Relaxation to assist sleep medication withdrawal.Behav Modif 1999; 23(3):379-402BM
This study explores the usefulness of relaxation and gradual medication withdrawal in weaning insomniacs from sleep (hypnotic) medication. We recruited 40 volunteers from the community who had insomnia, half of whom were chronic users of hypnotics while the other half were nonmedicated. Half of all participants (10 medicated and 10 nonmedicated) received progressive relaxation. All medicated participants received a standard gradual drug withdrawal program. Medicated participants reduced sleep medication consumption by nearly 80%. Participants who received relaxation obtained additional benefits in sleep efficiency, rated quality of sleep, and reduced withdrawal symptoms. Medicated and nonmedicated participants attained comparable, improved sleep by posttreatment and follow-up. Hypnotic withdrawal was accompanied by serious worsening of insomnia, but this dissipated by the end of the withdrawal period. The psychological treatment of hypnotic-dependent insomnia has high potential for making an important clinical contribution.