Sleep apnea and depression have been linked by many studies. Someone who has apnea is very likely to battle depression as well and treating apnea can reduce symptoms of both. A psychiatrist is not the way to go if you are experiencing depression and show signs of apnea. Their normal solution is to simply prescribe antidepressants. Instead, if you are showing signs of both sleep apnea and depression, you should seek a diagnosis and treatment for apnea first. Then if the symptoms of depression do not resolve after treatment, see a psychiatrist or other specialist for the condition that still exists. Most of the time treating underlying conditions such as apnea can resolve depression and other mental health issues.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that is very detrimental to a person's life and well-being. It can result in death if not diagnosed and treated. Apnea develops when tissue blocks the upper airway and restricts oxygen to the body. While someone is awake, the muscles in their throat keep the airway open and make it possible to breath. These muscles relax during sleep and the tissues interrupt breathing. This happens throughout the night causing the sufferer to wake up unable to breath. They gasp and choke for air and then fall back asleep with no recollection the next morning. Attacks can happen multiple times an hour. They wake up fatigued and begin to have memory and concentration problems. Over time if the condition is not treated, they can develop depression and heart conditions. Treatment is the only option for someone with sleep apnea. Ignoring the problem can be very damaging to a person's health and allow the disorder to become fatal. Symptoms can be hard to recognize unless another family member notices them and sees a problem. Someone who snores loudly and has these occurrences needs to seek professional help for better sleep and to remain both mentally and physically healthy.
Getting Sleep Apnea Treatment and Resolving Depression
To get a proper diagnosis and the right sleep apnea treatment, you need to first see a regular doctor. Tests will be done to ensure that there are no other health conditions causing these symptoms. The next step in getting sleep apnea treatment is seeing a sleep specialist. They are specifically trained in diagnosing a sleep disorder. A polysomnogram is the most common testing method to diagnose apnea. This test is performed in a monitored environment that looks and feels like a regular bedroom. Monitors are attached to observe sleep phases, brain activity, and the body's reaction during the episodes. Someone does visual monitoring as well. The results and notes are given to the specialist and they come up with a diagnosis. Once a diagnosis has been made, you will be presented with the results and options for treatment. Controlled positive airway pressure is one such option. This treatment is done at home and involves using a machine to keep the airway open. Other treatments involve dental devices or possible surgeries. The specialist evaluating your condition can provide complete information on every treatment and help you make the best decision.