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New Hope For Patients With Insomnia And Depression

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Insomnia And Depression

A new research which will be conducted at the Monash University’s School of Psychology and Psychiatry, may offer new hope for people suffering from insomnia and depression.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder, more exactly it represents the inability of an individual to sleep. Often insomnia is a symptom of a mood disorder, such as depression. Insomnia may be primary, when there is no cause that can be identified or it can be determined by somatic causes, specific behaviors (copious meals, hectic lifestyle, physical inactivity), or excessive consumption of certain substances (tobacco, coffee).

Insomnia And Depression

Insomnia And Depression

If the average normal sleep is 7-8 hours in healthy adults, people with insomnia wake up after a short period after falling asleep or even fail to sleep all night. This sleep deprivation is detrimental to the body, the individual is exhausted and exposed to a higher risk of certain diseases. There is a strong link between depressive disorders and insomnia (the latter precedes depression). Thus, if insomnia is treated, depression can be prevented.

Dr. Damon Ashworth, who leads the study, pointed out that insomnia actually causes the depressive episode. Although depression is treated with antidepressants or using other spcific methods, the insomnia may still affect the patient. In other words, when sleep disorder continues to affect the patient, the patients will be at risk of relapsing.

The current study, conducted by a collaboration between Monash University, Monash Medical Centre and the Melbourne Sleep Disorder Centre, enrolls patients who followed treatments with antidepressants but had no significant improvement. The aim is to show whether treating insomnia helps treating depression.

It is a well known fact that depression and insomnia are interconnected . Previous studies have shown that simultaneous treatment of depression and sleep disorders is effective. However, these findings have not clearly shown which treatment was effective. Dr. Damon Ashworth T, underlined  that this particular study is trying to identify more accurately the link between depression and insomnia. Furthermore, the scientists intend to develop a new approach in order to treat patients that suffer from insomnia.

During the study, patients will be monitored during sleep and undertake fifty-minute sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or sleep education for insomnia (CBT-I). Cognitive Behavioral therapy for insomnia is a method of treatment without using any medication. Pharmacological therapy for treating insomnia may include over-the-counter sleep medications (antihistamines), antidepressants with sedative effects, benzodiazepines, and new drugs, such as non-benzodiazepines (zaleplon, zolpidem). Even if in some cases, medication therapy is effective, there are many side effects that can occur including dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, constipation or diarrhea.