Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Treating Insomnia With CBT May Curb Depressive Symptoms, Study Finds

Clinicians have long known that insomnia is commonly comorbid among individuals with depression. An article in today’s New York Times highlights a study that investigates how a new cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat insomnia (CBT-I) may also prove beneficial for those with comorbid depression. The study, led by researchers at the Ryerson University in Toronto, is the first of four studies on sleep and depression nearing completion. It included 66 patients with a diagnosis of insomnia and depression. Patients underwent CBT-I sessions for eight weeks, during which they were educated on how to adhere to a regular sleep schedule and avoid stimulating activities such as reading, eating, and watching television in bed.

The results showed that 87 percent of patients whose insomnia was resolved with CBT-I also exhibited a reduction in depressive symptoms after eight weeks of treatment with either an antidepressant or placebo—twice the rate of those whose insomnia could not be resolved.

Nada Stotland, M.D., a past APA president and professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical College, stated that the results were plausible and could lead to major changes in treatment for insomnia and depression—once confirmed by other studies. “It would be an absolute boon to the field,” she told the Times.

The remaining studies—which may be used to confirm these findings from the Ryerson's group—are being conducted at Stanford, Duke, and the University of Pittsburgh. All four studies are funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

For information on the sleep and depression studies being conducted at Stanford and Duke, see the Psychiatric News article, “Combining Insomnia, Depression Treatment May Improve Outcome.”

(Image: Kiefer pix/shutterstock.com)


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