, it would be advisable for people who already feel the symptoms to seek medical help in advance because early intervention may address the problems brought by insomnia to one’s life. References
Health-cares. net. (2005). What are the Symptoms of Insomnia? Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://neurology. health-cares. net/insomnia-symptoms. php. The HealthCentralNetwork, Inc. (2009). Insomnia. HealthScout: Health Encyclopedia- Diseases and Conditions. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://www. healthscout. com/ency/68/245/main. html#QuestionsToAskYourDoctorAboutInsomnia. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009, Jan 8). Insomnia. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://mayoclinic. com/health/insomnia/DS00187. Nabili, S. T. (2008, July 31). Insomnia. Emedicine Health. Retrieved April 3, 2009, from http://www. emedicinehealth. com/insomnia/article_em. htm.