Saturday December 7, 2019

Treating insomnia in young people can ease mental health problems like Anxiety, Depression: Study

The study is published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal

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A study published Wednesday found that treating insomnia in young people could ease mental health problems such as anxiety and depression
A study published Wednesday found that treating insomnia in young people could ease mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. VOA

London, USA, September 7, 2017: Treating young people who suffer from insomnia by using online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) could reduce debilitating mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, scientists said Wednesday.

In a large trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, researchers at Oxford University’s Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute also found that successfully treating sleep disruption eased psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia.

“Sleep problems are very common in people with mental health disorders, but for too long insomnia has been trivialized as merely a symptom, rather than a cause, of psychological difficulties,” said Daniel Freeman, a professor of clinical psychology who led the work.

“This study turns that old idea on its head, showing that insomnia may actually be a contributory cause of mental health problems.”

The research involved 3,755 university students from across Britain who were randomized into two groups. One group had six sessions of online CBT, each lasting about 20 minutes, and delivered via a digital program called Sleepio. The others had access to standard treatments but no CBT.

Freeman’s team monitored participants’ mental health with a series of online questionnaires at zero, three, 10 and 22 weeks from the start of treatment.

The researchers found that those who had the CBT sleep treatment reduced their insomnia significantly as well as showing small but sustained reductions in paranoia and hallucinatory experiences.

The CBT also led to improvements in depression, anxiety, nightmares, psychological well-being, and daytime work and home functioning.

Andrew Welchman, head of neuroscience and mental health at the Wellcome Trust health charity, which helped fund the research, said the results suggested improving sleep may provide a promising route into early treatment to improve mental health.

Freeman added: “A good night’s sleep really can make a difference to people’s psychological health. Helping people get better sleep could be an important first step in tackling many psychological problems and emotional problems.” (VOA)

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Depression in Parents Responsible for Brain Differences of Kids

Brain differences detected in kids with depressed parents

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Researchers detect brain differences in children with depressive parents. Lifetime Stock

Researchers have found structural differences in the brains of children at high risk for depression due to parental depressive history.

Depression is a common and debilitating mental health condition that typically arises during adolescence. While the causes of depression are complex, having a parent with depression is one of the biggest known risk factors.

Studies have consistently shown that adolescent children of parents with depression are two to three times more likely to develop depression than those with no parental history of depression.

“The findings highlight a potential risk factor that may lead to the development of depressive disorders during a peak period of onset, said study author Randy P. Auerbach, Associate Professor at Columbia University in the US.

“However, in our prior research, smaller putamen volumes also has been linked to anhedonia–a reduced ability to experience pleasure–which is implicated in depression, substance use, psychosis, and suicidal behaviours,” Auerbach said.

Depression brain
Having a parent with depression is one of the biggest known risk factors for the brain of the child. Lifetime Stock

“Thus, it may be that smaller putamen volume is a transdiagnostic risk factor that may confer vulnerability to broad-based mental disorders,” Auerbach added.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the researchers analysed brain images from over 7,000 children in the United States participating in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive development (ABCD) study, led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

According to the study, about one-third of the children were in the high-risk group because they had a parent with depression.

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The research found that in the high-risk children, the right putamen–a brain structure linked to reward, motivation, and the experience of pleasure–was smaller than in children with no parental history of depression.

“Understanding differences in the brains of children with familial risk factors for depression may help to improve early identification of those at greatest risk for developing depression themselves, and lead to improved diagnosis and treatment,” said study researcher David Pagliaccio. (IANS)