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Sleep Apnea and Suicide – The Links Between the two


Sleep Apnea and Suicide – The Links Between the two

As of 2018, there is limited research assessing suicidal incidents and the association between sleep apnea and suicidal behavior.

Here is the most current investigation which explored relationships among sleep apnea, suicidal ideation (SI), suicide planning (SP), and suicide attempts (SA).Methods:


Using 2014 National Survey of Drug Use and Health data (N = 41,086), logistic regression analyses were performed with past-year SI, SP, and SA as dependent variables. Sleep apnea was assessed via a single item where participants were asked to report whether their doctor had informed them that they carried a diagnosis of sleep apnea in the past 12 months. Demographics, overall health rating, past-year substance use disorder and past-year depressive episode were included as covariates.Results:

Sleep apnea was reported by 2.9% (n = 1179) of the sample. Prevalence of suicidality among participants with sleep apnea was 9.7% for SI, 3.3% for SP, and 1% for SA compared with 5.2%, 1.5%, and 0.7%, respectively, for those without sleep apnea. Sleep apnea was associated with both SI (OR = 1.56, 95% CI = 1.24–1.97) and suicide planning (OR = 1.59, 95% C I = 1.11–2.28) after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, past year substance use disorder, self-rated quality of life, and past year depressive episode. Sleep apnea was not significantly associated with SA (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 0.65–2.18).Conclusion:

To our knowledge, these are the first analyses to report a relationship between sleep apnea and suicidal thought and behavior in a nationally representative sample. Although findings are based on self-report of being diagnosed with sleep apnea SI and SP were significantly higher among those with sleep apnea even after accounting for key covariates. Diagnosis of sleep apnea may represent an early opportunity for healthcare providers to initiate conversations with their patients regarding suicide and mental health.

This work was supported, in part, by the VA Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Health Illness Research and Treatment, VISN 2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua VAMC.Topic: 

Issue Section: IX. Sleep and Psychiatric Disorders

Although, information about the relationship between suicide and sleep apnea is growing, there is not enough evidence to suggest a direct correlation and therefore, a provable relationship and pattern is still being studied world-wide. However, there are attempts to ease the concerns about CPAP and suicide, which is highlighted here.

The link supporting this entry is here.


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Posted and introduction/conclusion edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT

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