Insomnia is a driver of suicide, and people with severe insomnia may safely benefit from taking a sedative to help address their sleep problems as it reduces their suicidal thoughts, a new study suggests.
The study, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, included 103 participants aged 18 to 65 with major depressive disorder, insomnia and suicidal thoughts.
All participants took an antidepressant for the eight-week duration of the trial and half also took the sedative-hypnotic zolpidem at bedtime.
"While the results do not argue for the routine prescription of hypnotics for mitigating suicidal ideation in all depressed outpatients with insomnia, they suggest that co-prescription of a hypnotic during initiation of an antidepressant may be beneficial in suicidal outpatients, especially in patients with severe insomnia," said study researchers from Augusta University in the US.
During the study, participants completed regular self-reports of the severity of their insomnia and completed a daily sleep diary during their treatment that included details like how many times they woke up during the night and how long they actually slept.