Sleeping disorder versus mental illness and hardware problems versus software ones.

Frank Pio Russo - March 12, 2015.

It can often be a bit confusing differentiating between a sleep disorder and a mental illness. If one doesn't sleep for long enough he ends up getting delirium, and this is very similar to 'reactive' schizophrenia. However, the difference can be appreciated very quickly, because the person with a sleep disorder will get better rather quickly after some rest and or sleep... and of course the doctors who may only know psychiatric illnesses (being psychiatrists), may actually change the diagnosis to manic depression, as a result of the patient becoming rather lucid within a few days of hospitalization!

The other main difference is that the sleep disorder patient obviously only has a hardware problem, that can be patched up very well with sedative medications, that induce at least rest even if not sleep. On the other hand, the real schizophrenic will have definite software problems that medication may never eradicate completely: the mind or software is warped or corrupted!

In most cases both illnesses would be due to an imbalance of some sort - be it chemicals or in some cases more specifically neurotransmitters - and even if the sleep disorder person may sound paranoid because he has big ideas: the question to ask is what came first, the big ideas that gave rise to his sleeplessness... or did an illness come first which may have generated paranoia?

One thing which is also interesting is what Dr De Pasquale said, and that is that "great minds have very little need to sleep!". So if someone hasn't slept at all for the past 10 years, don't expect him to solve all the riddles of the universe if he's a schizophrenic... but on the other hand, if he is a sleep-disorder patient whose hardware problem is being tempered with medications... then yes he may well have solved all the riddles of the universe! It takes a very special brain to be switched on, on a 24/7 basis and this may mean that if he were to dedicate 30 years of his life to a problem: in normal persons' time this may reflect more something like 60 years: i.e. whereas a normal person may just sleep for 8 hours a night, the 'sleep-disorder' person may spend that time contemplating the problem!

Furthermore, one will find that if a sleep-disorder patient thinks that his doctors and nurses are vampires and demons that have trapped him, such a delusion will quickly dissipate as he gets some rest. Whereas, delusions like this will be rather persistent in a schizophrenic and may last quite a while.

So in conclusion, some people with a sleep disorder can be very special and should be appreciated!

Frank Pio Russo.