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Sleep Apnea and Depression


Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can cause some of the most prevalent symptoms of clinical depression that are known. Because sufferers of sleep apnea are sometimes slow to recognize the signs of depression developing, they often fail to seek out the proper medical attention from the necessary trained personnel.

Any patient whose depression is caused by sleep apnea should undergo an immediate physical evaluation, and then begin to receive treatment for their sleeping disorder. By doing so, the sufferers can go a long way in helping rid themselves of the depression symptoms, and ultimately go on to live their lives with more mental health stability than they would otherwise have experienced.

According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders and Research:

"Forty million Americans are chronically ill with various sleep disorders...Sleep apnea alone is the cause of excessive daytime sleepiness experienced by almost 20 million Americans... Overwhelming evidence from testimony and specific surveys suggests that the vast majority of Americans with sleep disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated…

"Obstructive sleep apnea is an illness characterized by snoring, partial or complete cessation of breathing during sleep, reductions in blood oxygen levels, severe sleep fragmentation, and excessive daytime sleepiness. Researchers and clinicians have recognized sleep apnea as one of the most common sleep disorders and with perhaps the greatest medical and social impact on society in terms of morbidity and mortality. The syndrome strikes both sexes and all races, ages, socioeconomic strata, and ethnic groups.."

Clearly, sleep apnea is an extremely common, very troubling disorder than can cause both mental and physical distress. When you couple that with the staggering number of people who tend to experience depression over the course of their lifetimes (17 percent), you begin to understand why the potential likelihood of struggling with this in some form is so high.

Worse yet, sleep apnea and depression can serve to worsen each other’s symptoms. People suffering from depression are more prone to gaining weight, which in turn can make sleep apnea cases even worse. On the flip side, sleep apnea can cause trouble sleeping (occurs in 65-90 percent of cases), and considering that sleep disturbances worsen depression symptoms, this ends up further hurting the patients involved.

The combination of talk therapy and medication are time-tested and proven successful treatment options for people suffering from sleep apnea and depression. Anyone who is suffering from these conditions, or thinks they may be suffering from these conditions, should contact a mental health physician and get tested for both.

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