The Associated Press reports today that Michael Jackson struggled with severe and chronic insomnia. A nurse told the AP that he wanted to obtain the drug propofol - also known as Diprivan - to help him sleep.
Diprivan is a powerful sedative that is injected into a vein. It is given to patients before an operation or medical test.
Jackson’s insomnia may have had a variety of causes.
The AP reports that the 50-year-old singer was rehearsing hard for his upcoming “This Is It” tour. This may have caused adjustment insomnia. This type of insomnia results from a source of stress.
His concern about being unable to sleep may have developed into psychophysiological insomnia. People with this sleep disorder worry too much about insomnia and about being tired the next day. As a result, they learn to become tense and anxious as bedtime approaches.
The AP article notes that Jackson would sleep with a computer on the bed. This is a sign that he may have developed bad habits that prevented him from sleeping well. This is called inadequate sleep hygiene.
The AP also reports that Jackson often was in pain. Painful medical problems often cause insomnia due to medical condition.
Jackson may have been taking a variety of prescription medications. Many medications can suppress or disrupt sleep. Insomnia due to drug or substance may result.
His insomnia also may have been related to a mental health problem. The AASM reports that insomnia due to mental disorder is the most common disorder in people who seek help from a sleep center for ongoing insomnia. Often it is related to depression or anxiety.
Do you struggle with insomnia? You can get help at an AASM-accredited sleep center near you.
Update - July 28, 2009: The AP reported today that authorities believe the drug propofol caused Jackson's heart to stop.
Update - Aug. 6, 2009: The Wall Street Journal reports that the abuse of propofol is a growing problem among medical professionals.
Update - Aug. 29, 2009: The AP reports that the Los Angeles County coroner's office determined the cause of death was "acute propofol intoxication."
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