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.
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.
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.
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.