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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5101
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I think that I have become addicted to sleep deprivation. I

Resolved Question:

I think that I have become addicted to sleep deprivation.
I worked the late shift (1220am to 820am) for 20 months at a well known museum in New York City.
I was taken off that shift for getting sick too often. (I have atrial fibrillation, and have had blood clots in my legs which required operations.)
I have practically begged them to return me to Late Watch but they won't acquiesce.
I have been out for several months on FMLA, but I still want to stay up very late. My mind races while in bed and I get up to start my day, sometimes at 430am.
I am also an alcoholic. I have been a heavy drinker for over 40 years. I try to cut back, but I am not comfortable in my skin when I have been sober too long.
Gee, I forgot that i had to ask a question.........Is it possible for someone to become addicted to sleep deprivation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

So to answer your question, yes it is possible to be addicted to sleep deprivation

DoctorZ :

Sleep deprivation can initiate a sort of manic state and euphoria, which is why some people enjoy those late shifts like you said you do

DoctorZ :

But this is also detrimental to you physical and psychological health as well, sleep is a vital brain function that helps us operate at peak efficiency

Customer:

I know all that.

Customer:

I know all that. That's why I'm trying this.

DoctorZ :

Okay that is good that you know that

DoctorZ :

What specifically do you want to know then?

Customer:

I was sitting at my post one night and saw something run by at the edge of my vision. It wasn't small like a mouse. This had been happening for several days. Then one night while reading the paper I saw a hand coming towards my left shoulder. I whipped my head around and it was already gone. All the hairs on my body stood on end. It was frightening, and it was thrilling.

DoctorZ :

And at that time specifically, how long were you without sleep or how long would you say that you have been sleep deprived? Like Several Days, weeks, etc...?

Customer:

Probably about a week with 4 or 5 hours at the most every night. I consider that a good amount for me.

Customer:

I love the way it feels when I've had no sleep at all. I feel at peace with the world instead of angry. I become attuned to nature.

DoctorZ :

Well most likely you are suffering from a hallucination/illusion that is frequently caused by lack of sleep.

DoctorZ :

I understand that feeling you are having, it called euphoria, or better defined "feeling like you are on top of the world"

Customer:

So much more interesting than the mundane things I usually deal with.

Customer:

I have done many drugs. Marijuana, lsd, mescaline, peyote, psylocybin, DMT.

Customer:

I crave the change more than actually being high. The acceleration of perception from one state to another.

Customer:

Life is usually boring

Customer:

My brother has asperger's syndrome. We are not speaking to each other anymore.

DoctorZ :

So you are definitely addicted to the symptoms associated with sleep deprivation, they provide you with some excitement

Customer:

I have tried for decades to reach him on a level of emotion that, I suppose, he is incapable.

DoctorZ :

Yes unfortunately individuals with Asperger's Disorder (and on a side they recently changed the name and are now calling Autism Spectrum Disorder, I do not know why they changed it) do have poor social skills and have a hard time reading emotions and social cues

Customer:

I wasted so much energy trying to reach him. But he feels that I have ignore him. He doesn't remember so many things that he did to me because it had no emotional content for him.

Customer:

I am filled with anger for him.

DoctorZ :

That is tough, I am sorry that happened to your relationship with your brother.

DoctorZ :

Even with the anger you feel, you still understand that it is his disorder that prevents him from making that connection with you

Customer:

I am trying to tell myself that. Should have happened sooner. He never had any respect for my

Customer:

wife whom I have lived with for 43 years.

DoctorZ :

I am sorry. His brain is just wired differently then yours and mine

Customer:

Sometimes I fear that I may have a little bit of it myself, but I am more like my father. He had feelings and I miss him every day.

DoctorZ :

I am sorry, when did your father pass?

Customer:

1987

DoctorZ :

He must have had a big impact on your life, probably why you are more like your father as you said earlier. He was your role model

Customer:

My wife and I went up to Maine after dad died. She suggested that we get an urn to put his ashes in. My brother went ballistic on her.....like she was a whore in the street. I should have beaten the crap out of him right then and there. Jackie and I had been together for 11 years. That's just one reason I hate him.

DoctorZ :

That must have been a tough situation for you, I am sorry your brother acted like that to your wife. His disorder prevents him from withholding what he is thinking, he is blunt basically and says the first thought that comes in his head

Customer:

Actually, we had been together 17 years at that time.

Customer:

Oh yes he is blunt.

DoctorZ :

So did you still want to talk about your sleep deprivation?

Customer:

Yes.

Customer:

How long can someone go without sleeping at all?

DoctorZ :

The longest documented time that I have heard of is 11 days

Customer:

Was that the guy on the radio back in the 50's who ended up a nut case?

DoctorZ :

Although I think the world record is supposedly 17 or 18 days, but that was not a scientific study

Customer:

I wonder what that would be like.

DoctorZ :

Yep I think it was a high school student back in the 60's who has the record for 11 days

DoctorZ :

Everyone is different on the effects, but most likely he had short term memory issues, hallucinations, tremors, heart palpitations, lack of concentration, and many other symptoms

Customer:

Doesn't sound like fun. I hope they let me go back to Late Watch with my friends. They are so malevolent and vindictive......and not just with me.

DoctorZ :

You think they put you off the Late Watch to be vindictive?

Customer:

Well, the head of security has washed his hands of involvement and he has delegated the responsibilities to a man who has been forced to go to anger management classes twice.

Customer:

He takes everything personally.

DoctorZ :

It sounds like that guy definitely has problems with anger to go to those classes more than once. They could have put you off the Late Watch till you get more healthy and you said you were ill, so they could have just been looking out for you to recuperate

Customer:

Actually, he tried to put me on a shift where I would have been forced to work two 12 hour days, back to back. I fought that. Now he has me working 8.5 hours a day. I don't even have time to see my doctors. My wife wants me to retire.

DoctorZ :

Wow that double 12 hour shift would have been tough. That is unfortunate that you do not have time to see your doctors. Why dont you retire like your wife wants?

Customer:

I think I may have to. A big move for me. Especially if I want to stay sober. Mayor Bloomberg wants to push out all us old folks.

DoctorZ :

Im sorry to hear that, but maybe retirement will be good for you and it is something your wife wants

DoctorZ :

I actually went to school in NYC at John Jay College of Criminal Justice near Columbus Circle, so I know the city well

Customer:

One of my favorite supervisors went to John Jay. She's the only thing holding the Late Watch together. She's great.

DoctorZ :

Thats good to hear, it is a good school that produces a lot of good graduate

Customer:

Anyway, I should try to get some sleep. Thanks for talking to me. I have to decide whether I want to retire or not.

DoctorZ :

It is a big decision, discuss it with your wife and weigh the pros and cons. I am sure you will make the right decision

DoctorZ :

I am glad I can help, if there is anything else you need feel free to contact me at anytime

DoctorZ :

I hope I provided you with excellent service tonight

Customer:

By the way, I work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A center of nepotism, cronyism, and outright corruption, and I've seen a lot. Good night.

DoctorZ :

Good museum, and I do not disagree with your assessment of the place

DoctorZ :

Good night

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5101
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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