You might be wondering what kind of doctor treats insomnia. Your primary care physician can actually help with the condition. They might also refer you to a sleep medicine specialist, neurologist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or even a pediatrician if your child is the one having trouble sleeping.
Insomnia can be a big problem because not only does it destroy your sleep cycle, but it can also disrupt the way you go about your day. It’s likely that you have tried to adjust your routines to solve the problem but you may need a different approach if it is that your symptoms of insomnia:
- Last longer than four weeks.
- Interrupts your daytime activities, sometimes to the point of impairment.
- Leads you to believe it may indicate a bigger problem, such as sleep apnea because you wake up many times during the night gasping for air.
PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
Your primary care physician is the first doctor you should see regardless of how mild or how serious you think your insomnia is. Your doctor will have the most detailed history of your health problems and therefore be better able to advise you on what to do. They may suggest a range of applicable treatment from simple lifestyle changes to medication adjustments if needed. If these treatments don’t work, they may refer you to a specialist.
If your child is having insomnia, see a pediatrician. Pediatricians have specialized training in dealing with children. Usually, insomnia in children indicates other underlying issues. If that is the case, the pediatrician might recommend you to another child specialist such as a developmental-behavioral pediatrician.
SLEEP MEDICINE SPECIALIST
Doctors can receive subspecialty certification in a variety of areas from The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and sleep medicine is one specialty offered. Physicians, pediatricians, neurologists, and other kinds of doctors can get their specialty in sleep medicine. If your primary care physician is not certified in this area, they may recommend you see one of these specialists who are trained in managing and diagnosing sleep-related conditions.
Neurologists have in-depth training in nervous systems disorders and insomnia might be a symptom of some imbalance in your brain chemistry. They also treat restless leg syndrome which is a known common cause of insomnia.
PSYCHOLOGIST OR PSYCHIATRIST
Psychologists and psychiatrists have some professional capabilities in common but the main difference is that a psychiatrist can prescribe drugs while a psychologist can’t. Psychologists study behavior and mental processes and psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental disorders. If you have insomnia, either of these professionals can offer counseling or behavioral therapy as treatment. They can also diagnose and treat it if another mental health condition is causing your sleep problems.
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE PRACTITIONERS
Insomnia can be treated by using some complementary and alternative techniques like yoga and meditation. Massage therapy might also be useful. What these techniques have in common is that they are able to help you relax and release any tension that might be disturbing your sleep. They also eliminate the need for medicinal solutions as medicine is not always the best approach for all problems.
You may even be advised to try an integrative approach by your psychologist. Sometimes it is the best way to achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being. Some services like Estadt Psychological offer free consultations and can answer your questions about how therapy or even a more integrated approach can help you.
PREPARE FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT
The first step is to make an appointment with your primary care doctor. They may recommend a specialist from the options given or they may suggest other lifestyle changes. In any case, you should be prepared for your doctor to ask you some questions and to ask some relevant questions in return.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR DOCTOR
- Will I have to take medication?
- Are there alternatives to taking mediation?
- How long will I need to be treated?
- What is causing my sleep problems?
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE PREPARED TO ANSWER
- Have you experienced any new changes at home or work that cause you stress?
- Is there anything in your life causing you to feel depressed or anxious?
- Are you on any medication?
- What is your current sleep cycle like?
- Do your muscles twitch when you lie down?
Now that you know what kind of doctor treats insomnia, it’s time to make an appointment to get your sleep pattern back on track.