Navigation Links
Study explores whether sleeping pills reduce insomniac's suicidal thoughts
Date:1/22/2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. Researchers want to know whether a sleeping pill reduces suicidal thoughts in depressed patients with insomnia.

"The more we look at it, the more it looks like insomnia by itself is a predictor of suicide so the next question becomes: Why not treat insomnia strategically as a focus of care and see if that reduces suicidal thinking," said Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, Chair of the Medical College of Georgia Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at Georgia Regents University.

McCall is principal investigator on a $1.2 million National Institute of Mental Health grant to objectively assess patient response to this strategy. The study at GRU, Duke University and the University of Wisconsin is enrolling 138 adults over four years. To help ensure their safety, all participants will receive the anti-depressant fluoxetine for the eight-week trial while half will also get the sedative-hypnotic zolpidem.

It's a complex treatment conundrum that the study hopes to unravel. Some physicians are understandably concerned about giving sleeping pills to people with suicidal thoughts. "We are faced very commonly with a patient who is not sleeping, is depressed, is suicidal and the treating physician is understandably concerned about giving that patient sleeping pills," McCall said.

In fact, some sleep experts routinely condemn sleeping pills, saying the pills are potentially deadly, independent of suicide. Other people with chronic insomnia never seek professional help, trying home or natural remedies while their negative thoughts about sleep escalate. If they do seek medical care as problems mount, they may find themselves with a doctor hesitant or even adamant about hypnotics, McCall said.

If researchers can show a direct link between insomnia treatment and reduced suicidal thinking, it could help mainstream targeted drug therapy as well as non-drug approaches such as cognitive behavior therapy, a structured talk therapy that targets faulty thinking such as, 'I will never sleep again,' said McCall, who also uses this approach.

Researchers have evidence that the intensity of insomnia correlates with the intensity of suicidal thoughts as well as a pilot study linking proactive hypnotic treatment to reduced suicidal thoughts. In fact, 31 studies have linked insomnia to suicidal thoughts, behavior or death. Still suicide risk factors and prevention often overlook insomnia, McCall said.

Acknowledging the very vulnerable population they study, there are numerous safeguards built into the research protocol such as participants only getting one week's supply of sleeping pills for the first two weeks, then getting a two-week supply if their suicidal thoughts stabilize. Additionally, they will be asked to take the drug shortly before going to bed and to allow eight hours for sleep.

Sleeping pills such as zolpidem accentuate the body's normal mechanism for sleep by targeting GABA, a neurotransmitter that essentially turns the brain's metabolism down, McCall said. Existing antidepressants don't affect GABA. Many over-the-counter sleep aids are essentially anti-histamines; histamine is another neurotransmitter that helps keep you awake. In insomniacs, GABA tends to be underactive while histamine works overtime.

Insomnia is a symptom and about half of all cases are related to a mental disorder such as depression. About 90 percent of patients hospitalized for depression and 60 percent of those treated as outpatients also have insomnia, McCall said. Not sleeping also can also be tied to personality, specifically hypervigilant individuals who are always "on." "They just can't relax," said McCall, who admits to at least a small case of that himself. Others have life-issues, such as divorce or illness, that can cause transient insomnia. In others, it's a long-standing problem with no obvious basis.

Patients with insomnia that persists over a year have a 30-fold increased risk of developing depression compared to the insomniac who gets treatment. "That is like the risk of cigarette smoking for cancer: it's huge," McCall said. This begs more questions about how insomnia causes depression and, if you're already depressed, how insomnia aggravates suicide risk, he said.

He notes there is a subset of depressed people, particularly young people, who sleep too much, and that older people generally have a harder time falling and staying asleep.

Wake Forest University will assist in statistical analysis for the study. Individuals with sleep apnea as severe suicidal thoughts will be excluded. Participants will be referred for outpatient management at the end of the study.


'/>"/>

Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@gru.edu
706-721-4421
Georgia Health Sciences University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Study Finds Older Male Scientists Likelier to Commit Research Fraud
2. Study suggests increased diagnosis rate of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder at health plan
3. Study finds childhood diagnosis of ADHD increased dramatically over 9-year period
4. Study Finds Nearly Half of U.S. Kids Are Under-Vaccinated
5. Study Links Long-Term Aspirin Use With Vision Loss
6. Omega XL Reports New Independent Study:Omega-3s Help Heal Bedsores In Critically Ill
7. New Study Finds Eating More Produce Boosts Mental Health, Underscores Value of Health Enhancement Systems Approach
8. Being Boss at Home May Undermine Womens Ambition at Work: Study
9. Patient Education Helps Prevent Overuse of Antibiotics for Cough, Study Finds
10. TB Drug Shortages Put U.S. Patients in Peril, Study Finds
11. PTSD Can Hamper Drug Treatment for Stroke Survivors: Study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study explores whether sleeping pills reduce insomniac's suicidal thoughts
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The Dan Carlisle Agency, an ... County, is announcing the launch of a charity drive to raise support and ... women and children in Birmingham has grown steadily since the 1980’s, and the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Louis, MS (PRWEB) , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... that serve commercial and residential clients in and around the Hancock County area, is ... for the Hancock County Food Pantry. , The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... DrugDev again demonstrated its dedication to ... of the early adopters completing EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Certification from the U.S. Department of ... both sides of the Atlantic with a mechanism to comply with EU data protection ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Kenall Manufacturing, a leader in sealed healthcare lighting ... MPCNGX is a multi-function, sealed, LED luminaire that meets the needs of everyone in ... it’s needed. , A 2’ x 4’ model features four modes: reading, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... Smart Device Remote Control through a new partnership with Splashtop Inc. This remote ... its mobile solutions to help businesses maximize their uptime and productivity. , Wavelink ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) has ... 2016 Top Workplaces National Standard. To learn ... ... (PRNewsFoto/Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc.) ... an employee survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a research firm specializing ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... 8 de dezembro de 2016  A Mederi Therapeutics Inc . anunciou ... tratamento não cirúrgico para a doença do refluxo gastroesofágico (DRGE). Foto ... ... Live Stretta procedure performed and broadcast during the ... Wuhan Union Hospital ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... DANVILLE, Pa. , Dec. 8, 2016  A ... physicians reports that the use of opioid therapy to ... actually increase the likelihood of more harmful consequences, including ... Davis , M.D., and Zankhana Mehta , M.D., ... current research on chronic opioid therapy. The study was ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: