xxii. How to tackle DSPS18 December 2005 at 12:48 | Posted in Circadian rhythm | 6 Comments
Tags: Circadian rhythm, Depression, Diagnosis, DSPS, Sleep deprivation, Sleeping pills, Treatment
Having a circadian rhythm disorder and not knowing what it is, is essentially different from having one and knowing something about it. Though no two of us are alike, anyone with a disorder related to mine who has read this far, now knows something about it.
Someone wrote on a message board recently: “Wow – reading these posts is totally shocking. It seems like I have written them all myself! I have gone through so much of what is described here.”
Adding such descriptions here, blog entries about my past troubles and struggles, already half-written in my head, is unnecessary, I think.
Finally — way out in the middle of Chapter Two — it’s occurred to me that I should define who I’m writing for.
You are probably over 20. You have one heck of a time getting up in the a.m. no matter how many alarm clocks you are using (and likely not even hearing). You are at your most alert, creative, productive and alive in the middle of the night, and you’ve been like this for years. You’ve tried “getting to bed at a decent hour”, but for you that doesn’t mean getting to sleep right away. However, when timed right for you, your sleep is usually good and uninterrupted for 7-9 hours. When you do get enough sleep, timed right, you’re not unreasonably tired the rest of the day. You suspect that you may have a circadian rhythm disorder.
You may also be one of the approximately 50% of us who’ve been diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Not all the experts agree with me ( yet ), but it looks like the trend is to accept that the root of the problem is the physical / chemical / genetic circadian rhythm disorder. The mood problems follow, quite logically, because of societal expectations and pressures, often compounded by sleep deprivation.
You may have gotten onto the sleeping pill merry-go-round, resulting in habituation, withdrawal, rebound etc. (Thanking my lucky stars — I’ve never gone to a doctor who talked me into that!)
You may have developed all manner of coping strategies, for example sleeping in two shifts every day.
So what do you do now?
You live with it, or you go for diagnosis and maybe treatment. I want to talk a bit about these options, but first: The Sleep Log.