Chronic Insomnia

i have suffered from chronic insomnia for over 20 years. i have had 2

sleep studys done and i only get into stage 1&2 and that is it.mayo

clinic told me in 1993 that i had fibromyalgia. i am going downhill

all the time. does anyone have any answers?

One thought on “Chronic Insomnia

  1. Dear bjdog123-ga,

    Wow, you must be feeling pretty desperate by now. However, don’t

    give up. A positive and determined attitude is going to get you a lot

    farther in licking this problem than giving up. So, let’s give this a


    As you know, we are not doctors here at Google Answers. The best I

    can do, in terms of answering your question, is to find as many

    references as possible to chronic insomnia and let you peruse them to

    try to make some sense of your situation, and then decide on some

    other directions you might want to pursue. Unfortunately, doctors

    often don’t have an easy answer, and often the patient has to continue

    to fight with extreme diligence to find an answer. Therefore, in your

    case, let’s see if you can try to overcome this by looking at the

    following resources and analyzing them according to your own, unique


    First of all, a lengthy article published by the American Academy of

    Family Physicians covers chronic insomnia in great detail. The article

    stresses that “insomnia is essentially a symptom and not a diagnosis”;

    therefore, it may change your thinking a bit in how you might look at

    this problem. Chronic insomnia is considered complex because it is

    normally caused by a number of factors concurrently, rather that one,

    isolated reason, “including medical conditions, medications,

    psychiatric disorders and poor sleep hygiene.” Causes of insomnia may

    include “a prodromal (sort of a forerunner) indication of psychiatric

    illness (particularly depression),12 a sleep-related breathing

    disorder such as sleep apnea,13,14 a movement-related disorder such as

    restless leg syndrome15-17 or a circadian rhythm disorder. Other

    causes listed include:


    Gastroesophageal reflux disease

    Benign prostatic hyperplasia


    Congestive heart failure

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

    Peptic ulcer disease

    Allergic rhinitis (nasal obstruction)

    Seizure disorder

    Medical conditions that cause pain, such as

    arthritis,bursitis,fibromyalgia and reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

    I imagine the Mayo Clinic would certainly have identified some of

    the other causes mentioned, such as sleep apnea, excessive snoring and

    excessive movement during sleep. However, the other possiblities in

    the article may not have been considered. Interestingly, fibromyalgia

    is mentioned as a cause of insomnia, so the two may be linked, and the

    insomnia may have been a precursor to the fibromyalgia diagnosis.

    Please refer to the article for a wealth of information on

    medications, causes, types of insomnia and numerous references to

    articles you may want to read further. “Chronic Insomnia: A Practical

    Review.” American Academy of Family Physicians (10/1/1999)

    Rest assured that physicians admit that chronic insomnia is not easy

    to treat. However, be hopeful, because “the bottom line is that once

    the underlying problems are identified and worked through, a

    successful treatment plan can be implemented," according to Dr. David

    Kupfer of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Western

    Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC). Options include behavioural

    modification often accompanied by a short-term dosage of medication,

    until more normal sleep patterns are learned and established.

    “Importance of Proper Diagnosis of Chronic Insomnia Stressed.”


    Now, before you get frustrated over that term, “behaviour

    modification,” please realize that there is a good deal of merit to

    it. Even with the fibromyalgia or possible other causes linked to the

    insomnia, behavioural patterns can be changed, so that you may be able

    to work on de-railing the stress of not being able to fall asleep,

    which just continues to feed on itself.

    An extremely good article written by Donald B. Weaver, Ph.D.,

    Director Insomnia Program Sleep Medicine Associates of Texas, covers

    the psychological aspects of treating insomnia. Please read it

    through, and let it sink in. As I said, even with actual medical

    problems occurring along with the insomnia, behavioural modifications

    can be a great help. After you read the article, you will notice that

    Dr. Weaver offers an audio-tape program which you can use at home. As

    he states in the article, “My role is to help people change those red

    stoplights back to green lights that signal "GO to sleep," and replace

    their nighttime anxiety with genuine, positive expectations of good

    sleep and replace their nighttime body tension with deep physical

    relaxation. It's really fulfilling to empower people to regain control

    of their sleep process, in a way that works.” Sound corny? Don’t be

    too skeptical. I have used tapes for chronic anxiety problems and

    found them to alleviate a majority of symptoms.

    “Guide for Chronic Insomnia: Questions and Answers” by Donald Weaver

    can be accessed at

    One common thread I have seen in all the articles I have read in

    researching your question is the existence of depression…..not as a

    result of insomnia, (though that would certainly be understandable),

    but as a cause of insomnia. Have you ever been treated for depression?

    It may be an avenue to explore.

    “One of the most common causes of chronic insomnia is depression.

    Other underlying causes include arthritis, kidney disease, heart

    failure, asthma, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome,

    Parkinson's disease, and hyperthyroidism. However, chronic insomnia

    may also be due to behavioral factors, including the misuse of

    caffeine, alcohol, or other substances; disrupted sleep/wake cycles as

    may occur with shift work or other nighttime activity schedules; and

    chronic stress.” “Insomnia.” The National Women’s Health Information


    One last, very interesting article describes another cause of

    chronic insomnia entirely. The August 2001 issue of the Journal of

    Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism describes research finding that

    “persons suffering from chronic insomnia have increased levels of

    stress hormones in the blood, suggesting that these persons have an

    abnormal, hyperactive body reaction to stress.” Again, the

    psychological factor enters in to the equation! “When the body stress

    response system is activated, the "stress hormone" cortisol is

    increased as a result of a rise in the so-called "releasing" hormone

    ACTH which stimulates stress hormone secretion into the bloodstream.

    Since this system, when activated, leads to arousal and sleeplessness,

    a research team at the Sleep Research and Treatment Center of the

    Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine hypothesized that

    these stress hormones would be increased in chronic insomniacs.” The

    article further states that “This new information should be important

    for doctors treating persons suffering from chronic insomnia. Rather

    than medications to promote sleepiness, drugs (such as some

    antidepressants) or techniques that reduce the activity of the stress

    system might be more useful in treatment of chronic insomnia.” (Once

    again, the reference to antidepressant medication!) The article,

    titled “Chronic Insomnia = Chronic Stress” can be found at

    Instead of going downhill, I encourage you start climbing uphill by

    researching all that you can. Read these articles, consider the common

    link of depression (if you think it is viable) and think about

    ordering the behavioural tapes from Dr. Weaver’s clinic if they spark

    an interest. I have faith that even if you can’t entirely beat your

    chronic insomnia, you can at least alleviate it to a great degree and

    finally get some decent night’s rest.

    All the best to you!


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