Nighttime creepy-crawlies are probably more prevalent than you think. In fact, for roughly 10 percent of Americans, those tingly, itchy sensations — primarily in the leg area between the ankle and knee — represent a neurological disorder known as Restless Leg Syndrome, or RLS.
Most of the sensations take place in the lower legs, though the arms, torso and face could also be affected. Wherever its found to be taking place on your body, insomnia is typically the result.
And while psychological symptoms are not part of an RLS diagnosis, RLS and psychology still maintain a strong foundational relationship– back when the first connection between RLS and psychology was noticed, Theodor Wittmaack, a German neurologist, termed the disorder “anxietas tibiarum,” which essentially can be translated to “leg movements combined with anxiety or depression.”
Though this was back in the 1800s, Wittmaack hit the description on its proverbial head, as this is the overall proper description given to RLS.
Also, when you take a look at five symptoms of depression that can be instantly viewed as caused by lack of sleep, you’ll understand that separating depression from RLS is nearly impossible. These five symptoms are as follows:
1) Feeling depressed or irritable
2) Insomnia and/or severe sleepiness
3) Difficulty concentrating
4) Mental and/or physical sluggishness
Roughly 40 percent of individuals with RLS state these symptoms to their doctor, so it’s often seen as depression instead of RLS. What’s more, people with RLS have a two- to four-times greater risk of developing a depressive disorder than people without RLS. Still, it’s important to understand the difference, as those misdiagnosed with depression are sometimes prescribed SSRIs like Prozac or Zoloft– which can actually cause the symptoms of RLS to worsen.
After decades of questions about whether RLS preceded depression, caused it, or was completely separate from it, a study in 2012 found that RLS comes first, then depression follows– probably because of disrupted or inadequate sleep.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.