10 Feb The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Depression
Feeling sad is a normal part of the human experience especially in difficult times. Feeling persistently sad, anxious, hopeless, and disinterested in things you once enjoyed, however, are all signs of depression. Depression is not something to ignore and it’s not something you can just will away. The cause of depression is still unknown, but it can be effectively controlled with treatment.
Sleep problems and depression have an interesting complex relationship. Sometimes sleep problems may cause or contribute to depression. Other times depression comes first and disrupts the person’s ability to sleep well. So it’s really an “Was it the chicken or the egg?” situation.
Sleep problems and depression also share the same risk factors and biological features and may respond to the same treatment strategies. In fact, there is such an overlap between the symptoms of depression and sleep problems that they’re often misdiagnosed. For example, a depressed mood can be a sign of insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and narcolepsy, but most people with insomnia are also 10 times more likely to develop depression.
According to The National Sleep Foundation, the symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms are listed below. Some depression patients have only one of these, while others may have some, most or all:
–Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and sadness
–Thoughts of death or suicide
–Loss of interest in things that were once pleasurable
–Loss of libido
–Changes in weight and appetite
–Loss of energy
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is also linked to depression in that those with depression are likely to suffer OSA. OSA is a common sleep disorder that results in the closure or partial closure of the airway during sleep. This causes the person suffering from OSA to stop breathing during the night. There is good news for people who suffer from both OSA and depression though. Treating OSA may help improve depression.
The most common treatment for OSA is continuous positive airway pressure a.k.a CPAP. However, a CPAP machine with mask and hoses is often cumbersome and uncomfortable, but they are not the only treatment option.
We can work with your sleep specialist or your primary care provider to fit you for a dental appliance, which looks much like an orthodontic retainer, to keep your respiratory system open and free from blockage helping you get better sleep. If you get better sleep, your depression symptoms are likely to improve. To learn more about sleep apnea, give us a call at (662) 823-7900!