For those who are unfamiliar with sleep apnea,
is a sleeping disorder where a person stops breathing for
of time while sleeping. The causes of sleep apnea are typically due to
obstructions of the air passages in the nose and throat, which is
referred to as obstructive
sleep apnea. However, it can also be cause
by problems with the central nervous system, which is referred to as
sleep apnea and is quite rare.
have been numerous studies performed over the past few decades
which show a strong
correlation between depression
sleep apnea. In fact, some studies have shown that more
than 25% of men
who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea have
also recently sought treatment for depression from a psychologist or
other studies have shown that while many sleep
apnea sufferers do not consider themselves to be depressed, as much as
fifty percent of them actually show some or all of the
signs of having
moderate to severe depression.
there have also been many studies which have shown no
direct correlation between the two, but a lot of this depends on the
sample size and the reporting methods used. Another thing that makes it
hard to determine the link between the two is that the majority of
sleep apnea sufferers, as much as 75%, have never been properly
diagnosed, making it that much harder to determine the
link between the
a recent US government study seems to have finally found
definitive evidence that there is a direct link between
disorders. This study, published by the US Center for Disease Control,
was one of the first to use a truly representative sample of the US
adult population and surveyed nearly
The study found that men
and women who reported choking, coughing, or snorting several times a
week while sleeping, even if they had never been diagnosed with sleep
apnea, were more than
five times as likely to show symptoms of moderate to
severe depression than those who did not show any symptoms of sleep
psychiatric studies have actually shown a similar, albeit the other way around!
One such study showed that those individuals
suffering from depression were five times more likely to develop a
sleep disordered breathing syndrome such as sleep apnea.
Apnea and Depression: Chicken or the Egg?
looking at the link between depression and sleep apnea, one common
question that comes up is whether it is the sleep apnea causing the
symptoms of depression or the other way around. Well, this is actually
a chicken and egg type question, and despite large amounts of research
into the area, it is still hard to determine which condition is
responsible for the other and how they are linked.
researchers and sleep specialists believe that the sleep apnea is
responsible for the depression due to lowered levels of oxygen reaching
the brain. However, this is still only a hypothesis
and as of yet there
is still not a single study which has determined which condition is
responsible for the other one.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Help to Relieve Symptoms of Depression?
though some people still debate the connection between the two
conditions, and there is no evidence to determine which condition is
responsible for the other, there is actually quite a bit of evidence to
suggest that treatment for sleep apnea can help to alleviate most
symptoms of depression.
recent study performed by the Cleveland
Clinic and presented at the
Conference showed that people who are undergoing sleep
treatment are much less likely to show symptoms of depression.
study used a psychiatric test known as PHQ-9, which is a self-report
survey designed to measure symptoms of depression, to determine whether
or not people undergoing sleep apnea treatment showed less symptoms of
results were actually quite surprising, as they
showed that as soon as a person starts a sleep apnea
treatment, they in turn perform
much better on the PHQ-9 test.
study also showed that the
more frequently and the longer a person
undergoes a sleep apnea treatment also resulted in decreased levels of
depression. This study and other similar studies have even shown sleep
apnea treatment to have at least as much of an effect on depression as
taking anti-depressants, with none of the side effects that come with
Can You Do If You’re Experiencing Sleep Apnea and Depression?
you feel depressed, it could possibly be a consequence of sleep apnea,
the problem is that your psychiatrist is not likely to recommend that
you see a sleep specialist. Nonetheless, this is exactly what we are
recommending, especially if you also constantly feel tired
as your depression could be caused by sleep apnea.
visiting a sleep specialist, you will most likely have to undergo
study which will monitor your vital signs
while sleeping to determine if you are indeed suffering from sleep
apnea or another sleeping disorder.
the sleep study determines that
you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, then your doctor or sleep
specialist will most likely recommend the use of a CPAP
treat your sleeping disorder. This machine blows a continuous stream of
air pressure into your nose, or mouth and nose, which will force air
past the obstructions and into your lungs.
will have the effect of
regulating your breathing during sleep and also ensures your blood
oxygen concentration level remains stable.
should help to
make sure you sleep more soundly and get the rest you need, and it may
also have a positive effect on your depression as well.
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