senior man holding his forehead upsetHave you or someone you know been battling depression for years without any results? If this sounds familiar, then you may have a sleep disorder. Because many of the side effects are the same, countless people go undiagnosed for long periods of time. Sometimes people find that they never had depression, to begin with, they were just sleep-deprived and not able to function normally.

If you are consistently only getting 4-5 hours of sleep per night, there is no way that you can perform and function (and feel) like a “normal” person.  It takes a toll on us.  We have slower reaction times, we are constantly fatigued, we have no energy, we can’t make decisions that others may find easy, etc.  This all adds up and can make us feel depressed like we are not “normal”, and that something is wrong with us.
Many people turn to a psychiatrist and undergo a series of treatments and different medications, all with failed results.  It is important that physicians are doing thorough examinations and making the appropriate referrals so that we don’t miss any signs and symptoms.

Let’s take a look at the similarity in the symptoms of OSA vs. Depression:

OSA Symptoms:
• Fatigue
• Snoring
• Frequent Illness
• Memory Loss
• Weight Gain
• Irritability
• Difficulty Breathing
• Daytime Sleepiness
• Voice Hoarseness
• Depression

Symptoms of Depression:
• Fatigue
• Trouble Concentrating
• Hopelessness
• Restlessness
• Daytime Sleepiness
• Aches and Pains
• Suicidal Thoughts
• Overeating or Appetite Loss
• Digestive Problems
• Feelings of Guilt
• Insomnia
What we fail to realize oftentimes is that OSA may be the one reason depression treatment doesn’t work. We as physicians need to be evaluating these patients and testing them for sleep disorders. Now maybe these patients don’t seem like the “typical” OSA candidate, but just because they aren’t overweight and snore doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering from a sleep disorder. If they complain of daytime sleepiness for an extended period of time, send them for a sleep study.

People with OSA statistically have higher rates of depression. And patients suffering from depression who receive treatment for OSA have a better chance of recovering from it.

Depression treatment often does not work, and if it does, it has a high return rate.  By testing these patients for OSA, we can also possibly eliminate some of the concomitant symptoms and dysfunctions including insomnia, weight gain, suicidal thoughts, brain fog, frequent illness, and difficulty concentrating.
If you are not waking up fully refreshed and full of energy with a good level of concentration, you could be at risk for an undiagnosed sleep disorder.  For more information on sleep disorders or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Klein please call (586) 573-0438 or visit us online.