Sleep apnea can cause a variety of medical problems, but it’s also been shown to result in psychological ones as well. When the normal and continuous flow of oxygen is interrupted during sleep, the brain is deprived of this vital element and the person can experience debilitating effects. Understanding this condition and recognizing the psychological symptoms that accompany sleep apnea can lead to the proper treatment and a complete relief.
Why is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Sleep apnea is a very common disorder but many may not know that they have it. Basically, a person can stop breathing while sleeping. Muscles in the throat can relax too much and narrow or even close for a short period of time. The tongue can also fall back across the airway while sleeping also affecting breathing.
The end result is the same: the brain is deprived of necessary oxygen, which contributes to a host of other problems. Snoring is usually present in a person who suffers from sleep apnea. This may be the brain’s way of alerting the sleeper that the airway is blocked. The sound of the snoring may be loud enough to wake up the person, who may then change their sleeping position. Sleeping on the side instead of the back may decrease sleep apnea episodes.
Psychological Problems from Sleep Apnea
There can be many physical problems resulting from sleep apnea but the psychological ones are a little harder to recognize and diagnose. The first thing noticed is that the person doesnt get a peaceful nights sleep. A certain amount of sleep is required for the bodys major organs to repair and recharge right down to cellular level.
A person can be exhausted without this in the morning. Drowsiness during the day is present and an intense desire to sleep will stay throughout the day. Frustration and irritability will follow as the person tries to stay awake to perform daily duties. Also there can be problems with concentration and memory loss. Depression can be the ultimate combination of these emotions. A person may feel like they are losing their mind and be unable to focus.
The only desire may be to stay in bed and get the rest they think they need, when in reality, they should be seeking treatment for their sleep disorder. In extreme cases, the psychological problems of sleep apnea may include thoughts of suicide. If the brain is continually deprived of oxygen night after night, the quality and purpose of a person’s life steadily declines. Anti-depressant drugs are not effective in this case because the medical condition of sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed and effectively treated first.