Recovering Alcoholics With Poor Sleep Perceptions Will Likely Relapse

This post from 2006 shares findings that distress over sleep problems is a better predictor of relapse than sleep problems themselves.

That post title is awful and misleading. Sorry. Looks like I took it straight from the press release.



A study from local researchers. The headline overstates the findings from this 18 subject study. They found that subjective impressions of sleep were better predictors of relapse that objective measures of sleep. Does this suggest that CBT could be an important strategy for treatment complaints of insomnia?

“Our study suggests that in early recovery from alcoholism, people perceived that it took them a long time to fall asleep and that they slept through the night,” said Conroy. “The reality was that it did not take them as long to fall asleep as they thought it did, and their brain was awake for a large portion of the night. On average, the participants that were less accurate about how they were sleeping were more likely to return to drinking.”

“In other words,” added Timothy A. Roehrs, director of research at the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital, as well as professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, “alcoholics perceive their sleep is disturbed and that is the reality. The clinician should pay attention to the alcoholic’s sleep complaints as the complaint of poor sleep predicts relapse. Previous studies had shown that PSG findings predict relapse; this study now shows a complaint is sufficient.”

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