A study published in the October 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM) has declared that patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who suffer from depression often find that frequent use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) relieves them of symptoms of depression.
Daniel J. Schwartz, MD, of The Sleep Center at University's Community Hospital in Tampa, Fla., surveyed patients referred to his sleep center for evaluation of OSA and who demonstrated a significant response to CPAP. The subjects were evaluated for symptoms of depression, were assessed again after four to six weeks of treatment with CPAP and then reassessed approximately one year later.
In this group of patients, the institution of CPAP therapy resulted in a significant decrease in those symptoms of depression that were assessed at both the short-term and long-term follow-up periods.
First introduced as a treatment option for sleep apnea in 1981, CPAP is the most common and effective treatment for OSA. CPAP provides a steady stream of pressurized air to patients through a mask that they wear during sleep. This airflow keeps the airway open, preventing the pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea and restoring normal oxygen levels.