What Are the Options for Insomnia Treatment?
In Traditional Western Medicine, insomnia treatment is invariably a sleeping pill. These drugs are specifically intended for brief, short-term intervention. The official guidelines restrict usage to several days, and only when absolutely necessary. Short-term treatment is advised due to the high potential for addiction.
These drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription medications, are known to significantly impair the natural stages of sleep and can lead to other medical problems such as obesity or high blood pressure.
For more severe or chronic insomnia, combination drug therapy may be used, possibly combined with biofeedback or hypnosis. Severe cases require a thorough workup to rule out an organic cause and may require overnight sleep laboratory evaluation.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is very successful treating insomnia. Its use of acupuncture and herbal therapy is safe, effective and will not adversely disrupt the normal sleep pattern.
The insomnia pattern is identified along the guidelines of Chinese medicine. Treatment consists of correcting the root cause of the insomnia with a combination of acupuncture, herbs, diet evaluation and meditation practices.
Because insomnia is a symptom reflecting an underlying core imbalance, the treatment must focus on and correct this core imbalance if the treatment is to be successful.
Frequent insomnia is simply the first symptom to alert you there is a problem; the actual problem may seem to be unrelated. Early diagnosis and intervention at this stage often helps avoid a more complicated issue from developing. Prevention is always the primary goal.
Mind, Body and Spirit
“Dr. Ritchie uses an integrated treatment approach combining mind, body, and spirit. This holistic approach enables you to understand how every aspect of your life impacts your health.”
Georgia O., Olney, IL
What Is Insomnia?
Traditional Western Medicine defines insomnia as an interruption of the normal sleep cycles resulting in an inadequate quantity or quality of sleep. During normal sleep, the body goes through different stages identified by a certain brain wave pattern, which can be recorded. A certain amount of time is spent in each stage in order for normal sleep to occur.
Many factors must be assessed to determine the cause of a sleep disturbance. A large percentage of sleeplessness is temporary in nature and will resolve spontaneously. Other patterns of insomnia are situational and will correct when the situational factors are changed or the patient adjusts to the new situation, such as jet lag.
Other inciting factors are organic and entail, at times, lengthy investigations to determine the cause. Medications, alcohol, drugs and coffee can cause significant disruptions in the stages of sleep. Over time, the disruption to the sleep cycles can produce side effects due to the poor quality of sleep, even when the total number of hours sleeping are normal.
Examples of insomnia include the inability to fall asleep; reawakening frequently; sleeping too little; and awakening unrefreshed. Conditions that may contribute to insomnia include sleep apnea; restless leg syndrome; hormone imbalances; kidney disease; and heart problems.
Traditional Chinese Medicine views sleep as a natural, yet delicate, process requiring a harmonious and coordinated integration of mind, body and spirit. Insomnia typically reflects some degree of imbalance existing in one or all three of these categories. The imbalance may be greater in one area than another, but all three components must be investigated to properly diagnose and treat the insomnia. Other factors that may contribute to insomnia are diet; stress; drugs; and certain environmental conditions.
What Are the Symptoms of Insomnia?
In Traditional Western Medicine, insomnia is a subjective feeling that the amount of sleep obtained is insufficient to meet normal daily requirements. The patient may feel a variety of both physical and emotional effects as a result of the sleep deprivation. These symptoms can include:
- Loss of appetite
- Poor concentration
- Emotional instability
- Lack of stamina
- Breathing difficulties
- Dream disturbances, etc.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, insomnia is characterized by very specific and recognizable patterns of sleep-related symptoms. Each pattern has different diagnostic implications and treatment needs. For instance, the inability to fall asleep implies an entirely different diagnosis and treatment than the inability to stay asleep.
Another symptom of equal diagnostic and therapeutic importance is the time of night a sleep disturbance occurs. A patient who consistently wakes up at 1:00 A.M. is recognized as a completely different pattern of insomnia than the patient who primarily awakens at 3:00 A.M. These different patterns have a strong correlation to our current understanding of how hormonal cycles and levels influence our sleep.
Insomnia Treatment that Works
If you’d like to find out more about insomnia treatment that really works or how Sedona Synergy Medicine can help you with your specific health issues, call Dr. Ritchie for a free local or remote phone consultation today.
Take Charge of Your Health
Download The Synergy Health Guide, your guide to simple, proactive tools that can show you when your system is out of balance and what to do about it.