Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nothing like a good night's sleep

As a psychotherapist I have often found that clients with mood disorders and substance abuse disorders have significant problems with their sleep patterns. This then leads to a viscious cycle in the sense that it is hard to know whether the mood disorders and substance abuse problems are contributing to the sleep disturbance or whether it is the sleep disturbance which is contributing to the mood disorder and substance abuse problems. Whichever way it is, the two are closely linked.

I have found that when clients start sleeping well again the mood disorders and substance abuse disorders improve. So the clinical question becomes, "How do you help clients sleep better?" There is too quick a move to pharmacological treatments with sleeping aids. I think antidepressants can help but the benefit on sleep usually is not immediate and it takes a few weeks. However, counseling around good sleep practices known as "sleep hygiene" can be very helpful to people.

To read more about the study reported in the Psychiatric News on January 16, 2009, click here.

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