Depression and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Feeling blue? Down in the dumps? Lost interest in activities that always brought you joy in the past? Is your family worried that you are depressed? Being sad can be normal on occasion but if it becomes a daily occurrence, the red flag needs to be raised. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9 percent of Americans have feelings of hopelessness, with 3 percent being diagnosed with a major form of depression. Overwhelming sadness can affect all aspects of life from food consumption to thought processing to sleep.
Actually, there are a number of sleep disorders that have been linked to depression and sometimes even vice versa. One such sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is described as a medical condition where breathing is obstructed while a person sleeps. Throughout the night, an individual with OSA will stop breathing, sometimes even gasping for air. The morning after, OSA sufferers can feel fatigued, not well-rested and moody. It is not surprising that their personality might start to veer into an overwhelming feeling of depression.
Studies have been conducted to evaluate the connection between depression and OSA. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry discovered that people battling depression also suffered from OSA by a ratio of five to one. The group concluded that a diagnosis of either depression or OSA should trigger the evaluation of the other due to the correlation between the two disorders.
Conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, a large epidemiological study evaluated the frequency of breathing issues while asleep in conjunction with depression symptoms. The data, which was shared in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and published in SLEEP, proved the following:
- If breathing episodes occurred at least five or more nights during the week, male and female participants were three times more likely to suffer from depression.
- Three percent of female participants were already diagnosed with OSA and six percent of the male participants.
The lead investigator of the study believed that the link between the two disorders might be due to the combination of low levels of oxygen to the brain and decrease in the quality of sleep. Unfortunately, medications used to treat depression often have a side effect that increases the severity of OSA as breathing is suppressed. Therefore, it is important that a person who might have depression and OSA be accurately diagnosed for proper treatment.
If you have been wondering whether or not your depression might be affecting or an indication of sleep apnea, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 or schedule a free consultation when it’s convenient for you.