are supported by another large study of 10,000 adults by Weissman and colleagues (1997). That study found insomnia to have increased the risk of major depression by a similar magnitude (fivefold) and to have increased the risk of panic disorder (one of the anxiety disorders) even more strikingly, by 20-fold (OR = 20.3, 95% CI, 4.4–93.8). Insomnia is also a predictor of acute suicide among patients with mood disorders (Fawcett et al., 1990).

The striking association between insomnia and depression in so many studies suggests that insomnia is also an early marker for the onset of depression, and the two may be linked by a common pathophysiology. Although the pathophysiological relationship is not known, researchers are focusing on overlapping neural pathways for anxiety, arousal, and/or circadian disturbance (Benca, 2005b). One hypothesis is that common pathways are the amygdala and other limbic structures of the brain (Nofzinger et al., 2005). Another hypothesis is that chronic insomnia increases activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which in turn contributes to depression (Perlis et al., 2005). The close association of insomnia and depression also raises the tantalizing possibility that treating insomnia may prevent some cases of depression (Riemann and Voderholzer, 2003), but limited data are available. The biological basis for the relationship between insomnia and new onset psychiatric disorders (other than depression) is also not known.


Manifestations and Prevalence

Narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia are characterized by a clinically significant complaint of excessive daytime sleepiness that is neither explained by a circadian sleep disorder, sleep-disordered breathing, or sleep deprivation, nor is it caused by a medical condition disturbing sleep (AASM, 2005). The diagnosis of narcolepsy and hypersomnia is based principally on the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), which objectively quantifies daytime sleepiness (Box 3-2) (Carskadon et al., 1986; Arand et al., 2005). Sleep logs or actigraphy (a movement detector coupled with software that uses movement patterns to provide estimate sleep and wake times) can also be used to exclude chronic sleep deprivation as a diagnosis prior to the MSLT. In many cases narcolepsy arises during the mid to late teenage years; however, frequently initial diagnosis is not correct, resulting in delays in diagnosis of 15 to 25 years after the onset of symptoms (Broughton et al., 1997). Onset of narcolepsy can also have a negative impact on school performance (see Chapter 4). Narcolepsy is associated with a number of symptoms (Anic-Labat et al., 1999; Overeem et al., 2002), including the following:

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement