Can Sleep Apnea Cause Mental Health Issues?

It is well established that obstructive sleep apnea can create many medical issues. It has been associated with a higher incidence of hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
Less well understood is the correlation between obstructive sleep apnea and mental health issues.

Compared with patients not diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a significantly greater prevalence was found for mood disorders, anxiety, PTSD, psychosis, and dementia in patients with sleep apnea.

The association between obstructive sleep apnea and psychiatric illness has spawned screening by psychologists and psychiatrists. They understand that if this underlying condition is not identified and treated, the medical management of this disorder may be less effective.
Although the specific mechanisms whereby obstructive sleep apnea can cause or worsen these mental health issues are not known, it is logical for them to be associated as the brain needs the mental and psychological restoration it gets from a deep sleep.

During the deep phases of sleep, there is repair and mental processing occurring. It has been shown that deprivation of this deep sleep can cause difficulties with memory, task performance, and psychological breakdown. Obstructive sleep apnea specifically interrupts this deep sleep and leaves the patient with non-restorative light sleep instead.

Identification of undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea and successfully resolving this issue can allow the patient to obtain this critical deep sleep. This allows the patient to awaken feeling mental, psychologically, and physically restored. This will help not only reduce the risk of issues such as hypertension and diabetes but likely will reduce the incidence of issues such as depression and anxiety.

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If you or a loved one suffers from mental health issues and also reports snoring issues, it is critical to have the snoring evaluated.  Call now to make a consultation in our office for an evaluation of this condition.  Contact us today at 512.601.0303 to schedule an appointment!

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