Insomnia has been a growing issue in our country for at least a few decades. In fact, we have reached a time when at least one in ten Americans will suffer from chronic insomnia, and one in four will suffer from regular insomnia during their lifetimes. So what can be done about it?
Well, a new study from the American College of Physicians recently just showed that psychotherapy is far better than medication for insomnia. Psychotherapists have known this for a long time, but this is the first time a meta-analysis was performed on such a large number of studies.
In fact, cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the very few types of therapy supported by medical insurance, although there are of course issues with which people trying to get their much-needed help are struggling. These issues are mostly bureaucratic, and I will get into them later.
According to the American College of Physicians, all adult patients suffering from chronic insomnia (insomnia lasting longer than three months, with no other disorders that could potentially cause it, and that cause significant distress or impairment) should receive cognitive-behavioral therapy. Of course, any related topics should be discussed during these sessions, including fears, risks and benefits, and even the final solution of using medication.
For the large meta-analysis, the team of researchers looked over sixty different studies and compared them with each other. The main focus was comparing the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy to the effectiveness of other treatments and attempting to determine which method is best and has the least amount of downsides.
The best solutions would be for patients to undertake somewhere between six to eight sessions of psychotherapy with a CBT expert. The main issue is a shortage of this sort of therapists, as they have to get an extra specialization on insomnia is they want to be covered by insurance.
Regular cognitive-behavioral psychotherapists can also treat insomnia very easily, as they share the same school of thought; it’s just that legislation makes it very difficult for people suffering from insomnia and other similar disorders to get the help they need.
The shortage of specialized CBT therapists is acknowledged, and the fact that the treatment is only covered for a few types of specialized therapies greatly contributes to the increased prevalence of conditions such as insomnia in the country over the past couple of decades.
Different tactics are being considered, such CBT videos, but nothing can compare to a few sessions of psychotherapy face-to-face with an expert who knows what they’re doing. Sadly, it doesn’t look like insurance will be covering many new types of therapy very soon, so the fight with insomnia is nowhere near over.
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