A significant proportion of people who have reoccurring suicidal thoughts also suffer from insomnia or other sleep problems. Researchers say that applying a new type of treatment, based on cognitive-behavioral therapy could allow these people to sleep better.
This in turn would eliminate one of the most important problems underlying suicidal thought patterns. Oftentimes, insomnia patients are simply too tired, and feel as if they cannot live on anymore.
Researchers targeted this group specifically with the new research. In the study, it was found that 65 our of 303 test subjects – around 21 percent – were having suicidal thoughts or wishes, as recent as two weeks before the study began.
What experts wanted to accomplish with their new cognitive-behavioral therapy was to achieve a statistically significant post-treatment reduction in suicidal ideation, PsychCentral
reports. The new study they published indicates that they were successful in achieving their objectives.
Using the new approach, a group of insomnia patients was treated during weekly sessions, which then became bi-weekly sessions. Only the final two sessions were conducted two weeks apart.
According to the experts, there are many risk factors for suicide, and not many of them can be changed or influenced externally However, sleep quality and insomnia are two conditions that exacerbate the risk of suicide, and which can indeed be influenced rather easily, through therapy.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), any type of complaints about sleep should be regarded very seriously, as significant warning signs for suicides.
“This is the first investigation to show that a sleep-targeted intervention has a therapeutic impact on suicide risk specifically. This suggests that a treatment focus on sleep disturbances may have important implications for the prevention of suicidal behaviors,” says Rebecca Bernert, PhD.
The expert was the lead author of the new study, and also the leader of the Stanford University research team that led the work. She is a fellow in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Such studies are very important, especially in the United States. In 2009, for every person killed in a homicide, two more took their own lives. There were more than twice suicides than killings recorded by the police, and researchers want to reduce these figures drastically.