Sleep apnea is a medical condition that significantly lowers the patient’s blood oxygen level by causing you to completely stop breathing several times each night while you sleep. Recent studies link sleep apnea to serious health issues including strokes, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers are also discovering a strong connection between sleep apnea and a number of mental health issues. In fact, depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder have all been linked to sleep apnea.
Getting the Right Diagnosis
Symptoms of sleep apnea include heavy snoring as well as feeling fatigued and irritable during the day. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone close to you, contact Dr. Steve Greenman at 805-601-8277 right away. We’ll make sure you recieve the correct diagnosis and the treatment you need.
The quality of sleep that a patient gets is closely related to your mental health. In fact, major psychological assessments such as the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Profile of Mood States(POMS), and the Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory (MMPI) all contain questions about the the patient’s sleep patterns.
Mental Health Conditions Linked to Sleep Apnea
Patients who suffer from psychological disorders may not realize that they also have sleep apnea because the symptoms are often similar. When a patient is experiencing sleep apnea in addition to a mental health issue, it can exasperate both conditions. This phenomenon is known as comorbidity.
Sleep apnea is often comorbid with the following psychological issues:
Depression — Scientific studies demonstrate a “strong correlation between depression and the prevalent disorder sleep apnea.” Patients who suffer from depression frequently report that they’re experience sleep issues as well.
In many cases, sleep apnea “may be causing or contributing to your depression.” That’s why it’s crucial to get the right diagnosis for your sleep disorder.
Anxiety Disorders and PTSD — According to Harvard Health Publishing, people with anxiety disorders are extremely likely to report some type of sleep disorder. This issue is often acute for veterans who suffer from PTSD. Sleep apnea, in particular, “is highly prevalent among combat veterans who have PTSD and complain of being overly vigilant at night.”
Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder — Sleep disorders are also common for people who suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Excessive daytime sleep is often a sign of schizophrenia, and both disorders are frequently treated using drugs that can make you drowsy.