COMMENTARY

The Evaluation and Management of the Anxious Insomniac

Karl Doghramji, MD

Disclosures

March 02, 2004

In This Article

The Prevalence and Impact of Insomnia and Anxiety Disorders

A staggering 50% of adult Americans report having experienced insomnia sometime during their lives.[1] Ten percent of adult Americans experience difficulties with sleep lasting more than 2 weeks at a time. In 1995, 5.9 million office visits were due to the complaint of insomnia.[2] Anxiety is also a ubiquitous human emotion, and anxiety disorders represent, as a group, the most common type of psychiatric condition, affecting 25% of adults at some point in their lives.[3]

Despite the frequency of these 2 conditions, it is surprising that they often go unaddressed. Only 6% of all insomniacs schedule a visit with their physicians specifically for insomnia. Twenty-four percent address the difficulty with their physicians as a secondary complaint, and the vast majority (70%) does not seek medical help for the problem at all. However, 40% of insomniacs do seek assistance for their malady in the form of over-the-counter sleep aids or alcohol, which often compound the difficulty.[2] Similarly, only one third of anxiety disorder sufferers receive treatment.[4]

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