Dr Michael Thorpy on Diagnostic, Therapeutic Implications of Chronic Insomnia for Clinicians

Michael Thorpy, MD, director, Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Montefiore, and professor of neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, discusses treatment implications for clinicians managing chronic insomnia and potential comorbid conditions.

Clinicians need to understand the significance of insomnia, how it’s affecting the patient, and whether there are other conditions that need to be treated along with the insomnia, said Michael Thorpy, MD, director, Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, Montefiore, and professor of neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.


Transcript

What knowledge gaps among clinicians continue to impact diagnosis and treatment of chronic insomnia?

Well, I think the important thing is to recognize if insomnia is existing by itself or whether it's comorbid with other disorders. Most often it is comorbid with some other disorder, particularly a psychiatric or a medical disorder. So, clinicians really need to understand the significance of insomnia, how it’s affecting the patient, and whether there are other conditions that need to be treated along with the insomnia.

Too often people will see somebody who has a medical or psychiatric disorder and think that the primary treatment of the medical or the psychiatric disorder will eliminate the sleep disturbance, but usually it doesn't. You need to treat both at once—both the insomnia and the underlying medical or psychiatric disorder.