Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sleep Disturbances and PTSD

Review article in Medscape about the sleep disturbances in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Nightmares are a common feature of PTSD, with a reported prevalence of 50%-90% in long-term epidemiologic follow-up studies. Insomnia (both sleep-onset and maintenance insomnia) is a problem for most patients with PTSD. The reason for the sleep disturbance in PTSD has not been fully worked out. It's thought that underlying depression or anxiety could be a cause. Interestingly, obstructive sleep apnea is more common in PTSD patients. Periodic limb movements in sleep (PLMS) is more common in PTSD patients than in control patients. However, many of the medications used in PTSD could cause PLMS, meaning that it could have nothing to do with the PTSD directly. Treating the sleep disturbances in PTSD can potentially improve the lives of these patients.

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