Across the country, substance abuse is becoming more and more of a health concern. Between abusing addictive prescription medication and using drugs to cope with mental health disorders, substance abuse is on the rise. Are there any predictors for determining if someone will suffer from substance abuse in the future? Yes. The National Institutes of Health found that sleep difficulties as a child can be a significant predictor for substance-related issues later on in life.

Potentially Predicting Substance Abuse in Childhood

The National Institutes of Health found that children who experience insomnia are at a greater risk of developing a drug dependency later in life including alcoholism.

It’s estimated that roughly 30% of adolescents do not get enough sleep with about one in ten children having trouble sleeping almost every day. Reports of sleep disorders as early as three to five-years-old were able to significantly predict an early use of nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use.

Sleep disorder in young adults

What Is Considered a Sleep Disorder?

The sleep disorders responsible for these trends can vary but typically include conditions such as:

Beating the Trend

While these variables are correlated, they aren’t the end of the story. There is a trend that exists between sleep disorders like sleep apnea and dependency but not every child who can’t sleep will grow up to problems with substance abuse and not every person who abuses drugs had problems sleeping as a child. Beating the trend and ensuring your child doesn’t become a statistic means being diligent in getting them the medical attention they need when they need it.

Treating these conditions early can not only prevent the development of future substance abuse problems but can also translate into developing better sleeping habits, improved mood, and better overall health.

The Importance of Early Sleep Disorder Treatment

As mentioned adolescent sleep disorders have the potential to predict substance abuse later in life. This is so crucial to catch and begin treating early because once a person becomes caught in the dependency cycle, their sleep problems will likely get worse as will their struggle with dependency.

One of the ways the combination of sleep disorders and dependency is particularly dangerous is that withdrawal symptoms can make it exceptionally difficult to sleep. Likewise, substance abuse can quickly become a necessity for many people struggling to fall asleep at all. As a result, insomnia can often lead to relapse.

Learn About Sleep Apnea Treatment in Kansas City

If you or your child is experiencing difficulty sleeping, it may be the result of undiagnosed sleep apnea. If you would like to learn more about treatment options, call Dr. Raman today at (816) 436-4422 to schedule an appointment.