A great number of sleep disorders has been identified, but in general, sleep disorders are related to any trouble sleeping, whether that is difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, sleeping too much, sleeping at inappropriate times, or strange sleep behavior.
Because many sleep disorders exist, the symptoms and treatments can vary depending on the particular disorder and what is causing it. Some sleep disorders are categorized by medical conditions, but many sleep disorders related to mental conditions can be treated with psychotherapy. Most often, psychotherapy is effective in helping individuals with mental health problems, or from stress or depression that is causing insomnia or other problems. Many mental disorders can disrupt sleep including anxiety disorders, panic disorders, mood disorders, and depression.
The approach to treating sleep disorders can differ depending on what techniques will suit certain individuals and their particular situations best. Treatment may focus on helping a person overcome specific problems or changing patterns of thinking or behavior. Psychotherapy is often able to identify, address, and treat the underlying causes of sleep issues such as stress, anxiety, or depression.
Basics on a Few Sleep Disorders
Insomnia – trouble falling or staying asleep, often awaken not feeling refreshed
Hypersomnia – episodes of excessive daytime sleepiness unrelated to the amount of sleep the night before, often taking naps at inappropriate times that do not provide relief of symptoms
Parasomnia – includes nightmares and night terrors, which are episodes of fear, gasping or screaming while sleeping and abruptly waking up
When to Seek Help
Get help if your sleeping behaviors start interfering with everyday life. Not getting adequate sleep can take a toll on a person’s mental ability to function, take away energy, and affect a person’s mood, ability to work, stay healthy and enjoy life. Sleep disorders may also signal other issues that should be addressed, and getting help may improve your quality of life.
For more information on sleep disorders, contact Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020 at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants.