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Sleep Disturbance and PTSD

November 9, 2011

I was watching a news article about sleep disturbance this past week-end.  It said that more and more people are suffering from insomnia due to increased stress and in some cases poor sleep habits.  I couldn’t help but think of my own problems in this area.

Most people have problems at work or at home due to various stresses that may be occuring.  These could include: finances, marriage problems, work issues, health issues etc.  To try and blot their constant rehashing of things over and over in their minds they try to artificially help it along by keeping the TV on or have a radio going to provide some noise that might help. 

One conclusion was that lack of sleep causes depression and then stress.  A sign of depression is always to be always tired and needing sleep.  So you can see the conundrum.  You want to sleep but you can’t, this too plays on the mind and creates a vicious cycle that is hard to escape from.

Now add in one more piece that the PTSD sufferer deals with and these are the nightmares and recurring memories.  This terrible sleeplessness cocktail is one that can lead easily to serious problems quite quickly.  They say that lack of sleep for a long enough time can cause insanity.  I really notice it even if I go even a night or two without sleep.  

Another terrible solution for those suffering of trying to fall asleep is using alcohol, unprescribed drugs or both.  Brain numbing is after all a relief, although a poor one, for blocking memories and sleeplessness.  The idea is to drink until you collapse and then not worry about it. This is not a long term solution but rather a dangerous short term fix. 

It has been shown that both alcohol and drugs disturb sleeping patterns and create more difficulties in the long run.  Better to seek professional help from someone who can then monitor any drugs that are prescribed.  No matter what, if you suspect that you or, in some cases, your mate are suffering from PTSD please seek help.  It will not go away by itself and will only grow worse and in some cases become chronic.