Psychiatrist Offers Tips for Evaluating, Treating Sleep Problems in Patients

Treating psychiatric patients for sleep disturbances can lead to improvements in their quality of life and mental health, but few mental health professionals receive thorough training on how best to assess common sleep complaints. So wrote John W. Winkelman, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Sleep Disorders Clinical Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, in anarticle inJAMA Psychiatry.“Sleep is a powerful biological drive but, paradoxically, is easily perturbed by a variety of processes. Psychiatric illnesses are one such influence, and … many psychiatric medications either interfere with sleep or can produce hypersomnia,” he wrote. To address sleep disturbances, Winkelman advised mental health professionals to first determine their patient’s chief sleep complaint followed by assessments of psychiatric, medical, neurological, and sleep-specific conditions.“Treatment of sleep complaints is usually directed toward specific reversible causes when present (e.g., pain, mood or anxiety disorders, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnea, nocturia, thyroid disease) and proceeds to more generic treatments (cognitive-behavioral therapy [CBT], hypnotic medication s, stimulants) if the initial approaches are not effective,” Winkelman wrote. “However, given the bidirectional relationship of sleep disturbance and psychiatric illness, such generic treatments may provide independent value for ...
Source: Psychiatr News - Category: Psychiatry Tags: anticonvulsants antidepressants cbt-i cognitive-behavioral therapy hypnotics JAMA Psychiatry John W. Winkelman melatonin agonists orexin antagonists psychiatric illness sleep sleep problems Source Type: research

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