Does obstructive sleep apnea impact serious mental illnesses?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is characterized by frequent cessation of breathing during sleep because of an obstruction of the upper airway and may cause hypopnea or apnea. Risk factors include obesity, male gender, and alcohol consumption at bed time. Nocturnal symptoms may include: Choking and Gasping, Reflux Symptoms, Restless Sleep, Snoring, and Witnessed Apnea. Daytime symptoms may include: Cognitive Dysfunction, Dry Mouth Upon Waking, Morning Headaches, Poor Concentration, and Sleepiness. Mood disorders like depression can present in similar manners to OSA – making it critical to consider OSA before a diagnosis of depression is made. OSA occurs more frequently in schizophrenia than the general population and the resulting excessive daytime sleepiness from OSA may be misdiagnosed as a side effect of medications or as a negative symptom of schizophrenia. OSA is treatable and a diagnosis of OSA requires specialized testing.

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