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Sleep Disorders Treatment

Sleep Disorders – Types and Treatment Options

 Changes in sleeping patterns, particularly those affecting overall health, safety and quality of life, are collectively referred to as sleep disorders.

Some common signs of sleep disorders include:

  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Reduced concentration and cognitive abilities
  • Constant fatigue, irritability
  • Irregular breathing
  • Increased movement during sleep
  • Difficulty sleeping and abnormal sleep behavior

In all sleep disorders treatment can only be successful if the condition and causes are diagnosed accurately.

Types of Sleep Disorders

Most types of sleep disorders require doctors trained in diverse disciplines. Psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, pulmonary specialists, pediatricians, otorhinolaryngologists, dental specialists are some of the specialists who can diagnose and carry out sleep disorders treatment.

The most common types of sleep disorders are:

  • Cardiac rhythm disorders due to:
    • Sleep-Disorders-Treatment_SmallShift work
    • Jet lag
    • Delayed sleep phase syndrome
    • Advanced sleep phase syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Hypersonmias
    • Idiopathic hypersomnia
    • Narcolepsy
  • Parasomnias
    • Arousal disorders
    • Night terrors
    • Nightmares
    • REM behavior disorder
    • Sleepwalking
    • Sleep-related seizure disorder
    • Sleep-related eating disorder
  • Sleep-related breathing disorders
    • Central sleep apnea
    • Obstructive sleep apnea
    • Pediatric sleep apnea
    • Upper airway resistance syndrome
    • Snoring
  • Sleep-related movement disorders
    • Bruxism
    • Night leg cramps
    • Sleep talking
    • Sleep starts
    • Restless legs syndrome
    • Periodic limb movement disorder

In the sleep disorders list above the conditions are mainly long-term health complications of a traumatic brain injury. Some further risk factors include:

  • Depression
  • Postpartum depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Sleeping disorders can trigger a wide spectrum of behavioral, emotional, cognitive and communication problems. In extreme cases they can lead to:

  • Heart attack
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder

Sleep Disorders Treatment

Responding to the diversity of the problem (see above the sleep disorders list), countless treatment options are available, which fall into two broad categories:

Non-Pharmacological Sleep Disorders Treatment

Include all the options which do not involve prescription drugs. In this category, behavioral therapy, medical equipment and even surgery may be applied.

  • Surgery – corrects defects in the upper airway. Some surgical procedures include:
    • Tonsillectomy
    • Adenoidectomy
    • Jaw surgery
    • Uvulopharyngoplasty
  • Behavior therapy – influences behaviors associated with sleep:
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    • Cognitive therapy
    • Relaxation techniques
    • Stimulus control
  • Medical equipment –
    • Continuous positive airway pressure CPAP
    • Bilevel or BiPAP
    • Oral appliance for sleep apnea
    • Light box therapy

Pharmacological Sleep Disorders Treatment

The most common options are sleeping pills. Depending on the nature of the sleep disorder, sedatives or stimulants can be prescribed.

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