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Insomnia Part 4: Cognitive therapy better than drug therapy

By September 14, 2012One Comment

What treatments are recommended for insomnia? So often it appears that the most common course of treatment is the use of prescription medication such as Ambien, Restoril, or Lorazepam etc; The research that has been done actually suggests that this approach should be reserved as the last option after considering the implentation of congnitive and behavioral therapy. Alternative medicine has in addition, numerous natural and safe options for inducing better sleep, without any side affects or abuse potential. In essence drug therapies should be more often the third line of therapy, instead of the current first position they seem to hold. Studies have shown cognitive and behavioral treatments are safe and effective for sleep onset, sleep maintenance, and sleep restfulness concerns. In fact, behavioral treatment is equal to or better than results from pharmacotherapy. Current guidelines for treatment of insomnia recommend that cognitive and behavioral therapy be utilized as initial treatment. Cognitive therapy is aimed at changing a patient’s belief and attitudes about insomnia. It strives to reconstruct cognitive pathways with positive and appropriate concepts about sleep and its effects. Sometimes behavioral therapy is combined with the cognitive therapy including techniques such as relaxation therapy, stimulus control therapy, and sleep restriction therapy. Although research is lacking on complete effectiveness, sleep hygiene can also be added to the treatment protocol. The strongest argument for the use of cognitive and behavioral therapy indicates that this form of treatment, when compared to the individual use or combined use with prescription medication, outperforms the drugs over the long run. Meaning it produces the same or better results, and continues to sustain over time, when the drug regimes fail to maintain improvement in insomnia symptoms, once removed as a daily therapy. Read the next article for ideas on how to promote effective cognitive and relaxation techniques.

Insomnia Part 5: Relaxation Therapy


One Comment

  • Jennifer P. says:

    Thanks Dr. Porter for these articles. I read them all and found them informative and educational. Your practice and staff are excellent in their knowledge and care. Keep up the good work!