GeneralOriginal Contribution

Sleep Problems, Posttraumatic Stress, and Mood Disorders Among Active-Duty Service Members

R. Gregory Lande, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: July 18, 2013

Accepted: September 6, 2013

Published: February 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(2): 83-89

Context: Sleep problems among active-duty service members are pervasive and complicate the recovery from comorbid posttraumatic stress and mood disorders.

Objectives: To better understand chronic sleep problems among active-duty service members.

Methods: Medical records for active-duty service members who completed enhanced sleep assessments during an 18-month period beginning in October 2010 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centers’ Psychiatry Continuity Service were retrospectively reviewed. Sleep assessment measures included the Pittsburgh Insomnia Rating Scale, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale, the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist – Military Version, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, the Pre-Sleep Arousal Scale, and a home sleep study.

Results: A total of 76 records met the study criteria. Twenty-two participants (29%) had an apnea/hypopnea index that suggested mild to moderate sleep apnea. Service members with higher self-reported posttraumatic stress scores also reported a higher degree of both somatic and cognitive factors interfering with sleep initiation. Compared with those who had low self-reported posttraumatic stress scores, service members with high posttraumatic stress scores also had less total sleep time (mean difference, 38 minutes) and higher scores on the apnea/hypopnea index, the respiratory disturbance index, and the oxygen saturation index.

Conclusions: Enhanced sleep assessments that include traditional self-report tests and a home sleep study can help identify previously undiscovered behavioral and respiratory problems among service members, particularly those with higher posttraumatic stress scores.

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