Treatment of Insomnia in PTSD

Researchers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center / UCSF are examining how helpful a non-medication therapy will be in treating sleep disturbances in trauma survivors.

The non-medication therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), is a contemporary, non-medical treatment for insomnia in which people learn to change behaviors that are interfering with restful sleep.

Participants will be compensated for their time and efforts.

The study consists of

  • One week of at-home sleep-wake monitoring before and after treatment

  • Eight weeks of therapy with a trained clinician

You might be eligible if you are

  • 18-65 years old
  • Experiencing symptoms of PTSD:
    • Experiencing nightmares and distressing thoughts about the traumatic event
    • Feeling tense, on-guard, and easily startled
    • Avoiding situations, people or places that remind you of the traumatic event
    • Feeling irritable and easily angered, often about everyday things
    • Difficulty concentrating, feeling nervous or jumpy, or
    • Experiencing relationship difficulties.
  • Experiencing sleep disturbances
  • Currently taking a prescription medication for mood and/or are involved in counseling relating to your traumatic experience.

What is PTSD?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a set of psychological symptoms that may impact a person after an extremely traumatic experience. Historically, PTSD has been most recognizable in combat veterans – the condition has previously been known as ‘shell shock’ or ‘battle fatigue,’ in reference to the soldiers who repeatedly witnessed and experienced violent and life-threatening events.

Currently, PTSD is understood as a condition affecting hundreds of thousands of American men and women. Combat exposure, sexual assault, abuse, accidents and natural disasters are a few of the events that can trigger PTSD.

You may have PTSD if

  • You have difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • You have nightmares or unwanted memories of a traumatic experience
  • Unexpected noises make you jump
  • You avoid situations that remind you of a traumatic experience
  • You are tense, on-guard, irritable, or lose your cool over minor everyday things
  • Your feelings and relationships have changed for the worse since your traumatic event