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What research tells us about the link between sleep and depression

Experts have known for a long time that there is a link between depression, insomnia, and insufficient sleep. Depression can lead to disturbed sleep, which can worsen depression symptoms, creating a vicious cycle that’s difficult to break.

Experts do not fully understand the link between insomnia and depression, but new research continues to shed light on the connection. Let’s take a look at some of that research.

Depression, Insomnia, and Brain Functioning

Several studies have found evidence of brain disturbances among individuals with insomnia symptoms. The disturbances involve several brain regions, including the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, and affect both the brain’s structure and function. The findings, highlighted by a review published in a 2019 issue of Journal of Affective Disorders, still need further study.

An earlier study, published in 2017 in The Journal of Neuroscience, found a link between depression, sleep disturbances, and reward-related brain function. This study focused on a region of the brain called the ventral striatum (VS), which plays a role in behavior related to motivation and goals. In particular, the study authors found that an increase in VS activity led to reduced association between sleep disturbances and depressive symptoms in university students. This suggests that high reward-related VS activity could help protect against the poor sleep associated with depression.

Other Health Conditions Can Accompany Insomnia and Depression

Many different studies have looked at connections between insomnia, depression, and a range of other health conditions. These include physical and behavioral health concerns.

A study in Korea found that both depression and insomnia are significantly associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Chronic pruritus, or itchy skin, is significantly associated with insomnia and depression, no matter its cause. Among patients with chronic pruritus, those with symptoms of insomnia or depression had significantly more intense pruritus than those without.
Many dialysis patients experience sleep disturbances. Among patients with earlier-stage chronic kidney disease, however, depressive symptoms were also associated with sleep quality.
In a study of young refugees from North Korea, these individuals were not only likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but also insomnia. The greater the levels of PTSD, the higher the likelihood for developing depression-related sleep problems.

Treating Insomnia in Those With Depression

Treating insomnia in clients with depression can lead to improvements in their overall health. Just like other behavioral health conditions, however, treating depression and insomnia may require multiple approaches. You may need to use a trial-and-error approach, and carefully assess each client for changes, improvements, and side effects.

Resolving insomnia may call for a combination of medications, different types of counseling, and lifestyle factors, such as exercise and nutrition. You may consider alternative therapies, as well. For example, research suggests that acupuncture may help some individuals with depression-related insomnia, especially when used in combination with other methods.

When you treat clients with depression, it is important to track sleep quality and other lifestyle factors. The right tools can help you observe your clients over time, so you can make better treatment decisions and see significant improvement, faster.

At BestNotes, we’re working to make life easier for behavioral health providers and the clients they serve. Our EHR solutions help your organization and staff save time, reduce frustration, and increase revenue. Contact us today to learn more.

date:  Dec 21, 2021
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National Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment News of 2019

This year has seen a lot of significant developments in behavioral health and addiction treatment. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories that made headlines across the nation in 2019.

Multiple Opioid Lawsuit Results

In August 2019, an Oklahoma judge ruled that consumer healthcare company Johnson & Johnson helped encourage the state’s opioid crisis. Although the company was originally ordered to pay $572 million, a state district judge reduced that to a one-time payment of $465 million. However, an appeal filed in December 2019 argues that this amount is not enough to cover the state’s opioid abatement plan.

In October, pharmaceutical firm Teva and drug distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson all settled with Ohio’s Cuyahoga and Summit counties in a lawsuit that alleged the companies recklessly prescribed and distributed opioid medications. Before the $260 million settlement, the lawsuit was widely expected to influence the results of more than 2,000 other opioid-related suits.

Concerns About Vaping and Tobacco Increase

Vaping and tobacco use received a lot of news coverage this year. Part of that coverage involved lawsuits against e-cigarette company JUUL Labs Inc., accusing the firm of deliberately targeting minors. In the fall, several cases of lung injuries associated with the use of vaping products were reported to the CDC.

Finally, on December 20, President Donald Trump signed a $1.4 trillion spending package that raised the federal legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21. The law, which includes the purchase of e-cigarettes and vaping cartridge, will take effect summer 2020.

FDA Approved Controversial New Depression Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March 2019 approved Spravato (esketamine) nasal spray, in conjunction with oral antidepressant, for treating depression in adults for whom other antidepressant medicines have been ineffective. Critics of esketamine have argued that, due to its similarities to ketamine, the medication has a high potential for abuse. Currently the treatment is highly restricted under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy.

Mental Health Coverage Remains Limited Nationally

Research shows that more Americans are having difficulty finding affordable behavioral health treatment, although under a 2008 law, insurers are required to provide equal access for mental and physical health care. The limited affordability of behavioral healthcare accompanies rising rates of addiction, suicide, depression, and anxiety. This year, consulting company Milliman reported that patients are more likely to use out-of-network providers for behavioral health or substance abuse treatment than for other conditions.

NAATP Releases New Guidebook for Addiction Treatment Providers

This year, the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) released The Addiction Treatment Provider Quality Assurance Guidebook: A Guide to the Core Competencies for the Delivery of Addiction Treatment Services. This Guidebook is part of the association’s efforts to protect addiction treatment consumers and improve addiction treatment quality. In case you missed it, we covered the new guidebook in more detail earlier in the BestNotes blog.

Happy new year from BestNotes!

Is your behavioral health and addiction treatment practice prepared for 2020? Whether you’re looking to switch EHR systems or implement EHR software for the first time, BestNotes is prepared to help you every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more about how to make 2020 your practice’s best year yet!

date:  Jan 06, 2020
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