Sleep Problems Following Trauma, PTSD Monthly Update - August 2015

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PTSD Monthly Update

In This Issue

Feature Topic

For Providers

For VA Providers

Research at the Center

PTSD in the News

August 2015 Issue


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Feature Topic

Sleep Problems Following Trauma

Woman sitting on the side of a bed, not able to sleep

Many people have trouble sleeping at times. However, this is more likely after you have been through a trauma such as an accident, war, assault, or disaster.

You may find you are sleeping too little, or too much, or having nightmares. If these symptoms don't go away, get worse over time or interfere with day to day life, you might need to see a doctor. Trouble sleeping and nightmares are also two symptoms of PTSD.

Sleep Tips

Learn ways to cope with trauma-related dreams and sleep problems:

  • Coping with Traumatic Stress Reactions (En Español): Tips for coping with PTSD symptoms such as trauma-related dreams and difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  • PTSD Coach Online: Use these tools to help you relax, form good sleep habits, and change how you think about sleep. Also see the Mobile App!
  • CBT-i Coach (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia) Mobile App: This free mobile app can help you during treatment and includes sleep tips.

Caution on Sleep Medications

Using sleep and anti-anxiety medications like "benzos" (benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam, lorazepam, etc.) can create problems. These medications might help in the short term, but like alcohol and drugs, can have long term costs, such as serious addiction problems, misuse, and medical issues.

Importantly, benzos and other medications used for sleep may limit the effectiveness of PTSD treatments that can help. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.

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For Providers

Consult with PTSD Experts

The PTSD Consultation Program offers free PTSD consultation to any provider who treats Veterans in any setting. This program is now open to Community Providers.

PTSD Consultation Program

Have a question about PTSD? Contact us:
Call 866-948-7880 or

Effective Treatments and Tools

Help your clients with sleep problems. Learn about effective treatments and tools for PTSD-related sleep symptoms, including nightmares and insomnia.

Course: Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Problems in PTSD - This 5-module course provides information on PTSD and sleep problems, the advantages and disadvantages of pharmacological and cognitive behavioral interventions, and different ways these interventions can be implemented.

Course: Sleep Problems, Insomnia and PTSD. Image of a sleeping man

Course: Sleep Problems, Insomnia, and PTSD - This 1-hour overview course reviews the clinical practice guideline recommendations for treating sleep problems, insomnia, and PTSD.

App: CBT-i Coach - If using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia, try using this mobile app together with your patients.

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For VA Providers

2015 PTSD Consultation Lecture Series


VA staff please sign up for VA Staff PTSD Updates to receive monthly notices that include a registration link and instructions for joining the live lectures.

Next Lectures in the Series

  • 9/16 at 2 pm ET - Bruce Capehart, MD on Prescribing for Co-occurring ADHD

Mark your calendar for the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 2 pm ET.

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Research at the Center

CBT for Insomnia and Cannabis Use

Investigators are studying if Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) can help improve sleep quality and decrease cannabis use among Veterans with insomnia and cannabis use disorder. The study will also test whether using the CBT-I treatment companion app improves outcomes compared to CBT-I alone.

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PTSD in the News

White River Junction Researchers Open World's First 'PTSD Brain Bank'. A July 9th story in the Virginia, Minnesota Hometown Focus on the launching of the national PTSD brain bank quoted Dr. Matthew Friedman, Senior Advisor to and former Executive Director of the National Center for PTSD. Read more.*

Vietnam Veterans Still Have PTSD 40 Years After the War. A July 22nd story in about new findings from the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study on current PTSD among Vietnam War Veterans, quoted Dr. Paula Schnurr. Read more*

'Getting better is scary'. Women veterans with PTSD. Dr. Paula Schnurr contributed to an August 26th story in the Cincinnati Enquirer on how the Cincinnati VA is leading the nation in treating women Veterans with PTSD. Read more*

Be sure to forward this update to others so they can subscribe. We send one update per month to keep you informed of the latest PTSD developments.

Thank you,

The Staff of VA’s National Center for PTSD

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Produced by VA’s National Center for PTSD - Executive Division
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*Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website to a non government site.
VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of these linked websites.