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Certain physical and mental health conditions contribute to insomnia and fatigue

Posted on 06-17-16 in Mental Health, Recovery, Stress

Certain physical and mental health conditions contribute to insomnia and fatigue

Some medications can cause fatigue and insomnia in users. However, the mental and physical conditions that these medications treat can also create fatigue and contribute to sleeplessness. If you are feeling overly tired, it’s important to understand the many possible causes.

Mental conditions

Over 40 million Americans have an anxiety disorder. Treatment for anxiety disorders constitute nearly a third of the $148 billion this country spends on mental health treatment annually. According to the National Sleep Foundation, anxiety can produce insomnia through the following:

  • Tension
  • Ruminating on past and future events
  • Feeling overwhelmed by duties and responsibilities
  • Overstimulation

Depression and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) form a vicious circle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note between 1 and 4 million Americans have CFS; roughly 40 percent of people with CFS report having a psychiatric condition. One of the most common psychiatric conditions co-occurring with CFS is depression. Individuals with the syndrome wear down emotionally due to the constant presence of fatigue and lack of energy. As they become more depressed, many developed insomnia or poor sleep patterns, which in turn fuel their fatigue.

Individuals can break the cycle of anxiety, depression, CFS and insomnia through therapy, physical exertion, relaxation techniques and mindfulness. The inability to turn off troubling thoughts may also indicate obsessive thinking. Regardless of the condition, it is unlikely anyone experiencing these thoughts can resolve them on their own. A therapist can help explore the issues fueling the cycle. For those who are able, regular exercise dramatically improves the quality of sleep.

A study by Northwestern University involving adults 55 and older found the two groups who participated in regular exercise for at least 20 minutes two or more times a week slept better than those who did no exercise. The exercise group also reported reduced feelings of depression and fatigue and felt more vital and alert.

Relaxation techniques involve meditation, warm baths, listening to music, massage and breathing exercises. Mindfulness is the practice of being conscious of one’s own being. While this may sound simple enough, it requires discipline. The modern world is not conducive to introspection. Maintaining a state of awareness can be difficult but, once attained, pays dividends.

Physical conditions

According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are many physical conditions that can lead to insomnia. Unlike mental health issues, physical issues announce their presence through pain or chronic behavior, such as coughing or sneezing. A partial list includes:

  • Sinus, allergies
  • Acid reflux
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic pain
  • Neurological disorders (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s)

Individuals with chronic pain who experience bouts of insomnia or have CFS raise concerns. A high number of individuals addicted to prescription drugs initially took them as prescribed for an injury or for chronic pain.

Heroin and prescription drugs are the two fastest growing addictions in the U.S. With respect to the latter, the CDC notes deaths from prescription drug overdoses have quadrupled since 1999. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in a 2014, more people died from prescription opioid overdoses than from overdosing on heroin. The same year, in a survey conducted with individuals in treatment for opioid addiction, over 90 percent said they switched to heroin from prescription drugs because prescriptions were more expensive and much more difficult to obtain.

Sovereign Health Group treats substance abuse and mental health disorders that can cause or result from fatigue and insomnia. Our approach includes personalized treatment to address the disorder and the underlying factors fueling them. Contact our 24/7 helpline to find out more about our treatment philosophy, our facility and our staff.

About the author:

Darren Fraser is a content writer for Sovereign Health Group. He worked two and half years as reporter and researcher for The Yomiuri Shimbun until they realized he did not read, speak or write Japanese and fired him. Undeterred, he channels his love of research into unearthing stories that provide hope to those dealing with addiction and mental illness. Darren loves the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and horror films and would prefer to enjoy these from the comforts of his family’s farm in Quebec. For more information about this media, contact the author at