ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The first few months of recovery from an alcohol problem are hard enough. But theyre often made worse by serious sleep problems, caused by the loss of alcohols sedative effects, and the long-term sleep-disrupting impact that alcohol dependence can have on the brain.
Now, a new study gives further evidence that insomnia and other sleep woes may actually get in the way of recovery from alcohol problems. In fact, a persons perception of how bad their sleep problems are may be just as important as the actual sleep problems themselves, the study suggests.
The study is published in the new issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, by a team from the University of Michigans Department of Psychiatry. They report the results of a small but thorough evaluation of sleep, sleep perception and alcohol relapse among 18 men and women with insomnia who were in the early stages of alcohol recovery.
The authors say their results show how important it is for alcohol recovery patients, and those who are helping them through their recovery, to discuss sleep disturbances and seek help. Often, sleep isnt discussed in alcohol recovery programs but it should be, they stress.
In fact, members of the U-M team have now launched a new study that aims to help those who have just entered treatment for alcohol problems, and are having trouble sleeping. Instead of using sleep medications, which can carry their own risk of addiction, its based on a series of "talk therapy" sessions with a trained sleep therapist who can help patients change behaviors and patterns of thinking that contribute to sleep problems.
In the meantime, the newly published results add to the understanding of how alcohol and sleep intertwine.
"What we found is that those patients who had the biggest disconnect between their perception of how they slept and their actual sleep patterns were most likely to relapse,"
Contact: Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System