Restless Leg Syndrome has many hidden dangers

November 12, 2012

Restless Leg Syndrome has many hidden dangers

Restless leg syndrome, sometimes known as RLS, is a condition which persists in some people and generally worsens as the person gets older. As the name suggests the patient’s legs cannot settle. This in itself need not be too problematic, however when the symptoms cause the patient to lose sleep or change their routines to avoid situations where relaxing and remaining inactive is beneficial then restless leg syndrome is impacting negatively on that person and their quality of life.

When restless leg syndrome becomes severe and persistent it causes mental stress and tension and lack of sleep exacerbates any symptoms. Because RLS is much more common when the patient is inactive during the day or laying down at night it can cause sleep deprivation, tiredness throughout the day and can be a reason for chronic insomnia.

Although restless leg syndrome is not life threatening it does threaten the lifestyle of the individual with the condition and many complications result from having RLS. The human body needs sleep and when it cannot get that rest then it begins to malfunction. Restless leg syndrome causes sleep deprivation which is accepted as the cause of mood swings which have been responsible for accidents at work and road accidents. Being continually tired has a major effect on someone’s efficiency and productivity during the day. The inability to concentrate leads to everyday activities becoming difficult and learning is impaired.

Recent research into sleep deprivation has shown that the thought and reaction process is slowed down because the brain’s ability to process information is impaired. Moods were also affected as well as the body’s ability to function when an individual did not have enough good quality sleep. It was found that someone who was drunk had a similar level of performance as someone who had sleep deprivation. Suspicions that the memory was also affected negatively also came from the research but the findings were inconclusive and require further research.

Psychiatric research into the effects of restless leg syndrome is now investigating the similarity in symptoms with psychotic conditions such as depression and anxiety. Presently the initial cause is unknown, whether it is the restless leg syndrome causing tiredness which then shows itself as anxiety and depression leading to pessimistic mood states or whether the depression and anxiety manifest themselves as RLS.

RLS symptoms are very similar to depression, and anxiety can be the outcome of either condition. It has also been noted that some of the standard treatments for these conditions use anti depressant drugs which may increase involuntary limb movement when the person is asleep.

Because people who have problems getting enough sleep tend to have more negative mood states than the average person this can lead to those people becoming more socially isolated. Other common symptoms from mood disorders can include libido malfunction, depression or headaches. If RLS or any other condition continues to affect sleep patterns negatively then persistent insomnia can develop and a decline in the person’s mental health can be expected.

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