Depression And Insomnia – Are They Connected Disorders?

Depression can be characterized as symptoms of sadness, frustration, constant feelings of misery etc. Everyone will experience theses types of symptoms at some time, usually they are temporary, caused by situational conditions and will subside fairly quickly when circumstances return to normal. Clinical depression is a diagnosed mood disorder where the feelings of sadness etc are often extreme and are not caused by external circumstances and do not go away but remain for an extended period of time affecting the sufferers life and day to day activities to a large degree.

A person suffering with insomnia will have one of three recognised types of the disorder :


  • Transient Insomnia – lasting only a couple of days or a week at most


  • Short Term Insomnia – also known as acute transient insomnia and lasting up to three weeks


  • Chronic Insomnia – as the name suggests this disorder is longer lasting and occurs every night for an extended period of time


Chronic insomnia can also be split into two separate types :


  • Primary chronic insomnia – with no diagnosed physical or mental condition being the cause


  • Secondary chronic insomnia – known to be caused by mental health problems or physical conditions


Knowing the actual cause of a persons insomnia is instrumental in deciding how it is to be treated and whether it will respond well to therapy or will require a sleep medication or perhaps a combination of both.

Many people who suffer with a recognised mental illness or disorder will have symptoms of insomnia, such as interrupted sleep patterns, not being able to fall asleep and waking in the early hours of the morning. This could be because the mind is in constant worry mode and is unable to switch off and relax. At the same time a person who is not depressed but suffers insomnia due to other causes such as a physical illness, pain etc can fairly quickly become depressed due to the extreme lack of sleep they are experiencing.

Studies have shown that even if a person has no prior depressive illness suffers from insomnia they are at high risk of developing a depressive disorder, this is especially so in the elderly and usually more in women than in men of the same age. Insomnia has a negative impact on a persons lifestyle, they then start to worry about this impact and over time will become depressed.

So, we can see that depression and insomnia are in fact connected disorders in that one will quite often be a cause of the other with crossover symptoms occurring between the two.

Insomnia and depression need a correct diagnosis from a doctor who can then decide on the best course of treatment for the individual.

© Andrew Tudor Jones.