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Home / Sleep News / Sleep Apnea Patients May Have Higher Risk of Self-Harm, Suicide

Sleep Apnea Patients May Have Higher Risk of Self-Harm, Suicide

Sarah Shoen

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Sarah Shoen, PR Specialist

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Sleep apnea has been linked to mental health issues, including reports that have shown a higher risk of depression in this population. Now, Danish researchers estimate that self-harm and suicide may be more common among people with sleep apnea than those without it.

The study authors say these findings show the importance of sleep in the development of mental health. Researchers suggest mental-health screenings for sleep-apnea patients to support them with appropriate psychological treatments.

The study compared data on more than 48,000 Danish adult citizens with sleep apnea to those without sleep apnea. Researchers noted that 1.9% of people with sleep apnea died by suicide, compared to 1.5% of people in the study without sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea also had a higher occurrence of engaging in self-harm.

Researchers suggest mental-health screenings for sleep-apnea patients to support them with appropriate psychological treatments.

Treatment also may play a role, researchers say. Citizens who treated sleep without continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy had a suicide rate of 2.1%, compared to 1.4% for those who used it.

Patients who treated sleep apnea without CPAP therapy also had a higher occurrence of engaging in self-harm — 2.4%  — than the 1.2% for patients who used CPAP therapy.

Researchers estimate that patients treating their sleep apnea with CPAP therapy may have had moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, and those not using CPAP therapy had mild sleep apnea.  Researchers suggest CPAP treatment for patients with mild sleep apnea.

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About Our Editorial Team

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Sarah Shoen

PR Specialist

Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.

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