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[News] Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
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Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms

Sleep may be a critical link—and therapeutic target—in mental illness

By David Levine

People with depression or other mental illnesses often report trouble sleeping, daytime drowsiness and other sleep-related issues. Now a growing body of research is showing that treating sleep problems can dramatically improve psychiatric symptoms in many patients.

Much of the latest work illustrates how sleep apnea, a common chronic condition in which a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep, may cause or aggravate psychiatric symptoms. In past years sleep apnea has been linked to depression in small studies and limited populations. Now a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strengthens that connection. The CDC analyzed the medical records of nearly 10,000 American adults with sleep apnea. Men diagnosed with this disorder had twice the risk of depression—and women five times the risk—compared with those without sleep apnea. Writing in the April issue of Sleep, lead author Anne G. Wheaton and her colleagues speculate that in addition to interrupting sleep, the oxygen deprivation induced by sleep apnea could harm cells and disrupt normal brain functioning.

Treating this disorder shows promise for reducing symptoms of depression, a recent study at the Cleveland Clinic suggests. In the experiment, patients went to bed wearing a mask hooked up to a machine that increases air pressure in their throat. The increased pressure prevents the airway from collapsing, which is what causes breathing to cease in most cases of this disorder. Using this machine, psychiatrist Charles Bae and his colleagues treated 779 patients who had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. After an average of 90 days of sleeping with the machine, all the patients scored lower on a common depression survey than before the treatment—regardless of whether they had a prior diagnosis of depression or were taking an antidepressant. The data were presented in June at the SLEEP 2012 conference in Boston.

Investigating their patients' sleep health might allow doctors to alleviate mental disturbances early—perhaps even before patients try psychiatric drugs. This treatment could be especially important for children, according to three new studies that show sleep is associated with mental disturbance at young ages. An August study in Medical Hypotheses reported that about 25 to 50 percent of children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder experience sleep problems. A few months earlier in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that of the 11,000 children in the study, those with disordered breathing in sleep (as reported by their parents) had 40 percent more behavioral difficulties at four years old and 60 percent more at age seven. Sleep disturbances affect moods, too—and not simply by producing crankiness. Adolescents who reported daytime drowsiness were also more likely to experience sadness, according to a March study in the Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics.

Steven Y. Park, assistant professor of otolaryngology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, has long been advocating that sleep disorders are an underlying cause of many psychiatric disorders. “The way I see it,” Park says, “you can't consider a psychiatric disorder without thinking about a sleep-breathing problem.”

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The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The material available is intended to advance the understanding of Sleep Apnea treatment and to advance the educational level of Sleep Apnea patients with regard to their health. Sometimes included is the full text of articles and documents rather than a simple link because outside links frequently "go bad" or change over time. This constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this post is distributed without fee or payment of any kind for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this post for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
11-29-2012 11:00 AM
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PaulaO2 Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
At times like these, I read something like this and go "Really? No sh*t? How much money did you get to prove what all of us already know?"

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11-29-2012 12:07 PM
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Shastzi Offline

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Post: #3
RE: Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
mmmhmm...yes....I see....well,zen. I vant you to take two naps and call me in ze morning, no?

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04-04-2013 06:08 AM
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Post: #4
RE: Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
(11-29-2012 11:00 AM)ApneaNews Wrote:  Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms

Sleep may be a critical link—and therapeutic target—in mental illness


Treating this disorder shows promise for reducing symptoms of depression,

That's not a universal truth Unsure I was diagnosed with depression several years before sleep apnea (although the doctor was quicker to dismiss my apnea symptoms than my depression ones). And while I've been using CPAP for over a decade, I am not immune to depression, in fact it is rather debilitating. Now that I have the S9 AutoSet (that's always marked as a spelling error - that should be fixed) I take it I'm getting better sleep, and I'm trying to force myself to stay awake during the day. It's very difficult. But the bottom line is I don't think having a decent CPAP has helped my depression.
04-04-2013 08:50 AM
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Shastzi Offline

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Post: #5
RE: Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
True depression is a separate issue and PAP therapy is not a golden bullet, but is it not just a teeny bit easier to handle when you get good rest in?

Dont-know

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04-04-2013 08:59 AM
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Post: #6
RE: Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
(04-04-2013 08:59 AM)Shastzi Wrote:  True depression is a separate issue and PAP therapy is not a golden bullet, but is it not just a teeny bit easier to handle when you get good rest in?

Dont-know

In my personal experience YES!!!!. I had some old anxiety/PTSD type symptoms return in the middle of last year for no apparent reason, this year I have a CPAP, and the symptoms are remitting nicely, even though the AHI is still hanging around 10 and I am napping many days.

A sleep workup ought to be part of the standard physical given when people are first diagnosed with mental illness, just like a thyroid test is.

Now, as the OP said, HOW MUCH money did they need to re-discover the obvious?????
04-07-2013 01:49 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Treating Sleep Improves Psychiatric Symptoms
Please understand how many years of researching and checking happens before the announcement above was made. Even then, you will note that it is couched in probabilities: "may" is an active word throughout. This is the slow and cautious nature of medical science, which requires a lot of criteria to be met before even that cautious announcement is made. Science, medical or otherwise, never says says something "is", only that it "is most likely to be". We aren't hedging our bets - we are demonstrating that the world is not iron clad black and white, and there is always room for improvement in any idea. For them to arrive at this conclusion, a lot of anecdotal evidence had to be sifted through in order to arrive at anything even resembling hard proof. There are so many factors why CPAP can make you feel somewhat better emotionally (getting a good night's sleep is a big one) that associating it with clinical depression therapy is a big jump. And if there is a correlation with some forms of clinical depression, then these may have to be rewritten and defined as apnoea related symptoms and not clinical forms of depression.

So, no, it is NOT obvious, and the conclusions are not exactly as the article related (I have taken the time to read the actual papers, and it is far more detailed and nuanced than that simplistic article implies). What we are seeing is a few patterns emerging, patterns that give hope that some forms of depression may be more easily treatable, but to say "No sh*t, Sherlock" is really unfair, as is asking how much money they needed to rediscover the obvious, as it is NOT obvious to anyone with enough training in mental illness to see all the different trees in the forest. I consider it money well spent. And another weapon in the growing arsenal against the horrors of depression, which, next to obesity, is the fastest growing illness in the world.
04-07-2013 03:39 PM
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