Primary Insomnia - Jason Wang Abnormal Psychology Dr...

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Jason Wang April 26, 2007 Abnormal Psychology Dr. Brittany Allen Final Paper Primary Insomnia Every year, people of all ages suffer from restless nights of sleep. Some fail to acknowledge the impact their lack of sleep has on their lives, and continue to lead a life of miserable symptoms as a result of it. Left untreated, these symptoms can lead to a sleep disorder called primary insomnia. Even worse, if the insomnia is left untreated, it can lead to further medical conditions that may impair the patient’s routine of daily functioning. However, treatments are available to help in relieving symptoms of this disorder, leading to a better quality of life. Primary insomnia is a sleep disorder that leaves patients in a state of exhaustion during the day because of their difficulty maintaining restful sleep or lack of restorative sleep, causing this disorder to affect other aspects of the patient’s life. The diagnostic criteria used for primary insomnia indicates the impact of the disorder on the patient’s life. One of the more glaring criterion used to asses this condition gives a direct insight as to how it affects the patient. According to the practical definition of abnormal behavior, the patient experiences some type of physical or psychological discomfort (Sue, Sue, and Sue 8). In most patients, “the predominant complaint is difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, or nonrestorative sleep, for at least 1 month” ( DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria 1). The trouble of falling asleep can cause psychological discomfort because worrying about their lack of sleep results in unneeded stress. Also, the patient’s lack of sleep throughout the course of a month can lead to physical discomfort from the ongoing exhaustion. Along these same lines, the stress and fatigue from the disorder can intrude upon other areas of the patient’s life. After the patient 1
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wakes up, “the sleep disturbance (or associated daytime fatigue) causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” (DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria 1). Not only will the patient suffer the night of not being able to fall asleep, but the patient will face negative consequences as they try to perform their daily routines. With a job, this may become problematic when the patient cannot physically stay awake. If the patient’s productivity decreases throughout the course of a month, the employer will likely demote or even fire the patient. If the patient overcomes the physical aspect of the sleep disorder, the individual may still struggle with cognitive impairment, thus producing the same effect of decreased productivity. The same problem can become equally as damaging to the patient’s social life and family life as well. The aforementioned diagnostic criteria separate primary insomnia from other sleep disorders. Therefore, primary insomnia “ . . . does not occur exclusively during the course of narcolepsy, breathing-related sleep disorder, circadian rhythm sleep disorder, or a parasomnia” (DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria 1).
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