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March 17, 1999

Treating Insomnia in Older AdultsTaking a Long-term View

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Sleep and Chronobiology Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pa.

JAMA. 1999;281(11):1034-1035. doi:10.1001/jama.281.11.1034

Insomnia complaints in older adults are both prevalent and persistent.1,2 Insomnia in later life is a symptom with many etiologies: medical, psychiatric, behavioral, and circadian.3,4 The complications of chronic insomnia (ie, complaints of inadequate or nonrestorative sleep over at least 1 month but often for many years) include sedative–hypnotic agent dependence, self-medication with alcohol, depression, diminished quality of life, and in the case of older adults with dementing disorders, placement in long-term care facilities. Sleep disturbances in older adults have been linked to poor health, depression, angina, limitations in activities of daily living, and the chronic use of benzodiazepines.5

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