For people who have anxiety disorders, fear and nervousness are part of everyday life. Tiny sounds may make them jump, unusual situations may make their hearts race and unwanted memories might make them feel like running away. These sorts of feelings can make daytime life just miserable, but they don’t tend to disappear when the sun sets. In fact, it’s not unusual for people who have anxiety disorders to experience frequent bouts of insomnia.
In a study of the issue in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, experts found that people who had insomnia and anxiety disorders tended to develop both problems at the same time. When both problems were in place, these people felt significantly impaired during the daytime, as they were both nervous and exhausted, and they simply could not sleep at night.
On the surface, Ambien (zolpidem) might seem like an ideal solution, as this medication can help to soothe a restless mind and allow sleep to creep in. However, since the drug is associated with abuse and addiction, it might not be safe for everyone to use. Thankfully, there are other therapies that could provide relief for both anxiety and insomnia.
Getting Good Sleep
People with insomnia tend to follow a predictable pattern. When evening rolls around, they:
- Go to bed early, hoping to fall asleep
- Worry about falling asleep
- Find it difficult to nod off
- Toss and turn
- Get very little sleep at all
Even though they’re exhausted during the following day, they may repeat the pattern. In time, they may come to believe that they can’t fall asleep at all, unless they have some kind of medication to help smooth the path to rest.
Sleep training can help. According to an article produced by the National Sleep Foundation, this kind of therapy is considered both safe and effective, and it has no side effects. Typically the work involves regular meetings with a therapist over a period of months, and when the work is complete, people have an entirely new set of habits involving sleep. They may go to bed only when sleepy, for example, and they may prepare for bed hours in advance by performing calming crafts and drinking soothing teas. Therapy is individualized, but often, it can be remarkably helpful for people who have been leaning on Ambien for sleep.
When people get the sleep they need, they may feel their anxiety levels decline. But therapy can also be a vital part of the recovery process for people with anxiety disorders. In some cases, people need to examine the triggers that bring about their anxious feelings, and they need to develop comprehensive skills that can help them to deal with their anxiety without spinning out of control. In other cases, people need to deal with their memories, not current events, in order to find relief from their anxiety.
Counseling sessions for anxiety can last for months, and often, there’s a significant amount of homework involved in the recovery process. But all of this hard work can be worthwhile, as people who do dedicate the time and energy to recovery may gain control over their anxiety for the very first time.
If you’d like to leave Ambien behind, please call us at Black Bear Lodge. We can design a treatment plan that can help.