How Can I Stay Asleep With Anxiety?
Insomnia is very common in cases of anxiety that makes a person toss in bed. People need a good night’s sleep to stay active and focused the next day, therefore, sleep is must. There are various pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to sleep at night.
Pharmacological approach involves the use of medication, which are really effective and work instantly. The three classes of drugs for insomnia are benzodiazepines (lorazepam, estazolam, temazepam, triazolam), non-benzodiazepines hypnotics, antidepressants and sedatives (zolpidem, trazodone, zaleplon, eszopiclone, diazepam) and melatonin agonist (ramelteon). OTC medications such as melatonin and antihistamines can be used for early and mild cases of insomnia to induce sleep. The medications can start working in as short as a weeks’ time. However, non-benzodiazepines are preferred over benzodiazepines as they are equivalent in efficacy and are considered safer.
Benzodiazepines are not prescribed for long term as these can be addictive and patients may become tolerant to them. They can, however, be used on an as needed basis.
The most common form of non pharmacological management of insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It focuses on many aspects, such as restructuring of cognition, practicing proper sleep hygiene, sleep restriction, relaxation therapy and stimulus control. CBT in combination with medications is proved to be very effective in managing insomnia and improving sleep drastically in anxiety patients. Other non-pharmacological therapies that can help sleep are physical exercise, yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, bright light, healthy diet and nutrition with avoidance of coffee, caffeine that may prolong sleep cycle and keep you awake for longer periods.
Sleep disorder are very common in anxiety patients and can affect a person’s health, both mental and physical drastically. It is important to discuss sleep disorder with healthcare professional, so that they can direct towards appropriate treatment with either pharmacotherapy, nonpharmacotherapy or a combination of the two.
Anxiety is an abnormal feeling of apprehension and fear that can lead to varied physical symptoms. People may present with anxiety at different levels and different scenarios. The common types of anxiety are generalized anxiety disorder is one type of anxiety in which a person is excessively anxious and worried about daily life scenarios, which include job, family, school, personal well-being and other minor worries that lead to apprehension at an elevated level. Symptoms include fatigue, restlessness, lack of concentration or focus, disturbed sleep cycle, muscle tension and agitation.
Panic disorder is another form of anxiety that causes panic attacks, which is a sudden and unexpected period of overwhelming apprehension that might be associated with a trigger and may last several minutes. The physical symptoms associated with panic attack are chest pain, increased heart palpitations, tachycardia, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, trembling, chills and shakes, numbness, tingling, hot flashes, nausea, detached feeling and abdominal pain. The person might confuse these symptoms with an impending heart attack and fear death.
Phobias are another form of anxiety in which people have an overwhelming fear of a specific situation, place, activity or object that do not pose any harm to them. The fear is so intense that they nearly avoid these things so as to escape anxiety caused due to these conditions. Examples include, phobia of animals (dogs, cats, snakes, spiders, lizard, etc.), flying, water, heights, blood, and the list goes on. Agoraphobia is another form of abnormal fear of public situations and places that might deem the person helpless and embarrassed, which leads to avoiding such places. The person may suffer from fears of two or more situations, which include present in open spaces or closed spaces, public transportation use, being in a crowd or being outside the home alone. Social phobia is yet another phobia in which people fear social interaction, to speak publicly, or to drink/eat publicly.
Separation anxiety is anxiety disorder in which individuals are extremely worried about being separated from their loved ones and may even have nightmares of separation.
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