Increased utilization of health services by insomniacs–an epidemiological perspective.

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Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2004 6 56 pages: 527-36

OBJECTIVES: Epidemiological data describing the prevalence of sleep complaints in Hungary and its region are lacking; furthermore, limited information is available on health care use by individuals with sleep complaints. We assessed the prevalence of sleep complaints, insomnia in particular, in a nationally representative sample of the Hungarian population and assessed health care utilization by insomniacs. METHODS: Cross-sectional study, enrolling a nationally representative sample (N=12,643) of the adult Hungarian population. A battery of questionnaires was administered during a home interview. The Athens Insomnia Scale (AIS), additional questions on sleep behavior, as well as questions on current medical therapy for somatic and mental disorders were included in the battery of questionnaires administered. Psychosocial and demographic characteristics were also tabulated. RESULTS: Forty-seven percent of the sample reported at least one complaint related to sleep. Based on the AIS we report a 9% prevalence of insomnia in the total sample. Sleep deprivation was highly prevalent in the younger and middle-aged groups. The frequency of sleep problems increased with age. Individuals diagnosed with insomnia reported more frequent utilization of health services, including sick leave, emergency visits and hospitalization, than those without insomnia. CONCLUSION: Sleep complaints and sleep deprivation are frequent problems in the Hungarian population and are associated with increased health care utilization. The prevalence of insomnia in our sample was similar to what has been previously reported from other countries. The high prevalence of sleep-deprived individuals warrants further attention. Interventions that effectively improve insomnia may also reduce health care utilization by the affected individuals.
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