Mentally Ill, or Just Tired?

| 10/26/2007 11:25:37 AM

Missing a night’s sleep can cause people’s brains to act like they have a psychiatric illness, according to the New Scientist. The lack of sleep can disrupt the parts of the brain that control people’s emotions and fear. It’s similar to the type of brain disruption associated with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Doctors often think that psychiatric disorders can cause problems sleeping, said Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, quoted in the article. But this study suggests that problems sleeping sleep disorders might be causing psychiatric disorders.

And here I was thinking that I was just tired. –Bennett Gordon

UPDATE: A reader pointed out that there is a large difference between "problems sleeping" and "sleep disorders." I think this is a good distinction to make, and I've corrected the language above.


11/28/2007 8:13:54 AM

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Charles Burkhardt_2
11/27/2007 10:01:33 PM

I would certainly agree with John Gordon, now how are we going to get the "decider" to agree also?

Aaron Summers Effler_2
11/27/2007 9:41:50 PM

This also calls into question the wisdom of a long practiced tradition of 24 hour shifts (or longer) for medical residents. Do we really want to put our health and survival into the hands of individuals who have been forced "to act like they have a psychiatric illness?"

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