Obstructive Sleep Apnea May Be One Reason Depression Treatment Doesn't Work

Posted on July 25, 2019

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs in around 50% of patients with depression, according to Dr. W. Vaughn McCall, the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Although some patients with depression might not appear to have the sleep disorder, it is still important to assess whether they suffer from it. This would enable health professionals to find out if the condition affects their treatment for depression.

The study originally started off by investigating if improving the participants’ insomnia while they receive depression treatments would be effective in reducing their suicidal thoughts. Patients who were deemed more vulnerable to obstructive sleep apnea were excluded from the study since medications for insomnia are not beneficial for patients with the condition.

However, obstructive sleep apnea was still found in 17 individuals out of the 125 who were enrolled. These 17 individuals did not fit the common characteristics shared by people with the sleeping disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is common in overweight males who snore and feel sleepy during the day. However, the individuals in the study were females who reported having insomnia.

By treating obstructive sleep apnea, depressive symptoms may be reduced. As such, researchers feel that screening for the sleeping disorder might help to identify treatment resistant depression. When patients suffer rom sleep apnea, anti-depressants are less likely to help with the depressive symptoms and more effective alternatives can be implemented instead.

Given that there are many factors that can affect how an individual with depression reacts to treatment, depression treatment is often not entirely effective. More studies are needed to identify the factors that have an impact on these depression treatments, as well as the factors that can lead to treatment-resistant depression so as to design a better treatment process.

Category(s):Depression, Sleep Disorders

Source material from Science Daily