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insomnia, children, and abuse

got your attention, didnt i? <chuckle> 

In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.  ~Colette (i dont know who she is but she sure is right.)  anyway.

I came across an article at psychcentral (http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/08/sleep-problems-in-youth-linked-to-abuse-in-adults/12689.html?utm_source=PsychCentral&utm_medium=twitter) in which the headline really caught my attention. It read: sleep problems in youth linked to abuse in adults. Boy if that doesn’t try to catch your attention on purpose, right? The article discusses the link between kids not sleeping well and later becoming substance abusers. Boy that’s not where I thought they were going at all, but I kept with the story.  Based on some research they cite the follow statistics:

“About one in 10 parents or caregivers think that their toddlers, preschoolers, and children have a sleep problem,” said Maria M. Wong, associate professor in the department of psychology at Idaho State University, citing several studies.

“The prevalence of problem sleepiness among adolescents and young adults, ages 12 to 25 years, is not only high but also increasing. Some serious consequences include increased risk of unintentional injuries or death, such as car accidents, low academic performance, negative moods, and increased use of alcohol and drugs.”

The article also says that childhood and teen insomnia is really no different than adult insomnia (duh, I coulda told them that).  So the article basically summarized what I’ve been learning (sometimes through experience) all along. That sleeping problems lead to overtiredness.  Overtiredness can then lead to lowered inhibition, binge drinking, among others.  The article goes on and on and gives varying examples of the same theme. 

The problem I have with the article is that they are missing a step in their arguments.  I know plenty of people (moms especially) who suffer from insomnia who don’t binge drink.  The missing connection between insomnia and abusive behavior is why?  Why is it that people who suffer from insomnia are more likely to abuse?  According to the research I’ve done (and blogged about previously) is that people who suffer from insomnia can either be:

#1 depressed because they don’t sleep or

#2 suffer from some other sort of illness (menopause, schizophrenia, thyroid issues, etc) that causes them not to sleep and consequently might make them depressed

Either way, people who don’t sleep look for myriad ways either to sleep or to cope with not sleeping. These coping methods then might lead to abuse. For example if a woman, who shall remain nameless, doesn’t sleep well, she may take a sleeping pill (first OTC then prescription) which might help her sleep. Then she is groggy in the morning so she goes to her favorite coffee shop and gets a shot of espresso in her cup (and is also Mayor in foursquare).  So now, she needs this caffeine to survive. If she doesn’t get it, she’s grumpy. If she doesn’t get enough, she’s grumpy. Oh and sleepy. 

This nameless woman may also try other methods. She may get up and roam the house on nights she cant sleep and doesn’t want to take a sleeper. She may do homework (when she was in grad school), watch tv, surf the web, read, etc.  so then of course, she’s sleepy in the morning and she needs her powerful does of sunshine from her fave coffee place.  On rare occasions this woman may try to cope by drinking wine or vodka (her fave drink). Which works out great in that it makes you sleepy (which isn’t really this woman’s problem. Its staying asleep that’s at issue).  Alcohol doesn’t work so well in the middle of the night when you wake up.  And so here we are again.

Ok, where am I going with all this? I was one of these children who didn’t sleep well. I don’t know about when I was a very young child, but I know I’ve had trouble sleeping since my teens and I’m thinking prolly since I was about 10 or 11. Wow. Long time.  So again comes the question: is an insomniac depressed because they can’t sleep or can’t they sleep because they’re depressed (or sick or whatever)? 

So, yes, I do agree with the article in that public awareness needs to increase regarding insomnia.  But I don’t agree with the direct link between insomnia and abuse.  It’s a serious issue that a lot A LOT of people suffer from.  And as well all know, it’s caused at least one nameless woman to suffer from cognitive decline.

Regarding Queen of Everything

Her highness is still queen of planet blortnick and also a MODEL.

2 comments to insomnia, children, and abuse