Detection of Insomnia in Primary Care

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Insomnia is a widespread condition with diverse presentations. Detection and diagnosis of insomnia present a particular challenge to the primary care physician. Patients seldom identify their sleep habits as the source of the complaints for which they are seeking treatment. Insomnia may be the result of many different medical or psychiatric illnesses or the side effects of medications or legal or illegal recreational drugs. Insomnia has a serious impact on daily activities and can cause serious or fatal injuries. With ever-increasing competition with sleep from 24-hour television broadcasts from hundreds of channels and the Internet, as well as more traditional distractions of late-night movies, clubs, and bars, we have become a society that sleeps 25% less than our ancestors did a century ago. We have no evidence, however, that we require less sleep than they did. This article presents strategies for detecting and diagnosing insomnia.

J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(suppl 10):18-26