Insomnia is one of the conditions that might wreak havoc by making the affected person feel frustrated and tired. It affects your mood and cognitive functions making it difficult to accomplish certain duties. Insomnia also affects a person’s capability to interact with other people. Furthermore, insomnia can affect the brain by causing the affected person to have difficulties in getting a good sleep during the night. Even the slightest loss of sleep can affect your dopamine levels in the brain.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is a condition characterized by prolonged loss of sleep. It may also manifest in the form of prolonged sleep disturbances. Physicians acknowledge that insomnia is a common problem in society. The DSM-IV TR and self-reports about sleep patterns are the main methods of diagnosing insomnia. The factors considered during diagnosis include the duration of restlessness and problems in falling or staying asleep.
When Sleep Loss Becomes a Disorder
How do you know that Insomnia has changed to a disorder rather than a mere sleep disturbance? In the JCSM, Roth Thomas describes a disorder as a condition that leads to negative consequences that result from a pathological reaction rather than the condition itself. In this regard, some kind of stimulus such as stress and acute medical ailment usually leads to sporadic occurrences of insomnia. In this case, eradicating the stimulus may reverse the intermittent condition. Testing and medical interventions are necessary in case of persistent and severe cases of insomnia once the causes are obvious.
What causes Insomnia?
Finding out the source of insomnia may not be an easy task. Based on the DSM-IV TR list, medical factors may lead to insomnia. For instance, prescription drugs like serotonin reuptake inhibitors and nonprescription drugs such caffeine may cause insomnia. Insomnia may also result from medical conditions like sleep disorders, pain, and thyrotoxicosis. Sleep problems may result from psychological conditions like anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Some environmental factors such as noise at night and bedroom temperature may also contribute to the development of insomnia.
The Effects of Dopamine
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that engage in complex interactions to regulate your sleep and wake cycles. It is both an inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter meaning that the neurotransmitter’s receptor determines the direction of this neurotransmitter. The Integrative Psychology website claims that both low and high amounts of dopamine can cause several problems. Low amounts of this neurotransmitter can cause depression and concentration problems while high levels can cause distress and excitability. The relationship between dopamine and sleep is reciprocal meaning that while dopamine may prevent or encourage sleep, sleeplessness may increase dopamine levels.
Treating Insomnia with Dopamine
Medical practitioners may prescribe dopaminergic remedies to individuals suffering from insomnia if the cause of the condition is low amounts of dopamine. Such remedies are especially useful if the affected person suffers from restless leg or Parkinson’s disease. However, dopaminergic remedies may have paradoxical effects. They may exacerbate the symptoms of insomnia. In case such effects occur, it is important to consult a physician who may prescribe another medication like gabapentin or benzodiazepines. Dopaminergic agents are also likely to cause some side effects like dyspepsia, muscle stiffness, sedation, and fatigue.