Researchers have developed new clinical guidelines for Australian doctors to give family general practitioners (GPs) insights into cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).

CBT-I improves insomnia, mental health and quality of life, and can be more successful than sleeping pills, say Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health sleep experts from Flinders University in a new paper in the Australian Journal of General Practice.

Most patients with insomnia managed in general practice are prescribed sedative-hypnotic medicines (such as benzodiazepines) and never access the CBTi that would treat their underlying condition, they say.

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“We are aiming to provide GPs with more information, accessible guidelines, and tools, as well as referral and treatment options to manage insomnia with CBTi,” says lead researcher Alex Sweetman, PhD, from Flinders University, in a release. “To get the ball rolling, our step-by-step model for GPs will identify, assess, and treat insomnia with a brief behavioral treatment for insomnia program (BBT-I).”

This clinical review provides GPs with a description of a four-session insomnia treatment program that is tailored to the time limitations, knowledge, and capacity of general practice staff.

Sweetman and his team are currently running two trials to provide GPs with a suite of tools and treatment options to manage patients with insomnia.

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