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Looking after your mental health when you have sleep apnea - May 7th, 2019

The physical effects of sleep apnea, such as frequent night-time waking, loud snoring and breathing difficulties, are well-documented within the medical profession. As such, there are a variety of different treatments available, such as CPAP machines, that can effectively control these symptoms.

However, the effects of sleep apnea on mental health are less well-documented by medical professionals and researchers. Only recently has the healthcare sector started to realise the many detrimental effects of sleep apnea on mental wellbeing. If you suffer from sleep apnea and experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time to have a chat with your doctor about how to deal with the less visible effects of your condition:

1. Anxiety

Sleep apnea can heighten feelings of anxiety, particularly during the initial stages of diagnosis. Indeed, CPAP machines can make people feel vulnerable and the knowledge that the condition can cause people to stop breathing frequently during sleep can be very disconcerting.

2. Depression

Recent studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that people with sleep apnea are more susceptible to episodes of depression than people without the condition. Indeed, the draining effect of sleep loss and the mental pressures that come with a chronic diagnosis can seriously affect a person’s thoughts and wellbeing. What’s more, people with sleep apnea have a reduced supply of oxygen to their brain during the night, which can affect the brain’s functionality and increase the risk of depression.

3. Relationship issues

Unfortunately, sleep apnea can put a serious strain on relationships thanks to problems such as loud snoring. It can drive spouses and significant others into separate bedrooms and, subsequently, can cause people to drift apart. Issues such as this are probably best addressed by relationship counsellors.

4. Problems with concentration

The worry and sleep deprivation that accompany sleep apnea can cause serious concentration issues during the daytime. This can have a serious impact on almost every aspect of a person’s life such as their career, family commitments, or social life. Fortunately, addressing the physical symptoms of sleep apnea can help to reduce these cognitive impairments and help sufferers get on with their lives.

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