A new study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine has identified insomnia as a “prevalent and persistent” problem during the early phases of during their treatment, making it more likely for a relapse to occur.
With Dr. Katherine A. Kaplan of the University as the lead author of the study, Dr. Nicholas Rosenlicht of the University of San Francisco and his team says that their evidence indicates that the occurrence of developing insomnia is 5 times higher than the general population and it could last for months or even years.
The relationship between insomnia and both alcohol-related problems and relapse, also appears to go both ways, with people who are suffering from insomnia being more likely to develop an addiction. Specifically, alcohol is a known disruptor of sleep and it can lead to serious sleep problems even when the person stops drinking.
The researchers are encouraging clinicians to prescribe medications to treat insomnia with caution in recovering patients, as this particular population is at an increased risk to become addicted, misuse or abuse their medications, as well develop “rebound insomnia” after their pills are gone. Overall, sleep medications may further increase their risk of relapse.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) appears to be the best course of action to treat insomnia for recovery patients, Dr. Rosenlicht and his team further explained. Medications are simply “incongruent with or unpalatable to” treatment programs focusing on abstinence. CBT uses sleep diaries and questionnaires to help patients develop better sleep hygiene, and it has been praised by numerous other studies for its long-term results.
“Treatment of insomnia after abstinence represents an important treatment target and an integral part of any recovery plan,” Dr. Rosenlicht and coauthors concluded.