Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Behavioral Therapies Can Put Sleep Problems to Rest

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Behavioral Therapies Can Put Sleep Problems to Rest

Article excerpt

LAS VEGAS -- Behavioral therapies can break the habits and misconceptions that cause chronic insomnia, provided that psychiatric or medical problems are not at play, Dr. Bashir Chaudhary said at a meeting on primary care sponsored by the Southern Medical Association.

Among patients with chronic insomnia (lasting longer than 6 months), the cause is psychiatric in about 35% of cases, psychophysiologic in 15%, related to use of drugs or alcohol in 12%, restless legs syndrome in 12%, and sleep apnea in 6%, said Dr. Chaudhary, emeritus professor of medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, and director of the Georgia Sleep Center at the college.

In the absence of medical and psychiatric problems, chronic insomnia may be caused by psychophysiologic factors, in which the patients' anxiety about lack of sleep becomes a big part of the problem.

"These are people who are stressed about sleep all day long," Dr. Chaudhary said. "They become obsessively worried about it." Such patients often have conditioned themselves to experience insomnia in their own sleeping environment; if they sleep elsewhere--in another room or at another place--they often have no problem falling or staying asleep. …

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