"Can Sleep Apnea Cause Depression?"

There seems to be a debate around this lately. Not so much how but can sleep apnea cause depression? Recently I read in the medical journals that a study was done that reported ONLY 800 out of 100,000 individuals had both, a breathing-related sleep disorder and a major depressive disorder. For the past two decades there had been an assumption that sleep apnea depression was more common. It does happen but not as much as we first were told.

"How does sleep apnea cause depression and why are doctors confused?"

Fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration and loss of interest in enjoyable activities are common symptoms of depression. But they are also symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, and a new study suggests that doctors may confuse the two.However, it was recently found that many patients with depression symptoms improved considerably when treated with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP (pronounced SEE-pap) therapy, the standard treatment for sleep apnea. (September 2008 issue of the journal Chest.)

Dr. Daniel J. Schwartz reported that this finding does not necessarily apply to all patients with depression. Dr. Schwartz was the lead author on the study and director of the Sleep Center at University Community Hospital in Tampa, Fla. Do you snore at night and suffer from daytime sleepiness? One woman reports…

“I have been battling depression for 20 years… I went on a trip with friends. They reported that I lightly snored a bit, but more importantly, they said that I was struggling to breathe.

I went to my next psychiatrist appointment with this new information and within in a week my psych had me in with a sleep doctor and my first overnight. A week later I was in for my second study with cpap and the rest is history.

I owe my friends a lot for telling me about my breathing as living alone, I never would have figured it out. I do not know if I have had apnea for the last 20 years or not. I do not have the time to try to figure it out. I am 55 and would just like to move on.....to better sleep and a better attitude about life in general....it is easier to tackle whatever needs to be addressed when I have energy to do so.”

If you snore and suffer also from depression, you could suffer from OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). Clinically OSA is suspected when a patient presents with both snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness.

So if you snore and are sleepy during the day and are suffering from depression, there could be some hope here!

Why? Well, there still is that possibility that your sleep apnea cause is an obstructive airway which then also is leading to your depression. Take care of the sleep apnea and this could take care of your depression!

"What do you do if you suspect you suffer from sleep apnea?"

Go talk to your doctor and ask her if she could refer you to a sleep apnea specialist to do testing. If the testing is positive for OSA, you can talk to your doctor about CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy. Some folks report a complete life turn around using this therapy which is a special breathing mask you wear while you sleep.

If your tests show that your depression is not due to a sleep apnea cause (meaning you don’t have sleep apnea), don’t be discouraged! You’ve eliminated one more potential cause of your depression!

You may also enjoy our 6 steps e-course to learn what to discuss with your doctor to determine your depression cure plan.

There is hope! You are worth it!

Merri Ellen

Related Articles:

Sleep Apnea Depression

Back to Home from Sleep Apnea Cause


Depression and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) / Carmen M Schröder and Ruth O'Hara / Annals of General Psychiatry 2005, 4:13doi:10.1186/1744-859X-4-13 / http://www.annals-general-psychiatry.com/content/4/1/13

Remedy for Sleep Apnea May Lift Depression's Veil / NICHOLAS BAKALAR / The New York Times / The New York Times / Sep 20, 2005http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9406EEDE1630F933A1575AC0A9639C8B63#

Deb’s quote from cpaptalk.com

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