Insomnia May Spur Anxiety Disorders
Trouble Sleeping Most Nights May Indicate an Anxiety Disorder or Depression
July 5, 2007 -- Chronic insomnia may predict the
development of anxiety disorders and also indicate current depression.
That's according to a Norwegian study published in the latest edition of the
The study defines chronic insomnia as the subjective feeling of having
trouble falling or staying asleep most nights for at least a month.
People with chronic insomnia should be screened to see if they have an
anxiety disorder or depression, note the researchers. They included Dag
Neckelmann, MD, PhD, of the psychiatry department at Haukeland University in
Neckelmann's team tracked depression, anxiety, and insomnia in more than
25,000 Norwegian adults.
Participants completed a health survey that included questions about chronic
insomnia, anxiety disorders, and depression. They took the survey twice -- once
in the mid-1980s and again 11 years later.
Insomnia, Anxiety Disorders, and Depression
The researchers excluded participants who had anxiety disorders or
depression at the time of the first survey.
People who reported chronic insomnia in the first survey were particularly
likely to note anxiety disorders in the follow-up survey 11 years later.
Chronic insomnia didn't predict depression's development. People with
chronic insomnia in the first survey weren't especially likely to report
depression 11 years later in the second survey.
But that doesn't mean that insomnia and depression weren't related.
People with chronic insomnia were more likely to have current anxiety or
depression than people without insomnia.
The results held when the researchers considered other factors, including
participants' age, sex, and educational level.
Sound Sleep, Less Anxiety?
Easing chronic insomnia might help prevent the development of anxiety
disorders, Neckelmann's team notes.
However, they didn't test that theory directly. Their study doesn't prove
that insomnia causes anxiety disorders, or that ending insomnia heads off
- Does your depression
come with the added joy of insomnia? How do you deal with it? Talk with
others on our Depression Support Group message board.