Treating Insomnia with Medication & Therapy


Many patients do not seek insomnia treatment as they underestimate the effects the sleep disorder can have on their well-being. However, a lack of quality sleep can significantly diminish your quality of life. Dr. Russell Surasky can help patients in Great Neck, NY, find relief and achieve a restful night's sleep. Medication may be able to benefit you, however, those with chronic insomnia typically need to undergo therapy. Over the last ten years, Dr. Surasky has helped many patients manage their insomnia and achieve a healthier lifestyle. 

Defining Insomnia

Insomnia is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as the most common sleep disorder and refers to difficulty both falling or staying asleep(1). The condition is typically categorized as either acute or chronic. 

Acute Insomnia - This form of the condition is usually triggered by a stressful life event. Generally, patients will return to normal sleeping patterns without the need for treatment(2). However, medication may be helpful for some patients. Chronic Insomnia - In cases of chronic insomnia, sleep disturbances will persist for three months or more. The ongoing sleep disruption may be caused by unhealthy sleep habits, changes in the environment, an inconsistent work schedule, medications, health conditions, or psychiatric disorders such as depression(2). Treatment is often necessary to achieve restful sleep.

Insomnia affects approximately nine to 20 percent of the adult population in the United States(3).

Diagnosing Insomnia 

In order to be diagnosed with chronic insomnia, disrupted sleep must continue for at least three nights per week for three months or more with symptoms that significantly impact an individual's ability to function3. 

Symptoms typically include: 

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Mood swings

  • Distress

It is important to consider that not everyone is affected by insomnia in the same way. Some individuals may experience episodic, persistent, or recurrent symptoms. Typically, patients will undergo a comprehensive evaluation, including a review of medical history, physical exam, and a sleep study(1) so that an accurate diagnosis may be reached.

Additionally, your doctor may ask you to keep a sleep diary to record sleep habits, as well as activities that may impact your quality of sleep such as caffeine or alcohol consumption, exercise, napping, and more. As comorbidity is common in patients suffering from insomnia, proper diagnosis is of the utmost importance. Treating the underlying condition as well as the sleep disorder is essential for long-term results. 

Effectively Treating Your Condition 

Often, patients use medication to improve their quality of sleep. In some cases, medication-assisted treatment may be appropriate. Dr. Surasky can help patients utilize medication in the short-term in order to re-establish normal sleep habits. However, he firmly believes that for the most part, sleep aids should only be used to treat acute insomnia. For chronic insomnia patients, he can recommend a trusted therapist with experience treating sleep disorders. 

Treating any underlying conditions as well as the sleep disorder is essential for long-term results. 

The most common treatment method for insomnia is cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I)4. CBT-I typically entails both behavioral modifications, such as establishing a sleep schedule, and cognitive strategies that manage a patient's reaction to their insomnia. This treatment is directed by a psychologist who can tailor and modify the behavioral and cognitive factors as needed. 

Changes Within the Home  

Creating an environment that encourages a healthy sleep pattern is also important. Proper sleep hygiene at home should include:

  • No T.V. in the bedroom

  • Cool temperature

  • Darkness

  • No phone near your bed

Patients should also avoid engaging in various activities in bed, such as using a tablet, so that they associate the space with sleeping. If you cannot sleep, it is imperative that you do not lie in bed for long durations as this can reinforce anxiety surrounding the issue.

Consequences of Forgoing Treatment 

Insomnia is associated with a heightened risk for several serious health conditions including heart disease(5). Those who suffer from insomnia may also be more susceptible to developing mental health disorders, such as depression, or substance use disorders including alcohol dependency(3). The effects of long-term sleep loss can significantly affect an individual as well as their relationships, the ability to succeed at school and work, and overall quality of life(6). 

Achieve a Better Night's Sleep 

Substantial sleep is crucial to your mental and physical health. If you have been diagnosed or believe you may be struggling with insomnia, call Dr. Surasky today at (516) 487-9414 for a consultation. With over a decade of experience and a comprehensive mental health practice, Dr. Surasky can help you determine the underlying cause of your insomnia and provide treatment for mental health disorders that may be contributing to your condition. 


  1. Definition of insomnia - American Psychiatric Association

  2. Definitions of acute vs chronic insomnia - National Sleep Foundation

  3. 9-20 percent of U.S. population suffers from insomnia - National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine

  4. CBT-I is most common treatment - American Academy of Sleep Medicine

  5. Health risks associated with insomnia - American College of Cardiology

  6. Long-term effects of insomnia- National Sleep Foundation


New York Office

Dr. Russell Surasky
15 Barstow Rd.
Great Neck, NY 11021