There are several reasons why one might experience insomnia. Known risk factors include older age, female gender (especially peri- and postmenopausal), personal and family history of insomnia, and a tendency to be easily woken up during sleep. Many patients with insomnia also suffer from mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorders, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Some patients with other medical concerns, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and chronic pain, are at higher risk of suffering from insomnia. Insomnia can also occur alongside other sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, whereby a patient will stop breathing for brief periods during sleep due to the airway being blocked.
Furthermore, some medications and substances such as coffee, tea, beta-blockers, and certain antidepressants increase the risk of insomnia. Therefore, treatment of insomnia would involve managing the co-existing medical problem, such as depression and anxiety, given that these two conditions would affect and perpetuate the severity of insomnia. In many cases, however, a definite cause may not be found.
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