Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 31–42

Changes in Depressive Symptoms after Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea


    • Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    • Psychology Service 116B, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Kenneth L. Lichstein
    • The University of Memphis
  • Jack D. Edinger
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    • Duke University Medical Center
  • Daniel J. Taylor
    • Brown Medical School
  • H. Heith Durrence
    • The University of Memphis
  • Aatif M. Husain
    • Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    • Duke University Medical Center
  • R. Neal Aguillard
    • Methodist University Hospital
  • Rodney A. Radtke
    • Duke University Medical Center
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11325-003-0031-x

Cite this article as:
Means, M.K., Lichstein, K.L., Edinger, J.D. et al. Sleep Breath (2003) 7: 31. doi:10.1007/s11325-003-0031-x


It is generally believed that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes depression in some patients, yet it is unknown whether this depression is an actual clinical phenomenon or purely a result of overlapping somatic/physical symptoms shared by both disorders. The present study investigated changes in both somatic and affective/cognitive symptoms of depression associated with the introduction of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for OSA. Participants were 39 outpatients (35 males, 4 females) with no current or past mental health problems, diagnosed with OSA in a hospital sleep disorders clinic. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was administered prior to treatment and again 3 months after CPAP. Total BDI scores improved after CPAP, independent of objectively monitored CPAP compliance rates. Both somatic and affective/ cognitive symptoms of depression improved in a similar manner after treatment. Our findings suggest that depressive symptoms experienced by OSA patients are not solely the result of physical OSA symptoms but include a mood component as well. We introduce a hypothetical model to conceptualize the relationship between OSA and depression.


Sleep apneadepressionCPAP
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Copyright information

© Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. 2003