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New Research Launching to Explore Role of Sleep Disturbance in Posttraumatic Stress

07 Jun

Researchers R. Bruce Lydiard, Ph.D., M.D., and Mark Hammer MD from the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston SC , are embarking on some important research that targets sleep disturbance in posttraumatic stress.  Their premise is that the first-line treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder - medication (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and cognitive behavior therapy – do not adequately treat nightmares and insomnia. Nor do they feel that there is sufficient awareness in the mental health community of the critical role sleep disturbance plays in PTSD.

They plan to review clinical reports, imaging, and polysomnographic studies to come up with a new theoretical model in which REM dysregulation in PTSD plays a key role in the development and persistence of PTSD.  And they will look at the efficacy of prazosin (an alpha blocker used for high blood pressure – trade names are Vasoflex, Hypovase and Minipress) and other agents in the treatment of PTSD.  

[Ed. Note:  We agree with the authors’ premise, that sleep disturbance plays a huge role in PTS.  And we agree that proper medication can be one helpful solution.  But there are also several mind-body protocols that are a big help for sleep as well: guided imagery and nightmare reprocessing (IRT), for instance.]

Authors:  R. Bruce Lydiard, Ph.D., M.D., and Mark H. Hamner, M.D. Clinical Importance of Sleep Disturbance as a Treatment Target in PTSD. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award