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Sleep Apnea and Your Mental Health

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that threatens your health. If left untreated, it can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other hazardous medical conditions. (link to Health Risks section of Sleep Apnea and Your Health page.)


What many people don’t realize is that sleep apnea can also impact a patient’s mental health. In fact, there’s now a body of research linking sleep apnea to depression as well as anxiety disorders including PTSD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Getting the Right Diagnosis

Obstructive Sleep Apnea The type of sleep you’re getting is closely related to your mental health. That’s why psychological scales such as the Beck Depressions Inventory (BDI), the Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory (MMPI), and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) all contain questions relating to sleep symptoms.


It can be difficult to get the right diagnosis for your sleep disorder because many psychological conditions share common symptoms with sleep apnea. If you or the people around you notice signs of sleep apnea such as heavy snoring and daytime fatigue, call Dr. Christopher Henninger right away at West Coast Snore and Sleep Apnea Solutions in Vista.


Dr. Henninger is an experienced sleep dentist. He’s a member of both the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the California Sleep Society. He’ll make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment for your sleep apnea and snoring issues.

Conditions That Are Linked to Sleep Apnea

Comorbidity is the situation where a patient suffers from two or more conditions occurring at the same time. When two conditions are comorbid, it can intensify the symptoms of both conditions.


Furthermore, Sleep apnea is comorbid with the following psychological issues:

  • Depression -- Research indicates that there’s a “strong correlation between depression and the prevalent disorder of sleep apnea.” It’s very common for patients with depression to report having sleep problems.

    It’s essential to find out if your symptoms are the result of depression, sleep apnea, or both because “sleep apnea may be causing or contributing to your depression.”

  • Anxiety and PTSD -- According to Harvard Health Publishing, sleep problems frequently occur in patients who suffer from several types of anxiety disorders, including “50% of adult patients with generalized anxiety disorder” and “it’s also common in those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and may occur in panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.”

    The good news is that treating a patient’s sleep apnea will help relieve their symptoms, making other conditions easier to manage. It’s been noted that “the co-occurrence of sleep apnea and anxiety has also been found to markedly diminish as it is managed through medical treatment.”

  • Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also comorbid with sleep apnea. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a common symptom of schizophrenia and the drugs used to treat the condition can also make patients drowsy. Medications prescribed for bipolar disorder can also disrupt the patient’s sleep schedule.