For People Who Can’t Sleep
Wish you could get a good night’s sleep, most nights? Research shows that insomnia treatment can improve your sleep – without resorting to taking sleeping pills. The trouble is that sleeping pills can be addictive and they are not a long-term solution. Insomnia treatment can help address the underlying causes of your sleep issues, for long-term relief.
Insomnia treatment with a psychologist is called for when disturbance to your sleep patterns leaves you feeling tired, low in energy, irritable and unable to function happily and well. You are not alone; about 10% of Australians have chronic insomnia. The percentage of people suffering from insomnia is increasing every year. Whatever the reason for your sleeplessness, you can learn to sleep better.
Our treatment programs are for people who are suffering from high anxiety, worrying, depression – or just plain can’t sleep. Programs are individualised and improvements monitored throughout.
Once viewed only as symptoms, sleep problems may actually contribute to psychiatric disorders.
Treatment of Insomnia in Anxiety Disorders
Difficulty in falling or staying asleep is one of the criteria for Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Acute Stress Disorder.
If you are generally a worrier, and worry about most areas of your life, it is likely that those around you will be more aware of your pervasive disorder. If worrying about anything and everything is keeping you awake, you can learn to have a worry-free zone in your life so that you can sleep well.
At some point in their lives almost everyone can become stressed. Learning mindfulness relaxation and the other skills of our programs will not only help your sleep, they will also help your stress levels.
Insomnia and Depression
It is estimated that some 30% of people who have been diagnosed with depression are actually suffering from chronic insomnia or another sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea. The symptoms are very similar. Also, depression often follows problems of sleep. Yet, in depression treatment programs, the problems of sleep disorder are often neglected. You can improve your outcomes of depression treatment, including treatment with antidepressants, by also treating your sleep problems. Our Sleepyhead program is suitable for people to undergo at the same time as undergoing treatment for depression.
Sleep Apnoea Treatment
If you are suffering from sleep apnoea, you will likely need to have a sleep study arranged by your GP and use a CPAP machine. However, many people have difficulty using a CPAP machine and still need to attend for treatment of their insomnia. More importantly, many people with a CPAP machine do not use it and so are still likely to suffer from the adverse outcomes of having sleep apnoea. A treatment program with a psychologist can increase the number of hours that sleep apnoea suffers actually use the CPAP machine, thereby improving treatment outcomes.
Individual Treatment for Sleep Disorders
Separate individuals can have completely different reasons for not being able to sleep. The average reasons may not apply to you.
Does conflict with your sleeping partner keep you awake? Are you plagued with thoughts or memories about the past? Is alcohol abuse a problem? Are you doing shift work? Individual treatment may be the best treatment for you.
You can attend for individual sessions with experienced psychologist Deborah Lawton, who has taken an interest in this area. Many people have individual reasons for not sleeping well and the standard treatment program may not be useful for them. Treatment with Deborah will involve:
- Assessment of your sleep disorder. Each type of sleep disorder has an evidence based treatment program that will work best for that disorder.
- Selection of the best treatment approach for you. The program will be tailored to your individual needs and goals.
Her sessions may involve learning mindfulness meditation or other relaxation approaches including the use of biofeedback and the principles of neuroplasticity. For circadian rhythm disorders, bright light therapy is available.
Deborah Lawton uses CBT-i, mindfulness approaches and biofeedback, reviews sleep hygiene and works with you to discover and change your individual reasons for not sleeping.
Medicare Rebate for an Insomnia Treatment by a Psychologist
With a Mental Health Care Plan, you can access a Medicare rebate for psychological treatment. In an extended appointment, your GP can classify you as suffering from chronic insomnia if you meet the following criteria:
- Unhappiness with the quality or quantity of sleep, which can include trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up early and being unable to get back to sleep
- The sleep disturbance causes significant distress or impairment in functioning, such as within your working or personal life, behaviourally or emotionally
- Difficulty sleeping occurs at least three times a week and has been present for at least three months
- The problem occurs despite ample opportunity to sleep
- The difficulty cannot be better explained by other physical, mental or sleep-wake disorders
- The problem cannot be attributed to substance use or medication
We recommend getting a referral made out to Deborah Lawton, who has a special interest in sleep issues, and offers treatment for insomnia.