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Nervenarzt. 2007 Jan;78(1):21-30.

[Sleep disorders in depression. Suggestions for a therapeutic approach].

[Article in German]

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Nervenärztliche Praxis, München.


Sleep disorder is one of the major symptoms in depression. It can be a risk factor, predictor, or symptom of depressive episodes. Successful therapy of sleep disorder in severely depressed patients can be a problem of its own. So far, there are few data from systematic studies. Definite treatment recommendations and strategies do not exist. The use of sleeping aids is mainly based on clinical experience and arbitrary treatment preferences. This article tries to summarize the difficulties of a rational therapeutic approach to dyssomnia in depressive patients. In addition to medical treatment, the basics of sleep hygiene should be considered. From a pharmacological point of view, sedating antidepressants, short-term add-on benzodiazepines or nonbenzodiazepines, and long-term add-on low potency neuroleptics are considered appropriate treatments. The combination with atypical sedating antipsychotics or low-dose tricyclic antidepressants may be helpful. Drugs which primarily work through serotonin and noradrenalin have negative effects on sleeping disorders since they suppress REM sleep. In contrast to that, GABAergic, antihistaminic, and anticholinergic effects are beneficial for inducing and maintaining sleep. Half-time, pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic effects and interactions, and influence of the drugs on reaction time and personal well-being have to be considered.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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