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Psychological Effects Of Sleep Apnea

Psychological Aspects Of Sleep Apnea Are As Much Of A Concern As Physical Manifestations

While there are many physical manifestations that accompany sleep apnea, such as higher risk of congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, hypertension and diabetes, there are also psychological effects of sleep apnea which are just as much of a concern.

Sleep apnea is a very common disorder, and many people often do not realize that they have it. This condition basically means that the person actually stops breathing when they are asleep. It occurs when the throat muscles become too relaxed which cause a narrowing in the airways, or even close the opening completely for a short period. Sometimes when a person is asleep, their tongue will slide back across the opening to the airway, which can also affect their breathing. As the airway is blocked, the brain becomes deprived of oxygen. This in turn leads to many other problems.

It is very well known that sleep deprivation leads to many problems, including psychological and emotional concerns. If the body is deprived of sleep, the person may feel frustrated and irritable throughout the day as they feel tired and a need for sleep. They may find it difficult to perform simple tasks, and can end up feeling drained easily.

Also related to sleep deprivation are problems with concentration and memory. Since the body is suffering from sleep deprivation, they will have a harder time focusing and remembering even simple tasks, which can lead to even further feelings of frustration. They may even worry that they are losing their mind.

Can You Die From Sleep Apnea?

Since sleep apnea actually causes the body to stop breathing, many people suffering from this condition feel a constant worry that they will not wake themselves up when they have stopped breathing, and that they may even die. This is a very common concern, and although it is not likely that this could happen, the people who suffer from sleep apnea always have these thoughts in the corner of their mind.

Sleep apnea can lead to feelings of depression, and in severe cases may even lead to thoughts of suicide. The constant battle for a good night’s rest, and having to worry about what will happen when they are sleeping can cause many sufferer’s to feel depressed. Not to mention that many of the treatments can be a bit overwhelming to the person at first, such as needing to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help them breathe at night. All of these factors, combined with the overall exhaustion and lack of ability to focus, can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

It is important for the person who is suffering from sleep apnea to get the help they need for their condition. It is also important to make others understand and recognize the possible psychological aspects of sleep apnea so that the person who is suffering can find the support they need. It is possible to treat and find relief from this condition, and finding support and treatment early on is the best way to overcome the effects associated with this disease.

RESOURCES

Pneumologie: Psychological Aspects of Sleep Related Disorders of Respiratory Control
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2608656

Seminars in Medicine and Critical Care Medicine: The Psychological Aspects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16052416

University of Maryland Medical Center: Obstructive Sleep Apnea
http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/who_has_sleep_apnea_000065_4.htm

Journal of Sleep: Obstructive Sleep Apnea and the Prefrontal Cortex
http://www.sciencesleep.org

Psychology Today: Symptoms, Causes Treatments Sleep Apnea
http://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/sleep-apnea

Advances in Psychiatric Treatment: Misdiagnosing Sleep Disorders as Primary Psychiatric Conditions
http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/9/1/69.full

US Respiratory Disease: Sleep Apnea
http://www.adaptech.org

Journal of Sleep: The Neuropsychological Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
http://www.journalsleep.org/Articles/260307.pdf

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