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When Does Your Sleep Disorder Become Severe Insomnia

Severe insomnia is medically described as the inability to fall asleep, or remain asleep, for an adequate amount of time. There are various different levels to this disorder ranging from mild insomnia to the most harmful or destructive type. People who suffer from this disorder for prolonged periods of time will most probably have a very low quality of life.

A person dealing with chronic insomnia might be able to achieve sleep in very short time intervals of usually no more than one hour. This means that they can find it difficult to achieve deep sleep, which is stage four of the body’s sleep cycle. Deep sleep is the stage at which the body should achieve complete or partial regeneration. This regeneration process can be essential to a person’s physical and mental health. 

To be diagnosed with chronic insomnia, you have to be suffering from the condition for at least three months or more. This is the required medical time period to qualify for the severe type: anything less than this and you could be diagnosed with having a milder form of insomnia, or another condition altogether. There is no known cure for extreme insomnia but there are treatments that have proved to help in certain cases. 

The causes of severe insomnia can usually be associated with other life trauma experiences that have happened either in your past or recent present. These traumas can be either physical, mental or a combination of both. Traumas that are left untreated can manifest and cause deep rooted issues that can affect the ability to achieve quality sleep.

Manic Depression/Bipolar: The brain is a wonderful organ, capable of achieving so much when functioning normally. However, if your brain is not functioning as it should then it can be the cause of mental disorders. A chemical imbalance in the brain has been determined as one of the main causes of depression. 


Depression can have a massive negative impact on a sufferer’s life. They can have feelings of hopelessness, mood swings, extreme rage, hallucinations and paranoid behavior. All these negative behavioral feelings can be attributed to the causes of severe insomnia.


Anxiety: This is your body’s natural way of responding to pressure, stress or danger. In small, self controlled amounts this response can aid a person to remain alert, or perform tasks they did not know they were capable of. 

However, everything should be in moderation and if your brain allows feelings of anxiety to overwhelm your rational thought process, you could have an anxiety disorder. This disorder can interfere with and disrupt forms of normal routine, especially sleep.

severe insomniaSevere accidents/injuries: Extreme pain or damage to any part of the body can result in not only immediate complications but also lasting physiological damage. Stress caused by physical and mental trauma can affect the brain’s ability to sleep. 

The brain relies on a delicate balance of chemicals to achieve sound sleep. Flashbacks or memories from a previous trauma can trigger the release of neurochemicals that can keep us awake.

Possible Damaging Effects of Severe Insomnia

The outcome of having little sleep can be detrimental to both your mental and physical health. Nearly all of the different effects are intertwined and part of a vicious cycle. Extreme insomnia is dangerous and scary as it is a difficult problem to break away from. Here are a few of the extreme ways in which an insomniac’s life will be impeded: 

severe insomniaWork: A long term sufferer of severe insomnia can find it extremely difficult to hold down a regular job. Sleep deprivation can cause a lack of concentration, co-ordination, bad time keeping and behavior abnormalities. All these negative attributes can result in the inability of a person to work productively.

It could also endanger the person’s life and the lives of others working with them, if they were permitted to operate dangerous machinery or drive while not medically fit.   

Family life: Living with a person that is suffering from chronic insomnia can be very difficult. They have little or no set routine whatsoever and can be awake all night, when everyone else is sleeping. This phenomenon can be very disrupting, especially with young children in the house. 

What's more, not having the ability to work as a result of a sleep condition can put a huge strain on the family’s finances and lower the quality of life for the rest of the family.

Social situations: Extreme insomnia can cause a person to become a social recluse. The problem with getting little or no sleep is that it can take a toll on how much energy you have to complete everyday tasks. Trying to get the energy or motivation to go out and meet friends for socializing becomes less important as time goes on.   

Zombie-like state: This is described as one of the worst effects that an insomniac has to endure. As its name might suggest, this condition is a permanent state of being neither awake nor asleep. Both the body and mind are exhausted but are unable to settle and rest adequately. 

This ‘zombie’ like state can leave a person feeling frustrated and angry but too lethargic to act on these feelings. The fatigue and exhaustion may wear the body down but the danger lies in the manner in which the brain responds. 

Unable to cope with the strain the body is under, the mind works slowly to conserve energy. At times this is why it can seem as if insomniacs are totally unaware of what is happening around them, or even what time of day it is. 

severe insomniaDiet: Lack of sleep can have serious consequences on your diet. If you are awake nearly every hour of the day it can be difficult to have a decent meal routine. The lack of sleep can cause your body to have no energy to do anything other than hang about, which will result in the body not burning calories consumed from food throughout the day. 

On the other hand, a sufferer with extreme insomnia will not feel like eating very much as they have not done anything energetic enough to need it.

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