The two-way relationship between sleeplessness and mental health disturbances is well documented at this point. Insomnia is both a symptom and a risk-factor for depression. In fact the DSM-IV lists disturbed sleep patterns as one of the nine main criteria for the diagnosis of major depressive disorder.
You don’t have to be depressed have suicidal thoughts with insomnia, a new study published in Sleep Medicine reports. The article concludes insomnia can predict suicidal desires, with or without diagnosable depression.
The clinical study involved 60 middle-aged patients with depression and insomnia. The subjects were prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac along with the sleeping medication Lunesta or a placebo. Over the course of the 8-week study, the patients were repeatedly assessed for insomnia, suicide ideation and depression.
Statistical analysis shows, although depression severity was directly linked to intensity of suicidal thinking, a similar relationship also holds true for severity of insomnia. Insomnia patients who were no longer depressed still had suicidal thoughts.
These findings further flesh out a disturbing revelation reported this month in the journal SLEEP. Middle-aged men with long-term insomnia are likely to die over a 14 year period. The large-scale, long-term study did not investigate the exact causes of the deaths, but it’s not too much of a stretch that some were suicides.
Like pushing through depression, conquering long-term insomnia can take hard work and dedication. Leading a longer and happier life is clearly worth the effort of working with a clinical sleep specialist to change your nighttime routine and eliminate harmful beliefs that prevent sleep.