Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia can reduce suicidal ideation

June 14, 2011

Treating sleep problems with cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia can reduce suicidal ideation, suggests a research abstract that will be presented Tuesday, June 14, in Minneapolis, Minn., at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

Results show that about 21 percent of participants with insomnia (65 of 303) reported having suicidal thoughts or wishes during the past two weeks. Group for insomnia produced a statistically significant post-treatment reduction in suicidal ideation. Treatment sessions were conducted weekly until the final two sessions, which were conducted bi-weekly.

According to the authors, a growing body of evidence suggests that self-reported insomnia and poor sleep quality constitute modifiable risk factors for suicide. Sleep complaints also are listed among the top suicide warning signs by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. However, no previous studies had evaluated the impact of a sleep intervention on suicidal ideation.

"This is the first investigation to show that a sleep-targeted intervention has a therapeutic impact on specifically," said lead author Rebecca Bernert, PhD, a fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in California. "This suggests that a treatment focus on may have important implications for the prevention of suicidal behaviors."

The study involved 303 community outpatients between 18 and 88 years of age who completed group cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. The Beck Depression Inventory, which includes a question about suicidal thoughts or wishes, was administered at both baseline and post-treatment.

According to the , the most recent data available indicate that the national suicide rate increased from 2008 to 2009, when suicide became the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S. There were 36,547 deaths attributed to suicide in 2009, which was more than twice as many deaths as those that were attributed to homicide.

Last year at SLEEP 2010, Bernert reported that highly variable sleep schedules predicted increases in suicidal risk at one week and three weeks. irregularity also predicted greater mood lability, which in turn predicted elevated suicidal symptoms.

Explore further: Sleep disturbances among the elderly linked to suicide

Related Stories

Sleep disturbances among the elderly linked to suicide

June 14, 2007

Self-reported sleep complaints among the elderly serve as a risk factor for completed suicide, according to a research abstract that will be presented Thursday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional ...

Nightmares predict elevated suicidal symptoms

June 9, 2009

Self-reported nightmares among patients seeking emergency psychiatric evaluation uniquely predicted elevated suicidal symptoms. Results indicate that severe nightmares were independently associated with elevated suicidal ...

Recommended for you

Sleep makes relearning faster and longer-lasting

August 22, 2016

Getting some sleep in between study sessions may make it easier to recall what you studied and relearn what you've forgotten, even 6 months later, according to new findings from Psychological Science, a journal of the Association ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.