Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia

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exhausted all day.

Sleep aids seemed to be the way to go at first for Christine. She tried a variety of prescription medications but found that none of them worked for her until her doctor gave her a prescription for Ambien®. Once she started taking Ambien things picked up -- she no longer felt sluggish at work and she was sleeping through the night. She explained, "Even though I was finally sleeping, I had a nagging feeling that I couldn't continue taking medicine for the rest of my life. But it was my insurance company that made the final decision when they stopped covering my prescription." Ambien is indicated for the short-term treatment of insomnia, but once the short-term problem turned long-term, Christine was in the market for a non-pharmacological treatment.

Her pulmonologist suggested that she make an appointment with Dr. Donn Posner, PhD, MA and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown Medical School and Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine for the Sleep Disorders Center of Lifespan Hospitals in Rhode Island. Hesitant at first, especially because she didn't think she needed to see a therapist for a sleep problem, Christine’s desire to try anything that might work won over.

Dr. Posner started his training as a behavioral psychologist -- originally working in developmental disabilities, and started specializing in treatment of adult anxiety disorders. He explained, "I was working in the Midwest when a local sleep lab put out a notice to the psychiatry community that they had a large population of insomniacs in need of treatment. The lab offered to refer patients to any doctor who was interested. Yet, no one answered the call. A psychiatrist at the medical school where I was working asked if I had any interest, and so I explored the literature and found it to be up my alley. I started seeing patients and found that the treatment worked. That was 16 years ago."

Christine found that CBT-I wasn't a fast and easy cure. In fact, in the first six weeks of treatment she got less sleep then