You’re tense, agitated, have low energy, suffer from rampant moodiness, and have trouble getting restful sleep. What’s going on? Any number of conditions could be affecting your quality of life, but a logical explanation could be the nexus of anxiety and insomnia – two illnesses that can lead to the other.
What is Anxiety?
“Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. It can help you to cope.” A temporary energy boost improves focus, but the fear lingers and can be devastating.
Common Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders – which begin as a single moment of anxiety but grow from there for different reasons – involve more than short-term worry or fear. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you know the anxiety doesn’t subside on its own and can worsen over time. The most common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder. But symptoms from most of these can be treated with options like ketamine.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of anxiety and more severe anxiety disorders may include:
- Constant feelings of restlessness and being on-edge
- Being easily tired
- Having problems concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Body shakes
- Having shortness of breath or feeling like you’re smothering or choking
- Excessive worry about encountering something or someone you’d rather avoid
- Taking definitive actions to evade something you fear
Don’t be afraid to seek out treatment if any of these symptoms interfere with daily living.
What are Sleep Disorders?
Sleep disorders are illnesses that harm your sleep or keep you from getting relaxing sleep and, because of this, can lead to daytime sleepiness, slowed responses, and other symptoms. All of us can have sleep problems occasionally. Insomnia and other sleep disorders can disturb all facets of your life, including your relationships, safety, how well you perform in school and work, cognition, mental health, weight, and the risk of getting diabetes and heart disease.
Is Anxiety Related to Insomnia?
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, “More than 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million report sleeping problems occasionally, according to the National Institutes of Health.” And a good amount of those people also experience anxiety.
Anxiety and anxiety disorders are related to insomnia, but the reverse is also true. Not only that, but research indicates one can result in the other.
After evaluating a study from Norway, Experts from Duke Health called insomnia, anxiety, and depression a “vicious cycle.” The research they noted indicates “that insomnia may predispose people to anxiety and depression, just as anxiety and depression may predispose people to insomnia. As the authors note, insomnia may be an early or even the first symptom of depression and anxiety. Clinicians and their patients should take note.”
What Causes Anxiety?
There is no known single cause for anxiety. Like other mental health conditions, its origin is based on many influencers, including:
- Certain personality traits
- Early childhood trauma
- Family history of anxiety or other mental illness
- Certain physical health conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, respiratory disorders, and drug and alcohol misuse or withdrawal
What Causes Insomnia?
Insomnia affects up to 35 percent of adults and has numerous causes:
- An irregular sleep cycle
- Bad sleeping habits
- Mental health issues like anxiety and depression
- Physical ailments and pain
- Neurological problem
- Certain sleep disorders
Many symptoms of anxiety disorders and sleep disorders can be treated, often concurrently.
Diagnosis & Treatment
To diagnose anxiety, you may undergo a medical exam to look for an underlying condition that causes your symptoms. If that fails, you could be referred to a mental health professional for a psychiatric evaluation which focuses on thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as triggers for anxiety symptoms. You’ll also be asked about your personal and family history of mental illness, with symptoms being compared to criteria in the DSM-5.
If you have insomnia, you may undergo a diagnostic procedure like a polysomnogram or an at-home apnea test. For either condition, treatment may involve psychotherapy, antidepressants, or medicine like ketamine.
Anyone who experiences anxiety or insomnia knows it’s a vicious circle of low energy, moodiness, and constant sleep problems. But treatment options are available. If you suffer from either, help is out there to manage the symptoms and regain control of your life. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options.