Recession Blues: NYM Can Help Ease Your Sleepless Nights

Apr 8, 2009

As the economy worsens, fear of unemployment and financial instability can affect an individuals sleeping patterns. For some people, the economic crisis is an additional stressor and can, in turn, exacerbate existing sleep problems or lead to insomnia. Often brought on by stress, depression or anxiety, insomnia is most commonly found in women, the elderly, and people with other chronic health problems.

At New York Methodist Hospital (NYM), board-certified specialists in sleep medicine offer a focused, cognitive behavioral therapy approach to treating insomnia. A joint effort between the Hospitals Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Sleep Disorders Center, NYMs insomnia clinic is specifically designed to support and treat patients with this often-chronic sleep disorder.

We assist patients by teaching them how to think about sleep in a more positive way, said Liziamma George, M.D., director of New York Methodists medical intensive care unit and a board certified physician in sleep medicine, who runs the Hospitals insomnia clinic with Boris Dubrovsky, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with the Sleep Disorders Center at NYM.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a treatment method that combines changing an individuals attitudes, beliefs and assumptions about sleep while helping the patient to understand how to implement new behavioral patterns or habits. By carefully addressing the patients sleep problems from both a cognitive and behavioral viewpoint, we are able to attack the problem head on and devise techniques that work best for that individual patient, said Dr. George.

Because insomnia is a symptom, not a stand-alone diagnosis or disease, all underlying diseases that may contribute to the condition must first be ruled out. A patients sleep history and physical and mental conditions are thoroughly examined before a course of action is chosen.

In some cases, insomnia acts as a flashing yellow light in terms of sleep problems. A persons inability to go to sleep or stay asleep might be related to their partners snoring, sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, all of which are treated at New York Methodists Sleep Disorders Center. NYMs Center, the only hospital-based sleep center in Brooklyn to receive accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, offers diagnostic and therapeutic services for a full range of sleeping problems and disorders.

For more information on the insomnia clinic at New York Methodist Hospital, please call NYMs faculty practice office at 718 246-8600. A physician referral is required. For more information on NYMs Sleep Disorder Center, please call 718 780-3017.