Allegheny Health Network (AHN) has launched a new, evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) program to help patients with insomnia improve their sleep quality and quantity. 

The program, supported by grant funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, is a blended effort between the AHN Primary Care Institute, AHN Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Institute, and Highmark Health.

Originally developed by psychologist and sleep specialist Arthur Spielman, CBT-I is intended as a first-line treatment for insomnia using stimulus control, sleep condition training, and conditioned arousal to improve sleep.

“Without the use of medication, many patients can see significant improvements just by thinking differently about sleep, combined with making behavioral and/or environmental changes that will set them up for a better night’s rest,” says Amy Crawford-Faucher, MD, family medicine physician and vice chair of the AHN Primary Care Institute, in a release.

Patients may access the AHN CBT-I program via the AHN Primary Care Institute, AHN Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Institute, or the AHN Medicine Institute. Enrolled patients participate in four to six sessions with AHN psychologists or behavioral health consultants who are specially trained in the CB-TI modality. The caregivers help patients think differently about sleep and work with them to implement changes related to lifestyle and/or sleep routines. Patients learn various techniques that help promote relaxation, create more optimal sleep environments, and more.

Improvement in sleep quality is tracked over time using an insomnia rating scale. If other medical issues, such as sleep apnea, are identified, patients may be referred to a sleep medicine specialist or other medical provider.

Studies have consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of the treatment, indicating that as many as 80% of patients participating in CBT-I achieve improved sleep. 

“The AHN CBTI program is yet another example of AHN’s and Highmark Health’s commitment to increasing access to comprehensive, patient-centered care that goes beyond the traditional treatment confines. We are pleased to offer this treatment modality which stands to positively impact the lives of countless patients across our region,” says Doug Henry, PhD, vice president of AHN Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Institute, in a release.

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