The objective of this study was to determine whether sleep specialists and nonspecialists recommend different treatments for different insomnia diagnoses according to two different diagnostic classifications. Two hundred sixteen patients with chronic insomnia at five sites were each interviewed by two clinicians: one sleep specialist and one nonsleep specialist. All interviewers indicated diagnoses using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV); sleep specialists also indicated diagnoses according to the International Classification for Sleep Disorders (ICSD). Interviewers then indicated how strongly they would recommend each item in a standard list of treatment and diagnostic interventions for each patient. We examined differences in treatment recommendations among the six most common DSM-IV diagnoses assigned by sleep specialists at different sites (n = 192), among the six most common ICSD diagnoses assigned by sleep specialists at different sites (n = 153), and among the six most common DSM-IV diagnoses assigned by nonspecialists at different sites (n = 186). In each analysis, specific treatment and polysomnography recommendations differed significantly for different diagnoses, using either DSM-IV or ICSD criteria. Conversely, different diagnoses were associated with different rank orderings of specific treatment and diagnostic recommendations. Sleep specialist and nonspecialist interviewers each distinguished treatment recommendations among different diagnoses, but in general, nonspecialists more strongly recommended medications and relaxation treatments. Significant site-related differences in treatment recommendations also emerged. Differences in treatment recommendations support the distinction between different DSM-IV and ICSD diagnoses, although they do not provide formal validation. Site-related differences suggest a lack of consensus in how these disorders are conceptualized and treated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Physiology (medical)