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安易に見逃すことができない睡眠障害の症状としての過眠症

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睡眠障害として過眠症を患ってしまった場合には、早めに専門医の治療を受けることが重要です。

過眠症の背後には精神的・身体的な病気が隠れている可能性が高いためです。本記事では過眠症の症状や原因、治療法などをまとめていきます。

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おそろしい睡眠障害の症状である過眠症

過眠症の男

過眠症とは、睡眠障害の一種です。具体的な症状としては夜十分に睡眠をとっているにもかかわらず、眠気が取れない・なお睡眠を取らなければならないといった症状を示します。睡眠障害は過眠症以外にも、不眠症・中途覚醒・むずむず脚症候群など様々なものがあります。睡眠障害の態様は人それぞれです。

しかし、睡眠障害の中でも過眠症は特に問題が多い症状であるということができます。例えば、過眠症の症状としては1日の18時間程度も眠ってしまうという場合があります。このような過眠症の症状の場合には、事実上、仕事に就くことは不可能であり、社会生活上困難な状況になってしまいます。

また、過眠症の場合には、睡眠障害に関して十分な理解があるとは言えない現在の状況のもとでは、「なまけもの」などといった、誤ったレッテルを貼られてしまう事がありえます。そのため、治療以前に精神的に追い詰められてしまい、健全な治療どころではなくなってしまう可能性があります。

さらに、過眠症の場合には就労していても大きな問題を生じさせる可能性があります。つまり、仕事中に突然眠ってしまう可能性があるため、作業中や運転中に大事故を起こしてしまう可能性があると言えます。このように過眠症という睡眠障害は、他の睡眠障害にはない大変おそろしい面があるということができます。

過眠症の原因

では、このようなおそろしい仮眠症という睡眠障害の原因はどのような点にあるのでしょうか。この点に関しましては、過眠症の原因は、実は完全にはわかっていません。なぜ過眠症という症状に陥ってしまうかという点に関しては様々な可能性があります。

しかし、睡眠障害として過眠症を発症する場合、多くの場合には、様々な疾患(病気)が背後に潜んでいる場合があります。

例えば、うつ病といった精神疾患の表れとして過眠症が発症する場合があります。また、アルコール過多や精神安定剤の乱用などといった不適切な用法・用量によって過眠症という睡眠障害が引き起こされる場合があります。

さらに身体的な原因として過度な肥満による場合もあります。過度な肥満の場合には睡眠中に呼吸困難(睡眠時無呼吸症候群)を引き起こすことにより、睡眠の実質をとることができずに、ほとんど眠れていない状態が続くことがあるためです。

このように睡眠障害として過眠症が現れる場合には、背後に精神的な疾患や身体的な疾患が潜んでいることがある点には注意が必要です。この意味で、過眠症を発症してしまった場合には、その症状を取り除くと同時に過眠症の原因を探ることもとても重要となります。

なお、単に長時間睡眠を必要とする体質というだけでは過眠症とは言えないことにも注意が必要です。例えば、1日10時間程度の睡眠時間をとることでかえって効率的に活動することができるという方は非常に多くいらっしゃいます。睡眠時間が単に長いというのは、単に体質の問題ということもあるので、長時間睡眠が即座に睡眠障害としての過眠症ということにはなりません。

過眠症の治療

睡眠障害としての過眠症が身体的・精神的な疾患が原因の場合には治療をすることとなります。睡眠障害として過眠症の治療を受ける場合には、多くの場合には病院での薬物治療が中心となります。精神的な疾患の場合には、どうしても医師による薬物の治療を受けて過眠症及び睡眠障害の原因となっている病気の原因の治療をすることが必要となります。

また、肥満体質などによる睡眠時無呼吸症候群が過眠症の原因の場合には、医師の指導のもと、通常の体重に戻すための長期的な治療が必要です。さらに、ストレスを解消すること・生活リズムを規則正しくすることなどが指導されます。

過眠症という睡眠障害となってしまった場合には、背後に大きな問題がある場合もありますので、長期的に、じっくりと腰を据えて治療をすることが大切となります。

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究極の眠れるCD

posted with amazlet at 13.10.19
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まとめ:過眠症の場合には早めに専門医に相談されることが大切

本文で述べましたように睡眠障害のうち、過眠症の場合には、背後に精神的・身体的な大きな問題を抱えてしまっている可能性がありえます。

そのため、あまりにも長時間眠ってしまう(ひとつの目安として12時間以上の睡眠時間を1ヶ月以上続けてとっている場合などが、睡眠時間としての過眠症が疑われます)場合や昼間の睡眠感が異常とも言える場合身は速やかに専門医の治療を受けられることがおすすめできます。

繰り返しになりますが、過眠症を患ってしまう本当の原因は、はっきりとは判明してはいません。しかし、ストレスや多忙さに追い立てられる、現代社会においては、いつの間にか精神的・身体的な疾患を患ってしまって、睡眠障害としての過眠症になってしまうことも否定できません。

このことを逆に考えれば、睡眠障害として過眠症を患ってしまうことは誰にでもあるということです。そのため、過眠症で悩んでしまわれた場合には躊躇なく、専門医の門を叩くことがおすすめできます。

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