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Insomnia is a big problem-in more ways than one. First, there's the huge number of people affected by it. Then, there's the fallout from sleeplessness: damage to overall health and quality of life.
And making matters worse, a large number of insomniacs aren't getting help-even though poor sleep can be easily treated. According to a recent report by the National Institutes of Health, fewer than half of patients who suffer from insomnia have discussed their fragmented sleep with a physician. Part of the problem may be shorter office visits that don't leave physicians time to ask about sleep if the patient doesn't bring the issue up, the NIH report concluded.
If you want to beat your insomnia, the first thing to do is to see your doctor.
In the meantime, for more information on insomnia and other sleep problems, visit the following websites.
National Sleep Foundation
Provides a comprehensive look at all aspects of sleep disturbance and related problems.
American Insomnia Association
Provides information on the causes of insomnia and detailed explanations of the various therapies to treat it.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
This patient site covers a broad range of sleep problems and includes detailed descriptions of the latest studies on sleep.
The professional organization provides a list of sleep experts who have trained and been board certified in cognitive behavioral therapy by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
A Personalized Program for Identifying and Overcoming the Three Types of Insomnia
By Paul Glovinsky, Ph.D., and Art Spielman, Ph.D. (Perigee, 2006)
If you'd rather try to fix your sleep on your own, this book can walk you through the steps. Two sleep experts explain why sleep is so easily spoiled and why some people are more prone to insomnia than others. The authors describe the process of sleep consolidation-a therapy that works like glue to stick fragmented sleep back together. They tell the reader how to straighten out sleep patterns by changing bedtimes and rising times and how to implement lifestyle changes that promote sound sleep.
HELP FOR ALL NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
The Brain Matters
AAN Foundation patients website
American Academy of Neurology Foundation
Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Service
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
Helping Paws of Seizure Dogs
To find out more about Canine Assistants, the organization featured on page 27 in the article on seizure-response dogs, call 1-800-771-7221 or visit canineassistants.org . To find other organizations and trainers that offer seizure-response dogs, search the Delta Society's website at deltasociety.org .
National Headache Foundation
Huntington's Disease Society of America
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
Muscular Dystrophy Association
American Pain Foundation
National Parkinson Foundation
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
American Stroke Association
National Stroke Association
Brain Injury Association of America
National Spinal Cord Injury Association
If you've been denied coverage for needed medical services, following are some places you can go for help navigating the insurance maze (as covered in the article on page 36):
Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness
Medicare Rights Center
Alliance of Claims Assistance Professionals
Science keeps transforming outdated notions of depression from an illness of the mind to a disease of the brain. Not only are MRI scans allowing researchers to see exactly how the brain malfunctions, but also, as our story on page 30 shows, neurosurgeons are now reaching into the brain to treat depression at its source.
For more information about depression, visit these websites:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, dbsalliance.org , 1-800-826-3632
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, nami.org , 1-800-950-6264
National Institute of Mental Health, nimh.nih.gov , 1-866-615-6464
By Peter D. Kramer, M.D. (Penguin, 2006)
Over a decade after his landmark bestseller Listening to Prozac revolutionized how we think about antidepressants, the famed psychiatrist defi nitively refutes the romantic notion of heroic melancholy with what he calls an insistent argument that depression is a disease to be opposed wholeheartedly. Exploring the gap between societal perceptions and scientifi c understanding of depression, he walks readers through groundbreaking research that confirms its status as a devastating disease of the brain.