Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sleeping It Off: Depression and Sleep

Depression is commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But new research shows that it may not be caused by OSA. Instead, it may be due to factors also associated with the sleep disorder.

The study was recently published by the journal Sleep and Breathing. It included 45 patients. OSA affected 34 of them. Eleven people experienced snoring without OSA. Nineteen people were controls. Diagnosis was determined from sleep studies.

The patients were 20 to 69 years of age. Patients with psychiatric disorders were excluded.

Each patient took the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Find your ESS score here.

They also took the Beck Depression Inventory and Profile of Mood States (POMS).

Patients with primary snoring or OSA reported significantly more depression than the control subjects. Depression severity did not differ between snorers and mild OSA patients. Both groups indicated that fatigue contributed to their depression.

OSA patients often snore loudly. They also experience dangerous pauses in breath during sleep. People who snore without OSA, breathe normally during sleep.

Results indicate that fatigue as measured by the POMS was the primary predictor of depression.
The article notes that OSA increases a person’s rate of depression – 15 to 56 percent of OSA patients suffer from it. In contrast, 6.6 percent of the general population has a depressive disorder.

The researchers note that doctors should be aware that snorers without OSA also report depression and fatigue. They suggest that the depression found in OSA patients and snorers could indicate common factors.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.