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Insomnia: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

December 29, 2012

We all have occasional nights when we can’t sleep, but long-term or chronic insomnia is much more serious. Untreated, it can increase your risk for diabetes, hypertension, depression, heart failure, and possibly even death in older adults. Chronic insomnia affects your memory, your ability to concentrate, and your safety on the road. So how do you know when it’s time to see a doctor for your insomnia? UT Health’s Dr. Jim Stocks answers questions about chronic insomnia in this post to HealthConnection.


Questions:

  1. What is chronic insomnia?
  2. What is the impact of not treating chronic insomnia?
  3. Given how serious chronic insomnia can be, why is it so often undiagnosed and untreated?
  4. What is the impact on one’s health for not treating long-term insomnia?
  5. What is the impact of chronic insomnia on work, health care costs, driving safety, etc.?
  6. Is chronic insomnia difficult to treat?
  7. Which prescription medications work best in treating chronic insomnia?
  8. What are your thoughts on the prescription medication Ambien?
  9. Are there any concerns as to the long-term use of prescription sleep medications?
  10. What about over-the-counter sleep aids such as antihistamines, Sominex, Tylenol PM, melatonin and chamomile tea?
  11. At what point should one see a doctor about chronic insomnia?
  12. When should one seek out a sleep specialist?

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