According to statistics a third of people in the UK have insomnia, with half of that number having diagnosed themselves and self-medicating with sleeping pills without seeing their GP.
The society has said that insomnia could be just one symptom of many that make up a different and larger physical or mental health problem that requires medical advice and treatment.
The survey of 2,077 individuals also revealed that 30% of people had taken sleeping pills for longer than a month without seeking medical advice, whilst 14% had gone on for six months without talking to their doctor.
In reaction to the figures pharmacist Paul Johnson said that it is worrying how many people are overusing sleep remedies.
“They can be effective for short-term treatment of mild insomnia but should not be taken for long periods without advice because they can hide a serious health problem which could get worse if it remains untreated,” he said.
By definition insomnia is difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep or getting enough sleep, and can often be caused by psychological issues such as depression or anxiety disorders. Various other conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and hormonal issues can also disrupt sleep patterns.
Whilst sleeping pills can be a good short-term solution, it is not advisable to take them on a long term basis as a result of self-diagnosis. Doing this may mean that you end up treating your symptoms as opposed to directly addressing the cause of the problem.
Hypnotherapy has long since been used to help individuals overcome sleep problems. Find out more about how it could help you by visiting our Insomnia fact-sheet.
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