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Misdiagnosis of Sleep Apnea for Depression is Possible





A recent study of the “Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine” suggests that more than 70 percent of sleep apnea sufferers undergo depressive symptoms.
The research scientists explain that their research indicates a likelihood of considering sleep apnea as a depressive disorder.

Nevertheless, the scientists further say that the symptoms of depression that are found in the sleep apnea sufferers can be alleviated by the use of “continuous positive airway (CPAP)” treatment.

Above 25M grown-ups in the United States are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or simply sleep apnea. It is a condition where respiration halts for a short time and continuously throughout the sleeping time at night. The constant snoring is considered as the highly frequent symptom of sleep apnea.

The past research has pointed out that sleep apnea is capable in raising the threat for depressive disorder if not treated. The condition has also been connected to increase the chances of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and hypertension.



Continuous positive airway pressure treatment is known as the best healing option for sleep apnea. In this CPAP therapy, a mask is placed on the mouth and/or nose while sleeping that assists maintain the air passage open by softly driving air through it.

The most recent study carried out by the clinical professor, Dr. David R. Hillman at the “University of Western Australia” along with his colleagues to understand in a better way the relationship between frequent depressive signs among the sufferers of sleep apnea and to further find out if CPAP can be a better treatment option for minimizing the signs.
The threat of depression increases with the severances of sleep apnea


The team of Dr. Hillman registered 426 people including 183 females and 243 males who were sent to a sleep lab for having a supposed sleep apnea.

Among 426 contributors, 293 were diagnosed of sleep apnea and among them 213 i.e. 73 percent had been suffering from depression as well. The Dr. Hillman’s team concluded that the threat of depression increases with the severances of sleep apnea.

CPAP treatment (5 hours every night for 3 months) was given to the contributors, who are assessed with sleep apnea. After recording the therapy conformity and repeating the Patient Health Questionnaire, the therapy was stopped and depressive symptoms were assessed.


After 3 months of CPAP therapy, 228 contributors with sleep apnea showed considerable decrease in the symptoms of depression. Just 9 i.e. 4 percent of the contributors had been diagnosed with any measureable clinically noteworthy depressive symptoms after the cessation of the therapy.

On top of that, it was observed that 41 contributors having diagnosed with sleep apnea and expressed sensations of suicidal urges and self-destruction, were all lifted up of all similar sensations just after the 3 months of CPAP therapy that they received.

The team of Dr. David explains that the results emphasize the significance of checking depressive people for sleep apnea symptoms. The clinic doctors have to question such people about symptoms of sleep apnea such as daytime drowsiness, snoring, pauses in the breathing and broken sleep etc.

Dr. David Hillman further said that the results emphasize the possibility of sleep apnea, which is infamously not diagnosed state, to be misunderstood as depression.
 The “Medical News Today” also linked sleep apnea and serious snoring with deterioration in thinking capabilities and memory based on the published research in “Neurology” past this year.


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