In this blog, Dr. Rogers briefly reviews current literature examining the relationship between PTSD, sleep disturbances, and suicidality. Increasingly, research is examining the link between different types of sleep disturbances and their relationship with suicidality (e.g., suicidal ideation and attempts). The purpose of this blog will be to review the latest findings about the relationship between sleep disturbances and suicidality for Service members and Veterans diagnosed with PTSD.
Blog posts with the tag "Insomnia"
This article provides rationale for utilizing a suicide screening procedure in a sleep medicine setting and offers suggested elements for such screening. The authors note that the connection between sleep problems and suicide risk has become well established, although the mechanisms of this relationship are not yet clear. Even though research on the relationship between sleep problems and suicide is not new (these authors note that the relationship was known nearly sixty years ago!), an increase in the amount and specificity of research examining sleep and suicide has been fairly recent and has led to the inclusion of sleep disturbance as both a risk factor and a warning sign for suicide risk.
I have noticed that more than half of my military-connected patients with PTSD have been diagnosed with sleep apnea as well, and some are younger (e.g., in their 30s). Consistent with my observations, a study with 195 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans between 21 to 59 seeking care at outpatient VA clinics identified nearly 70% of the participants with a high risk for sleep apnea and noted that the risk increased with the severity of PTSD symptoms (Colvonen et al., 2015).
There is a growing public awareness of the importance of sleep to overall health and mental health. Reporting on health related issues continues to emphasis the importance of good sleep to so many aspects of our overall health. Research has demonstrated links to learning and memory, metabolism and weight, mood, and cardiovascular health.