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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Early Recovery Insomnia May Lead to Relapse

Early recovery can be especially trying, a time where the risk of relapse is especially high. Treating the disease of addiction requires that both the mind and the body be closely monitored. A new report has found that insomnia, a common occurrence in early recovery, may lead to a heightened risk of relapse.

Problems with sleep may persist for months or even years after becoming sober, MedicalXpress reports. The prevalence of insomnia in early recovery may be five times higher than in the general population, according to researchers.

“Treating sleep disturbance in early recovery may have considerable impact on maintenance of sobriety and quality of life,” study co-author Dr. Nicholas Rosenlicht of the University of San Francisco said in a news release.

Many alcoholics have used alcohol to help them sleep, despite the fact that alcohol actually can disrupt one’s sleep patterns. What’s more, previous research suggests that people who struggle to sleep are more likely to be at risk of developing addiction in the first place, the article notes.

The researchers point out that whether treating insomnia can reduce a person’s risk of relapse is unclear. Many doctors frown upon prescribing insomnia medications to recovering patients. Drugs like Lunesta and Ambien can easily be abused, which can aid in restarting the cycle of addiction.

Doctors can encourage their patients to keep track of their sleep patterns with a daily sleep diary, as well as identify and work to correct thinking and beliefs that may contribute to insomnia. They can teach their patients ways to promote good sleep, through explaining the benefits of exercise, eating healthy, and discouraging napping.

"Treatment of insomnia after abstinence represents an important treatment target and an integral part of any recovery plan," Dr Rosenlicht and coauthors conclude.

The findings appear in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

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