New evidence linking sleep apnea and depression

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be connected to depression.  OSA is a disorder in which a person experiences short but frequent breathing pauses during sleep. Common symptoms of OSA include snoring and gasping during sleep, as well as daytime fatigue. OSA is more common in men than in women, and those that overweight/obese are more likely to develop the disorder.

While past studies have also demonstrated a connection between OSA and depression, this current study surveyed almost 10,000 Americans, and found that having OSA was associated with depression regardless of other factors such as weight, age, sex or race.  The study did not find a link between depression and snoring alone (without OSA), and more research is needed to determine if treatment of OSA among patients with depression reduces the need for antidepressant medication.

Dr. Anne Wheaton, lead author of the study, explained that screening for these disorders in the presence of the other could help to tackle the high occurrence and underdiagnosis of both sleep apnea and depression, particularly if daytime fatigue is a main complaint.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms of either sleep apnea or depression, consult your physician about getting a full screening for sleep apnea. There are many effective treatments available that could alleviate the symptoms of both disorders and greatly improve your health and well-being.


2 responses to “New evidence linking sleep apnea and depression

  1. I do not have sleep apnea, I suffer from depression, (on Paxil) it’s hereditary, and am contantly tired. I sleep well, I believe, but wake up tired. I have been on Alertec for possible narcolespy but have discontinued it,with G.P.’s advise, because I found NO difference. Can you suggest anything?

    • Unfortunately we are unable to provide specific medical advice. However if you are experiencing regular daytime sleepiness, we recommend booking an appointment with a sleep physician.

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