Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) Most Effective Treatment
Numerous studies over the years have found CBT-I (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) to be the most effective treatment for insomnia. A recent article by Eric W. Dolan, published on PsyPost.org sums up the research. His article is also based on the latest research out of Australia entitled, Effective Insomnia Treatments: Investigation of Processes in Mindfulness and Cognitive Therapy.
These researchers reported, “The results suggest that changes in cognitive processes are especially important in treating insomnia, and that there are different therapeutic modalities through which this can be achieved.”
We agree with the findings of this research. Many anxiety and depression sufferers experience insomnia as part of their symptom mix. And once insomnia becomes a problem, it can cause a vicious cycle of anxiety/depression causes insomnia – insomnia exacerbates anxiety/depression – increased anxiety/depression causes more issues with insomnia – increased problems with insomnia cause more issues with anxiety/depression - and so on.
When insomnia becomes a problem, many people go to their doctors for help, only to receive pills, which aren’t the best for long-term relief. In fact, many of the sleeping pills can become addictive and can set up their own problems, such as further issues with insomnia. So, taking sleeping pills, while they can be helpful in the short-term for some people shouldn’t be viewed as a long-term solution.
Enter CBT-I. Therapy can provide a lasting solution because it deals with the core reasons sleep is disrupted. For example, chronic stress and worry are common causes of sleep disruption (such as insomnia). While reducing stress can bring a restoration to good sleep, worry will interfere with that restoration. Therapy can help address worry so that it no longer interferes with a return to good sleep.
We have an entire chapter (Chapter 18) on dealing with sleep issues, including insomnia, in the Recovery Support area of our website. Similar to overcoming anxiety disorder (and depression), knowledge is power when it comes to overcoming issues with insomnia…and especially when insomnia is caused by “sleep dread” (sleep anxiety) – when sleep, or lack of sleep, causes anxiety.
If you are struggling with persistent insomnia and/or sleep dread, help is available in the form of CBT-I. It is proven effective over the long-term for restoring good sleep.
Again, you can learn more about the many mechanisms that can cause issues with insomnia, the many reasons for sleep dread (sleep anxiety), and how to overcome them in the Recovery Support area of our website. Moreover, all of our recommended therapists are experienced in helping people overcome issues with insomnia and/or sleep dread.
1. Carney, C.E., & Waters, W.F. (2006). Effects of a structured problem-solving procedure on pre-sleep cognitive arousal in college students with insomnia. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 4, 13–28. doi:10.1207/s15402010bsm0401_2
2. Brasure, M., Fuchs, E., MacDonald, R., Nelson, V.A., Koffel, E., Olson, C.M., . . . Kane, R.L. (2016). Psychological and behavioral interventions for managing insomnia disorder: An evidence report for a clinical practice guideline by the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine. Retrieved from http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2519966
3. Carney, C.E., & Edinger, J.D. (2008). Overcoming insomnia: A cognitive-behavioral therapy approach workbook. Oxford University Press.
4. Cvengros, J.A., Crawford, M.R., Manber, R., & Ong, J.C. (2015). The relationship between beliefs about sleep and adherence to behavioral treatment combined with meditation for insomnia. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 13, 52–63. doi:10.1080/15402002.2013.838767
5. Sharma, Mahendra P., and Chittaranjan Andrade. “Behavioral Interventions for Insomnia: Theory and Practice.” NCBI PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554970/.
6. Dolan, Eric W. “Changing Your Thought Patterns Is Key to Overcoming Insomnia, According to New Psychology Research.” PsyPost, PsyPost, 31 July 2018, www.psypost.org/2018/07/changing-your-thought-patterns-is-key-to-overcoming-insomnia-according-to-new-psychology-research-51865.
7. Lee, Christopher William, et al. “Effective Insomnia Treatments: Investigation of Processes in Mindfulness and Cognitive Therapy | Behaviour Change.” Cambridge Core, Cambridge University Press, 8 June 2018, www.cambridge.org/core/journals/behaviour-change/article/effective-insomnia-treatments-investigation-of-processes-in-mindfulness-and-cognitive-therapy/0AF5C54E2DDAED377EF31581701806FE.
8. Mitchell, Matthew D, et al. “Comparative Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia: a Systematic Review.” NCBI PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3481424/.
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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated November 20, 2018.