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

Michael Thorpy, MD, director of the Sleep-Wake Center, Montefiore, and professor of neurology at Albert Einstein College of , discusses the implications for treatment for clinicians dealing with chronic insomnia and possible comorbidities.

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


What gaps in the knowledge of clinicians continue to affect the diagnosis and management of chronic insomnia?

Well, I think it’s important to realize if insomnia is on its own or if it’s comorbid with other . Most often it becomes comorbid with another disorder, particularly a psychiatric or medical disorder. So doctors really need to understand the meaning of insomnia, how it affects the patient, and whether there are any other conditions besides insomnia that need treatment.

Too often people see someone who has a medical or psychiatric disorder and think that the primary treatment for the medical or psychiatric disorder will get rid of the sleep disorder, but usually it doesn’t. You need to treat both at the same time – both the insomnia and the underlying medical or psychiatric disorder.

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