Insomnia may pave the way for depression rather than occur primarily as a symptom of the disorder, according to two University of Rochester Sleep and Neurophysiology Research Laboratory (SNRL) studies--one slated to appear in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and another presented at the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) 19th Annual Meeting in June.
The studies bolster other evidence that insomnia is a significant
risk factor for recurrent and new onset major depressive disorder, according
to the researchers.
"We need to think of [insomnia] as both a symptom and a primary disorder," says psychologist Michael L. Perlis, PhD, lead researcher of one of the studies and SNRL director. "Too many people think insomnia is insomnia is insomnia...the evidence to date is that the story is more complicated than that."
In the study published in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Perlis and his colleagues found that adults older than 60 with persistent insomnia were nearly six times more likely to develop a first episode of major depression than were seniors without insomnia. The association was strongest among women and people who suffer from a particular insomnia pattern that causes people to wake repeatedly during the night.
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