Combined Treatments For Insomnia, Anxiety and Depression

Marcus asked Dr. Lai a question. You can ask too!


Is there any combined medicine for insomnia, anxiety and depression?


Yes, absolutely. I've helped many patients with all 3 symptoms. You are the classic case. Anxiety makes a person upset and depressed. Anxiety also causes insomnia, which also makes a person upset and depressed. Then the lack of sleep makes both anxiety and depression worse. The depression keeps a person from doing anything about the situation. The cycle keeps looping until a person finally decides to change.

Change can come in many forms. Pills definitely help and are highly recommended. Talk therapy with a counselor is also highly recommended. A third do-it-yourself alternative natural method is also possible, though you really need to consult a doctor first to see if it's right for you.

The third method involves listening to CDs or soundtracks that help release anxiety and depression while it helps you sleep. Some people use hypnosis, EMDR, affirmations, or cognitive behavior therapy to help. I think it's a completely safe and natural way to improve your symptoms, and it's basically an option to help yourself. Don't like the CD, get a different one. No expensive pills or therapy sessions. But really, this is for mild symptoms, and you should check with a doctor to make sure that your symptoms are compatible with a trial of self-treatment.

There are very safe, doctor-prescribed pills such as Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, and many more that can help with all three symptoms. These all treat both anxiety and depression, which will allow you to sleep better. They often take 6-8 weeks to work though, so it's not a quick fix. Some do help with sleep, but it's hit or miss. Everyone reacts slightly differently, so you have to try a pill to know if it's right for you. If they don't help with sleep, definitely listen to something relaxing to help you sleep.

Talk therapy is a bit of a pain to keep up with to be perfectly honest, but it's also something that can help fix many problems at its root. And you can always just try it for 4 weeks and see if it helps. It's important to find a counselor you are very comfortable with. The gender of the counselor and many other traits may be important to you, so don't ignore that. You need to be able to speak honestly and openly with them, so it's okay to be choosy. With counseling, you may discover thought patterns that drag you down, and getting rid of them could open up a whole new outlook on life.

The first step is to decide to feel better. That's a great first step because it shows that you are resolved to break out of a downward spiral. It's not always an easy journey to get out of a cycle of anxiety/depression/insomnia, but the decision to feel better is a fantastic first step. Many times, while feeling anxious, depressed, and tired, people decide to do nothing because doing something takes too much energy and invokes risk. What if it doesn't work, what if it costs a lot, what if it someone finds out, what if I'm not the same person? Well, something's bound to work, Prozac is $4 a month, 1 in 5 people are in the same boat, and happiness is always a good thing. There are lots of things that can help you feel better, but you actually have to do something to make that happen. So the decision to start feeling better is critical.

The next step with all of this is to go see your doctor to discuss options, including pills, counseling, and some self-help methods. The combination of all three methods can really transform your life for the better. It may take some time, but it's worth it. Good luck!

Disclaimer: Written by Wei-Shin Lai, MD. This should not substitute for medical advice from your doctor. Please call your doctor if you have questions about insomnia, anxiety and/or depression.

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