I struggle, fight dark forces in the clear moon light

A study just published online by the journal Schizophrenia Research has found a marked relationship between insomnia and paranoia in both the general public and in patients with psychosis.

The study, led by psychologist Daniel Freeman, was cross-sectional, meaning they just looked at whether the two things were associated and so it can’t say for definite which causes which.

In other words, it’s impossible to say whether lack of sleep triggers paranoia, or whether paranoid thoughts are more likely to keep us up at night.

However, the study also measured anxiety, known to affect sleep, and it accounted for part but not all of the sleeplessness, suggesting that both paranoia and insomnia probably feed into each other.

Sleep has an interesting relationship to mental illness. While sleeplessness and disturbed circadian rhythms have been linked to mood disorders for many years, sleep deprivation is known to have an antidepressant effect and is sometimes used to treat the most severe cases of depression.

By the way, the title of the post is taken from the lyrics to Faithless’ dancefloor masterpiece Insomnia which also gives a wonderful description of insomnia fuelled paranoia – although I suspect it also refers to the after effects of a night of drugs-based clubbing so probably not exactly what the researchers had in mind.

Link to PubMed entry for study.

Full disclosure: Two of the study authors are research collaborators.

7 thoughts on “I struggle, fight dark forces in the clear moon light”

  1. Paranoia is relative in reality as a person must pay for their house, car, food etc. The bank and criminals do want-demand-need money. A better description of paranoia is needed.
    How many people have enough money not to worry?
    And yes as a person with lots of diagnosis, lack of sleep and paranoia can go hand in hand. With proper sleep, the fear in paranoia-that feeds paranoia can go away.

  2. The third factor besides insomnia and paranoia
    could be immunity. Lack of sleep makes for
    some confusion, paranoia, hallucinations depending on the person and length of time
    as the prisoners in Guantanamo can tell you.
    Immune problems cause a combination of
    conditions that can bring on schizophrenia
    or CFS or MS, all three or none or others.
    Which comes first insomnia or paranoia depends
    on the person.

  3. I agree that it depends on the person which comes first: insomnia or paranoia. I think it actually depends on the mental state. People with an already unhealthy mental state will be sleepless and paranoid.
    However, lack of sleep breaks down our mental state, I believe, which causes the paranoia in mentally healthy individuals.
    Angela from Aberdeen

  4. ou want a Great Pop Moment? James Brown playing Boston Garden right after MLK’s assassination, having it broadcast live on TV, and having the city respond by largely staying home and not destroying the city—that’s one for the ages. Which makes it kind of odd that no one thought to write a book about it until now.

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