Original Article By: Morgan Liotta
Summarized By: Neurobit
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) guidelines suggest cognitive behavioral therapy as the first-line treatment for managing insomnia. However, General Practitioners (GPs) in Australia have reported limited access to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi) treatment and referral pathways. Thus, only around 1% of Australian adults with insomnia access CBTi. Despite this, Dr. Alexander Sweetman, a sleep expert from Flinders University, stated that CBTi typically produces many benefits, targeting the underlying causes of insomnia and resulting in long-lasting improvements, making it an effective treatment for patients with comorbid mental and physical health problems.
In an effort to improve referral pathways for CBTi, an Australian version of the Sleepio study was completed. This version of the study was modeled after the UK’s Sleepio program and was approved by the RACGP National Research and Evaluation Ethics Committee. Now that the Australian Sleepio study is complete, Dr. Sweetman launched a new implementation study to provide GPs with a more streamlined model of referring patients with insomnia.
The study involves using a self-guided online CBTi program, suitable for general practice patients, that includes five weekly sessions lasting 20-30 minutes each. The objective of the program is to reduce the need for medication to manage sleep issues and to improve access to CBTi throughout Australian general practice. The program also aims to improve patients’ sleep, daytime function, and mental health. The recent release of the Australian Sleep Association’s ‘living guidelines’ for sleep health management in primary care provides GPs with up-to-date and comprehensive guidance on tailored clinical care and referral options for people with sleep issues, with CBTi included as an effective non-drug intervention.
Liotta, M. (2023, February 14). newsGP - Trial aims to improve therapy access for insomnia. RACGP. Retrieved February 15, 2023, from https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/trial-aims-to-improve-therapy-access-for-insomnia