OBJECTIVE/BACKGROUND: Research supports the efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) for patients suffering from depression and insomnia, but little is known about how they experience treatment and adhere to it. Our objective, therefore, was to explore how patients with depression experience treatment components and how their experiences influence adherence to CBT-I as a full-package treatment.
PARTICIPANTS/METHODS: Twelve patients with depression and comorbid insomnia were interviewed after six sessions of CBT-I, and a conventional qualitative content analysis was conducted.
RESULTS: Two themes were found. The theme "I picked what I needed" showed that participants chose among CBT-I methods. Behavioral methods were considered hard but so effective that they reduced the need to learn other methods. Participants had difficulty learning cognitive methods, such as the restructuring of negative thoughts, owing to lack of energy and cognitive problems aggravated by sleep loss. Sleep hygiene education was regarded as common knowledge. The theme "Staying on track" highlighted factors promoting adherence, such as a preference for non-pharmacological treatment, rapid improvement, and support from relatives and therapists. Factors impeding adherence were: a perceived lack of support from the ongoing group setting, side effects of medication, changes in daily routine, and daytime fatigue influencing cognitive and emotional functioning.
CONCLUSION: The study suggests: focusing on adherence throughout treatment; actively using support from relatives and therapists; preferring individual treatment; and prioritizing behavioral treatment components, with cognitive components introduced later in the treatment course when the negative effects on cognitive functioning due to sleep restriction have diminished.