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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From the U.S.:So, long story short; 9 years ago when I was 30 I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea. I am dead certain I was born this way and was plagued by emotional/cognitive/social/personality problems all throughout my childhood. I was always a weird kid, something was off, but no one ever knew what it was. There was some speculation as to whether I had Aspergers, but I didn’t quite fit that diagnosis.

So my family just accepted me, but each year I got worse. I was completely unable to fit in at school at all. I was ostracized for being SO spacey and grumpy and weird. Barely graduated high school, and have been through the ringer too many times to count as an adult.

Getting a sleep study and CPAP has beet utterly life changing, and while I am doing significantly better with my CPAP I am worried that I suffered lasting effects of the OSA and / or brain damage. (Personality damage?)

My questions;

Have you ever had a patient that is in my shoes? How did their sessions go? Did they get better? Any pearls of wisdom would be appreciated.

Are you aware of any studies related to this? Is it worth seeing a neurologist?

What type of doctor should I see? Should I see a regular therapist or one with a specialty?

Any other experiences with patients like me?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Answered by on -


Thank you for writing. Sleep deprivation, whether caused by sleep apnea or staying up most of the night playing video games, is a likely culprit when a kid is spacey and irritable. I’m sorry it took so long to get an accurate diagnosis. The good news is that you are responding well to a CPAP.

I’m not an expert on the long term effects of sleep apnea. I can only do the same thing you are doing — look for studies on the internet. But I think, for your peace of mind, it wouldn’t hurt for you to talk to a sleep specialist. The facility that did your sleep study can probably refer you to doctors who are particularly expert in the medical implications.

I also suggest you do see a counselor. it’s likely that the various childhood problems have followed you into adulthood. People who struggle with a long term issue in childhood are so occupied in just getting through each day that they sometimes miss out on developing important social and coping skills. It might be helpful for you to explore that possibility with a counselor. It’s never too late to “catch up”developmentally if you are willing to work on it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sleep Apnea?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Aug 2018 (Originally: 28 Aug 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Aug 2018
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