Excessive sleepiness in patients with psychosis: An initial investigation

Sarah Reeve, Bryony Sheaves, Daniel Freeman

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Abstract

Clinical experience indicates that excessive sleepiness and hypersomnia may be a common issue for patients with psychosis. Excessive sleepiness is typically ascribed to the sedating effects of antipsychotic medications but there may be other potential contributors such as sleep disorders and depression. Furthermore, the impact of excessive sleepiness itself on patients’ symptoms and general wellbeing is yet to be examined. The current study reports an exploratory cross-sectional between-groups comparison of patients with early psychosis fulfilling criteria assessed in a diagnostic interview for problematic excessive sleepiness (n = 14), compared with those not reporting excessive sleepiness (n = 46). There were no differences between the groups in diagnosis, medication type, or antipsychotic medication dosage. There were no significant group differences in sleep duration. Significantly lower activity levels were found in the excessive sleepiness group. Insomnia and nightmares were common in those reporting excessive sleepiness. No significant differences were found in psychiatric symptoms, although data did indicate more severe cognitive disorganisation and grandiosity, but less severe paranoia and hallucinations, in the excessive sleepiness group. Wide confidence intervals and small sample size mean that care should be taken interpreting these results. Overall, this study indicates that excessive sleepiness may not be solely related to medication but also to low levels of activity and other sleep disorders. This is a novel finding that, if replicated, could indicate routes of intervention for this clinical issue. Future research should aim to disentangle directions of effect amongst sleepiness, mood, activity, and psychotic symptoms and investigate possible interventions for excessive sleepiness in psychosis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0245301
JournalPLoS One
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021

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