PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey from Health Union finds that prescription medication use among people living with insomnia is more likely for those diagnosed with other medical conditions and who regularly see a healthcare professional (HCP) for their condition. The inaugural Sleep Disorders In America survey illuminates the perspectives and experiences of people living with insomnia and other types of sleep disorders, including narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
These findings also support and fuel content and engagement for the recent launch of Sleep-Disorders.net, Health Union's 29th condition-specific online health community.
According to the American Sleep Association, insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and can sometimes be caused by or associated with another medical condition.
Of the respondents within the Sleep Disorders In America survey who answered insomnia-specific questions, more than six in 10 said they currently take a prescription medication that treats insomnia or related symptoms. These prescriptions include those specifically approved for treating insomnia, as well as medications that promote wakefulness, stimulants, pain relievers and anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.
Unsurprisingly, insomnia respondents who currently use a prescription medication were more likely than those who don't to be living with chronic insomnia, defined as at least three times a week for a period of at least three months. Similarly, respondents with insomnia who don't currently take a prescription were more likely to consider their condition severity to be mild.
The findings suggest that respondents who currently use prescription medications are simultaneously dealing with other medical conditions in addition to their insomnia. Specifically, insomnia respondents who currently use a prescription medication were more likely to have also been diagnosed with arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine and neuropathy.
Additionally, people with insomnia are also dealing with heavy emotional and mental health burdens. Respondents who currently use a prescription are also diagnosed with anxiety or panic disorders and depression. In fact, of those insomnia respondents who currently use prescriptions, three-fourths are currently using antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.
"Untreated insomnia brought me to my knees," said Sleep-Disorders.net patient advocate Simone Yemm. "Depression and anxiety almost took my life as the maelstrom of mental distress escalated beyond my ability to cope. By seeking help, I've found a mental peace I'd forgotten existed and I never take a wink of sleep for granted."
Possibly related to a lower condition severity and less comorbidities, respondents who don't currently take a prescription were more likely than those who do - 57% to 18% - to not see a HCP for their insomnia. They were also more likely to say they'd rather make changes to their lifestyle or diet than take a prescription medication.
Respondents who currently take a prescription medication rely on doctors' treatment recommendations, use HCPs to learn about or manage their insomnia and plan on speaking to their doctor about changing or adding to their treatment plan over the following six months. They were also more likely to say they feel they do a good job of following their treatment plan and that it's easy for them to take medications or use medical devices where and when they're supposed to.
"With so many different types of conditions affecting sleep, Sleep-Disorders.net aims to provide a safe place where people with insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea and other disorders can find the information, support and validation they seek," said Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union. "It has also provided an opportunity to illuminate the perspectives and journeys of people with conditions, such as insomnia, that might often be misunderstood."
The Sleep Disorders In America survey, which fielded from March 3 to July 24, 2020, included responses from 2,198 people living with sleep disorders. Respondents answered different questions depending on their type of sleep disorder. The survey included 404 insomnia respondents, 105 narcolepsy respondents, 434 restless legs syndrome respondents, 968 sleep apnea respondents and 287 with another form of sleep disorder.
Additional survey results may be available upon request. More information about living with various sleep disorders can be found on Sleep-Disorders.net, which maintains specific sub-communities - and associated social media accounts - focused on insomnia, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
About Health Union
Since 2010, Health Union has encouraged social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection, and validation they seek. The company creates condition-specific online communities – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns. Today, the Health Union family of brands includes 29 online health communities, including LungCancer.net, ParkinsonsDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net and Migraine.com.
SOURCE Health Union