Sleep parameters improvement in PTSD soldiers after symptoms remission


  • Rousseau P. F
  • Vallat R.
  • Coste O.
  • Cadis H.
  • Nicolas F.
  • Trousselard M.
  • Ruby P.
  • Khalfa S.

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Abstract Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is still unclear whether symptoms remission through EMDR therapy is associated with a beneficial effect on one of the PTSD symptoms, sleep disturbance. Our objective was therefore to study sleep parameters before and after symptom remission in soldiers with PTSD. The control group consisted of 20 healthy active duty military men who slept in a sleep lab with standard polysomnography (PSG) on two sessions separated by one month. The patient group consisted of 17 active duty military with PTSD who underwent EMDR therapy. PSG-recorded sleep was assessed 1 week before the EMDR therapy began and 1 week after PTSD remission. We found that the increased REMs density after remission was positively correlated with a greater decrease of symptoms. Also, the number of EMDR sessions required to reach remission was correlated with intra-sleep awakenings before treatment. These results confirm the improvement of some sleep parameters in PTSD after symptoms remission in a soldier's population and provide a possible predictor of treatment success. Further experiments will be required to establish whether this effect is specific to the EMDR therapy.

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