By Dr. Peter Colvonen
Insomnia is common in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, if not treated, can persist for years. Insomnia has been shown to be associated with impaired quality of life and, greater PTSD symptoms, and it may interfere with PTSD treatment. There are effective treatments for both PTSD and insomnia, but it is not known which disorder to treat first.
CESAMH investigator, Dr. Colvonen, and colleagues developed a combined intervention, called 2NITE, that combines cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and prolonged exposure therapy (PE) for PTSD. Integrating CBT-I and PE allows patients to address both symptoms of insomnia and PTSD within a shortened timeframe. In a pilot study, they found that Veterans who completed the 2NITE intervention were satisfied with the treatment and showed significant improvements in insomnia symptoms, PTSD symptoms, and quality of life. These preliminary findings suggest that a combined intervention with PE and CBT-I may be particularly beneficial among anyone presenting with PTSD and insomnia and may shorten the time to improvement in both disorders.