Understanding The Different Classes of Insomnia Medications

Sleeping disorders are not uncommon today, in fact, around 40 percent of the population in the country suffer from insomnia. Insomnia in itself is not a medical condition, but rather a collective of various sleeping disorders. The more common causes of insomnia include psychological factors or changes in hormone levels. But mostly this condition is caused due to changes in your lifestyle, which forces you to lose sleep.

Insomnia is distinguishable across three different categories, which include:

  • Chronic insomnia: As the name aptly suggests, chronic insomnia refers to that sleeping disorder which is persistent and prolonged. But there are certain primary triggers which are the main reason for chronic insomnia.
  • Acute insomnia: This condition lasts for a shorter duration when compared to chronic insomnia. But symptoms of severe insomnia tend to last persistently even if for a short period.
  • Transient insomnia: While chronic and acute insomnia usually lasts longer, transient insomnia will only last a couple of days at the most.

Causes of insomnia mainly include:
Some medical conditions which cause insomnia include nasal sinus and any allergies which block the passageway interrupting normal breathing, gastrointestinal problems like reflux, hyperthyroidism which comes under the category of endocrine problems, arthritis, asthma, neurological conditions, chronic pain and low back pain among others.

Although there are some insomnia medications available, it is important to understand the class and type of insomnia medications even for over the counter drugs. Categories of different kinds of drugs will determine whether these can be availed over the counter or just need a prescription from various medical professionals.

Here you can find more information on the various categories of drugs for treating insomnia.
Tricyclic antidepressants: This class of drugs is primarily used to treat depression, anxiety among other psychological triggers or disorders as well. Depression is triggered due to an imbalance in levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. These are the chemicals through which nerves communicate with each other and a drop in serotonin or norepinephrine levels will cause an imbalance in the levels, for which tricyclic antidepressants have been used for insomnia medications. There are insomnia medications which help you fall asleep, some which help you stay asleep and some which if overused can lead to a dependence which will then not allow you to fall asleep without taking the required insomnia medication. Tricyclic antidepressants help you stay asleep but does not necessarily lead to dependency.

Anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics: This class of drugs is directly used to treat insomnia, with medications which will again vary according to the type of insomnia. Anxiolytics, sedatives, and hypnotics work on the central nervous system and target the main psychological triggers which lead to insomnia. Anxiety can also be treated with this insomnia medication, but a targeted formula is devised in the form of benzodiazepines and barbiturates for treating insomnia.

Phenylpiperazine antidepressants: This class of antidepressants of insomnia medications includes serotonin reuptake inhibitors or receptor blockers for serotonin. The working of these classes of drugs will be different, with side effects which will be different for reuptake inhibitors and receptor blockers for serotonin levels. Though this class of drug is mainly used to treat depression, insomnia medications have also proven effective for this class of drug.

Benzodiazepines: These drugs are again a class of medications which target the central nervous systems for an adequate remedy. There are certain receptors in our brain called GABA-A receptors which are responsible for any reduction in the nerve cells activity. Benzodiazepines work selectively on these receptors, to open the channels to allow the neurons to fire around more freely. There are some subtypes of GABA-A receptors which are why this class of drugs will act differently depending on the subtype mainly. More commonly used for making insomnia medications, the potency of the drug will primarily depend on its formula for a more targeted approach.

Benzodiazepine anticonvulsants: Similar to the class of drugs made from just benzodiazepines, these anticonvulsants work on the central nervous system with a potent formula and targeted approach for freeing up and activating the GABA receptors. Mainly used to treat seizures in people with epilepsy, but also can be utilized for insomnia medications.

Anticholinergic antiparkinson agents: Since Parkinson’s condition can also trigger insomnia conditions; antiparkinson agents are incorporated in the formula. The muscarinic receptors when activated have an excitatory effect, which is why suppressing the same can be done with anticholinergic or acetylcholine antagonists to suppress the nerve activity.

There are many other classes of insomnia medication which can be found online to learn more about the OTC or prescription drug you are willing to take as a cure for insomnia. It is also a good idea to consult with medical professionals from time to time to find out alternative methods to cure insomnia and also opt for any home and natural remedies.

Find a doctor