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Insomnia and Anxiety: Cause and Effect

It is no secret that stress and anxiety can cause sleeplessness but the cause and effect relationship can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Having an anxiety disorder can cause insomnia and sleep problems but new research suggests ongoing insomnia can also lead to anxiety disorders.

By definition insomnia describes people who have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking prematurely without the ability to fall back asleep. Ongoing sleep dysfunction often leads to a cycle of stress and anxiety during the day about being able to sleep at night and exasperates the problem.

Anxiety Disorder or Sleep Disorder?

While sleep disruption is present in nearly all psychiatric disorders, studies also show that people with chronic insomnia are at high risk of developing an anxiety disorder- so which comes first? Speaking to a psychologist may help determine if an anxiety disorder caused insomnia, therefore addressing cause and effect with appropriate treatment.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The first step is acknowledging that you have a sleep or anxiety problem followed by making an appointment with your GP who may refer you to a mental health professional. Treatment options vary but typically psychologist treat insomnia and anxiety problems with cognitive-behavior therapy, which identifies triggering behaviours and educates you on how to change the behaviours. Your therapist may also recommend relaxation techniques, exercise and meditation to help resolve sleep problems.

All of the clinical psychologists at Psychology Consultants are trained and experienced in the treatment of insomnia and anxiety disorders. To read more about the team and their areas of expertise visit the Brisbane Psychologists page.


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