You are currently viewing Wake Therapy: An Effective Treatment for Depression

Wake Therapy: An Effective Treatment for Depression

Depression affects more people than we care to admit and with the cases increasing exponentially, it becomes necessary to explore more options to treat this mental disorder. Keeping this in mind, neuropsychiatrists have come up with a novel theory called Wake Therapy.

Wake therapy involves long hauls of sleep deprivation or wakefulness to improve depression symptoms. For decades, psychiatrists have been keeping depression patients awake for more than 24 hours in an attempt to relieve depression symptoms. Wake therapy is build on the same theory with a clearer understanding of the therapy and how it works. Psychiatrists have now been able to define the time of wakefulness and sleep, the type of environment needed, combination interventions to be  used and how it can help patients recover from depression.

How is wake therapy administered?

The therapy is administered by forming a supportive group of four people, including the therapist. The group refrains from sleeping for 36 hours activating the natural antidepressant response. When combined with other interventions, the antidepressant response can be enhanced and sustained for several months. Studies have recorded the success rate of this therapy at 50 percent.

Though effective, the therapy needs to be conducted in a controlled environment. If the patient falls asleep or takes even a short nap during the 36 hours of wakefulness, it ruins the effects of the therapy. Further, when the patient is awake, they need to be administered mood stabilizers and white light therapy and kept active to be able to sustain the wakefulness period. In the absence of appropriate care and implementation of mood stabilizing therapy post wake therapy, patients have a high chance of relapse.

So, how does wake therapy work?

The pineal gland secretes melatonin, the key hormone to regulate sleep, at night. In depressive patients, this hormone is produced at the wrong time, disturbing their sleep pattern and cardiac rhythm. Wake therapy works towards resetting the cardiac rhythm so that melatonin is produced only in the night, correcting sleep cycle and reducing the symptoms of depression.

How effective is wake therapy in treating patients?

Depression is a broad term that covers many types. How it affects people also varies. For example, take a person who is suffering from depression due to stress or any other current circumstances. However, they do not have a family history of depression and have a supportive network of family and friends. Such patients respond well to wake therapy.

On the other hand, take a patient who is suffering from chronic depression due to mental or physical abuse, emotional hurt, or a traumatic event. Further, they have a family history of depression and do not have anyone at home to really care for them. Such patients might not respond very well to the therapy.

Are there any side effects of wake therapy?

Research suggests that there are no significant side effects of wake therapy, except that the patient might feel tired because of sleep deprivation. There is 1 percent chance of bipolar patients experiencing a manic episode due to the sleep deprivation.

Can all depressive patients opt for wake therapy?

Not exactly. A medical and psychiatric assessment conducted at a credible depression rehab center can help determine suitability for wake therapy. If a patient is not found to be suitable for wake therapy, other alternatives can be used to treat them. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, practicing relaxation techniques, nutrition therapy, or a combination of medicine management and alternative therapies.

How can we help?

We, at Athena Behavioral Health, are committed to providing treatment interventions tailored to meet each patient’s mental health condition. Our plans take into consideration the severity and duration of the mental disorder, family history, and the patient’s unique circumstances to plan a holistic treatment approach.

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression or any other mental health issue, get in touch with Athena Behavioral Health. Our experienced medical team can suggest an effective evidence-based treatment approach. Call our 24/7 depression treatment helpline 9289086193 to know more about our treatment plans. Alternatively, you can chat with our online representative for further assistance.