Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In Sleepless Nights, a Hope for Treating Depression -

Is there anything good about insomnia? Could there possibly be any upside to a long, torturous sleepless night?

To answer the question, let's look at another condition entirely.

Postpartum depression affects between 5 percent and 25 percent of new mothers.  Symptoms — including sadness, fatigue, appetite changes, crying, anxiety and irritability — usually occur in the first few months after child birth.  There is a simple way to alleviate postpartum depression in just a few hours: sleep deprivation.

If a depressed mother stays up all night, or even the last half of the night, it is likely that by morning the depression will lift.  Although this sounds too good to be true, it has been well documented in over 1,700 patients in more than 75 published papers during the last 40 years.[1]  Sleep deprivation used as a treatment for depression is efficacious and robust: it works quickly, is relatively easy to administer, inexpensive, relatively safe and it also alleviates other types of clinical depression. Sleep deprivation can elevate your mood even if you are not depressed, and can induce euphoria. This throws a new light on insomnia.

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