Insomnia is a common sleep disorder which has a 5–6% prevalence rate and shows high social impact. At least 10% of patients with insomnia will see a medical specialist. Hence, 20,000–40,000 people in Georgia require medical help for insomnia. Treatment of insomnia is very effective. Pharmacotherapy is common, but it is recognized that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a better choice, since it is safe for patients and shows sustainable improvement. CBT of insomnia is not currently available in Georgia.
The aim of our study was to evaluate a Georgian version of an innovative, internet-delivered digital CBT (dCBT) for insomnia in terms of therapeutic efficacy, adherence, and ease of handling.
The Georgian digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia was developed as an analogue of Dutch dCBT “i-Sleep.” All online materials were made applicable for the Georgian population through translation, validation by translation back to the original language, and adaptation to the Georgian reality, in order to avoid linguistic, cultural, and social pitfalls.
Fifty-two adult patients with insomnia were recruited for the study: 34 women and 18 men, aged 18–64 years (mean: 33.5 years). Inclusion criteria included: age over 18, access to internet, and sufficient skills to use electronic devices. The patients who were treated pharmacologically continued their usual medication and received dCBT in addition to this treatment. DCBT was guided by a therapist. Clinical efficacy was evaluated on the basis of Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), measured before the dCBT and one month after its completion.
25 out of 52 patients (48%) completed a full dCBT course. Mean ISI in this group dropped from 22.88 to 8.24 (P < 0.01), showing significant therapeutic effect one month after CBT completion. 27 patients (52%) stopped treatment for various reasons at different stages of dCBT. Sixteen patients dropped out from the first module (31%). 7 patients older than 50 years encountered problems with handling electronic devices and the platform itself. 9 patients stopped therapy, showing bad adherence for different reasons, mostly related to finding the sessions time-consuming and being disappointed by the absence of immediate therapeutic effect. Eleven more patients (21%) stopped at sleep restriction, finding it difficult to accomplish sleep restriction-related tasks. In general, patients found dCBT quite comprehensive and easy to handle.
This data suggests that the Georgian version of dCBT for insomnia is a promising therapeutic tool, comparable with international analogues in terms of efficacy and adherence. Further studies, involving a greater number of patients and long-term follow-up are required for the final assessment of therapeutic efficacy and sustainability of results.