CBT for Insomnia works! (Even for complicated cases)
CBT-I can help insomnia.
CBT-I can be helpful for insomnia even if the person suffers from anxiety, depression, or medical problems.
There is ample evidence that CBT-I is very effective with primary insomnia, that is, people who have sleep difficulties without having significant other problems. Now new research suggests that CBT is effective for people who not only suffer from insomnia but whom, in addition, suffer from other psychiatric conditions (anxiety, depression, etc.) or from other medical disorders (like chronic pain, etc.).
In the July 6 issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, Jason Ong, PhD and others at the Rush University Medical Center reported conducting a meta-analysis that examined a large number of studies of the treatment of insomnia with co-occurring psychiatric and medical conditions. They found that the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy treatment of insomnia was effective even though the individuals also had other psychological or medical problems.
Old Clinical Myths Related to Insomnia
It made sense, and it has been a part of clinical lore for decades: if one of the symptoms of depression was insomnia, then it was expected that if we successfully treated the depression, the sleep problem would clear up on its own. It made logical sense but it didn’t necessarily correspond with actual clinical reality. Often sleeping difficulties persist in the individual who has been treated for depression, and there is research evidence to suggest that these sleeping problems can make it more likely that that individual will relapse and have another depressive episode. Similarly, if a person has chronic pain and complains that the pain interferes with sleep, we used to think that we had to significantly reduce the individual’s pain and then and only then would the sleep issues disappear. But chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat successfully. So, then, is there no hope to help these people with their sleep problems? Dr. Ong’s recent research has indicated that Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) can help even people in pain or struggling with depression sleep better. Additionally, in the case of depression, treating the insomnia can help improve the depression (cite).
What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia is a systematic treatment for insomnia that is carefully tailored to the individual’s particular pattern of sleep difficulties. Through the use of interview and sleep diaries an individualized treatment plan is designed. This treatment plan is targeted at the behaviors that get in the way of better sleep.
If you think you may benefit from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, please Contact Us.