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If your doctor says that your insomnia is of the “Primary Insomnia” variety, that is actually good news. It means that the reason that you are not sleeping well is not because you are suffering from some physical malady. Primary Insomnia means that there is no underlying physical cause. You aren’t sleeping well, but it isn’t because you have high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, asthma, sleep apnea, or some other physical disease. Still, you are suffering from insomnia.
Your doctor might have run several tests to be sure before he or she makes the Primary Insomnia diagnosis. But once your doctor determines that your insomnia isn’t being caused by a disease, he or she will know better how to treat the problem.
A prescription for sleeping pills is not always the first or the best answer to your insomnia problem. Your doctor might refer you to a behaviour therapist (sometimes called a cognitive behaviour therapist).
The idea behind cognitive behaviour therapy is that our thoughts are what are causing us to (in this case) suffer from insomnia. We all have problems of some kind — after all, life just comes with a set of problems, but how we think about those problems can also become a problem.
Cognitive behaviour therapy is a relatively short therapy — usually no more than 16 sessions, unlike other therapies which can last years.
Problems exist for everybody, but each person sees and reacts to problems in different ways. Insomnia is a very common reaction to a life problem. We get stressed out, and then we don’t sleep well. So basically learning the correct behaviour in reacting to a problem can relieve the symptom of insomnia.
Behaviour therapy has proven to be a very useful tool that doctors are relying on more and more often especially for the problem of Primary Insomnia.