BOSTON—Prolonged exposure therapy is associated with less improvement in symptoms of insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) than among patients without TBI. By the end of therapy, nightmare intensity had increased and total sleep time had decreased from baseline among patients with TBI, according to research presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
Jessica L. Beltran, a community health program representative at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues studied 48 veterans diagnosed with PTSD and insomnia. Participants’ mean age was approximately 35, and seven were female. The researchers categorized the patients into a TBI group (25 patients) and a non-TBI group (23 patients) after screening. All subjects kept daily sleep diaries that included information about total sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep latency, number of awakenings, wake after sleep onset, and nightmare rate and intensity.
In addition, the investigators administered several psychiatric questionnaires to the patients at baseline, including the Insomnia Severity Index, Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), PTSD Checklist Stressor Specific (PCL-S), and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). After the participants had undergone prolonged exposure therapy, the researchers administered the questionnaires again. Baseline and post-therapy variables were analyzed with an independent samples t-test.