Posts Tagged ‘drugs

manheadacheWhen you’re feeling stressed on the job, it can be hard to leave work at the office. Your job may preoccupy your mind as you drive, as you eat, and as you interact with family or friends. But the battle to control your mind can intensify when you try to go to sleep.

Sleep and stress are competitors. When stress continually activating a part of the brain that is otherwised used for sleep, then stress wins the tug-of-war.

According the AASM, job stress can be a cause of adjustment insomnia. This involves disturbed sleep or sleeplessness that may last for a few days or a few weeks. Other symptoms may include anxiety, worry and tension.

A common feature of adjustment insomnia is “ruminative thoughts.”  This is when you dwell on the same thoughts, chewing them over and over in your mind. You may lie in bed staring at the ceiling, unable to stop thinking about work. Even when you finally fall asleep, your work may invade your dreams. The Staples National Small-Business Survey polled 302 owners and executives of small businesses, and more than half said they dream about work -or “sleepwork.”

Scientific research confirms that job stress can affect your sleep. In 2005 a study in the journal Sleep involved 8,770 Japanese workers. In both men and women, a high level of stress at work was liked to insomnia.

A 2007 study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine linked insomnia to these three types of job stressors:

  • High work demand
  • Low influence over decisions
  • High professional compromise

The type of job stress you experience may affect your sleep in different ways. Another study linked work overload to poor sleep quality.  Having role conflicts at work was related to non-restorative sleep and trouble falling asleeo or staying asleep.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, sleep disturbances are one early warning sign of job stress. Others may include:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Short temper
  • Upset stomach
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Low morale

Job stress may be unavoidable. But sleep specialists say you can take steps to improve your sleep even when you are stressed.  Establishing a pattern of relaxing behaviors close to bedtime and limiting work to the early evening may help to reduce stress.

Here are jus a few more tips to help you be less restless with work worries:

  • Remain active
    Try to get some exervise every day. Both your mind and body will be more relaxed when its bedtime.
  • Express yourself
    Take some time to slow down before going to bed. Get away from the computer, turn off the TV and the cell phone, and relax quietly for 15 to 30 minutes. Take a warm bath, enjoy a light snack or listen to some soft music.
  • Avoid “bedwork”
    Never bring any work to bed with  you; your bed should be refuge from your job. Also avoid doing other activities in bed such as reading, watching TV or talking on the phone. Only use your bed for sleep.
  • Get out of bed
    If you have trouble falling asleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until you feel sleep agian. Tossing and turning will only increase your frustrations.
  • See a specialist
    Some doctors are specialists in behavioral sleep medicine. They can teach you how to relax at bedtime so you can fall asleep more easily.

…Living for the instant brain fix.

Is it just us, or does it seem like everyone is either searching for that little something to get a competitive edge or simply struggling to keep up?

Americans are 24-7_365, I am guilty of swilling espresso as I  burn the candle at both ends to make sure my day is well productive. But that doesn’t disturb us nearly as much as the overwhelming amount of highly caffeinated “energy” products being marketed to help stimulate our competitive kids. Snackfood maker Mars has even released a new “Snickers Charged,” -so even candy can now give you an extra nudge.

The pharmaceutical industry is, of course, lurking right there with a whole slew of cognitive enhancers to push our bodies and brains to the max!

As a society, we tend to reflexively deride and often morally condemn the instant fix (While at the same time scrambling for it). But what about drugs that can instantly improve your cognitive functioning? Not a good idea, right? They’re unfair- like steroids for the brain. Until you consider the pilot who’s flying your plane for the next 10 hours or the neurosurgeon operating on your mom. Maybe a hit of Provigil doesn’t sound like suck a bad idea.

There’s nothing earth-shattering or radical about the idea of “cognitive enhancers.” Caffeine and nicotine are two old-school boosters. Many studies have proven that both help maintain attention, highten alertness and, of course, keep people awake. Research has also shown that caffeine possesses cognition-enhancing properties that can enhance higher cognitive functions like short- and long-term memory and perceptual sensitivity.

But the java jolt isn’t enough for those seeking the new “smart drugs” or “nootropics,” many of which were orginally developed to treat neurological or mental disorders such as Parkinson’s disearse.

Two of the drugs which are now being used as cognitive enhancers, donepezil and tacrine were orginally approved in the United States for treatment of Alzheimers. A study published in the journal Neurology found that commerical pilots who took 5 milligrams of donepezil for one month performed better than pilots on a placebo when asked to fly a Cessna 172 on a flight simulator. There was a significant difference between the groups in the effectiveness with which they dealth with emergencies.

Then there’s Ritalin, the drug of choice on college campuses for sleep-deprived students struggling to pull all nighters, complete term papers, even boost concentration during exams.
Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). At recommended doses, these medications can accelerate the centeral nervous system, heightening concentration and alertness.

But as a “smart drug,” Ritalin may not be quite so smart. Never mind the fact that sharing prescription medicine is a felony drug offense in most states- taking excessively high doses of Ritalin can increase the risk for neurological and heart-related symptoms.

The current superstar of prescription stimulants is Provigil (Modafinild), first approved as a treatment for narcolepsy. A secondary indication was to treat something called Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), a sleep disorder that affects people who frequently work schedules that resist the bodys’ natural Circadian rhythm, such as night shifts or rotating shifts. We both know doctors who regularly use Provigil.

Provigil can keep a person awake and alert for 90 hours straight, with none of the jitteriness, impaired concentration, “rebound effect,” or risk of addiction associated with amphetamines or even coffee.

Not surprisingly, Provigil is reportedly popular with the U.S. Air Force, and has been used more than 150 times this year by bomber crews to ward off fatugue on missions of mare than 12 hours.

Provigil seems to safely bolster alertness for day at a time wiht few side effects, but its long-term effects have not been sufficiently studied to completely rule out all potential problems.

A couple of final points, I have talked to quite a few parents on this topic of cognitive enhancers, and the issue of “fairness” invariably comes up. For instance, do you want your kid taking the SATs and competing with a bunch of other kids who are tweaking on Provigil? Hopefully, we will have all instilled in them an awareness of the profound difference between the abilty to perform will on standardized tests and the capacity for intellectual discovery, innovation and creativity, and humane conduct.

Yummm…wait where did those pesky 10lbs come from again???

  Strange behavior by insomniacs taking prescription drugs, are on the rise. Ranging from binge eating to having sex all while asleep! These have raised safety questions about anti-insomnia medications such as Sanofi-Aventis’ Ambien.

  Researchers are studying cases where insomniacs taking Ambien got up in the middle of the night, binged uncontrollably, (either in food, or their partner) then remembered nothing of their actions the next day.

  I guess these sleep-induced side effects while on this medication have been around for years, but the incidence is rising because of an explosion in the drugs’ use is becoming and epidemic!

  Researchers haven’t found a cause for the sleep-related eating disorder, although patients with prior history of sleep-walking and women may even be at a higher risk.

  Doctors who are prescribing this medication should be engaging in discussions with their patients to describe and try to understand potential contributors to this behavior. The researchers identified 32 Ambien users who where experiencing sleep-related eating disorders with amnesia. Researches estimated that thousands of Ambien users in the U.S. experience sleep-related eating disorders while taking the drug.

   And they are wondering why the US is struggling with obesity, and why we are considered to be the “fattest” country! We don’t even know that we’re getting fat, just give us a pill, and a pill for that pill, and a pill for that side effect, ohhhh boy doesn’t the list ever end???

  A study even showed that patients who took other, older sleep medications didn’t experience the disorders. So why is Ambien still in the market?

  About 30 million people in the United States take sleep medications, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. By some counts that is a 50 percentile jump since the beginning of the decade. Ambien is boasting 12 BILLION nights of patient use!

  Some of the most serious side effects are short-term memory loss, and accidents involving patients who drive the next day, while still feeling drugged. (I love how we know all this information and yet ‘we’ continue to take/supply these yummie little pills)

  “Patients who have engaged in this unusual behavior at night – it’s relatively rare and bizarre,” said Donna Arand, president of the American Insomnia Association.

  “The daytime sleepiness – that drugged feeling that people may have – is probably the most worrisome because of the (vehicular) accidents that can occur.” (really…)

Memory Problems????

 Consumer group Public Citizen warned that Ambien should only be used on a limited basis because it causes temporary amnesia.

 Because the Food and Drug Admin’s reporting system is voluntary and anecdotal, “we don’t know how big of a problem it realty is… we have no way too accurately to assess the prevalence,” said the consultant of Public Citizen.

 Memory issues my be an infrequent side effect, but when it occurs it could be very costly! This certainly needs to be looked at in a more rigorous way. (Before you know it people who leave their kids in cars are going to say they were suffering from memory loss due to Ambien! GREAT!)

  This just in: * Doctors recommend against abruptly stopping the drug(s), which can cause withdrawal symptoms including seizures! * 😉

 “The risk has always been there; we are just seeing it more now because so many more people are using the drug(s),” said the program director at the sleep disorder unit at the National Institutes of Health.

  And yet we still love to eat em’ up, and then when things go wrong we want to start pointing fingers, instead of doing our own research and finding out exactly what we’re putting into our bodies!

          *While there are many physical aspects of sleep apnea, there are also psychological ones, and they may be more subtle to identify and accurately diagnose. The first aspect we see in this condition is that the person does not receive a restful night’s sleep. The reason we need sufficient sleep is because the body needs a certain amount of sleep to restore, repair and recharge the body’s major organs right down to the cellular level. If this doesn’t happen, the person will feel fatigue in the morning. Daytime drowsiness occurs, and this overwhelming desire to sleep will stay with the person throughout the day.

Lack of sleep due to sleep apnea will cause frustration and irritability, as the person needs to stay awake to operate their daily tasks. Problems with concentration and memory loss are also common pshchological aspects of sleep apnea. All of these emotions will add up and provoke a growing sense of depression. The person may even feel like they are losing their mind, as their ability to think clearly is reduced.  The only desire may be to stay in bed and get the rest they think they need, when in reality, they should be getting treatment for their sleep apnea.

In extreme cases, the psychological effects of sleep apnea may include thoughts of suicide. If the brain is continually not getting enough oxygen night after night, the quality and purpose of a person’s life steadily drops. Antidepressant drugs are not efficient in this case, ither, because the medical condition of sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed and effectively treated first.

Depression and Snoring

        * Recent research suggest a link between some cases of clinical depression and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While steadily becomes more widely known and understood in developed countries, obstructive sleep apnea remains on of the least-diagnosed health issues affecting millions of people.
In OSA sufferers, changes in structures and tissues in the throat cause the throat to collapse or close off during sleep, blocking breathing completely and leading to the signature deep and loud snore as the person finally overcomes the obstruction and gasps for a breath of air. Respiratory interference during sleep often results in alarmingly low blood oxygen levels-which in turn lead to changes in metabolism and blood chemistry, raising the risks of cardiovascular disease among other health issues, and sometimes even causing sudden death by asphyxiation. Now it appears that the chemical changes brought on by this disease may also lead to deep mental depression in some patients.
 If you sometimes wake to hear yourself snoring-or if your spouse complains of your loud snoring- it might be awfully smart for your mental as well as physical health to contact on otolaryngologist or sleep clinic to see if an attended or unattended sleep study is appropriate and indicated. However preformed, the object of such a study is to record your breathing and your blood oxygen levels throughout a night of sleep, to determine if your own throat is collapsing and stopping your breathing. If so, then a various of surgical and non-surgical treatments are available to save your life and breath-and apparently even your sanity!