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Sleep deprivation can effectively treat depression, says study

Antidepressants are the most common treatment for depression, which typically take weeks or longer to show results

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Sleep deprivation can effectively treat depression, says study

— administered in controlled settings — may rapidly reduce of depression, a study claims.

found that partial — sleeping for three to four hours followed by wakefulness for 20-21 hours — was as effective as total for 36 hours.

Although total or partial can produce clinical improvement in within 24 hours, antidepressants are the most common treatment for depression, which typically take weeks or longer to show results.

The first review on the subject in nearly 30 years, by at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, hopes to provide relief for the estimated 16.1 million adults who experienced a major depressive episode in 2014.

Previous studies have shown rapid antidepressant effects from for roughly 40-60 per cent of individuals, yet this response rate has not been analysed to obtain a more precise percentage since 1990 despite more than 75 studies since then on the subject.

“More than 30 years since the discovery of the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation, we still do not have an effective grasp on precisely how effective the treatment is and how to achieve the best clinical results,” said Philip Gehrman, associate professor at University of Pennsylvania.

“Our analysis precisely reports how effective is and in which populations it should be administered,” said Gehrman.

Reviewing more than 2,000 studies, the team pulled data from a final group of 66 studies executed over a 36 year period to determine how response may be affected by the type and timing of performed, the clinical sample, medication status, and age and gender of the sample.

They also explored how response to may differ across studies according to how “response” is defined in each study.

“These studies in our analysis show that is effective for many populations,” said lead author Elaine Boland, a research psychologist at the Corporal Michael J Crescenz VA Medical Center in the US. “Regardless of how the response was quantified, how the was delivered, or the type of the subject was experiencing, we found a nearly equivalent response rate,” said Boland.

Further research is needed to identify precisely how causes rapid and significant reductions in severity, the said. The findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

First Published: Sat, September 23 2017. 23:27 IST