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By Eric Stengle, Founder, Family Sleep Diagnostics

It is natural to feel down, sad or even depressed when things are not going your way. That’s a human reaction to failures and sometimes sad or tragic events.

However, if the feeling of sadness or depression persists or is relatively continuous regardless of events and the general trajectory of your life, then it should not be ignored.

If you or someone you know continues to feel sad, anxious, disinterested or suffers through an intense feeling of hopelessness over things or events they once enjoyed, it could be because of depression.

Did you know that nearly one in twelve adults in the US report having suffered depression? 16.2 million US adults report having experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.

Which is why depression is among the most prevalent mental health conditions affecting the general public.

Given the way in which it impacts the quality of life of an individual, depression should not be ignored. It is important to know that with the right kind of treatment; depression can be effectively controlled.

Another area which impacts the quality of our life is sleep. Reliable and solid sleep is critical to physical and mental well-being. However, depression can impact your quality of sleep. The opposite can also happen.

If you suffer from a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia, it can lead to mental health conditions including depression and anxiety. So, the relationship between sleep and depressive illness not only exists, but it is also rather complex.

Common Symptoms of Depression

Although the actual symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, there are several common symptoms that can present.

Keep in mind that a person suffering from depression may display all these symptoms or display just one of the symptoms.

  • Constant or persistent feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and sadness.
  • Plagued with thoughts about death or suicide.
  • A general disinterest in things that once were sources of joy or pleasure.
  • Difficulty in focusing or concentrating.
  • Changes in appetite or weight.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Loss of libido.
  • Loss of energy/struggles to be productive.
  • Daytime sleepiness.
  • Insomnia.

In addition to the above listed symptoms, patients suffering from depression can also suffer from anxiety and low self-esteem or display physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, and gastrointestinal problems.

Sleep disorders such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness are also common among patients suffering from depression. On the other hand, a person suffering from insomnia is 3X more likely to develop depression.

According to Stanford University research psychologist Tracy Kuo, PhD – “Chronic sleep loss can lead to a loss of pleasure in life, one of the hallmarks of depression. When people can’t sleep, they often become anxious about not sleeping. Anxiety increases the potential for becoming depressed.” – Source.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, it was found that more than70% of people with sleep apnea experience symptoms of depression.

The study also found that with the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), the symptoms of depression in patients suffering from sleep apnea reduced.

Treatment for Depression

Depression can be treated via a combination of medication and therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy. Based on the severity of the condition, each of these therapies can be used to treat depression and an underlying sleep disorder.

If a sleep disorder is the main factor for depression, then treating the sleep disorder can also help in relieving the symptoms of depression as mentioned above in the case of OSA. 

The treatment for clinical depression, however, is more comprehensive and requires more time. Medication and therapy again are the mainstay of treating clinical depression.

Coping with Depression

While depression does affect the quality of life of an individual – often the family, partner, or others in the social group of that individual also experience a lot of stress.

For this reason, it is important to seek treatment for depression. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, seek treatment or encourage the person to seek help at the earliest.

Everyday lifestyle changes can help in coping with depression. So, make sure you work physical activity into your everyday schedule. Establish a sleep routine and stick to it. Eat healthily and avoid intoxicants. Above all, if you find it difficult to cope, don’t ignore your condition. Speak to a loved one or seek professional help.

Family Sleep Diagnostics – Saving Lives and Marriages

Do you or anyone close to you suffer from depression due to a sleep disorder? Or do you suffer from a sleep disorder? If yes, we can help. You can reach us at Family Sleep Diagnostics or give us a call on (972) 714-0011.