Sleep Apnea and Mental Illness

exhausted, tired, hopeless, depressed, mental health

The relationship between sleep 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?

Problems sleeping may be a sign of a sleeping disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or a sign of a health condition like depression. Consider the symptoms of clinical depression: anxiety, excessive sleepiness or insomnia, fatigue, agitation, irritability and lack of concentration.  Okay, how about the symptoms of OSA: irritability, 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?

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, of course, 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.

Whether you are a patient or a professional, these conditions demand our due diligence.

Thanks for reading, see you next time.

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