Gayle Green, in her book Insomniac, levels criticism at psychologists and psychiatrists who concentrate on factors such as anxiety, depression, and/or stress as causes of insomnia (characterized as "blaming the victim") at the exclusion of examining the contribution of physiology. Stuart Derbyshire, in his review of Insomniac, suggests that physiological explanations of insomnia, however, are flawed. Specifically, he writes: "…the idea that insomnia is the product of faulty neurobiology or hormones or something else is just a guess and a guess that could be horribly wrong in many different ways." Both author and reviewer acknowledge that more research is needed to better understand the causes of sleep disorders.
What are the arguments for and against psychological influences of insomnia? Physiological influences? Can current findings in sleep research shed light on the complexities of this disorder?
By Stuart W. G. Derbyshire
PsycCRITIQUES, 2008 Vol 53(52)