As it turns out, the quality of sleep a person gets at night plays a more vital role than just keeping them awake throughout the next day. In fact, some studies in the past have suggested that depriving the body of sleep can actually cause other bodily functions to start running amiss. Specifically, a lack of sleep has been connected to depression. The study looked at obstructive sleep apnea, as well as other forms of sleep apnea, in an effort to find some connections to other illnesses and physical issues that have arisen in men and women suffering from those illnesses. The findings suggested that depression in men was quite common in those who were suffering from sleep apnea.
Doctor Carol Lang of the University of Adelaide believes that a lot more information is going to need to be obtained before any outright answers can be found. She pointed to a lack of population based research, pointing out that, “Depression is highly prevalent in OSA, reaching 39% in clinic studies. However, few population-based studies have been done and results have been mixed.” She went on to point out that physicians as a whole need to be more aware of their patients overall showing of symptoms. She said, “The message is that clinicians need to be aware of these risks and assess for the other if one is present.”
The study ultimately reveals that those who are diagnosed with depression should also be screened for various forms of sleep-related illnesses. Identifying these can have a sweeping benefit of correcting the depression symptoms without having to deal with the challenging treatments of depression itself. Not only would this be a more effective way of dealing with depression, but it would require less medication and that is one particular area where those in the U.S. specifically could really stand to benefit.
More and more drugs are being prescribed every day and medicine is being forced to evolve as it becomes ineffective due to overuse. Many of these drugs also have a high level of dependency associated with them, and if those who are suffering from depression can be helped through correcting sleep problems – then a lot of time, effort, and money can be saved in the process. The study said, “Men with previously undiagnosed OSA and EDS had 4.2 times greater odds of depression than subjects without OSA and EDS and 3.5 times greater odds of depression than individuals with either OSA or EDS alone.” These staggering figures really shed light on how severe the problem is, and how badly it needs correcting. If this study can lead to more studies in the general population, now that connections have been made in the academic world, as well as with organizations like the CDC, it’ll be a seriously valuable tool to help treat those with depression and forms of sleep apnea.