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PTSD May Complicate Treatment for Sleep Apnea

PTSD May Complicate Treatment for Sleep Apnea

A new military study finds that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experience reduced quality of life, more sleepiness, and do not respond as well to positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy.

Investigators used a case-controlled study at the Sleep Disorders Center at the San Antonio Military Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to investigate the interactions.

For the investigation, researchers performed sleep studies on 200 military medical patients with PTSD and found that over half were diagnosed with OSA. These patients were compared with 50 matched patients with OSA but not PTSD and with another 50 patients without PTSD or OSA controls.

This study showed that compared with the other groups, patients with both PTSD and OSA had worse quality of life measurements, more sleepiness, and less adherence and response to treatment.

The results point out that patients with PTSD are also at high risk of having OSA and should be evaluated accordingly.

A significant finding from the study is that PAP therapy is not as effective if an individual has both PTSD and OSA. As such, these patients should also be followed especially closely for adherence and response to PAP treatment.

The complete study appears in the journal CHEST.

Source: AAmerican College of Chest Physicians/EurekAlert
Soldier with PTSD photo by shutterstock.

PTSD May Complicate Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). PTSD May Complicate Treatment for Sleep Apnea. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 9 Feb 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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