The psychological implications of sleep apnea

  • Ashish Sarangi
  • E.L. Domingo-Johnson
  • Lance Mwangi
  • Arham Siddiqui
  • Chia Hsu


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder characterized by collapse or obstruction of the airway with associated hypoxemia. Physiological conditions associated with OSA include hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias; however, OSA is also linked to psychological illnesses and disorders. This study focuses on the relation between OSA and psychological disorders in children and adults by reviewing pertinent literature. The review was conducted using PubMed, which yielded 56 articles between 2015 and 2020. Primary findings included links of OSA to neurological deficiencies, such as decreases in visuospatial ability, attention, and memory, as well as structural defects (e.g., edema and gliosis). Studies also showed a bidirectional relationship between OSA and major depressive disorder. A similar finding is observed between OSA and bipolar disorder, which can be aggravated by atypical antipsychotic treatments. It is important to continue to investigate the clinical manifestations of OSA in adult and children populations to prevent, diagnose, and treat related psychological conditions.


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How to Cite
Sarangi, A., Domingo-Johnson, E., Mwangi, L., Siddiqui, A., & Hsu, C. (2020). The psychological implications of sleep apnea. The Southwest Respiratory and Critical Care Chronicles, 8(36), 55-57.