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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Impact of sleep disturbance on patients in treatment for mental disorders

Håvard Kallestad12*, Bjarne Hansen23, Knut Langsrud23, Torleif Ruud45, Gunnar Morken2, Tore C Stiles6 and Rolf W Gråwe78

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Psychiatry, Department of Research and Development, St. Olav’s University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway

2 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

3 Division of Psychiatry, Department of Østmarka, St. Olav’s University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway

4 Division of Mental Health Services, Akershus University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

5 Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

6 Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Management, Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

7 Institute of Clinical Medicine, Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

8 Drug and Alcohol Treatment Health Trust Central Norway, Department of Research and Development, Trondheim, Norway

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BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:179  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-179

Published: 29 October 2012

Abstract

Background

In clinical practice, sleep disturbance is often regarded as an epiphenomenon of the primary mental disorder. The aim of this study was to test if sleep disturbance, independently of primary mental disorders, is associated with current clinical state and benefit from treatment in a sample representative of public mental health care clinics.

Method

2246 patients receiving treatment for mental disorders in eight public mental health care centers in Norway were evaluated in a cross-sectional study using patient and clinician reported measures. Patients reported quality of life, symptom severity, and benefit from treatment. Clinicians reported disorder severity, level of functioning, symptom severity and benefit from treatment. The hypothesis was tested using multiple hierarchical regression analyses.

Results

Sleep disturbance was, adjusted for age, gender, time in treatment, type of care, and the presence of any primary mental disorder, associated with lower quality of life, higher symptom severity, higher disorder severity, lower levels of functioning, and less benefit from treatment.

Conclusion

Sleep disturbance ought to be considered a stand-alone therapeutic entity rather than an epiphenomenon of existing diagnoses for patients receiving treatment in mental health care.