The medicalization of sleeplessness: A public health concern

Mairead Eastin Moloney, R. Konrad, Catherine R. Zimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Sleeplessness, a universal condition with diverse causes, may be increasingly diagnosed and treated (or medicalized) as insomnia. We examined the trend in sleeplessness complaints, diagnoses, and prescriptions of sedative hypnotics in physician office visits from 1993 to 2007. Consistent with the medicalization hypothesis, sleeplessness complaints and insomnia diagnoses increased over time and were far outpaced by prescriptions for sedative hypnotics. Insomnia may be a public health concern, but potential overtreatment with marginally effective, expensive medications with nontrivial side effects raisesdefinitepopulationhealth concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1433
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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