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We are currently living through one of the most challenging years in recent world history. The combination of economic distress, isolation, and the widespread loss of human life has naturally resulted in increased rates of mental illness across the board. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest that this trend is new. The truth is that organizations devoted to addressing mental illness in the United States have noted for several years that the rates of mental illness are continuously increasing. And we want to look at the link between sleep disorders and mental illness.

 

For the best cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia in Los Angeles, visit CBA. We provide treatment for a range of disorders, with high rates of success. When you visit our insomnia specialist in Beverly Hills, you can get back to a better quality of life.

Link between Sleep Disorders and Mental Illness

In 2018, Mental Health America found that 19% of American adults experienced mental illness that year. That is a 1.5 million person increase over the previous year. These same trends appear to replicate themselves among youth in the United States. Both are matched by increased rates of suicide ideation. Therefore, it is clear that mental illness is a prevalent and growing issue in the United States, one that we need to tackle to protect the health of the community.

The Chicken and the Egg

Previously, it was widely believed that mental health disorders were largely responsible for the fact that an astounding percentage of mental health patients also suffer from a sleep disorder. Continued research has clarified that perception, leading scientists to see the relationship as far more complex. Essentially, the link between sleep disorders and mental illness is a circular one, much like the proverbial chicken and the egg.

Researchers now realize that mental illness and sleep disorders are inextricably linked and often reinforce one another. This reinforcement may actually explain why mental health disorders can be so difficult to overcome. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to regulate our thoughts and emotions. Then the resulting struggle makes it more difficult to sleep. For many people, this is a serious problem that can make their struggle feel impossible. Fortunately, there are research-driven approaches that can help to relieve this burden.

Getting the Help You Need

Cognitive behavior therapy is a complex approach to treatment that works to help patients recognize harmful thoughts while developing coping mechanisms. This form of therapy can be paired with medication and additional counseling if appropriate. Still, your cognitive behavioral therapist’s primary aim will be to have you examine your own thoughts critically.

Analyzing your own anxieties and fears is a helpful way of undermining their connection to reality. Your therapist will help you isolate the thoughts that trigger your symptoms based on your mental illness’s nature. From there, you can discuss what validity those thoughts have, if any. By learning to recognize the thoughts and feelings that aggravate your mental illness, you can start deconstructing them to build a healthier relationship with yourself.

Applying Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Sleep Disorders

At Cognitive Behavior Associates, the staff understands that mental illness and sleep disorders go hand in hand. Their goal is to treat the whole person and that includes resolving sleep disorders that may make it harder for you to recover from your mental illness. Insomnia is the most common complaint, but there are several sleep disorders that commonly coexist with mental illness.

Working on Thoughts

For the most part, the general approach of cognitive behavior therapy can apply directly to patients suffering from insomnia. The CBA experts recognize that the harmful thoughts you have are often most clear as you lie awake in bed. However, there are some additional forms of treatment that your therapist may suggest in addition to your CBT treatment.

Programmable daylight lamps and blue light filtering lenses are some of the most common. These are useful because they limit the effect of external stimuli and maximize your natural circadian rhythm. Regardless of what approach you choose, CBT will give you everything you need to tackle your insomnia and your mental illness at the same time.

Many people ask themselves: am I socially anxious or introverted? Everyone experiences moments when they don’t want to interact with large groups of people. You just need time to wind down and recharge. However, if you find that you tend to prefer spending your time alone or in small groups, you’ve probably fielded more than a few questions surrounding your approach to socializing. Your family and friends may even worry that you have a form of social anxiety, but it is just as likely that you’re simply more introverted than others.

Am I Socially Anxious or Introverted?

Luckily, there are a few easy ways that you can determine whether or not you do experience social anxiety. If you do, we provide the best anxiety treatment Los Angeles has.

Examining the Underlying Emotion

True introverts without social anxiety take real pleasure in having large chunks of time to themselves. They tend to be relatively comfortable in social settings and reserve the ability to socialize for the moments that suit them. By sharp contrast, a person with social anxiety avoids social engagements out of fear. The truth is that many people with social anxiety are also naturally extroverted. They crave interaction with other people, but they are afraid of being judged, ignored, or unwelcome.

With your therapist in Beverly Hills, you can begin working against these patterns. As you do, you can take control over your life once more.

Nature vs. Nurture

The current theory, as it is understood by prominent psychologists, is that introverts are typically born. From childhood onward, introverts tend to find activities that allow them to enjoy the pleasure of their own company. These periods of isolation are mixed with regular, healthy social interaction that gives them the social skills they need. Therefore, an introvert without social anxiety has no fear of interacting with other people. If they say “no” to a party invitation, then it’s probably because they’d rather be reading a book in front of a nice fire that night.

Social anxiety is a learned behavior pattern. There are literally thousands of minor traumatic experiences that can lead to its manifestation, but it typically starts in childhood. Bullying is a common trigger for later social anxiety, but any repeated exposure to judgmental people or a lack of confidence-building exercises could result in social anxiety. When a person with social anxiety says “no” to a party invitation, they’re more likely to avoid the situation out of fear that they won’t fit in or be invited out of pity.

Determining When You Need Help

If you or someone you care about is a true introvert, then you just need to be left alone. Let your friends know that once you’ve recharged a little bit, you’ll be ready to socialize again. Introverts have their own way of balancing their personal needs, and it’s a perfectly healthy way of coping with the stresses of everyday life. On the other hand, someone with moderate to severe social anxiety might benefit from a little counseling.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a common treatment for people who struggle with social anxiety. It works by helping the patient to identify the thoughts that trigger their negative emotions. From there, they can begin to unpack those emotions. Their therapist walks the patient through those thoughts and emotions in order to help them see that there’s little to no logical basis. Over time, the patient’s belief that they are unwelcome or unwanted is challenged one by one. This helps to slowly re-build the patient’s confidence, allowing them to feel less anxious while interacting with other people. Of course, there are times when people can be judgmental, so cognitive behavior therapy also works to prepare patients for those circumstances while recognizing that they represent a small percentage of all interactions.

The Takeaway

Social anxiety is born of negative interactions and a lack of self-confidence. Cases are often mild to moderate, allowing the people affected to live very normal lives despite their anxiety. Fortunately, even the most severe cases are treatable. It just takes a little help and a lot of patience.