CPAP Improves Depression Scores Markedly – A Recent Study!
My patients over the years have shared with me, “Doc, I am feeling great on CPAP. I am back to gardening, fishing, biking, camping, traveling. I now enjoy my work. My relationship has improved remarkably. We are back to sleeping together. Life is great!”
(CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and is the commonest treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, a disease in which a person stops breathing repeatedly during sleep for 10 seconds or more.)
A study of 228 patients by Case Edwards and colleagues published in the latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine does indeed confirm that the depression scores improve markedly with just 3 months’ of CPAP use. A total of 426 participants (243 males) were recruited for the study. Of 293 patients offered CPAP, 228 were compliant (mean nightly use > 5 h) over 3 months of therapy.
In those patients on CPAP, the depression scores went from 11.3 to 3.7 and the percentage of patients with severe depression score went from 74.6% to 3.9%.
The magnitude of change in the depression was similar in men and women. Antidepressant use was constant throughout.
The major findings of the study were that;
(a) depressive symptoms are common among patients referred for investigation of OSA;
(b) depressive symptoms are directly correlated with the severity of OSA;
(c) symptoms of depression, including suicidal ideation, are relieved by effective treatment of OSA with CPAP therapy; and
(d) these beneficial effects of CPAP are seen to a similar degree in men and women and are independent of the use of antidepressants.
The researchers concluded that the depressive symptoms are common in Obstructive Sleep Apnea and are related to its severity. They improve markedly with CPAP, implying a relationship to untreated OSA.
Hence, if you or your loved ones are feeling down and depressed, please talk to us (574-534-9911) or your doctor and get tested for sleep apnea.
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Sleep Well. Feel Well.