More than 1 / 2 of young adults in danger for alcohol-related harm report apparent symptoms of insomnia. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is amongst the first-line treatments for insomnia, but it’s never been tested on teenagers who’re actively drinking. Researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine conducted a pilot study to gauge CBT’s impact on young adult binge drinkers with insomnia to find out if this treatment can boost their sleep and potentially affect alcohol use outcomes.
“The possibility of insomnia treatment to influence alcohol-related consequences has significant implications for the prevention and treatment of alcohol use among adults,” said Mary Beth Miller, PhD, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the MU School of Medicine. “Given the stigma connected with mental medical issues and addiction, it’s imperative to identify other designs of treatment that either influence alcohol outcomes or open the doorway to alcohol-related treatment.”
Miller tested CBT in a pilot study of 56 people between 18 and 30 yrs . old who reported one or more binge-drinking episode previously month. Binge drinking was understood to be four or maybe more drinks in one single occasion. Participants were randomly assigned to either five weekly sessions of CBT — a behavioral therapy program that centers around changing patterns of thinking and behavior — or even a single session on sleep hygiene, which targets creating optimal sleeping conditions and establishing a bedtime routine. The CBT session topics included sleep hygiene, sleep restriction, relaxation techniques, behavioral experiments, insomnia prevention discussions and sleep diary use. All participants wore wrist devices to objectively measure sleep and completed subjective daily drinking and sleep surveys.
Results showed CBT participants reported a 56% decrease in insomnia severity, when compared with a 32% lowering of symptoms for many who completed only the sleep hygiene session. The CBT participants also showed moderate improvement in objectively assessed sleep efficiency after treatment set alongside the sleep hygiene participants. Weekly and alcohol-related consequences after treatment both groups reduced their drinks. However, CBT participants reported greater improvements in insomnia, which were related to reductions in alcohol-related problems.
“The results with this study indicate that insomnia treatment may improve alcohol-related problems, and so, may be a great first faltering step toward treatment among binge-drinking teenagers with insomnia,” Miller said.
Miller believes the information collected in this study warrants a bigger sample size study taking a look at alcohol-related problems as a primary outcome. She plans to ascertain if insomnia treatment improves executive function and the capacity to regulate emotions, which often may decrease risk for alcohol-related problems.