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Primary Insomnia

Primary Insomnia Overview

Primary insomnia is sleeplessness or the perception of poor quality sleep that cannot be attributed to a medical, psychiatric, or environmental cause (such as drug abuse or medications). It is characterized by the following:

  • A 1-month or longer history of at least one of the following: a) difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or b) nonrestorative sleep.
  • Sleep disturbance (or associated daytime fatigue) causing significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • To be considered primary insomnia, the sleep disturbance must not occur exclusively during the course of narcolepsy, breathing-related sleep disorder, circadian rhythm sleep disorder, or a parasomnia.
  • The sleep disturbance does not occur as a result of another mental disorder.
  • The sleep disturbance does not occur as a result of drug or alcohol dependence or any medical condition.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/8/2015
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Insomnia Treatments

In general, transient insomnia resolves when the underlying trigger is removed or corrected. Most people seek medical attention when their insomnia becomes chronic.

The main focus of treatment for insomnia should be directed towards finding the cause. Once a cause is identified, it is important to manage and control the underlying problem, as this alone may eliminate the insomnia all together. Treating the symptoms of insomnia without addressing the main cause is rarely successful. In the majority of cases, chronic insomnia can be cured if its medical or psychiatric causes are evaluated and treated properly.

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Primary insomnia is sleeplessness that is not attributable to a medical, psychiatric, or environmental cause.

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