Both anxiety and sleep apnea can have pronounced effects on the human body. They can influence your physical well-being and your mental health. Combined, the two conditions can create a looping cycle of symptoms. A combination of lifestyle changes and medications may be required to help you regain a healthy life.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The disorder comes in two forms, obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the throat muscles relax and block the airway to the lungs. Central sleep apnea is when the brain doesn’t know to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
The most well-known symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring and episodes throughout the night in which your breathing stops. Due to the disruption of the sleep cycle, a person’s behavior and mood changes. They are drowsy during the day, have difficulty paying attention, and are irritable. In addition, they develop what is informally known as “sleep debt,” leading to further mental and physical fatigue.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
“Anxiety disorder” is a nebulous term that refers to specific psychiatric conditions that involve intense fear or worry. They are closely related to obsessive-compulsive disorders and depression and involve many of the same symptoms.
It is important to recognize that these conditions are not characterized by occasional, temporary concern. Those with anxiety disorders suffer from constant fear and worry that interferes with daily activities. Often, they are irritable and fatigued from their body being in a constant state of stress.
How Are Sleep Apnea and Anxiety Disorders Linked?
Sleep apnea and anxiety disorders present many of the same symptoms. Both are neurological issues; sleep apnea being the result of muscles not working properly while anxiety disorders are an errant fear response. While there is no proof that one condition causes the other, there is a large amount of correlation between the two.
What Are My Options?
If you’re suffering from sleep apnea and anxiety, a combination of treatments may be recommended to address both conditions. Psychotherapy and medication may prove beneficial in the treatment of your anxiety. A CPAP or oral appliance therapy may prove beneficial in the treatment of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea and anxiety disorders are conditions that can negatively impact your life, by robbing you of a restful night’s sleep. However, there are ways to treat both in tandem. If you believe you’re suffering from inadequate sleep, contact us at Chesapeake Sleep Center to schedule a consultation.
Chesapeake Sleep Center
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061