Sleep deprivation is actually an extremely common cause of many mental health issues and illnesses, although this fact is not very well known and is often overlooked. The general consensus is that you can become ‘clinically insane’ after being awake for more than 72 hours consecutively.
Although it’s not entirely conclusive just yet, tests do seem to
indicate that clinical insanity after 72 hours is most likely the case.
After 72 hours of sleep deprivation, the average person may experience
auditory hallucinations, which will soon most likely be followed by
visual hallucinations. These hallucinations may be mild at first but tend to increase in
vividness and length the longer the person stays awake. Eventually the
person may go into a ‘waking dream’ state.
Of course, unless you push it too far, this is usually only a
temporary state of insanity and can be ‘slept off’. It’s no secret that
many drug users experience hallucinations and delusions – this is often a
result of the sleep deprivation caused by the substances they use,
rather than being directly caused by the actual substances. Obviously, many drugs can also cause hallucinations and delusions and
so they only exacerbate the symptoms of sleep deprivation and make
permanent damage more likely.
The mind and body are both part of the same system and it is
impossible to affect one part of a system without affecting the rest of
that system in some way. Being deprived of sleep for excessive periods
of time (i.e. over 72 hours) can potentially cause serious damage to the
health, both mentally and physically.
[ Image from Pixabay – Public Domain – http://pixabay.com/en/eyes-eyelashes-crazy-demented-159437/ ]