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The Effects of Breathing-Related Sleep Disorders on Mood Disturbances in the General Population

J Clin Psychiatry 2003;64(10):1195-1200

Background: Results of clinical studies suggest that there may be a relationship between breathing-related sleep disorders and depressive disorders. This study aims to assess the impact of breathing-related sleep disorder on major depressive disorder in the general population.

Method: A cross-sectional telephone survey was carried out between 1994 and 1999 in the general population of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. A total of 18,980 randomly selected subjects aged 15 to 100 years and representative of the general population of their respective countries participated in the study. The questionnaire included a series of questions about sleep quality, breathing-related sleep disorder symptoms, mental disorders, and medical conditions. Data are presented using point prevalence.

Results: 2.1% of the subjects were found with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome at the time of the interview, and 2.5% had some other type of DSM-IV breathing-related sleep disorder diagnosis. The association of DSM-IV breathing-related sleep disorder diagnosis and major depressive disorder diagnosis was found in 0.8% of the sample. As many as 18% of individuals with a major depressive disorder diagnosis also have a DSM-IV breathing-related sleep disorders diagnosis, and 17.6% of subjects with a DSM-IV breathing-related sleep disorders diagnosis have a major depressive disorder diagnosis. Multivariate models showed that even after controlling for obesity and hypertension, the odds of having a DSM-IV breathing-related sleep disorders diagnosis was 5.26 for individuals with a major depressive disorder diagnosis.

Conclusion: About 800 of 100,000 individuals have both a breathing-related sleep disorder and a major depressive disorder. The identification of 1 of these 2 disorders should prompt the investigation of the other disorder since nearly a fifth of them have the other disorder.

Abstract