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Question 11

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Question 11 - Should I be concerned with fatal insomnia?

From: GH


Is there a real condition known as "fatal famil insomnia" or "sporadic fatal insomnia"? I have had severe sleep issues that come and go for about 5 years. My medical professional has determined the cause to be anxiety for which I am being treated, althouugh I feel that the insomnia itself causes anxiety.

Through the Internet I heard of this other deadly form of insomnia recently. It's supposedly caused by a mutation of a prion that destroys the thalamus which regulates sleep. It is very rare and I probably do not have it, but in the back of my mind I am spooked. I have exhibited just one symptom in the past few years-noticeable weight loss.

This is hardly ever talked about in sleep forums. I learned about it via Wikepedia. I forgot to ask my doctor at my last seesion. Have you heard about this and do you think that this is real?

Please advise.


Answer Provided by Sandman
Jan 19, 2008

As far as I know there are only a very few cases that has been verified, so it is beyond rare. Just the thought makes most insomniacs worse so it is rarely mentioned in sleep literature.

Insomnia is a complaint and not a disorder, so finding the cause is the mission. Talking to a sleep specialist who focuses on insomnia is probably the best step to take. They are trained at teasing out the root cause and knowing the best approach for a cure. Most sleep labs will tell you if they have someone who focuses on insomnia. Usually they are a psychologist and not a pulmonologist, however, in some cases pulmonologist have become well versed in insomnia.

Best wishes and Sweet dreams,


Disclaimer, I am not an MD and my opinions should not be taken as medical advice. If you feel that you need assistance with medications and/or diagnosis, you should seek medical advice from a qualified physician.

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