Insomnia Tests and Diagnosis

If you have found it almost impossible to get any sleep lately and believe that you are suffering from insomnia then it is always a good idea to consult your physician. You have to understand that insomnia is not a disease so there is no cures for it, however there are some temporary fixes. Most importantly your doctor will want to do an examination on you and likely screen your medication, if you take any. The doctor should check for things such as thyroid conditions. He may also like for you to keep a log of your sleep patterns over a period of maybe one or two weeks and then discuss it with you. Further, he will likely check to see if your insomnia is related to or causing anxiety or depression.

The doctor knows that if there is an underlying condition that is causing the insomnia then if he can diagnosis and treat that cause, he will likely relieve the insomnia too. In doctor terms there is primary and secondary insomnia. The difference is that with primary insomnia is that there is no medical condition causing it and secondary insomnia is because there is an underlying health concern. The doctor may also refer you to a sleep treatment center for further evaluation.

The sleep treatment center will perform multiple tests on you while you are there and you should expect an overnight stay too. The will likely conduct a Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), a Maintenance of Wakefulness Test (MWT), an Actigraphy, and some lab tests to check for anything including those to test for medicines known to affect one’s level of alertness, such as stimulants, opiates, and antianxiety medicines. The sleep study can help your doctor make a diagnosis and guide treatment by providing information on everything from body position and blood oxygen levels to heart rate and eye movements.

Sometimes the tests turn up nothing and you might find that you were just suffering from some anxiety due to an upcoming event or maybe you are depressed over some major event. Now medication can alleviate those problems which again, might just take care of the insomnia too. Insomnia can be tricky and it can take a while to hit the nail on the head and find out exactly what the problem is. First it must be determined if the anxiety is chronic or not.

Chronic meaning the insomnia has been consistently present for over one month. Then doctors will want to know if the insomnia is primary, secondary, or maybe even idiopathic, which means that there is no physical, mental, or emotional reason for the insomnia. This is why it is so important to go through the entire medical process to find out why this abnormal sleep pattern is continuing.

What makes this a most delicate situation is that insomnia is not a disease but a condition and therefore there are no specific tests that can explain the cause but rather a series of teats that eliminate one reason after another.