Treating Insomnia With SSRI’s – Insomnia Cure Or Hoax?

Overview of Insomnia SSRI Treatment

Insomnia treatment is a relatively new approach to solving one of the oldest medical problems identified by man. The question is, can SSRIs play a role in solving that problem?

The answer appears to be somewhat equivocal. However long it may have been around, insomnia is a complex issue with a number of causes and effects. SSRIs are just as complex.

Definition of Insomnia

A short definition of insomnia is the inability to sleep. But such a definition does not help with treatment. For that, causes and symptoms must be identified. Physicians will need to ask:

-Is the problem physical, such as pain or illness?

-Is it the surroundings – noise, discomfort, a change in your life’s patterns?

-Or is the problem psychological?

If it is psychological, the practitioner will need to determine if the cause is temporary stress, such as the loss of a loved one or job problems? Is it a more permanent mental illness such as Bipolar Disorder or depression? Alternatively, it might be caused by medicines used to treat either physical or mental illnesses.

Whatever the case, the resolution for insomnia will likely include treatments other than medicine. However, when non-medicinal management does not work, medicine may be called in.

The most common medications are those sold over the counter. These are antihistamines, which cause drowsiness and help you fall asleep. They should not be used for more than a few days, as continued use makes them ineffective.

When over the counter medications don’t work, a doctor may prescribe something stronger. Again, normally the prescription will be temporary. Lifestyle changes and the resolution of the causes of insomnia are typically the preferred long-term care.

Benefits of Insomnia SSRI Treatments

SSRIs are commonly used to treat depression, and less commonly for a few other things. The likelihood that SSRIs would help you sleep better is small. Indeed, SSRIs are a common cause of insomnia, themselves. So when and why would they be prescribed, if ever? There is one case in which they might be of use.

Generally, the best way to cure insomnia is to cure the underlying cause. One cause of insomnia is depression. Not “the blues,” but true clinical depression. This next is a bit complex, but depression is not really a common cause of insomnia. However, depressed persons frequently battle insomnia.

In other words, other things cause insomnia a lot more often than depression. So insomnia is most likely not a sign you have depression. But, if it turns out you do have depression, and the depression can be successfully treated by SSRIs, then that may cure your insomnia, as well.

Summary of Insomnia SSRI Treatment

While there may be a relatively small number of cases of insomnia that are treatable with SSRIs, it is probably too much to call the idea a hoax. On the other hand, SSRIs are not, directly, a treatment for insomnia. However, there are cases where insomnia SSRI treatments are beneficial in working towards a cure. Even when they are used, other treatments should be used in conjunction with your doctor and other medications her or she prescribes.