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  • Primary Insomnia: An Overview of Practical Management Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques

    3 July 2018

    Primary insomnia is a prevalent disorder of sleep disturbance, impairing daytime functioning and health-related quality of life, leading to increased health care use. This article gives a brief overview of cognitive behavioral therapy as the treatment modality of choice for effectively ameliorating chronic sleep difficulties. Recommended and endorsed cognitive behavioral components are briefly described, and future research directions, focusing on improving the psychological management of insomnia, are outlined. Crown Copyright © 2009.

  • "Stepped care": a health technology solution for delivering cognitive behavioral therapy as a first line insomnia treatment.

    3 July 2018

    There is a large body of evidence that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBT) is an effective treatment for persistent insomnia. However, despite two decades of research it is still not readily available, and there are no immediate signs that this situation is about to change. This paper proposes that a service delivery model, based on "stepped care" principles, would enable this relatively scarce healthcare expertise to be applied in a cost-effective way to achieve optimal development of CBT services and best clinical care. The research evidence on methods of delivering CBT, and the associated clinical leadership roles, is reviewed. On this basis, self-administered CBT is posited as the "entry level" treatment for stepped care, with manualized, small group, CBT delivered by nurses, at the next level. Overall, a hierarchy comprising five levels of CBT stepped care is suggested. Allocation to a particular level should reflect assessed need, which in turn represents increased resource requirement in terms of time, cost and expertise. Stepped care models must also be capable of "referring" people upstream where there is an incomplete therapeutic response to a lower level intervention. Ultimately, the challenge is for CBT to be delivered competently and effectively in diversified formats on a whole population basis. That is, it needs to become "scalable". This will require a robust approach to clinical governance.

  • Prevalence and predictors of insomnia in women with invasive ovarian cancer: anxiety a major factor.

    3 July 2018

    The estimated prevalence of insomnia in cancer patients varies between 20% and 50%, which is substantially higher than the general population. To date, little is known about the risk factors for insomnia in patients with cancer. This study examines the prevalence and predictors of insomnia in a population-based sample of women with ovarian cancer. Participants were 772 women participating in the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study - Quality of Life Study. Insomnia was assessed using the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). Demographic, disease and treatment variables, and psychosocial variables, including anxiety and depression, support care needs and social support and coping, were investigated as potential predictors of insomnia. Twenty-seven percent of women reported sub-clinical symptoms of insomnia (ISI score 8-14) and 17% reported clinically significant insomnia (ISI score 15-28). Three variables were significant predictors of clinically significant insomnia: young age (<50 years: Odds Ratio (OR)=2.36; Confidence Interval (CI) 1.06-5.26; 50-59 years: OR=2.73; CI 1.33-5.64) relative to 70+ years; higher unmet needs in the physical/daily living domain (OR=1.02; CI 1.01-1.03) and elevated anxiety (sub-clinical anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) score 8-10): OR=1.83; CI 1.04-3.24; clinical anxiety (HADS score 11-21): OR=2.03; CI 1.08-3.85). In contrast to predictors of primary insomnia, women with cancer aged <60 years were more likely to report clinical levels of insomnia than women of 70+ years. Consistent with primary insomnia, elevated anxiety predicted insomnia in women with ovarian cancer. Given that both anxiety and insomnia are relatively common, and the relationship may potentially be bi-directional, the efficacy of interventions targeting insomnia and anxiety, rather than insomnia alone, is worthy of consideration.

  • Understanding insomnia through cognitive modelling.

    3 July 2018

    Cognitive models of insomnia have received growing support in recent years and are embraced by the current diagnostic framework. Many people with insomnia report that mental events, such as intrusive thoughts or a racing mind, prevent them from achieving or maintaining sleep. Dysfunctional cognition may play an important role in perpetuating insomnia, with many individuals with psychophysiological insomnia reporting a distorted perception of sleep. Neurocognitive studies have indicated that high-frequency EEG activity associated with cognitive processes is enhanced in patients with insomnia at or around sleep onset, which may distort the individual's judgement about sleep initiation and duration. A subtype of psychophysiological insomnia has been proposed--attention-intention-effort (AIE) syndrome--that takes into consideration the interaction between behavioral and cognitive factors in the development and maintenance of insomnia. A series of studies from the University of Glasgow Sleep Centre using cognitive probe tasks has provided insight into this pathway, particularly with regard to the role of attention bias towards sleep stimuli in mediating insomnia. Further research is required to explore the cortical correlates of attention bias, investigate AIE as a potential causal mechanism of insomnia and examine AIE in other insomnia groups.

  • The safety of antiepileptic drug withdrawal in patients with non-epileptic seizures.

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: To determine whether withdrawal of anticonvulsant drugs (AED) can be carried out safely in patients with non-epileptic seizures (NES). METHODS: Prospective evaluation of safety and outcome in 78 patients with NES who satisfied a standardised set of criteria for excluding the diagnosis of coexisting or underlying epilepsy. FINDINGS: The patients were taking from one to three AED. Sixty four patients were withdrawn as outpatients, 14 as inpatients. Five patients stopped their drugs abruptly, and two had AED restarted and had to be withdrawn again. Otherwise all patients adhered to withdrawal schedules. A new type of attack in addition to NES was seen in three patients (complex partial seizures in all three cases). NES frequency declined in the group as a whole over the period of the study (follow up 6-12 months) in all individuals except for eight patients in whom there was a transient increase. Fourteen patients reported new physical symptoms after withdrawal; however, no serious adverse events were reported. CONCLUSIONS: With appropriate diagnostic investigation and surveillance during follow up withdrawal of AED can be achieved safely in patients with NES.

  • Towards a valid, reliable measure of sleep effort.

    3 July 2018

    A frequent clinical observation is that patients with insomnia strive to control their sleep. However, sleep is an involuntary physiological process, which cannot be placed under full voluntary control. Therefore, direct, voluntary attempts to control sleep may actually exacerbate and perpetuate insomnia. To date, no reliable scale has been available to test this hypothesis directly. Moreover, while sleep effort is a core International Classification of Sleep Disorders--Revised criterion for psychophysiological insomnia, clinicians lack a reliable measure with which to assess the construct. In this initial scale validation study, we present psychometric data for the Glasgow Sleep Effort Scale based on a relatively small but representative sample of patients with insomnia and good sleepers. The clinical and research value of the new scale is discussed and future research directions are described.

  • Controlled, prospective trial of psychosocial function before and after continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

    3 July 2018

    The aim of the study was to investigate psychosocial function before and after continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, and establish the determinants and consequences of objective CPAP use. In a prospective, parallel-group study, changes in psychosocial scores were compared with conservative management or CPAP therapy for the sleep apnoea/hypopnoea syndrome (SAHS). Patient/partner couples from the top (CPAP treated, n=44) or bottom (conservatively treated, n=25) of a CPAP waiting list rated marital satisfaction (evaluation and nurturing relationship issues, communication and happiness (ENRICH), behavioural questionnaire), health/functional status (Short-Form-36 Health Survey, functional outcomes of sleep questionnaire) and sleepiness (Epworth sleepiness scale). Both groups' ratings at baseline were completed while on conservative therapy. Baseline variables did not differ between groups. At follow-up, all seven summary psychosocial scores were statistically better in CPAP-treated patients, effect sizes (ES) ranging from moderate (0.5 SD: marital satisfaction) to very large (>1.0 SD: patients health, functional status and sleepiness scores). Scores in conservatively-treated patients deteriorated to a small or moderate degree (ES -0.2- -0.7 SD), while those in the CPAP-treated group improved to a larger degree (0.3-1.3 SD). Baseline polysomnographical and psychosocial scores, including marital satisfaction, did not predict objective CPAP use (r<0.3). CPAP use was modestly correlated (r=0.3-0.6) with improvement in all psychosocial areas. Continuous positive airway pressure produced statistically and clinically significant psychosocial improvements, some of large magnitude, in psychosocial function. Determinants of usage were not identified, but benefits and usage were positively correlated.

  • British Association for Psychopharmacology consensus statement on evidence-based treatment of insomnia, parasomnias and circadian rhythm disorders.

    3 July 2018

    Sleep disorders are common in the general population and even more so in clinical practice, yet are relatively poorly understood by doctors and other health care practitioners. These British Association for Psychopharmacology guidelines are designed to address this problem by providing an accessible up-to-date and evidence-based outline of the major issues, especially those relating to reliable diagnosis and appropriate treatment. A consensus meeting was held in London in May 2009. Those invited to attend included BAP members, representative clinicians with a strong interest in sleep disorders and recognized experts and advocates in the field, including a representative from mainland Europe and the USA. Presenters were asked to provide a review of the literature and identification of the standard of evidence in their area, with an emphasis on meta-analyses, systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials where available, plus updates on current clinical practice. Each presentation was followed by discussion, aimed to reach consensus where the evidence and/or clinical experience was considered adequate or otherwise to flag the area as a direction for future research. A draft of the proceedings was then circulated to all participants for comment. Key subsequent publications were added by the writer and speakers at draft stage. All comments were incorporated as far as possible in the final document, which represents the views of all participants although the authors take final responsibility for the document.

  • Attention bias for sleep-related stimuli in primary insomnia and delayed sleep phase syndrome using the dot-probe task.

    3 July 2018

    STUDY OBJECTIVES: Cognitive models of primary insomnia (PI) suggest attention bias as a maintaining process. This study used a hallmark measure of attention bias, the dot-probe task, to determine whether attention bias to sleep-related stimuli is present in individuals with PI. Control groups of good sleepers (GS) and individuals with delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS), a sleep disorder with no presumed cognitive pathway and, hence, no predicted association with attention bias, were included. DESIGN: A between-groups (PI, DSPS, GS) design was employed. Participants completed a dot-probe task with stimuli comprising sleep-related and neutral words, balanced for length and frequency of usage. It was predicted a priori that PI would show greater attention bias to sleep stimuli compared with GS and DSPS groups. No difference between GS and DSPS was predicted. PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-three individuals completed the study (PI = 21; DSPS = 22; GS = 20), with those in PI and DSPS classified by International Classification of Sleep Disorders criteria according to self-report sleep diaries and actigraphy. GS scored < 5 on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, reported being good sleepers, and met no criteria for a current or previous sleep disorder. INTERVENTIONS: N/A. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: As predicted, PI showed increased vigilance for sleep-related stimuli relative to GS and DSPS. No differences between GS and those with DSPS were found. The PI group showed shorter response latencies relative to the GS and DSPS groups. CONCLUSIONS: Results support an association between attention bias and PI. Further work must determine whether or not attention bias is a causal factor. Speeded responses in the PI group suggest heightened arousal, indicating that physiologic factors may play a related role.

  • Psychological and behavioral treatment of insomnia:update of the recent evidence (1998-2004).

    3 July 2018

    BACKGROUND: Recognition that psychological and behavioral factors play an important role in insomnia has led to increased interest in therapies targeting these factors. A review paper published in 1999 summarized the evidence regarding the efficacy of psychological and behavioral treatments for persistent insomnia. The present review provides an update of the evidence published since the original paper. As with the original paper, this review was conducted by a task force commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in order to update its practice parameters on psychological and behavioral therapies for insomnia. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted on 37 treatment studies (N = 2246 subjects/patients) published between 1998 and 2004 inclusively and identified through Psyclnfo and Medline searches. Each study was systematically reviewed with a standard coding sheet and the following information was extracted: Study design, sample (number of participants, age, gender), diagnosis, type of treatments and controls, primary and secondary outcome measures, and main findings. Criteria for inclusion of a study were as follows: (a) the main sleep diagnosis was insomnia (primary or comorbid), (b) at least 1 treatment condition was psychological or behavioral in content, (c) the study design was a randomized controlled trial, a nonrandomized group design, a clinical case series or a single subject experimental design with a minimum of 10 subjects, and (d) the study included at least 1 of the following as dependent variables: sleep onset latency, number and/or duration of awakenings, total sleep time, sleep efficiency, or sleep quality. RESULTS: Psychological and behavioral therapies produced reliable changes in several sleep parameters of individuals with either primary insomnia or insomnia associated with medical and psychiatric disorders. Nine studies documented the benefits of insomnia treatment in older adults or for facilitating discontinuation of medication among chronic hypnotic users. Sleep improvements achieved with treatment were well sustained over time; however, with the exception of reduced psychological symptoms/ distress, there was limited evidence that improved sleep led to clinically meaningful changes in other indices of morbidity (e.g., daytime fatigue). Five treatments met criteria for empirically-supported psychological treatments for insomnia: Stimulus control therapy, relaxation, paradoxical intention, sleep restriction, and cognitive-behavior therapy. DISCUSSION: These updated findings provide additional evidence in support of the original review's conclusions as to the efficacy and generalizability of psychological and behavioral therapies for persistent insomnia. Nonetheless, further research is needed to develop therapies that would optimize outcomes and reduce morbidity, as would studies of treatment mechanisms, mediators, and moderators of outcomes. Effectiveness studies are also needed to validate those therapies when implemented in clinical settings (primary care), by non-sleep specialists. There is also a need to disseminate more effectively the available evidence in support of psychological and behavioral interventions to health-care practitioners working on the front line.