August 21, 2021
Not only can sleep apnea have a devastating effect on your body, but it can also have a severe impact on your mental state. Oftentimes, those diagnosed with sleep apnea are also found to have symptoms of anxiety disorder, and they tend to be more prone to panic attacks. What’s worse is that anxiety and sleep apnea in Weatherford can be so closely linked that they actively make each other worse. Recognizing this connection could be the key to getting a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What are Sleep Apnea and Anxiety?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects nearly 22 million Americans. It’s characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. This is sometimes due to a problem with the brain’s ability to send the necessary signals for breathing while your asleep, but most of the time it happens because there’s something partially or fully blocking the airway. When ignored, sleep apnea can potentially prove fatal, as it can increase the risk of heart attacks and dangerous accidents.
An anxiety disorder is a condition where one is excessively worried, fearful, or stressed on a regular basis during everyday situations. It’s normal to be anxious periodically, of course, but it reaches the level of a disorder when it starts impeding your ability to go through life normally.
How are Sleep Apnea and Anxiety Linked?
Sleep apnea and anxiety disorders share a few common symptoms such as insomnia and fatigue. In fact, some people might even occasionally mistake one for the other before they have a proper diagnosis made. More important, though, is the fact that sleep apnea and anxiety can often cause a vicious cycle. The breathing interruptions associated with sleep apnea cause the brain to jolt the body awake multiple times during the night. The lack of rest causes a sleep debt that makes it more difficult for the brain to deal with stress, thus making any existing anxiety disorders worse. And since anxiety can make it more difficult to get the sleep you need, it can in turn make sleep apnea even more severe.
Does Treating Sleep Apnea Help with Anxiety?
As recently as 2020, studies have shown that treating sleep apnea can also help reduce anxiety symptoms, which makes sense when the two conditions are feeding off each other. Of course, you’ll also want to take steps to treat your anxiety separately, such as eating healthy and using stress management techniques.
If you think you are experiencing anxiety or sleep apnea, talk to your doctor or a sleep dentist in Weatherford today. Both conditions are best dealt with as early as possible to keep your body and mind in good shape, and hopefully treating one will make it easier for you to cope with the other.
About the Author
Dr. Deborah A. Romack DDS has been practicing in Weatherford ever since her graduation with honors from the Baylor College of Dentistry in 1998. She has completed numerous continuing education courses about obstructive sleep apnea and is able to use the latest technology and equipment to identify the symptoms of sleep breathing disorders so that they can be treated effectively. If you notice possible warning signs of sleep apnea or anxiety, schedule a consultation with Dr. Romack at Weatherford Dental Sleep Medicine by visiting her website or calling (817) 594-3806.
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