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Insomnia: questions to ask your doctor

Filed in
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Sleeping Pills
  • Insomnia

Sleep Education Archive  |  Jul 18, 2007
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It is important to talk to your doctor before you begin treatment for insomnia. You may be unsure of what you need to do. Perhaps you are concerned that there may be risks involved. You probably want to know how much and how soon this treatment will help you.

Your doctor can provide you with all of this information. Below is a sample list of questions for each of the two primary options for treating insomnia. You may want to print this list and take it with you to the doctor. Getting answers to all your questions will help ensure that your treatment is both safe and effective.

Questions to ask your doctor before you take a sleep medication

  • Why is a medication the best treatment option for me?
  • Why is this drug better for me than others that you could prescribe?
  • How much of the drug (what dose) am I taking?
  • How often should I take it?
  • Should I take it with or without food?
  • At what time of day should I take it?
  • Can I still take it if I have to go to bed later or wake up earlier than normal?
  • Is this a brand-name drug or a generic drug?
  • How expensive is this prescription?
  • How long will this prescription last?
  • Can I refill the prescription when it runs out?
  • Can this drug cause addiction?
  • Can I safely take this drug for a long time?
  • Will this drug be less effective if I take it for a long time? Will I need to take higher doses?
  • Can I take this drug along with other prescription medications? Can I take it with common pain killers, or with cold and allergy medicines?
  • What kind of results should I expect?
  • What side effects are common for people who take this drug?
  • What side effects would be a cause for more concern?
  • What should I do if I have side effects from this drug?
  • How can I know when I no longer need to take it?
  • Can I stop taking it suddenly, or do I need to come off it slowly?
  • When should I come see you again?
Questions to ask your doctor before you begin cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Why is CBT the best treatment option for me?
  • Which CBT methods will this treatment involve?
  • How many sessions will I need to attend?
  • How long will each session last?
  • Who will be leading these sessions?
  • Will they be group or one-on-one sessions?
  • What kind of results should I expect?
  • How soon should I begin to see positive results?
  • For how long can I expect these results to last?
  • Will I need to return for follow-up sessions after the treatment ends?
  • How expensive is this treatment?
  • Will my insurance cover CBT?
  • Are there any side effects that I could have during treatment?
  • When and where is my first session?