Sleep Apnea and Mental Illness

exhausted, tired, hopeless, depressed, mental health

The relationship between sleep apnea and mental illness and mental health continues to strengthen. So many of us experience sleep problems; not feeling rested, not logging enough hours of sleep in general or not sleeping well when we do.  No way that sounds familiar, right?

Symptoms of Clinical Depression vs Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Problems sleeping may be a sign of a sleeping disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It can also be a sign of a mental health condition like depression. Consider the symptoms of clinical depression: anxiety, excessive sleepiness or insomnia, fatigue, agitation, irritability and lack of concentration. Consider the following symptoms of OSAirritability, lack of concentration, excessive sleepiness, insomnia, and fatigue. If they present in the same way, it stands to reason that clinicians should have a conversation with their patients about both, right?

According to Research

As the field of mental health and psychological conditions demand our attention, perhaps it is worth considering OSA when assessing symptoms of mental health disorders. A recent study concludes patients with psychiatric illness and OSA experience optimal treatment success when both disorders are successfully treated.  Specifically, those experiencing major depressive disorder (MDD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  That suggests that clinicians treating patients for certain psychiatric disorders should also be screening, testing and facilitating treatment for OSA if the best results are desired.

In Conclusion

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, consult a sleep professional at once. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can lead to a host of health concerns.  Don’t worry, CPAP is not the only therapy option.

Whether you are a patient or a professional, these conditions demand our due diligence. For more information on sleep apnea therapies or a list of mental health professionals, give our clinic a call at 614-396-8286 or click here to contact us online! You can also check out our Obstructive Sleep Apnea blog archives for a larger selection of educational articles!


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