Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid for Depression

News Brief by Avneet Soin

Recently, the National Institute of Mental Health financed different studies that focused on sleep and depression. The first of these studies took place at Ryerson University in Toronto. There, it was found that curing insomnia in people who suffered depression, when combined with antidepressant or placebo drugs, caused their symptoms to disappear at a success rate of 87 percent after eight weeks of treatment. This was double the success rate as compared to those who were not able to cure their insomnia. Many other promising studies have already occurred in multiple research centers including the University of Pittsburgh, Stanford University, and Duke University.

Insomnia is a chronic sleep problem that is diagnosed after it begins to negatively affect work or relationships. It has long been considered a symptom of depression, but these new studies show that it may be a cause rather than just an effect. In fact, studies show that someone with insomnia has double the risk of becoming depressed. To treat it, researchers are employing a therapy technique called CBT-I (cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia), in which insomniacs are helped to create and stick to regular sleep schedules, to stop performing daytime activities like eating and watching TV in bed, and to avoid napping during the day. In 2014, larger trials will occur in which participants in CBT-I trials will keep sleep journals to document their success rates in sleeping well. These journals will help researchers to determine whether a patient has been cured of their insomnia by giving them insight into the consistency of each participant’s sleeping habits.

This area of research is groundbreaking due to the number of people it has the potential to affect. Also, it aims to treat people without additional drugs being used along with antidepressants; rather, the objective is to understand and take advantage of the body’s natural circadian rhythms. In the 21st century, when people are constantly bombarded with advertisements for drugs that can cause a myriad of side effects, a therapy without any extra baggage is invaluable.

Carey, Benedict. “Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid for Depression.” New York Times.
New York Times, 18 November 2013. Web. 8 December 2013.

blog comments powered by Disqus

TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy

TuftScope is a student journal published biannually in conjunction with Tufts University since 2001. Funding is provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The opinions expressed on this weblog are solely those of the authors. The staff reserves the right to edit blog postings for clarity and to remove nonfunctional links.

  © Free Blogger Templates Autumn Leaves by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP