One of the most frightening sleep disorders in the world is fatal insomnia, even though it may only affect a few people each year. Fatal insomnia can occur when a person has been deprived of sleep for so long that the body cannot take it anymore and the brain shuts down.
This can happen to any person that has had chronic insomnia or sleeplessness for a long period of time without any relief or medical treatment. Although it is considered to be very rare, there is the possibility that you or someone that you know could die from fatal insomnia.
How Does Fatal Insomnia Occur?
Fatal insomnia is a result of chronic fatigue and an inability to sleep for significant amounts of time, often weeks or months. Because the person is not getting the quality sleep that they need to repair their body and their brain, the body and the mind begins to break down.
Eventually, the body is unable to take the stress of not being able to rest any more and the body begins to shut down its functions because it does not have enough energy to run them properly. As time goes on, the major functions of the body begin to shut off, resulting in the death of the person.
Different symptoms will begin to appear at each stage leading to fatal insomnia. After a few consecutive days of insomnia, the person will become fatigued, irritable, and constantly drowsy due to not getting sleep at night.
After a few more days, the person will begin to exhibit symptoms that resemble being drunk, with a loss of balance, inability to concentrate, and severely delayed reaction times being the most common symptoms shown.
In time, the person will begin to have hallucinations and may begin to experience psychotic episodes that may or may not disappear once the person has begun to sleep normally again. If the person reaches this last stage, then fatal insomnia can occur if the person does not get help for the condition quickly.
Who Is At Risk?
There is no way to predict what people will be at risk for fatal insomnia because any person of any age can develop a case of insomnia and the length of time and the severity of the insomnia dictates how the person will be affected.
Seniors tend to develop cases of insomnia more frequently because the condition is often related to disorders that can occur with advanced age, but younger people who develop insomnia are typically affected more and are less able to recover from the lack of sleep.
Many different treatments are available for use in treating insomnia and using these treatments when the person begins to experience their sleepless nights will dramatically decrease the chance of the person dying from fatal insomnia.