Clinical Guidance: Sleep Disorder Treatment May Speed PTSD Recovery
Alleviating insomnia or sleep disruptions with pharmacological or behavioral treatment may itself reduce daytime symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. It may also increase the efficacy of primary PTSD treatments, especially cognitive-behavioral approaches relying on habituation or cognitive processing, which are markedly affected by sleep loss. The antihypertensive prazosin and imagery rehearsal therapy are recommended for PTSD-related nightmares. Combined behavioral treatments for nightmares and insomnia in PTSD patients may also be effective. Germain (CME, p. 372) recommends clinical interviews, self-report measures, or sleep diaries for evaluating sleep complaints unless sleep-disordered breathing is suspected.