Journal of the Korean Medical Association (대한의사협회지)
Journal of the Korean Medical Association (대한의사협회지), Vol.58(9) : 827~832, 2015
The consultation of personnel in relation to sleep disorders in Korea increased by 1.6 times between 2008 and 2012, and the related days of clinical practice increased by nearly 12 times during the same period. Among the sleep disorders, the most common diagnosis is insomnia, which is most commonly treated with medication. Medication is not only easy to access, but also effective immediately. However, the beneficial effect of hypnotic medication on sleep disorder for an extended period of time may be trivial. Tolerance is another barrier to treating chronic insomnia. In addition, such adverse effects as psychomotor slowing, memory loss, forgetfulness, and decreased sense of balance can heighten the risk of motor vehicle accidents and falling-related injuries. Recently, there have been reports about the association between the chronic use of sleeping pills and cancer mortality and dementia incidence. However, there are still many limitations to understanding whether it is the chronic use of hypnotics, or coexisting mental and physical illness, which increases the risk. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to pay special attention to the abovementioned risks when using hypnotics and to consider alternative treatment options like cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.