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Encouraging 'snooze' for depression.

Several recent studies suggest that depressed people displaying biological markers of disturbed sleep--such as early onset of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and a diminished amount of deep sleep, as indicated by electrical activity in the brain--reap few benefits from psychotherapy. However, a new report suggests that a popular form of psychotherapy for depression works just as well whether or not patients exhibit signs of sleep difficulties.

Psychologists Anne D. Simons of the University of Oregon in Eugene and Michael E. Thase of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine studied 53 severely depressed people who completed a 16-week course of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on altering negative attitudes and actions. By the end of the therapy sessions, 30 participants had achieved full recovery, 17 had partially recovered and six showed no improvement. Abnormalities in REM onset, the amount of deep sleep and other sleep measures did not cluster in any of the three groups, Simons and Thase assert in the June JOURNAL OF CONSULTING AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY.

Sleep abnormalities continued to show no relation to the effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy up to one year after sessions concluded, the researchers note. But 11 patients who fully or partially recovered and then suffered a renewed bout of depression during the follow-up year tended to have a later, not earlier, onset of REM sleep, compared with those who maintained their improvement.

Nevertheless, the researchers contend that biological signs of disturbed sleep do not appear to brand depressed outpatients as unsuitable for cognitive-behavioral therapy.
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Title Annotation:therapy techniques
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jul 4, 1992
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