The Link Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Depression – Pathophysiology & Management

Posted on:October 8, 2021
Last Updated: November 24, 2023
Time to read: 13–15 minutes

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder that affects millions of people around the world.

Recent studies have also suggested a strong bi-directional link between OSA and depression, with people suffering from OSA being at higher risk of developing depressive symptoms, including major depressive disorder (MDD). [Punjabi, 2008], [Ejaz et al., 2011]

It’s important to understand the connection between OSA and depression in order to ensure that those suffering from OSA receive the necessary treatment to prevent the onset of depression.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder with a prevalence of approximately 20% in the general population.

OSA is defined as >5 apnea events per hour of sleep, with 5-14 apneas classified as mild OSA, 15-29 as moderate OSA and ≥30 as severe OSA.