Anxiety and Insomnia: An Overview

Part of the Series in Anxiety and Related Disorders book series (SARD)


Living chronically with insomnia can generate considerable anxiety and interfere with the quality of life. Of the most commonly reported health-related problems, insomnia is rated as among the most frequently reported complaints (Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 96:287–294, 1997). While insomnia is a prevalent, distressing, and significant disorder in its own right, it is a problem that occurs frequently in the context of another serious psychological disorder. For example, the presence of insomnia is associated with the eventual development of an Anxiety Disorder in one quarter of insomnia sufferers (Journal of the American Medical Association 262:1479–1484, 1989). Both insomnia (Sleep 17:630–637, 1994; Journal of the American Medical Association 247:997–1103, 1982; American Journal of Psychiatry 145:346–349, 1988) and anxiety disorders (Journal of Abnormal Psychology 99:308–312, 1990) often occur with another comorbid disorder, which would be expected to further compound their costliness. Anxiety and insomnia exert complex dynamic effects upon each other. It is for this reason that we write a book for clinicians to understand the overlap and develop effective treatment strategies to address sleep problems in this context. In this first chapter, we consider diagnostic considerations for insomnia when it cooccurs with anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorders and discuss the limitations of viewing insomnia as a secondary symptom when it cooccurs with other conditions such as anxiety disorders. We also propose a Cognitive Behavioral model of insomnia and anxiety. Thus, this chapter provides a preliminary introduction to insomnia and the cooccurrence of anxiety and anxiety disorders, whereas the subsequent chapters provide a more in-depth exploration of this complex and poorly understood relationship.


Anxiety Disorder Sleep Disorder Panic Attack Insomnia Symptom Chronic Insomnia 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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