E-ISSN: 2458-9101
Application of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Comparison of Combined Treatment, and CPAP Therapy on Executive Functions of the Brain
Maryam Talebi, Kazem Rasoolzadeh Tabatabaye, Ensiye Vahedi
Sleep and Hypnosis: A Journal of Clinical Neuroscience and Psychopathology 2018;20(3):148-159
Purpose: Sleep apnea disorder brings about negative effects to the quality of life of the people involved. Debilitation of cognitive functioning is one of the consequences of this condition. However, scant researches have been carried out to explore the efficacy of cognitive therapy in mitigating the clinical symptoms and cognitive functions of the brain. Combining cognitive method and medical treatment, this research aims at comparing the effectiveness of continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) therapy and cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) in improving mental cognitive functions among patients with sleep apnea disorder.

Methods: The study population included all patients who referred to the sleep disorders clinic in Tehran. Our sample consisted of 45 subjects who were randomly allocated into three groups of 15 individuals (CPAP, combined treatment, and control). All three groups were psychologically assessed prior to the intervention. Next, individuals in the cognitive-behavioral group underwent CPAP and 12 sessions of cognitive training, progressive muscle relaxation, mental visualization, and sleep hygiene. The other group went through CPAP therapy and the third group was also assessed. After the intervention, all groups were again psychologically assessed. Data collection instruments included Wisconsin cognitive software, semantic and complex Stroop, continuous performance, and polysomnography and CPAP devices.

Results: The results indicated that both types of intervention can enhance cognitive functioning; however, a greater efficacy is obtained by combining the two methods compared with the exclusive application of medical treatment.

Conclusion: This research proposes cognitive-behavioral therapy as a complement to medical treatment.
Keywords: Obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, cognitive functions
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