<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Medicalization of sleeplessness

A child asleep at his desk is shown here.
Many people fail to get enough sleep. But is insomnia a disease that should be cured with medication? (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

How is your “sleep hygiene?” Sleep hygiene refers to the lifestyle and sleep habits that contribute to sleeplessness. Bad habits that can lead to sleeplessness include inconsistent bedtimes, lack of exercise, late-night employment, napping during the day, and sleep environments that include noise, lights, or screen time (National Institutes of Health 2011a).

According to the National Institute of Health, examining sleep hygiene is the first step in trying to solve a problem with sleeplessness.

For many people in the United States, however, making changes in sleep hygiene does not seem to be enough. According to a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine, sleeplessness is an underrecognized public health problem affecting up to 70 million people. It is interesting to note that in the months (or years) after this report was released, advertising by the pharmaceutical companies behind Ambien, Lunesta, and Sepracor (three sleep aids) averaged $188 million weekly promoting these drugs (Gellene 2009).

According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health (2011), prescriptions for sleep medications increased dramatically from 1993 to 2007. While complaints of sleeplessness during doctor’s office visits more than doubled during this time, insomnia diagnoses increased more than sevenfold, from about 840,000 to 6.1 million. The authors of the study conclude that sleeplessness has been medicalized as insomnia, and that “insomnia may be a public health concern, but potential overtreatment with marginally effective, expensive medications with nontrivial side effects raises definite population health concerns” (Moloney, Konrad, and Zimmer 2011). Indeed, a study published in 2004 in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that cognitive behavioral therapy, not medication, was the most effective sleep intervention (Jacobs, Pace-Schott, Stickgold, and Otto 2004).

A century ago, people who couldn’t sleep were told to count sheep. Now they pop a pill, and all those pills add up to a very lucrative market for the pharmaceutical industry. Is this industry behind the medicalization of sleeplessness, or is it just responding to a need?

Mental health and disability

The treatment received by those defined as mentally ill or disabled varies greatly from country to country. In the post-millennial United States, those of us who have never experienced such a disadvantage take for granted the rights our society guarantees for each citizen. We do not think about the relatively recent nature of the protections, unless, of course, we know someone constantly inconvenienced by the lack of accommodations or misfortune of suddenly experiencing a temporary disability.

Mental health

People with mental disorders (a condition that makes it more difficult to cope with everyday life) and people with mental illness (a severe, lasting mental disorder that requires long-term treatment) experience a wide range of effects.

Questions & Answers

community defination
Ansu Reply
does anybody know of any socialization process in the movie god must be crazy 1980?
Hidayah Reply
who was the founder of sociology
Juma Reply
Auguste Comte.
Brandon
Paul lazarsfeld
shedrach
Auguste Comte is considered as the founder because he was the one who has coined the word "Sociology" before this subject was termed the social physics.
Al
okay thanks
shedrach
Auguste Comte
NOSHARA
Good afternoon everyone.
NOSHARA
Hello
Polli
hello
Shevon
Identify three acts that may be deviant but not criminal in the Caribbean Society?
Shevon
Hi,,, good morning from here in Nigeria
Yusuf
Happy New Year guys
Yusuf
difference between sociology and physiology
Osei Reply
sociology is the study of groups and their interactions but physiology is the study of the structures in living organisms and how they function
Bindum
human factors that lead to backwardness of the country
Moses Reply
why sociology became the youngest of social science
Kadar Reply
what is Rural sociology?
Fanele Reply
Historical beck ground of sociology
Kadhif Reply
what are the dichotomous approach and do they affect rural sociological perspective of postmodern society
isah Reply
What is the origin of sociology?
Jeremiah Reply
what is a commuter train
Yunana Reply
a rail transport service which primarily operates within a city or metropolitan area connecting it to suburban areas
Ibrahim
which founded sociology?
Gabriel Reply
Auguste comte because he is the one who coined the term sociology
Fanele
who founded sociology
Gifty Reply
I can say Abdulrahman Ibn Khaldum
Emmurana
is sociology a science?
Cyrus
Yes
Polli
how so? @Polli Pol
Cyrus
Auguste Comte
Gabriel
It's because sociology has the same characteristics as that of a science. For instance in sociology:-- testing is possible. In science also testing is also possible. That also makes it a science. Objectivity is possible in both sociology and science. both, use of research methods is possible
Polli
Both are imperical Both are methodological Prediction is possible All of that makes sociology a science. However it is important to note that sociology is not a natural science but a social science. Also Objectivity is not high as in science Also a research cannot predict human behavior
Polli
Yes. Auguste Comte and Durkheim support that sociology is a science
Polli
However Marx Weber, disagrees with the view
Polli
what is the difference between crime and deviance
deborah Reply
who founded sociology
Gifty
I can say it is Auguste comte because he is the one who coined the term 'sociology '
Fanele
what is social change?
Hrittika Reply
Changes with transforms social institutions
Saurabh
Which*
Saurabh
change in society....and change in culture is known social change
Shubham
change denotes any alternation or modification that takes place in any situation or any object change is dynamic process of society remains completely static.
Aman

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play




Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Introduction to sociology 2e' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask