Cognitive behavioral therapy may be more effective than sleep medication for treating insomnia, a study published in the latest issue of JAMA finds.
Insomnia is usually defined as subjective complaints of poor sleep accompanied by impairment in daytime function. It is common in people aged older than 55 years, and is associated with reduced quality of life, depression, and more physician visits.
According to the study, patients with insomnia who implemented cognitive behavioral therapy interventions such as relaxation techniques had greater improvement in their sleep than patients who received the sleep medication.
Despite a wide range of sleep medication, most people with chronic insomnia remain untreated. Most of the patients either resort to untested over-the-counter medications or alcohol in attempts to improve their condition.
The researchers found that after their analysis the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may serve as effective psychological cure for insomnia.
The researchers also said that hypnotics, which are also used as one of the techniques to cure insomnia, should only be used in extreme insomnia cases.
?The present findings have important implications for the clinical management of chronic primary insomnia in older adults. Given the increasing amount of evidence of the lasting clinical effects of CBT and lack of evidence of long-term efficacy of hypnotics, clinicians should consider prescribing hypnotics only for acute insomnia,?.
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