Insomnia, paranoia and hallucinations: Sleepio CBTi at the OASIS

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Jack Barton publishes his debut elf blog on the huge OASIS randomised controlled trial, which explores the effects that improved sleep can have on our mental health.

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Commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs: do they work?

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John Baker summarises a review of commonly prescribed medication that covers seven psychiatric drugs, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, methylphenidate and cholinesterase inhibitors.

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CBT for insomnia in people with active psychotic symptoms

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Sarah McDonald appraises the Better Sleep Trial (BEST), a pilot RCT which shows that CBT may be a promising treatment for insomnia in people with active psychotic symptoms.

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CBT for insomnia in psychiatric populations: an effective alternative to hypnotics?

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Amy Green appraises a systematic review of CBT for insomnia (CBTi) in people with comorbid mental illness, which concludes that cognitive behaviour therapy could be an effective alternative to hypnotics. However, concerns about the review methodology cast some doubt on the findings.

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Cochrane review finds no good quality evidence for common medicines used to treat sleep problems in Alzheimer’s Disease

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People with dementia caused by Alzheimer’s Disease (ADD) (which is estimated to be around three quarters of people with dementia) often suffer from sleep disturbances.  These symptoms cause distress to the person with dementia and to their carers, increase the likelihood of admission to a care home, and are also very difficult for care home [read the full story…]

Why do GPs over prescribe benzodiazepines? Synthesis of qualitative studies

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Benzodiazepines are used to treat insomnia, anxiety and chronic back pain due to their sedative and muscle relaxing effects. They’ve got a sting in the tail though and can cause memory disruption, loss of coordination and dependence if used long term. It’s therefore recommended that other treatments, such as psychological interventions, are tried first and [read the full story…]

Scotland sees increase in prescribing rates for mental health drugs

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The Scottish Government have published their annual summary of prescribing statistics for mental health drugs. The report shows increases in the prescribing rates for all groups of drugs over the last 12 months. The prescribing costs of some groups of drugs have also risen (ADHD, dementia, depression) although other groups have seen a decline (insomnia [read the full story…]

Benzodiazepines and Z drugs may increase the risk of death and cancer, according to new cohort study

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The prescribing of benzodiazepines and ‘Z drugs’ in general practice in England has stayed pretty consistent or increased slightly over the last 5 years, despite safety warnings about the risks of these drugs. I blogged about this back in May last year when the Department of Health highlighted two new studies by National Addiction Centre [read the full story…]

Insomnia can help predict depression

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People with depression frequently have trouble sleeping and this restlessness often first appears at the onset of the depressive disorder and continues until well after the depression has been successfully treated. This new meta-analysis conducted by a research team from the University of Freiburg Medical Center in Germany, investigates if insomnia can be viewed as [read the full story…]

Sending letters can help people stop taking benzodiazepines, says new systematic review

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As people get older they tend to have more problems sleeping. Sometimes they are prescribed medication (hynoptic drugs) to help them sleep. Commonly used hynoptics are benzodiazepines and Z drugs (zopiclone, zolpidem, zaleplon). Researchers from Australia have just published a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (ref 1) that evaluates the effectiveness of simple ‘minimal [read the full story…]