Sleep Apnea Can Cause Mental Illness

sleep apnea

With bipolar disorder cropping up from celebrities to politicians, you may be wondering what truly affects these individuals. Yes, a mental illness is typically a misfire of chemical and electrical  waves within the brain. Nevertheless, is there another, underlying cause? One cause can point to a varying disorder called sleep anpea, a condition that can create a mental abnormality. Does the lack of oxygen to the brain due to lack of sleep cause a mental illness?

If you snore, the two greater factors of blame are pointed to either, obstructive sleep apnea or obesity. The lack of oxygen to the brain can cause one to be tired during the day, inciting drastic mood swings. In most cases, individuals suffer from depression and inconsistent sleep schedules, resulting in lying awake at night. Sleep is imperative to the overall general health of an individual. Finding the serenity of slumber should be natural, without one becoming dependent on sleep aids.

If you are prescribed a muscle relaxant, your lack of sleep can actually become worse; especially, sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea. It’s not advised to have certain muscle relaxants including medications, such as: Valium, Ativan and Klonopin. These prescriptions can cause the surrounding airway muscles to collapse- causing sleep depravity, resulting in mood changes and chemical imbalances.

Medication for many, is imperative to live a functionally, normal life, but many contemplate what can be done to lesson the side-effects they feel? The first suggestion is moderate exercise and changing your diet. For some, it is not that simple and many should look into acquiring a prescribed CPAP. This machine produces the air that individuals need when the body is having complications during sleeping. This machine has been used on individuals who have undergone a sleep study and suffer from conditions that require its use. Speak to your doctor who will determine the machine type, they will also determine the air pressure that you need to stay consistently asleep. Once sleep is obtained normally, the mental balance can once again become stabilized.

Sleep deprivation is a condition millions of Americans suffer from. Psych Central advises individuals can suffer from memory loss, a disorientation of rationalization, resulting in severe mood swings. When your body is tired, it becomes dehydrated and this combination can be a deadly mix to your mental stability. Some individuals with a deeper severity of sleep loss had reported hallucinations and slurred speech. Dr. Yasinski of Yasinski Psychiatry states,

“Without adequate oxygen to your brain, the ability of psychiatric medications, exercise and healthy living to improve depression or bipolar disorder is decreased and thus many patients present as ‘treatment resistant’ when in reality they are resistant only due to a co-morbid sleep apnea disorder that has gone unrecognized.”

A sleep study is highly recommended for individuals who suffer from sleep disruption and mental disorders like bipolar. This painless test can gauge the level of severity from children to adults. If sleep apnea is the cause of the mental illness, treatment can be recommended and prescribed by a doctor, leading to stability of sleep, mind and life.

Forrest L. Rawls

Source 1, 2, 3

5 Responses to "Sleep Apnea Can Cause Mental Illness"

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  3. fatjacketptbob   October 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    The sleep study is required to find out how much air pressure is required to keep your airway open. The cpap doesn’t do that on its own. And a person can have too much pressure than what they need and that can cause problems.

  4. Jo-Ellen Tramontana   August 19, 2013 at 11:10 am

    REALLY need your help/advise…my cardiologist reports I suffer from OSA, resulting in heart thickening–and advised CPAP– immediately. (I take no other meds. and have never taken any sleep aids). Spent 3 hours on the phone with insurance folks who insist I must undergo 4 further steps of study, totaling ($7,000.) before they will perhaps ‘kick-in’. I have decided to ‘go it alone’ (my OWN pocket $$) as I can get my doc to write a script to buy the actual machine/mask/hoses, etc. on the internet, WITHOUT shelling out additional $$ for the sleep studies (which would prove NOTHING, anyway, because I can’t sleep in strange places, or hooked up to wires). I’m FINE with getting the equipment and working out min/max levels on my own! Comments/cautions/suggestions? Many thanks! CamelotPixie

    • Forrest Rawls   August 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      I’m sorry I don’t have any tips or tricks that can help you. I’ve been told I need a sleep study done, but can’t due to finances. So what I do is have a fan going at all times even in the winter. The colder it is the less likely I’m going to have my throat relax to cause more snoring and less of the non-breathing occur. I did try someone else’s CPAP machine, but due to the different settings that need to be done (ie. How much air to have the machine blow into me). I couldn’t handle it, mostly because of the mask. My dad told me how he got used to the mask was to wear it when he did things around the house. Now that insurance is a must due to Obamacare, I would wait and get the sleep tests then. Then you will know what you will need and how severe it is.

      I also know if I lost $100 lbs. I would still need a CPAP, but my sleep apnea wouldn’t be as bad.


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