Kids with chronic insomnia suffer more

March 23rd, 2008 - 3:57 pm ICT by admin  

New York, March 23 (IANS) Children with chronic insomnia lose a lot more than their sleep as they tend to have more personal problems, says a new research. Persistent insomnia has been linked to a wide range of physical, psychological and interpersonal problems, says the study by researchers at the University of Texas.

The researchers, who found a “two-fold to five-fold” increase in personal problems among adolescents with persistent sleeplessness, surveyed 3,134 children between 11 and 17, ScienceDaily reported.

“Insomnia is both common and chronic among adolescents,” wrote lead author Robert E. Roberts.

“The data indicate that the burden of insomnia is comparable to that of other psychiatric disorders such as mood, anxiety, disruptive and substance abuse disorders. Chronic insomnia severely impacts future health and functioning of youths.”

Researchers measured 14 aspects of personal well being and found that adolescents with chronic insomnia were much more likely to have problems with drug use, depression, school work, jobs and perceived health.

The study involved adolescents enrolled in health maintenance organisations who were screened for sleep problems and issues affecting physical health, psychological health and interpersonal relationships at the beginning and end of a 12-month-period. The initial screening was in 2000 and the follow up evaluation was done in 2001.

“Almost half of the adolescents who reported one or more symptoms of insomnia during the initial screening had similar issues a year later,” Roberts said.

Insomnia is considered a psychiatric disorder.

In the initial screening, 27 percent had one of more symptoms of insomnia, seven percent had one or more symptoms of insomnia plus daytime fatigue or sleepiness or both, and five percent met the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) clinical diagnosis criteria.

DSM criteria attempts to rule out other psychiatric disorders, apart from effects of alcohol, drugs or medication, which can be confused with chronic insomnia.

Other studies indicate that behavioural and emotional issues could cause chronic insomnia among adolescents, Roberts said.

He said adolescents with chronic insomnia were more likely to seek medical care.

“These data suggest that primary care settings might provide a venue for screening and early intervention of adolescent insomnia,” Roberts said.

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