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Am J Public Health. 2011 Aug;101(8):1429-33. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2010.300014. Epub 2011 Jun 16.

The medicalization of sleeplessness: a public health concern.

Author information

1
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Program on Integrative Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7200, USA. Moloney@email.unc.edu

Abstract

Sleeplessness, a universal condition with diverse causes, may be increasingly diagnosed and treated (or medicalized) as insomnia. We examined the trend in sleeplessness complaints, diagnoses, and prescriptions of sedative hypnotics in physician office visits from 1993 to 2007. Consistent with the medicalization hypothesis, sleeplessness complaints and insomnia diagnoses increased over time and were far outpaced by prescriptions for sedative hypnotics. Insomnia may be a public health concern, but potential overtreatment with marginally effective, expensive medications with nontrivial side effects raises definite population health concerns.

PMID:
21680913
PMCID:
PMC3134490
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2010.300014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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