What sleep disorder could my son have if he cannot sleep?

This question was asked in Brooklyn, New York on 07/10/2012.
I am the parent of a 30 year old male who has a diagnosis of mild mental retardation and schizophrenia cannot sleep. This has resulted in many emergency hospital situations. The meds prescribed for son does next to nothing. These psychiatrists do not have the answers. They try this and they try that but without good results. I cannot sleep as when my son cannot sleep he continues to awaken me. I suffer from major depression and so much stress. I get pains in my chest area from this stress. Please help or refer me to someone who can help. Thanks a million.

Doctors Answers (3)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 7/23/2012

Chronic insomnia is common among the mentally handicapped. This may be due to several factors including the degenerative baine disease itself, endocrine problems, diet, medications and and acquired sleep disorder. It sounds like a psychiatrist who specilizes in sleep mediicne may be your best bet to manage behaviour and sleep related problems. As for yourself you may need counseling and treatment as well if this problem isn't fixed fairly soon.

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 7/11/2012

You should find a board certified sleep physician. You can call your insurance company and find out who is on their panel. Call a couple different sleep clinics. Sounds like your son will need a sleep study and a thorough sleep evaluation. It is a tough and complication situation when there are other mental disorders simultaneusly affecting as well.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 7/11/2012

Being unable to sleep is usually referred to as insomnia. However, certain medical disorders such as some forms of schizophrenia, are associated with excessive "wakefulness" which is part of the disorder and not true insomnia. When addressing these disorders associated with excessive wakefulness this aspect must be overcome before even treating insomnia. This may require medications generally not considered first choices for simple insomnia. Fortunately, these periods of wakefulness tend to run in cycles so a normal sleep pattern may return soon. Psychiatrists working with board certified sleep specialists can often help your son and you get some sleep.