Sleep apnea could be the sign of a serious mental health issue 18



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A new study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine has found a shocking connection between sleep apnea and a serious mental health condition, with researchers saying their findings show the sleep condition could be misdiagnosed as depression.

Millions of Australians suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that stops your breathing repeatedly while you sleep and chronic snoring is often the first sign of an issue.

While previous studies have shown that undiagnosed sleep apnea can increase the risk of depression if untreated, new studies show that the higher the severity of sleep apnea, the higher the risk of depression.

426 men and women with suspected sleep apnea participated in the study and took the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which assesses symptoms of depression, as well as a sleep study of their brain, oxygen levels, breathing and heart rate.

It was found of the 293 participants who were confirmed to have sleep apnea, 73 per cent also had depression.

Thankfully, there was a happy ending to the study, and those with sleep apnea trialled CPAP therapy and most found a significant decrease in their depression after three months.

41 participants in the WA study reported feeling suicidal, but none felt the same way after 3 months of CPAP.

Dr David Hillman, clinical professor at the University of Western Australia, and his colleagues say their findings highlight the importance of screening individuals with depression for signs of sleep apnea.

“The findings highlight the potential for sleep apnea, a notoriously underdiagnosed condition, to be misdiagnosed as depression”.


Do you or your partner suffer from sleep apnea?

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  1. My problem is a little different from that, I suffer sleep paralysis , fortunately I think I may have out grown it, I go to sleep and wake up paralyzed unable to move and no I don’t see aliens or witches, I do however hear noise and feel crushing pressure on my chest

  2. That would be terrifying to experience, I can only imagine how scary that would be for you Libbi, I hope for your sake you have grown out of it.

  3. My son have sleep apnea for years and had only started his treatment a week ago, and months of test in the hospital n doctors appointments. Finally last week, the mask treatment has been given to him to monitor his breathing and there’s a chip in the machine to record his sleeps. he’s been sleeping like a baby since, no grasp for air, no more fatigues during the day, he feels much better now. Next week appointment to read the report from the chip !. It’s very scary and people can died in their sleep with this so my advice is ….. If u suffer from sleep apnea or snored mildly , Get treatment ASAP!

  4. First time t happened I was terrified but after a few times I learned to relax and try to go back to sleep , I knew that when I woke up again I would be ok

  5. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea two years ago as my blood pressure was very high had all the tests and have a machine and what a difference wake up feeling fresh every day instead of tired and cranky you can die if not treated as you stop breathing

  6. Have had sleep apnea for over 12 years, used several cpap machines over that time. Always had trouble sleeping more than a couple of hours with a full nose face mask.
    Recently I purchased a new cpap machine with a much smaller mask , one that just fits into nostril cavities for nearly $3000 and the sleep difference has been unbelievable. Average after 2 months between 6 and 7 hours sleep a night. Some nights 9 hrs sleep.
    Please get tested and see the difference yourself.

  7. I know I have sleep apnoea. I’ve been tested at two different facilities. I also know I have severe clinical depression and that diagnosis was based on a lot more than sleep deprivation. Any chronic health condition can make the best of us feel ‘miserable’ but I seriously doubt how a condition like sleep apnoea could be misdiagnosed as depression – unless you have a very narrow minded doctor! I can’t afford a CPAP machine – may be going to bed at night with a mask on my face and a machine humming beside my bed would make a difference to the quality of my sleep but I doubt it would change the symptoms of my depression.

  8. The CPAP machines and masks are so expensive. I wonder how long it will be before they say this wrong. The tests say CPAP machines dont stop whatever and the side effects are?!?

  9. I seem to have a mild sleep apnoea. At present, my doctor has me trying breathing exercises.

  10. If I sleep on my back I might make noises (gasping? snoring?). If I sleep on my tummy I get sleep paralysis. So I always sleep on my side and sleep soundly.

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