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Sleep deprivation therapy

  • H. Kuhs
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Privatdozent Dr. Hubert Kuhs, Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Strasse 11, D-4400 Münster, Germany.
    Affiliations
    From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
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  • R. Tölle
    Affiliations
    From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
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      Abstract

      This review reports, with as much detail as possible, on the literature relating to therapeutic sleep deprivation (or induced-wakefulness therapy) since it was first described in 1971. The antidepressive effect of sleep deprivation has been substantiated by numerous studies. A series of clinical predictors of response to sleep deprivation are also described. Partial sleep deprivation late in the night is equivalent to total sleep deprivation in terms of therapeutic value and —because of its simpler application—can be regarded today as the sleep deprivation method of choice. The status of sleep deprivation in the overall treatment schedule for depressive disorders is discussed in detail. Numerous findings, some of them contradictory, have been published on the effect of sleep deprivation on biological variables. To date, no unequivocal explanation has been found for the mechanism of action of sleep deprivation.
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