Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Connecting insomia and depression dots

I am back to covering sleep and lack of sleep again.

Experts say that insomnia and depression are linked - some say that depression causes insomnia and others think that insomnia could contribute to depression.
Two new studies reported today show that insomnia may not be a symptom or side effect of depression, but may actually precede it.

One study was presented by researchres at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Denver, and the other will be published in the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, both from the University of Rochester.

The first study shows that insomnia prolongs episodes of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in life activities that help define major depression. The scientists hope that targeting insomnia will help people recover from depression.

The press statement on Eurekalert says the two studies point to more research which recently received $2.3 million in grant support from the National Institutes of Health to investigate whether treatment for insomnia can reduce major depression and improve pain tolerance in patients with chronic back pain.

Clinical studies are underway to find out whether or not cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia leads to fewer, shorter, and less severe bouts of depression, as well as to improved pain tolerance.

You really cannot say enough about the importance of gaining this kind of knowledge, as depression and pain affect hundreds of thousands of people!

1 comment:

David Collin said...

A couple of weeks ago a once-a-decade NIH study of the prevalence of mental illness in America was published. It kind of blew my mind—not in a mental health sense—but in a surprise sense. Twenty-five percent of Americans had a bout with some form of mental illness in the past year!? That’s a lot of people on a downer. Scary. The report stresses that most people don’t get good treatment.

One thing that distresses me is that I think things are so bad because it’s not socially acceptable to talk about it, especially in the workplace. I’ve been there. As TS Elliot’s Prufrock said, “…and there will be time to prepare a face to meet the faces that we meet…”