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Can Sleep Apnea Be Secondary To Depression

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11 replies to this topic

#1 KennyJ


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:47 AM

I have an 80% overall rating and 70 % for Depression.
I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Can this be secondary to Depression and is it hard to prove. I have put in for TDIU so should I just wait on filing for Sleep apnea.

#2 vaf


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 11:18 AM

There's a lot of information on the internet that supports depression as a secondary effect of sleep apnea, but I can't find much the other way around. Is it possible you had the apnea before you first realized you suffered from depression?

#3 LarryJ


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:26 PM

If it were me, and it's not, obviously.......I'd go ahead and file for the sleep apnea, so's you can establish the "effective date". Otherwise, you're scruing yerself out of some money.

And, yes, it can be a result of depression.
I suffer from Bi-polar Disorder ( and that could be, BTW, where your "depression" is coming from ) and sometimes I've got what they call "combination", where you will have some of the effects of the mania and some of the effects of the depression. Soooo, I'll be so depressed that I can't sleep, then, when I do manage to fall asleep, the mania kicks in, and, bingo, I'm awake for hours, then the depression flares up and I can't sleep for worrying about ________, and I finally get so exhausted that I fall asleep and the mania kicks in and I'm swinging from the chandelier.................and.......well, you get the picture.

Had a period in my life where I wanted to be "normal", like everybody else.
So, I did some serious "self-medicating". Me and Old Jack, my buddy from Lynchburg, TN, we go to know each other purty good..................
Then I grew up and realized that all you "normal" folks are just as screwed up as me.....sometimes more so.

#4 Objee


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 12:32 PM

There's a lot of information on the internet that supports depression as a secondary effect of sleep apnea, but I can't find much the other way around. Is it possible you had the apnea before you first realized you suffered from depression?

Follow up on this 2003 study:

"Contact: Michelle Brandt
Stanford University Medical Center
Sleep apnea, depression linked in Stanford study
STANFORD, Calif. - People with depression are five times more likely to have a breathing-related sleep disorder than non-depressed people, according to a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study is the first to show a link between depression and sleep apnea along with its related disorders."


#5 Vike17


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:44 PM

Sleep Apnea can be caused by depression, but in order for the VA to award service-connection, you're going to need your doctor to write an IMO stating your sleep apnea is caused by your depression. The doctor must also give their rational as to why they have come to that conclusion. For the most part VA will not simply award service-connection just because there is medical litrature out there in general that support something.

Vike 17

#6 sixthscents


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:50 PM

Further some of the medications prescribed for depression can cause sleep apnea. I'd get an outside opinion on this one thoigh. The VA would probably be reluctant to admit to it.

Bob Smith

#7 Objee


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Posted 19 December 2006 - 02:12 PM

I'm no expert.... far from one.. but in this case show me...

I just don't see how depression (a mental disorder) causes sleep apnea (a breathing disorder)

I AM NOT SAYING IT DOES NOT ! I just don't see it. I can understand how sleep apnea could cause depression. I think this subject came up before.

I myself have a sleep study coming up because I have asthma with COPD, and don't sleep well. I guess it is time for me to do some serious research. The internet should have some good information. If I find anything that ties sleep apnea as secondary to depression I will post it.

I mentioned the Stanford depression - apnea tie-in earlier in this forum, which is supposedly the first study to show that depression causes 5 times more sleep apnea than normal.

The best way I've found to use these scientific studies is to ask the physician writing the opinion to add the study to his opinion - as in "My opinion is further backed by the XXXXXXXX study published in YYYYYYYY"
This changes the citation from just an internet article into part of a medical opinion. Much stronger.


#8 Scottyp65


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Posted 20 December 2006 - 04:13 PM

I have an 80% overall rating and 70 % for Depression.
I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Can this be secondary to Depression and is it hard to prove. I have put in for TDIU so should I just wait on filing for Sleep apnea.


I see there are posibilities for it being both ways. I would offer though for you to look trough your medical records for any signs of the other symptoms of Sleep Apnea in your Military Medical Record. Some of the symptoms I listed to get service connection were, High Blood Pressure, Acid Reflux, Asthma, and Malaise. The last one was a Dr saying I was just overly tired, had gone to the clinic because I was fatigued. Was kind of pissed off because he made it sound like I was just a lazy S.O.B. Of course now I just love the Ignorant Bast...... Anyway all of these symptoms were a matter of record. Now if you don't have "diagnosed" HBP but can show where there were multiple times where your blood pressure was elevated at the times of appointments you may be able to make the same argument I did which was I had my Dr say I had the symptoms of Sleep Apnea while on Active Duty and that the treatment of my other conditions had masked their seeing it earlier.

Hope it helps.

#9 john999


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Posted 20 December 2006 - 06:36 PM

I see it the other way round with depression being aggravated by sleep apnea.

#10 Cavman


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Posted 20 December 2006 - 10:04 PM

I have an 80% overall rating and 70 % for Depression.
I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Can this be secondary to Depression and is it hard to prove. I have put in for TDIU so should I just wait on filing for Sleep apnea.

I would wait because they will most likely set your TDIU aside until they complete the new sleep apnea claim.


#11 Ricky


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Posted 21 December 2006 - 12:44 AM

My current claim for OSA is trying to tie SC to it based upon the fact that I had in service HBP, DMII, Fibro type complaints and a diagnosis of "sleep difficulties". This was in 98 followed in 2000 of my retirement physical complaints of poor sleep which was diagnosised as "possible gulf war syndrom". This was followed in 02 with continued complaints diagnosed by civilain docs as "Poor sleep" and by the VA as insomia. They gave me some nerve pills and told me to make sure I practiced good sleep hygene. In 05 after my stroke the problems became worse so I began complaining again and was told it was probably due to the stroke. finally in Nov of this year civilain docs sent me for a sleep study which provided a diagnosis of moderate to severe sleep apnea and they issued me a CPAP.

Current Tricare doc provided a medical opinion that after a review of my in service medical records and post service records, my continued complaints, my Fibro type symptoms, HBP, DMII and 05 stroke the sleep apnea was more likley than not present at the time of the 98 inservice diagnosis of "sleep difficulities". He provided that his opinion was based upon his intermittent care of me in service and constant care after retirement and current accepted medical opinion that HBP, DMII and fibro type symptoms had a definite medical link. He quoted a couple of medical studies indicating this.

Should be a slam dunk but we know the VA. I will probably still be fighting the issue five years from now. In my research I found a ton of information on the net that provided that sleep apnea was a major risk factor for all of the above. However, I only found a couple of articles in which the opinion was that some of the above caused sleep apnea. There are a couple of studies conduted by VA docs which link them. I saw one or two that stated there had been cases where sleep apnea had been misdaignosed as fibro due to the complaints of muscle and joint aches/pain - you know that ole feeling like you have been run over by a mack truck the night before. It said such symptoms came from the continued wakening of the sleep apnea.

So as one post indicated below if a search of your medical records provide complaints of muscle aches, tiredness etc.... it might be better to attempt to SC it as the apnea being a cause of the depression vs depression causing the sleep apnea. However on the other hand, if these type symptoms came after the depression and are documented then you might have a chance if you can get a good IMO providing that these type symptoms are those of sleep apnea.

#12 augoldminer


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Posted 23 December 2006 - 05:57 PM

Sleep apnea can be caused by fibro, as fibro now has been shown to be a disorder of the Central Nervous
System. [Many va docs do not know of this research as they do not keep up on the latest research]

If you have fibro you need to get a DX of fibro.

I will bet that your fibro did not get better after you started using the c-pap.

By nerve pills do you mean anti depressants. anti depressants seldom work for fibro.

On being depressed, Do you feel that you are depressed or is this something that the doctors told you.
many of the symptoms of depression and fibro overlap, But having fibro does not mean that you have depression.

My fibro started in 2002. Was DXed with castleman's diease in 2003. [a very rare autoimmune disorder]
that i believe triggered the fibro. DXed with sleep apnea in 2005. heart attack and bypass surgery in 2006.

I filed for service connected disability based on the fibro and castleman's being caused by my use of trichoroethylene cleaning solvent in the navy in the 70s. I also claim that the sleep apnea was due to the fibro.the fibro triggered by the castleman's disease. the heart attack due to the sleep apnea.

I have been researching it all on the Internet and have about 1500 pages of the latest research studies that link it all together.

GARY J US NAVY 1970-74