JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

The role of behavioral sleep medicine in the assessment and treatment of sleep disordered breathing

Patricia L Haynes
Clinical Psychology Review 2005, 25 (5): 673-705
15951084
With the dramatic rise in obesity in the United States, comorbid medical issues, such as sleep apnea and other forms of sleep disordered breathing (SDB), are becoming increasingly prevalent. Individuals with SDB have impairments in social, cognitive, and emotional functioning and an overall reduction in quality of life. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the first-line treatment for SDB. CPAP use is associated with improvements in psychosocial functioning when individuals use the machine regularly. Unfortunately, CPAP adherence rates are often low. Patients sometimes discontinue CPAP therapy due to undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, insomnia, and nasal discomfort, or inconvenience. The goal of this review is to highlight the growing role of behavioral sleep medicine in the assessment and treatment of SDB and psychosocial impairments comorbid with SDB. More than any other health specialty, psychologists with behavioral sleep medicine experience are in the best position to treat psychiatric symptoms exacerbated by SDB-related sleep disturbances. Behavioral sleep medicine specialists also possess the expertise to address psychological obstacles to CPAP use. The assimilation of behavioral sleep medicine specialists into sleep clinics is likely to improve the overall quality of care for patients with SDB.

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