Dr. Adam Bramoweth of the Department of Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System and Dr. Anne Germain of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said those in U.S. military combat operations have more than double the insomnia rate than the 22 percent of civilian adults.
Although insomnia may develop prior to joining the military, it can also occur during the service period, with combat exposure, mild traumatic brain injury, irregular sleep/wake schedules or post-deployment when the soldier returns to civilian life, the researchers said.
Soldiers who suffer from insomnia while being deployed have a greater chance of developing traumatic stress reactions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorders, and even committing suicide, Bramoweth said.
Training was recently rolled out to prepare providers in the Veterans Health Administration to use cognitive behavioral treatment of insomnia. The goal is to educate 1,000 clinicians in an effort to bridge the gap between veterans who need treatment, and available providers.
Training of clinicians in military settings and other non-VA clinics is equally important to meet the needs of our service members and veterans, the researchers said.
"Training providers to be knowledgeable about insomnia and behavioral treatment options is a vital component to the treatment of chronic insomnia and managing its impact on other disorders," Bramoweth and Germain said in a statement. "In addition to research and clinical efforts specifically for service members and veterans, research and clinical efforts directed at military family members are also important components in providing the care needed and promoting health and recovery among service members and their families."
The findings were published in the journal Current Psychiatry Reports.