The Link Between Sleep Apnoea + Depression/Anxiety

May 1st, 2012 by Kath
54

Sad Face

This is a vast subject to take on in this blog, but I do feel it’s important to talk about it, in the ‘hope’ it will bring relief to people reading this, as there are so many people struggling with depression and anxiety, unaware that they have Sleep Apnoea.  Depression is never an easy burden to carry – with many people actually feeling guilty that they suffer from it.  However, knowing there may be a good reason can help, and I have spoken to many Hope2Sleep customers who are actually relieved when they discover that it was probably their untreated Sleep Apnoea that was the main cause, or it certainly contributed to making matters worse.  All people, whether they have a sleep condition or not, find it harder to cope with any problems if they are sleep deprived for whatever reason.

It’s quite common knowledge these days that depression can cause Insomnia, but in this post we’re addressing the fact that Sleep Apnoea can cause depression (note the fact that depression does not cause obstructive sleep apnoea).

The biggest cause of depression/anxiety for someone with undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea is due to the sleep deprivation they are suffering, even though they don’t realise it.  Many people are shocked when they are diagnosed, as they hadn’t even realised they were particularly tired – in other words they’d got used to living in this state.  Elderly people report that when they’re on treatment for Sleep Apnoea they feel 10-20 years younger (in fact people of all ages state this, but it’s the elderly that tend to put down the weariness of their undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea down to age)!

Just last month the internet was rife with stories of a Study linking between Depression and Sleep Apnoea.  Here’s just one of them STUDY LINKS SLEEP APNEA + DEPRESSION.

The NATIONAL SLEEP FOUNDATION also has an interesting article covering Sleep and Depression.

THE ONSET OF DEPRESSION/ANXIETY

The story often begins with people feeling depressed and/or anxious for no particular reason, and when it gets unbearable they visit their GP for help.  During the consultation they’re asked whether they have any particular problems, but often these problems don’t seem big enough to warrant feeling this way.  Sometimes the people are sent for counselling and often sent home with anti-depressants, tranquillisers or sleeping pills.  Whilst the anti-depressants can help (I speak from experience here) most of these types of medications actually make the undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea worse.  I must also add at this point that I have a very good GP, and he always asked me how my sleep was, and I assured him I slept ‘like a log’ (obviously due to my severe sleep deprivation, and I wasn’t one of those OSA sufferers who were woken up with the apnoeas).  However, here in the UK, it’s only recently that medics are realising how common Sleep Apnoea is and he wouldn’t have known about this back then.

PLEASE PLEASE, IF YOU ARE READING THIS AND ARE CURRENTLY TAKING THIS KIND OF MEDICATION, DO NOT STOP TAKING IT WITHOUT THE CO-OPERATION OF YOUR GP!

MY OWN BRIEF HISTORY

During my decades of struggling on undiagnosed, it didn’t take much of life’s pressures before I would suffer from anxiety, and at extreme times, panic attacks.  Sometimes this would take hold of me for so long, that it also developed into depression.  A few times I reached breaking point where I was confined to the sofa, literally unable to move for weeks or even months at a time.  No amount of tests I had showed any signs of other illnesses.  Nervous exhaustion was the only explanation – and no flipping wonder, when I was (unbeknown to me) having the equivalent of 2 hours sleep per night!

THEN ALONG COMES RELIEF…

Most people – me included – discover that once they’re on CPAP or other treatment for Sleep Apnoea they become stronger, and more able to deal with pressure and problems that come their way.

WHY PANIC ATTACKS?

My own theory on this is that during our apnoea events, our body is sensitised to be in the fight-flight state as our heart/brain fight to get us breathing again.  It makes perfect sense that these fight-flight (panic) events will spill over into our waking hours, as our bodies grow accustomed to them.  I must stress here that I am not suggesting all panic attacks are linked with Sleep Apnoea, but it’s interesting to note that a lot of sufferers, once diagnosed and treated, find the panic attacks diminish.

HOW DO I KNOW THIS?

….because I speak to 100’s of people who, when newly diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea, often need support at the beginning of their CPAP therapy, and help from some of the CPAP Comfort Products and Masks we sell.  When we get talking I can honestly say that at least 75% of these people tell me that they have had some form of treatment for depression, anxiety, panic attacks and stress.

CONCLUSION

Bearing in mind that depression and anxiety can be caused, or made worse, by undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea, including inadequately treated Sleep Apnoea, I hope people that weren’t aware of this will be helped by reading this post.  The good news is that the medical professional are realising this too, so hopefully great strides will be taken in rescuing people from going down the dark and distressing path of suffering in this way.  I believe that if Sleep Apnoea was investigated at the first signs of depression/anxiety, then a vast number of people could be saved from these debilitating conditions.  What do you think?

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54 Responses to “The Link Between Sleep Apnoea + Depression/Anxiety”

  1. richard says:

    a very interesting blog.i have been told by a sleep apnoea docter several years ago that they is a strong link between depression panic attacks and untreated sleep apnoea.very good blog thank you. best regards richard

  2. gina says:

    for the last few years i have suffered with depression and fibromyalgia and as time went on suffering i learn to deal with it knowing that if i got extra tired due to having to put to much effort in to work etc became more depressed, and the only way to have any normality was to go to bed as soon as i finished work having to life apart from work i am sure now it is all to do with sleep apnea cos if i arent getting proper sleep more sleep needed . i have since going on Cpap have had a slight change in my depression it has improved slightly but if i had got used to my machine and able to use it all the time and sleep it would have been even better i am sure . the last 2 weeks ive not used my machine at all as waking up all the time so my depprssion has become worse and also my fibromyalgia so sleep apnea has a lot to answer for !!!!!

    • Kath says:

      It’s good to hear your depression has lifted slightly Gina, even with limited CPAP therapy. Hopefully when you get your treatment sorted better, then the depression will improve even more. Plus the fact, struggling with your therapy will cause you to feel down and anxious too – especially as you now know the dangers of untreated sleep apnoea. I look forward to hearing of your improvement as time goes by.

  3. Diane Baker says:

    Two nervous breakdowns and numerous bouts of depression – and seeming years of undiagnosed sleep apnoea…… Since being diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea two years ago I have often wondered if there was a link!

    Good blog Kath, interesting and thought provoking – makes me wonder how different my life might have been with an earlier diagnosis.

    I now sleep soundly (thanks to my CPAP machine) and yes…. I do feel years younger.

    • Kath says:

      Great to hear you feel years younger now you’re on successful treatment 🙂

      Yes, undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea has a lot to answer for and if only people were aware of it before going through the various other ‘conditions’ such as depression and heart attack etc.

      Your story is very similar to my own mother’s Diane…. she battled with depression and had 2 severe breakdowns. It’s only now I’m diagnosed that I realize my poor mother definitely had it, but the heart attack at age 49 killed her first 🙁 We are the lucky ones, even though we don’t always think that when adorning our masks for bed!

      • diane Baker says:

        I have shared the link to my sister – she has suffered for years with depression, and has wondered about Apnoea (since I was diagnosed)….. you never know do you.

        • Kath says:

          Good idea Diane, especially as Sleep Apnoea runs in families. If she needs any help tell your sister to get in touch. My own sister’s suspecting OSA in herself.

  4. Kath says:

    There’s another new Study out proving how CPAP therapy can alleviate depression http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/17/cpap-can-help-relieve-depression/40254.html

  5. clive says:

    I do have similar relation of depression, anxiety and sleep apnoea for years. However, i cannot tolorate the mask and not until recent 2 months i start using the CPAP machine .The use of the machine really help to lower the level of anxiety and depression with better sleep and less neck pain.

  6. clive says:

    this morning woke up with tireness and severe neck pain. Could it be to due to air leak from the mask or a full meal one hour before sleep

    • Kath says:

      If you were getting air leaks then there’s a strong chance you weren’t being fully treated by your CPAP. The full meal an hour before sleep wouldn’t have helped either. Try to abstain from food, alcohol, nicotine + caffeine within 3 hours of bedtime along with adjusting your mask to prevent leaks and then see the difference. Good luck…..

  7. clive says:

    May i know the expereience of using hose holder as i find the tubing will drag the mask during sleep causing air leak ? However i find some feedbacks from users that the hose lift/ holder is not sturdy enough . Thanks a lot

    • Kath says:

      The hose holder will definitely stop the drag of your mask Clive, and I can honestly say that we have NEVER had one negative feedback on them – wish I’d been the inventor 😀 !! We also sell the hose brackets for even more stability (apart from the inventor, we’re the only ones selling these at the moment) and these allow us to get the hose holder at exactly the right height for us http://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/products/86 – in fact you can even get ground spikes for camping! Hope this helps.

  8. Liz says:

    Thank you for an interesting blog. I was diagnosed with anxiety problems before the OSA and feel so much better in myself that my Gp and I are going to start on reducing medication. My employer has noticed a difference too, saying more much more “on the ball” and engaged I am since the summer…..when I got used to wearing mask all night. I now even use my mask to help me breathe deeper when I relax in the late evenings. I look upon my CPAP machine as a real life saver.

    • Kath says:

      That’s fantastic to hear Liz 🙂 My guess is that when people turn up at their GP with symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression it would be worth conducting a sleep test and the results would be surprising. We humans are tough cookies IF we are getting the safe restorative sleep we need to cope with life.

  9. anita says:

    OMGoodness, this is soooo true. My sister and i over the years often have little episodes of panic attacks, we always put it down to our father have Schitzophrenia and over the years made appts with Phychs to do the proper tests to ensure we dont have that. We found our childhood good, yes difficult at times but generally very happy. Over the years we both have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and i believe strongly that this has always been the cause of our sometimes anxiety attacks. Both of us started having these attacks after the birth of our children, me 4, her 3. We are mothers and sleep deprived most of these years. Now our children are growing up we both seem to suffer the exact same symptoms, how can we be depressed if we are happy, makes no sense so then we get into a panic attack and find once reassured we are fine and get on with life. I am overweight she is skinny. I suffer the most and my diagnosed sleep apnea has been quoted the worst the doctor has ever seen.
    To know this change my life, but to see this on this website makes me believe it even moreso. Doctors need to change their views and i would be happy to stand up as an example and my sister to.
    Yes look at peoples sleep patterns first before you go down the past history of patients.
    We both have medical conditions now , such as i have hypo and she has hyper thyroid, but we are slowly getting on top of it.
    Thankyou for letting me express myself and reading this is wonderful, it makes you feel so normal. Big hugs and happy health and sleep people.
    I am on cpap and now going to the gym, as i have realised healthy eating and living is vital, and just as important as sleep, its a rocky road but we are getting there.

    • Kath says:

      Anita, this has made my day, hearing that reading this blog has helped you, and I hope it will help your sister too when you tell her. When I wrote this blog I quoted around 65% of people tell me how they’ve needed treatment for depression/anxiety at some point in their lives before being diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea. Well actually, as time’s gone on I would rate this figure higher – possibly more nearer 80%.

      I found it interesting when you said both you and your sister started with your problems after the birth of your children, as this happened to me too (although I had suffered some hiccups before as well)! However, with hindsight it’s not surprising when you think that Sleep Apnoea affects our hormones (which are already out of synch after childbirth) and add the extra loss of sleep when feeding through the night to our already sleep-deprived states, and it all makes sense now!

      Another interesting point is that research has been taking place at the link between Sleep Apnoea and Schizophrenia, and there’s an article about this here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2958867/ and if you do an internet search you’ll find a more recent study done in Bristol late 2012. Did your Dad ever get tested for Sleep Apnoea? My own mother had 3 nervous breakdowns in her short life, and she was most definitely an undiagnosed Sleep Apnoea sufferer – she died of a heart attack at the age of 49, and I often think that had she been diagnosed her own life might have been so much better, as well as the fact that she’d have lived longer!

      Bless you both and hope your health continues to improve now you’re on good CPAP therapy 🙂

    • Kath says:

      PS Anita, I also meant to say that I’m glad you pointed out that one of you has weight problems and the other is skinny. Sleep Apnoea is definitely hereditary, which is why I was asking if your Dad had been tested. My next blog is on hereditary factors, which I strongly believe is the biggest cause – irrespective of weight.

  10. Melissa says:

    Thank you so so much for this article! I’m a 28 year old female who started suffering CRIPPLING anxiety at 18. However at that time my sleep went to hell too but no one really connected the dots.

    At 26 I started suffering from PVCs which is a heart arrhythmia, all the studies showed nothing. They told me to cut out caffeine. So I did.

    In November of last year i started lexapro for my anxiety. At around that time my bad sleeping turned worse. I would wake up at night gasping for air or choking, my husband would smack me awake because I wasn’t breathing. I’m exhausted all the time, barely able to function. I can’t fall asleep at night. I fall asleep about 2 am at night and am up anywhere from 5-30 times until 7:30 am. After I get my kids to school? I crash and sleep off and on until noon. I cannot function before noon.

    I’m sleeping my life away and am so drained. I wake up with headaches daily.

    I’m now scheduled for a sleep study, but thanks to this article I’m even more sure that I probably have sleep apnea

  11. Melissa says:

    Thank you again Kath! I will let you know! I’ll be scheduling my sleep study today! Woohoo!

    • Kath says:

      Great news 🙂 Whilst we would prefer not to have sleep apnoea really, it’s a relief for us to find a root cause for our problems, and one that can be easily solved with non-invasive therapy. Fingers crossed for you 😉

  12. Emma Godfrey says:

    Hi, Kath
    I am so grateful to have stumbled across your blog, just when I was losing all hope! About 6 months ago I started having spontaneous panic attacks for no apparent reason. The Drs have sent me for numerous tests, all coming back clear, I was diagnosed with ‘traits’ of Fibromyalgia, and have been on copious amounts of medication. Unfortunately I was getting the feeling that I was losing my GPs support and being labeled a hypochondriac. Luckily, early on, I realised that the medication was not helping, the only thing I take now is Lanzaprozol for reflux.
    I am so thankful that I was referred to an amazing specialist in sleep apnea, he hasn’t judged me and knows it could all be down to sleep apnea. The only thing that was concerning me was that he needs to rule out a Csf leak first.
    But reading your blog makes perfect sense now and adds it all up. I have how now that I can be well again and that its not all in my head.
    Thank you
    Emma x

    • Emma Godfrey says:

      P.s I have a sleep study on 10th June. Will keep you posted.x

    • Kath says:

      Emma, I am so pleased you stumbled across this blog post too and glad you have now got ‘hope.’ Only a sleep study will prove whether you have sleep apnoea, but the panic attacks, fibromyalgia and reflux are all indicators. Check out the website for more information http://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/page/sleep-apnoea-info

      One of our customers was actually feeling suicidal just last christmas, but thankfully she got diagnosed with sleep apnoea and now she’s on CPAP has got back all enthusiasm for life, feels years younger and is passionate herself in raising awareness of undiagnosed sleep apnoea!

      Yes, please do let us know how you get on at your sleep study and I hope you’ve found the answer to your problems 🙂

  13. karl casias says:

    %2 years old,have had several bouts of anxiety/depression/insomonia in the last 15 years.A couple of times suspected i might have sleep apnea but doctors never suggested a sleep study,last 3 months the anxiety/insomonia kicked in and i esenetially demanded a sleep study[everytime the docs wanted me on anti depressents and sleeping aids.NO THANKS!!!]well my in home oxgen test revealed enough for them to order a sleep study in 3 weeks,pretty exited that this might be the answer as a year ago i told the doctor i felt pretty rundown and would fall asleep 5 min after reading or just sitting in a chair,i know my exwife said i snored loadly and morning headaches and poor memory are the norm,also dry mouth in the a.m jeez in some respects i will be angry if i went this long without being diagnosed but looking forward to seeing the difference cpap might make.Thanks for this venue to read and learn about this as i believe it is way under diagnosed.
    Karl

    • Kath says:

      Karl, if the pulse oximeter revealed evidence you need a fully sleep study I’m betting you’re about to get diagnosed soon. If so, you can look forward to a much better quality life 🙂 A retired GP I know told me that if he was back in practice with all the knowledge he now has, he would definitely be looking into undiagnosed sleep apnoea in people with depression/anxiety, as well as those who’ve suffered strokes, hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes + fibromyalgia. You’re right……. it’s vastly underdiagnosed! Let us know how your sleep study goes and good luck….

  14. Karl says:

    Thanks Kath for the encouragement.2 weeks till sleep study,nuts but I can’t wait.Will post results as soon as I get them.
    Karl

  15. Ceri says:

    My partner smokes has diagonosed with sleep apnoea wont wear the cpap, gets up at night stays up all night watching tv and is now on anti depressants….i have 3 young kids and he can barely get up let alone get dressed in the morning…his life is going down the drain….he has frozen me out, frozen the kids out he is in his own bubble and he is about to loose his family because i can’t put up with him anymore…..how can i get him to see sense ? or is it time to cut my loses and look after me and the kids and what he does he does?

    • Kath says:

      I’m very sorry to hear this Ceri, and you’re certainly in a difficult position as your husband has already been provided with CPAP and no doubt knows all the risks of untreated sleep apnoea. Is he having a problem with coping with having to use CPAP for the rest of his life? If so, perhaps you could show him the other blog post about this http://www.sleepapnoeablog.com/is-cpap-a-blessing-or-a-curse/ Continuing without CPAP therapy will add to his depression (I wrote a blog on this too). Perhaps you could get him to see a counsellor, as it’s sad if your marriage is at stake here. My best wishes to you all.

  16. Robert Thomas says:

    Hi Kath.

    I saw a news headline a few months back noting the link between sleep apnea and anxiety but have to admit that I never read the article.

    Today I came across your blog post (and actually read it) and a light bulb went on.

    For a several years now I have been suffering from general anxiety and even took medication for it at one time.

    My wife has always told me that I snore and would stop breathing for several seconds at a time. Although I knew about my heavy snoring and not breathing, I ignored it, in disbelief that sleep apnea was a real disorder.

    Today, my anxiety continues and I still snore and gasp for air.

    After reading, I am convinced that I have sleep apnea and that this is the cause of my anxiety.

    I will be scheduling an appointment with my doctor to get screened.

    Thanks for posting.

    • Kath says:

      Glad you came across the article Robert, as it’s so important to get screened for your suspected sleep apnoea. I speak with many of our customers who tell me they wish they’d got diagnosed BEFORE their heart attack or stroke. I also speak with people who put their CPAP or mandibular device away, ignoring their therapy, but it soon comes back in use when they get a health scare. We are supposed to have safe restorative sleep for 1/3rd of our lives for a very good reason, and if we don’t then we stop functioning properly – either physically, mentally or emotionally. Glad you’re investigating this further Roboert, and do let us know how it goes.

  17. susan says:

    gosh , wish i’d know about this 20 years ago. dr. just told me fatige could be sleep apea. Interestingly my husband has always said I snored too. My guess It started when I first started having kids. I saw that in an other persons post. so boy wow ! okay and know reading these post I want two of my kids , a 21 and 15 to get a sleep test as well . ones looking ADD and the other getting really anxious. I always thought i got too much sleep, not waking up at night but needed another nap. well this does sound heritary too.indeed. so my last ? on this is there a lack of nutrition somewhere in our diet ? behind this that effect our female hormones that kinda sets us up for sleep apea? and the apea making it all worse too, then? what starts this off in first place? God bless . at least we can start somewhere . thanks soooo much for this blog , it may really have saved our family alot . Hugs. the smiths.

    • Kath says:

      Susan, I also wish we’d known about this many years ago, as my own mother might still be alive. She was definitely a sleep apnoea sufferer too, and had a fatal heart attack at the young age of 49 🙁 Yes, sleep apnoea is normally hereditary due to craniofacial issues like receding jaw, large tonsils, soft palate, uvual etc., and will be the subject of my next blog. My own son is also a sufferer, but according to the recommended guidelines, it is too mild too treat at the moment. In other words, we have to wait until it gets worse (which it will) before he’s able to have treatment on the NHS.

      You mention female hormones, and in actual fact there is a greater risk of developing sleep apnea whilst pregnant and during menopause. Check out this link of how sleep apnea is linked with pregnancy and the harm it can do to both the mother and baby http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/09/21/sleep-apnea-in-pregnancy-may-harm-mom-and-baby/

      Nutrition is hardly likely to cause obstructive sleep apnoea, as it is mechanical problem (the craniofacial issues I’ve mentioned above). However, certain foods can exacerbate the problem. Incidentally, the reason sleep apnoea has become a greater problem is due to dentists removing too many teeth in the past causing our jaws to shrink, and the way we eat more processed foods has also contributed to this as we don’t use our jaws to chew food like our ancestors did. In children, the fact that they cut down on removing tonsils (which cures a lot of children) is also to blame. All of this has resulted in less space at the back of our throats causing blockages to our airways – particularly during REM sleep when everything relaxes.

      Finally, there is a huge link with both ADD and anxiety. Here’s a link to ADHD http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/adhd-sleep-disorders_b_3193570.html and you’ve already seen this blog on anxiety.

      I agree with you that you all need to seek a sleep study and I do hope you find this gets to the root of your problems, and that your whole family can lead a future happy healthy long life together 🙂 Please come back to let us know how you get on.

  18. Evelyn Cale says:

    An article that got my attention. Keep it up!

  19. megan says:

    Thanks so much for this blog post! I was put on antidepressants 4 years ago because of a sudden bout of constant anxiety. The pills helped but after a while, the anxiety always came back. Finally my husband told me he heard me stop breathing at night. I used to wake up gasping for air. I went to the hospital and I was sent for asthma testing which came bask negative! Finally I asked the doctor for a sleep test and wow! I have severe OSA! The anxiety had never come back although I have been stuck on antidepressants for an extra 3 years after my sleep apnea diagnosis because of the severe withdrawal effects! I am tapering off now and hope this time works. I stress anyone who is suffering from anxiety to get a sleep test before taking any medication! Thank you again for this post.

    • Kath says:

      So pleased to hear your husband spotted the signs of sleep apnoea, and that your doctor listened and sent you for the sleep study. I personally know a GP who now always screens people for sleep apnoea before giving out anti-depressants and sure with many more would do the same! Best Wishes Megan with your new improved life, both physically and emotionally 🙂

  20. GoodMorning says:

    Really interesting article, thank you for sharing. Never really thought of the connection. One for the memory bank.

  21. AntiSnoring says:

    I know exactly what you mean. For a long time I was depressed, and it never even occurred to me that it could be connected to my snoring / sleep apnea. One thing I found that really helps with both conditions is regular exercise. It reduces both depression and sleep apnea, and then when your sleep apnea is gone it can further reduce depression. Great article.

    -Jack

  22. Marcia says:

    Now I wake up every morning with an anxiety attack. Lately I’ve been waking up earlier and earlier, taking Xanax, going back to sleep and the cycle starts again.
    Had 4 sleep studies and was diagnosed with sleep apnea each time. That was about 10 years ago. Stopped using the CPAP after 3 yrs of my still not getting enough sleep and insurance changes. Can’t use dental appliance.
    The psychiatrist and therapist are resistant to refer me to a Hypnotherapist. They say opening emotional wounds might make my situation a lot worse. Would a Neurologist be a better route to find out the brain/sleep/anxiety connection?

    • Marcia says:

      I am a female age 74, living in So. Calif.

      • Kath says:

        Marcia, I have just sent you a longer reply, and have now seen you’re from California. Can you contact the American Sleep Apnea Association who have a CPAP Assistance Programme for those with insurance problems, and I’m sure will lead you to help for your issues too? http://www.sleepapnea.org/

    • Kath says:

      I am really sorry to hear how you’re struggling Marcia and I personally used to suffer from anxiety attacks before I got compliant with my CPAP therapy and I can promise you I know many people who also suffered from anxiety and depression before going on CPAP. My own Mum suffered greatly from anxiety/depression and she was untreated for sleep apnoea, but sadly a heart attack killed her when she was just 49 years old. I really hope that you can find some help and support to get back on CPAP, and I really do understand that not everyone finds CPAP easy. Once you are sleeping safely and soundly then the sleep deprivation will lift, and you can then deal with any emotional issues you are currently battling, because when not sleep-deprived people usually find they are stronger in dealing in facing their issues. Sleep deprivation was used as a form of torture in some countries, and bearing in mind it’s 10 years ago since your last sleep study, there’s every chance your sleep apnoea is even worse now (and the sleep deprivation has continued to mount up). Please try to find a good caring sleep doctor who will support you through this, as we only get one chance in life. My blessings to you.

      • Marcia says:

        Thank you for the support and encouragement. I will present these new findings to my Therapist on Wed. and see where that path leads me.
        I know accepting panic and anxiety is not a part of any healthy living plan. I asked for a referral to a Hypnotherapist. The Kaiser Permanente Psychiatrist is afraid that will open doors which I won’t be able to handle since I’m fragile now. I question that decision because it must be better to get help with the mental problems along with the physical conditions.
        Aging Is A Full Time Job!

        • Kath says:

          Good luck tomorrow Marcia, and I certainly hope they prioritise to help support you in getting back onto CPAP, as it’s very likely the untreated sleep apnoea is at the root of a lot of your problems. Let me know how you get on.

  23. Anne-Marie Douglas says:

    Thank you so much i have been going through the same thing for years depression- been suicidal at times taken to hospital and its affected the choices ive made in life always the flight phase which has caused me to move and make mistakes diagnosed in 1999 didnt know y then diabetes in 2001 slowly gaining weight since my first child exercised and so active and it made no difference then high blood pressure but as a child tonsils and adnoids out at 5 bcos i couldnt breathe and irregular heartbeat in my teens till now fibromyalgis diagnosed 2008 but worsened in 2010 after a severe stress event – dperession tablets never worked then anxiety and panic attacks started on prozac and valium im amazed and i seenow and been told ive prob had sleep apnea most of my life and ive been abused and doctors blamed and still blaming my weight on getting sleep apnea and if i have bariatric surgery ill be cured !!!!!! I am so fed up losing hope on cpap or apap aut o adjust on trial with low oxygen levels too feel so desperate to be understood

  24. Steven Palmer says:

    Hi Kath,

    Thanks for this article. I was searching the web to see if this was an issue – I am always waking up tired, and my wife is saying that I need to see a doctor because she fears that I have sleep apnea. I guess my new years resolution is to get to the doctors to see what options I have – but it is nice to get an understanding before hand.

    Happy New Year.

    • Kath says:

      You’re welcome Steven and I would definitely go to your doctor as it’s important to check in case you do have sleep apnoea. Many people look for snoring fixes first, and they can often quieten the snoring, but the apnoeas can still be happening. Better to be safe than sorry. Good luck!

  25. Ken says:

    I’ve had serious bouts of depression/anxiety off and on throughout my adult life. Currently taking an antidepression medication that has helped me in recent years but appears to not be working now. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea many years ago mostly because of teeth grinding, snoring and sleep issues but did not use the CPAP machine I received back then mostly because its use was uncomfortable. CPAP use for my older brother is now mandatory due to his fainting/passing out problems that was eventually linked to sleep apnea. Therefore, I believe this is a hereditary problem. I’ve tried to resolve all stress issues, exercise etc in addition to taking this strong dose of daily antidepression medication that my GP told me to stay on for months but unfortunately, my condition has not improved and the cumulative effects of not sleeping well are forcing me to seek answers to these issues – especially since I’m currently under very little stress and my life is otherwise very good. Since being encouraged by this blog that sleep apnea may be related to my current (and previous) depression/anxiety issues. I will try to get my ~10 year old CPAP machine working again to see if it will help restore my health. 2 questions – are the new CPAP machines better (less uncomfortable) than ones issued ~10 years ago? Would it be advisable to pursue another sleep test in the near future based on my what I wrote above? thanks.

    • Kath says:

      I’m sorry Ken I’ve only just been notified of your comment, but I whole-heartedly agree that sleep apnoea does run in families (my own included) which is mainly due to craniofacial issues, like receding jaw, large tonsils, soft palate etc – see more on the website http://www.hope2sleep.co.uk/page/sleep-apnoea-info and I would strongly suspect that if you get back onto CPAP you will start to feel improvements to your depression/anxiety. I was on medication for anxiety myself which, unbeknown to me, was due to the untreated sleep apnoea. The machines have vastly improved over the last 10 years and I would contact a sleep clinic to get your therapy going again. Best Wishes, Kath

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