As future chiropractic physicians, many of us focus primarily on musculoskeletal conditions in terms of knowledge. It is important to be aware of our patient’s mental health as well though, as it could be a main component of the individual’s symptoms. Forty-five percent of patients dying by suicide saw their primary care provider in the month preceding their death. As future chiropractors, some of our patients may describe us as their primary care physician, so it is crucial that we are aware of this shocking statistic. Insomnia and fatigue nearly every day is one of the symptoms that are present in an individual diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
Many individuals describe symptoms of fatigue and loss of sleep, and it is important to delve deeper with our history and questions in order to determine if this is part of a larger issue for the patient. There are also a variety of sleep disorders that can greatly influence a patient, and their ability to combat musculoskeletal disorders. These sleep-wake disorders include insomnia and sleep apnea, both of which are common conditions. It is important to realize that the deep emotional centers of the brain are 60% more reactive when an individual is sleep deprived, so an individual may not be acting like their usual selves during these conditions.
There are so many components that go into an individual, and it is important that as future chiropractic physicians, that we are aware of the multiple dimensions of our patients, and how sleep and mental health play a large role in the well-being of our patients.