Friday, July 2, 2010

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can Improve Adherence to OSA Treatments

A recent study abstract suggests cognitive-behavioral therapy may help patients stick to treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. Participants in the study were more likely to diet, exercise and use CPAP after several group therapy sessions.

Few researchers and clinicians have explored cognitive-behavioral therapy as a form of treatment for sleep apnea. CBT is commonly used to treat other sleep-related disorders and is the treatment of choice for primary insomnia.

The study involved 23 participants who were middle aged and had a severe form of sleep apnea. After responding to an initial survey, each attended a weekly 1.5 hour-long cognitive-behavioral therapy session for three weeks. The group program included three approaches. In the educational session, participants learned about the risks and treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. Therapists challenged their beliefs and attitudes about sleep apnea in the cognitive segment. And in the behavioral portion of the program they were encouraged to diet, exercise and stop drinking.

The participants answered the survey again after completing the program. The improvements were across the board. All of the patients reported using CPAP and more patients said they dieted and exercised.

The results of the study are encouraging. Cognitive-behavioral intervention may prove to effectively supplement primary sleep apnea treatments such as CPAP and oral appliance therapy.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.