Persistent insomnia symptoms associates with mood and anxiety disorders

Shariq TahirWeb Editor

01st Jul, 2021. 04:55 pm
Persistent insomnia symptoms associates with mood and anxiety disorders

A 15-year study found that childhood sleeplessness (insomnia) symptoms that remain into adulthood are major predictors of mood and anxiety disorders in young people.

Insomnia symptoms that persist from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood are related to a 2.8-fold greater risk of internalizing disorders, according to the findings. Newly established insomnia symptoms during the course of the trial were related to a 1.9-fold increased risk of internalizing disorders.

There was no higher incidence of internalizing problems in children whose sleeplessness symptoms resolved during the research period.

“We found that about 40% of children do not outgrow their insomnia symptoms in the transition to adolescence and are at risk of developing mental health disorders later on during early adulthood,” said lead author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, who has a doctorate in psychobiology and is an associate professor at Penn State College of Medicine.

He works at Penn State Health Sleep Research and Treatment Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, as a psychologist board certified in behavioral sleep medicine.

Data from the Penn State Child Cohort, a population-based sample of 700 children with a median age of 9 years, was evaluated. The researchers followed up with 421 participants when they were teens 8 years later, and 492 of them when they were young adults 15 years later. Moderate-to-severe difficulties initiating or maintaining sleep were characterized as insomnia symptoms.

In childhood, symptoms were reported by parents, while in adolescence and young adulthood, symptoms were reported by themselves. Internalizing disorders were defined as a self-reported diagnosis or treatment for mood and/or anxiety disorders. The results were adjusted for gender, race/ethnicity, age, and history of internalizing disorders or the use of drugs for mental health concerns.

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