NFL Hall-of-Famer’s Death Related to Insomnia?

A few months ago, the sports world was shocked when former NFL linebacker Junior Seau took his own life. After playing 20 seasons of professional football, Seau retired in 2009. Unfortunately, he suffered from serious depression in the years that followed. Although many people suspect his death could be linked to cognitive problems owed to brain trauma sustained during his athletic career; recent reports suggest a sleeping problem may have played some role.

The Consequences of Insomnia

According to his close friends, Seau suffered from what is known as maintenance insomnia, which causes sufferers to wake frequently without being able to return to sleep. While no one knows for sure of this problem had anything to do with the Hall-of-Famer’s death, studies indicate that insomnia can cause major depression in some people. Additionally, many people who suffer from insomnia are forced to rely on prescription medications that are known to promote suicidal thoughts.

Reports claim that Seau did in fact use Ambien to promote deeper sleep; and the Food and Drug Administration warns that certain users have reported this prescription sleep aid gave them suicidal thoughts.

What Causes Maintenance Insomnia?

Many different things can cause people to wake frequently throughout the night, including depression, stress and other problems. That said, sometimes the issue is the result of sleep apnea, a dangerous condition that causes the sleeper to stop breathing at night. When this happens, the person awakens, often without knowing why.

When people suffer from temporary sleep problems, physicians often prescribe medication. That said, when insomnia becomes a chronic problem, sleep apnea could be to blame.

If you suspect you may be suffering from sleep apnea, a sleep physician can offer a negative or positive diagnosis. If you have been positively diagnosed with this dangerous sleep disorder, Dr. Siegel can help. Contact his office today to learn about a comfortable treatment for your sleep apnea.