A new PTSD Sleep Clinic is opening today in Albuquerque, N.M. The clinic will target the sleep problems that plague people who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
The clinic is directed by AASM member Dr. Barry Krakow. He is the founder of the Maimonides International Nightmare Treatment Center.
Krakow notes that antidepressant medications may not be the best option for people who have PTSD. And many people with PTSD also have obstructive sleep apnea. This can make their PTSD symptoms even worse.
The AASM reports that recurring nightmares tend to be most disturbing aspect of PTSD. In these dreams the event may be relived in a way that seems shockingly real.
Krakow says that treating sleep problems can greatly reduce PTSD symptoms. Daytime fatigue and sleepiness decrease, and energy levels increase. This provides a boost for the coping skills and motivation needed to tackle the problems related to PTSD.
His clinic uses a variety of techniques to treat PTSD. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, imagery rehearsal therapy and sleep-related emotion-focused therapy.
Last year the Sleep Education Blog reported that imagery rehearsal therapy is helping some people change their nightmares. Yoga also is being used to help soldiers who have PTSD. And a recent study showed that old fear memories can be “updated” to prevent the return of fear.
Read more about PTSD and nightmares.