CPAP therapy reduces nightmares in vets with PTSD, OSA

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

DARIEN, Ill. – CPAP therapy may reduce nightmares in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to a study abstract published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP. Results of the study show the mean number of nightmares per week fell significantly with CPAP use, and reduced nightmare frequency after starting CPAP was best predicted by CPAP compliance. The study involved a retrospective review of medical records to identify OSA patients who also carried a PTSD diagnosis and were treated in a VA medical center sleep clinic between May 2011 and May 2012. Mean number of nightmares per week before treatment and up to six months after CPAP prescription were extracted. “One out of six veterans suffers from PTSD, which affects their personal, social and productive life,” stated Sadeka Tamanna, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Laboratory at G.V. Medical Center, in a press release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Nightmares are one of the major symptoms that affect their daily life, and prevalence of OSA is also high among PTSD patients and can trigger their nightmares.”