Insomnia and substance use disorders (SUD) are often co-existing conditions. A person suffering from chronic insomnia is 5-10 times more likely to develop a SUD than somebody with normal sleep patterns. Insomnia, a disorder that prevents sleep, is often caused by stress. Acute insomnia is short-term and often occurs before a major stress-causing event like a test.
Chronic insomnia is long-term, and it affects an individual at least three nights a week for a minimum of three months. The stress that causes insomnia is compounded by a lack of proper sleep, leaving a person in a constant state of low mental health.
How Can Insomnia Lead to SUD?
Attempts to self-medicate with alcohol or non-prescription drugs can lead to a cycle of abuse and, eventually, addiction. Individuals with chronic insomnia may seek the sedative effects of alcohol as a sleep aid; however, a recent study found that alcohol prevents proper sleep when ingested before resting.
Because alcohol and other drugs do not promote healthy sleep, sleep patterns will vary during periods of substance abuse. Prescription medications for acute insomnia such as Ambien are highly addictive, and patients may request the pills even after recovering from short-term sleeplessness.
Addiction to these pills may remain undetected until the onset of withdrawal symptoms, such as more intense insomnia, once the prescription is empty. Insomnia will control the body until stresses on the body are alleviated. A SUD will continue to strain the body, perpetuating symptoms of insomnia.
How Are These Coexisting Disorders Treated?
The Addiction Center lists stress, overeating, caffeine or nicotine use, irregular schedule, and mental health disorders as the most common causes of acute and chronic insomnia. A holistic approach that challenges both SUD and insomnia simultaneously is the most effective treatment strategy. The co-occurring disorders can be treated at the same time with the help of a mental health professional.
If you are ready to begin your journey toward recovering from co-occurring conditions, call Alta Loma Transformational Services today. At Alta Loma, we want to equip you with the tools you need to enjoy a lifetime of mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. We understand the importance of a comprehensive treatment that targets co-existing disorders such as insomnia and SUD. You know your needs better than anybody else, and our team of mental health and addiction recovery experts will work with you to develop a unique treatment plan that works for you. When your mind and body exist in a healthy environment, you will progress toward recovery. Please call us today at (866) 457-3843 for a consultation.