Not Sleeping Amplifies the Misery Caused by Mold
By Cesar Collado
Suffering from insomnia is one of the most frustrating and debilitating life experiences. It brings out feelings of defeat and hopelessness. Without sleep, we don’t feel well, suffer fatigue, and lack focus; and, at times, when trying “too hard” to sleep, experience anxiety, frustration, and panic. Insomnia is also often comorbid with depression and can leave the body vulnerable to a host of other chronic diseases including diabetes, immune system dysfunction, obesity, and heart disease.
Sleep is a critical component to health. It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.” Research shows that lack of sleep increases the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections. Mold can also be the cause of brain inflammation. Extensive research has shown that brain inflammation is connected to virtually all types of mental illness. Insomnia and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can contribute to sleeplessness.
For mold sufferers, insomnia amplifies their many debilitating symptoms. The psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety, many times, become the most pronounced and troubling, especially when sleep deprivation is heaped on top of toxic load and mycotoxicosis. Those suffering often feel hopeless and resigned to a “new normal” of fatigue and poor health.
Having spent many years of my career in the pharmaceutical industry, focused on neuroscience medications, I am sensitive to the drawbacks and dangers of using prescription medicines for sleep. It is relatively easy for patients to seek a scenario where a physician can prescribe a sleep aid to address this symptom in seconds, especially when it is used as a clear and obvious solution for anxiety or explainable bouts of sleeplessness due to life happening. However, these aids are seldom a good solution for long-term insomnia due to a medical syndrome, like mold toxicity or environmental illness.
Hypnotic Sedative Medications have many drawbacks and do NOT address the cause of mold-induced insomnia. As a matter of fact, as you will see below, many of their side effects actually compound and exacerbate neurological symptoms related to mold toxicity. Thus, their use should be carefully weighed and considered. For reference, common Hypnotic Sedative Medications and their sited negatives include:
- Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan) are anxiolytics that are
used to induce drowsiness, so you can fall asleep. The dosing and varying half-lives of the medications determine how long a patient can expect to sleep. When used, there is a danger of lingering effects that can impact alertness and motor function. These effects can be dangerous during daytime activities, such as driving. All of these drugs are both addictive and easy to develop a tolerance for, where one negative perpetuates the other, as patients require escalating dosages for effectiveness.
- Non-benzodiazepines (Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata) are medications that hare molecularly different than traditional benzodiazepine chemical structures.These have similar mechanisms and slightly fewer drawbacks; however, addiction and tolerance are still a consideration.
- Barbiturates and quinazolinones (amobarbital, pentobarbital, phenobarbital & “Quaalude”) are older drugs, dating back to the early 1920s-40s, and are rarely used as hypnotics/sedatives in controlled settings.These molecules are used for a broad range of sleeplessness. Their effectiveness ranges from mild sedative, to being used as an anesthesia medication, to being used to induce sleep and block pain for patients suffering from severe discomfort, such as cancer victims.
Another drawback of all of these prescription medications is a decrease in alertness and motor function that can be dangerous for some daytime activities, such as driving. Driving under the influence of these medications is illegal and treated the same at driving drunk. There is also rebound insomnia. This is the sudden return of sleeplessness after usage of sleep aids, which could be worse than the initial insomnia bout.
I am also very fortunate today to repost an article published by Catherine from Mold Free Living. Catherine often writes about subjects from her personal experiences with mold illness. Her vigilant pursuit of overcoming obstacles and her sensitivity place her in a position to communicate about this topic in a way that is both understandable and helpful to fellow mold sufferers.
In this article, Catherine describes her bouts with mold induced insomnia. She provides explanations about the physiology and psychology of why insomnia is a problem for mold sufferers, and offers many tips and tricks that helped her and her family for anyone needing to take action to resolve their own mold-induced sleep problems.