Individuals that suffer from PTSD commonly complain of insomnia and related sleep disorders. Not enough sleep, or sleep that is not restful enough, can contribute to other symptoms of stress and trauma. One group of people who suffer inordinately from PTSD related insomnia is combat veterans.
Treating PTSD With Medication vs. Hypnotherapy
Commonly, these individuals are treated with medications: either zolpidem, a short term insomnia medication, or an SSRI anti-depressant treatment. These medications can be helpful, but often are only effective as long as they are being taken. There is no long term relief from the underlying stress. In one recent study, thirty two male veterans suffering from PTSD combat related insomnia were assigned to one of two groups: hypnotherapy or zolpidem. The hypnotherapy for PTSD sessions were administered in two 1.5 hour sessions twice a week for two weeks by a board of certified practicing psychiatrist hypnotherapist. Those in the medication group were given zolpidem for 14 days.
All participants in the study were diagnosed with PTSD, were between 21 and 40 years old, and all participants had been taking an SSRI anti depressant medication for a minimum of two months prior to the study.
The study found that those in the hypnotherapy treatment group reported a 76.4% improvement in their ability to sleep compared to 26.6% of those in the standard treatment protocol group. 82.3% in the hypnotherapy group were shown to have increased their total sleeping time compared with 66.6% of the zolpidem group. Post treatment, 88.2% of the hypnotherapy group reported an excellent or good quality of sleep level, this compared to 26.6% of the zolpidem group.
 Abramowitz, E., Barak, Y., Ben-Avi, I., & Knobler, H. (2008). Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Chronic Combat-Related PTSD Patients Suffering From Insomnia: A Randomized, Zolpidem-Controlled Clinical Trial. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 56(3), 270-280.