The Surprising Reason You’re Depressed

Depression is a frustrating illness.

The cause is difficult to pin down. Episodes seem
to come and go at random times. The standard treatment, antidepressant drugs,
often don’t work.  

That’s why a new study is so important.

It pinpoints a surprising cause—and the cure—for
many cases of depression, especially those that don’t respond to

Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at
Augusta University looked at 125 patients with depression and how their sleep
affected their mood.

The study found that people with
treatment-resistant depression—the kind that doesn’t respond to antidepressant
drug—often have sleep apnea.[i]

It’s a condition in which breathing starts and
stops repeatedly during sleep. This leads to poor rest and daytime drowsiness.
And the study found it often has another effect: depression.[ii]

Scientists discovered that treating sleep apnea,
often relieves the accompanying depression.

Dr. W. Vaughn McCall was an author of the study.
He said researchers “were completely caught by surprise” by the findings.
That’s because sleep apnea had not been previously linked to depression.

All patients with treatment-resistant depression
should be tested for sleep apnea, he said.[iii]

The Sleep
Apnea- Depression Connection

If you suffer from depression, you should make
sure sleep apnea is not the cause.

Sleep apnea symptoms include loud snoring, waking
up gasping for air, morning headaches, and daytime sleepiness.

You are more likely to have the condition if you:

  • Have a family history of the disease.
  • Have a neck that is 17 inches around or bigger (men) or 16
    inches and bigger (women).
  • Have sinus problems, or nasal obstruction due to allergies or
    a deviated septum.

If you think you might have apnea, see your
doctor. If your apnea is mild, it may be treatable by losing weight, taking
precautions to sleep on your side, quitting smoking, or avoiding alcohol.

More serious cases often require a CPAP machine.
It’s a device you wear over your nose and mouth while you sleep. The CPAP pumps
air into your nose. It keeps your airways from closing.

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