Psychological Disorders Part 5


In Psychological Disorders Part 4, Eating Disorders were discussed. It is very important to consult a psychologist if you are facing any of the eating disorders as they can be life-threatening. This article will discuss Sleep Disorders.

Sleep Disorders

These disorders involve interruptions in the sleeping pattern which leads to distress and affects the daytime functioning of the person.

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder in which the person has overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. People with this disorder find it difficult to stay awake for long periods and this can cause excessive disruptions in their daily routine. There are two types of narcolepsies, one that is accompanied by a sudden loss of muscle tone, called cataplexy, this is type 1 narcolepsy and type 2 is without cataplexy. The symptoms for this are excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased alertness, sudden loss of muscle tone which can cause slurred speech, sleep paralysis, changes in REM sleep, and hallucinations. This is a chronic disorder so there is no cure for it but it can be managed with medication and some changes in the lifestyle. The cause for this is unknown but it is observed that in type 1, people have low levels of the chemical hypocretin which is important for the regulation of wakefulness and REM sleep.

Insomnia Disorder is a disorder in which a person has trouble falling or staying asleep, it can be acute or chronic. There are two types of insomnia, primary and secondary. In the case of primary insomnia, the sleep problems are not related to any other health problem, whereas, in the case of secondary insomnia, the trouble in sleeping is because of another health condition. The causes for primary insomnia can be stress, noise, light, temperature, jet lag. Symptoms of insomnia are sleepiness during the day, grumpiness, problems with concentration and memory, and fatigue. You are more likely at risk of insomnia if you are a woman because of the hormonal shifts.

Hypersomnolence is when a person suffers from excessive sleepiness despite having slept enough. Symptoms for this are falling asleep several times during the day, taking naps to deal with the sleepiness but still not waking up refreshed, sleeping more than 9 hours but still not feeling rested, feeling confused when waking up, having difficulty waking up. This can cause problems at work, school, or other daily routines.

Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing continuously stops and starts. There are three main types of sleep apnea; firstly, Obstructive sleep apnea is when the throat muscles relax; secondly, Central sleep apnea is when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles which are responsible for controlling breathing; lastly, Complex sleep apnea syndrome is when someone is suffering from the combination of the first and second type of sleep apnea. Symptoms are gasping for air during sleep, loud snoring, episodes in which you stop breathing, morning headache, awakening with dry mouth, hypersomnia, difficulty staying asleep, irritability, and difficulty paying attention while awake.

Parasomnia involves unusual and undesirable physical which disrupt sleep. It includes abnormal movements, talk, or other unusual things during sleep. There are two types of parasomnias, Non-REM and REM, this distinction is based on the stage of sleep in which they happen. Parasomnias during Non-REM include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, and sleep-related eating disorders. Parasomnias during REM include nightmare disorder, recurrent isolated sleep paralysis, and REM sleep behaviour disorder. Symptoms are waking up confused or disoriented, being tired during the day, difficulty sleeping through the night, and finding cuts and bruises which you do not remember.

Restless Legs Syndrome causes an uncontrollable urge to move your legs because of an uncomfortable sensation. Symptoms are sensations that begin after rest, relief with movement, worsening of symptoms in the evening, and nighttime twitching.


These sleep disorders are very serious. As we know sleep is very important for our health, it is important to sleep properly for the health of your body and if you think you have any of these sleep disorders, please consult a psychologist who can help you regulate your sleep.


Note: this is just Part 5 of the Psychological Disorders series.