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Sleep disorders and depression: brief review of the literature, case report, and nonpharmacologic interventions for depression

Authors Luca A, Luca M, Calandra C

Received 26 April 2013

Accepted for publication 4 June 2013

Published 5 August 2013 Volume 2013:8 Pages 1033—1039


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Antonina Luca,1 Maria Luca,2 Carmela Calandra2

1Department GF Ingrassia, Section of Neuroscience, 2Department of Medical and Surgery Specialties, Psychiatry Unit, University Hospital Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele, Catania, Sicily, Italy

Abstract: Sleep disorders are so frequently associated with depression that, in the absence of sleep complaints, a diagnosis of depression should be made with caution. Insomnia, in particular, may occur in 60%–80% of depressed patients. Depressive symptoms are important risk factors for insomnia, and depression is considered an important comorbid condition in patients with chronic insomnia of any etiology. In addition, some drugs commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression may worsen insomnia and impair full recovery from the illness. The aim of this paper is to review briefly and discuss the following topics: common sleep disturbances during depression (in particular pavor nocturnus, nightmares, hypersomnia, and insomnia); circadian sleep disturbances; and treatment of depression by manipulation of the sleep-wake rhythm (chronotherapy, light therapy, cycles of sleep, and manipulation of the sleep-wake rhythm itself). Finally, we present a case report of a 65-year-old Caucasian woman suffering from insomnia associated with depression who was successfully treated with sleep deprivation.

Keywords: sleep disorders, depression, insomnia, sleep-wake rhythm

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