Sleep apnea is a chronic breathing disorder that causes frequent disturbances in sleep. As a result of that, patients suffering from this condition often feel unfocused and inattentive during the day.
But that may not be the only fallout. The more frequently people gasp, snort or stop breathing for shorter periods the more prone they are susceptible to the symptoms of depression.
Research has revealed that the sleep apnea symptoms are closely related to that of depression irrespective of the factors like the age, weight, race or sex.
Sleep is essential and healthy sleep can be as vital as the right nutrition, exercise and other daily activities that keep us going.
The sleep apnea and the related issues occur when the airway gets blocked at the time of sleeping which restricts the breathing patterns. This disorder can be caused by a number of factors like the structure of a person’s airways, oversized tonsils and excessive fat surrounding the airway of the person. The heavy body weight is also associated with the sleep apnea and that is why doctors often take into account the body mass index for controlling the sleep apnea.
What Has Research Revealed?
There is a very close relationship between the lack of sleep, mood and depression. While certain people experience the commencement of both the conditions at the same time, the others experience sleep deprivation prior to the depression.
There are risk factors that are shared by both the conditions that can lead to the development of any or both the conditions independently.
Though the research shows that insomnia is linked with depression, older studies found that insomnia is more into the maintenance of sleep conditions like sleep apnea which is intricately correlated with anxiety and depression.
Research has revealed that over 45 percent of the people with obstructive sleep apnea can have depressive symptoms.
Symptoms of Depression vs Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea and depression can overlap at times making it difficult for people experiencing one to realize they are also experiencing the others. This is true because the depression can also be sleep apnea symptom.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression include the following –
- Feelings of emptiness, sadness or hopelessness
- Frustration, irritability and other issues
- Sleep disturbances like Insomnia
- Appetite fluctuations
- Concentrating or Trouble thinking
- Tiredness or Fatigue
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Attention problems
- Loud snoring
- Breathing stoppages while sleeping noticeable by other people or waking up the patient
- Feeling short of breath or waking up suddenly
- Headaches in the morning
- Excessive tiredness during the day
- Dry mouth upon waking or sore throat
- Problem in sleeping
The solution to the differential diagnosis is the first step to determine if you have sleep apnea. This is essential because sleep apnea can be contributing to the depression.
Under such circumstances, you should make an appointment with the primary doctor. They can refer to the sleep apnea care center where you can have sleep evaluated overnight.
Comprehending the Connection
Sleep-Disordered breathing has been connected with depression. This is true because insomnia is quite common among patients who are depressed. Depressed individuals can suffer from a range of sleep apnea symptoms. This includes the following –
- Difficulty in staying asleep
- The problem in falling asleep
- Sleep that Fails to Refresh
- Daytime sleepiness
However, the research suggests that the risk of depression development is highest among people with sleep maintenance insomnia and those experiencing a problem with sleep onset. Nevertheless, the excessive daytime sleepiness score and the desaturation of oxygen during sleep also do affect the quality of life. But its magnitude is much lesser.
How to Cope with This
The good news is that the treatment of OSA can improve depression. As the depression symptoms often overlap with that of sleep apnea, there can be misdiagnosis risks in many cases.
Studies show that the chances of depression augment with the gasping or snorting or instances of breathing stoppage at night. That is why while treating depression if sleepiness is a chief complaint, you should also get yourself checked for the onset of sleep apnea.
For this, you should consult with a reputed and experienced sleep doctor. She can offer treatment for the sleep apnea right away which may also include snoring treatments. By treating the sleep apnea, you, the patient, not only improve your sleep but also get assistance with the depression.
As normal breathing is facilitated during sleep through sleep apnea treatment, the patient gains the normal sleep pattern, too and the restorative sleep helps him or her to feel better.
So if you want to keep depression away, it is imperative to look for signs of sleep apnea and get it treated for completely recovering from your condition.