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Can Sleep Apnea Cause Depression?

May 12, 2022


Depression has been on the rise within the United States, according to Mental Health America, with a significant uptick since the pandemic hit. Meanwhile, sleep apnea cases have also grown over the last few years, so can we say there is a correlation between sleep apnea and depression? 

What causes depression? 

According to Harvard Medical School, many things could lead to depression, including 

  • faulty mood regulation by the brain, 
  • genetic vulnerability, and 
  • stressful life events.

Sleep apnea could be considered a stressful life event, but unfortunately, the causes of sleep apnea are more likely to be the culprit of depression or even a bad mood. Let’s consider a series of events: 

  1. Something in your life is stressful.
    Perhaps the death of a loved one, an injury, or the loss of a job. 
  2. Due to the stress, you gain weight.
    Maybe your schedule is off balance, or your budget is limited. 
  3. Weight gain leads to you suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
    Of course, weight gain is not the only cause of OSA, but it is a leading factor in many cases. 
  4. OSA leads to poor sleep, which causes mood swings and poor decision-making.
    These are two things that can set the wheels in motion for a depressive episode.

So, while sleep apnea is unlikely to cause depression, the two are often combined. Likewise, managing your sleep apnea may not affect depression, but it will help you feel better, which can help you manage stress. 

At Advanced Homecare, we are experts in sleep apnea and can help you to diagnose and treat your sleep issues. Call us at 1-800-758-7571 for help. 

If you, or a loved one, is suffering from depression, it’s very important to get professional help. To find a therapist in your area, click this link for a search feature: https://members.adaa.org/page/FATMain

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