While we are in our second week of May, let’s not forget what this month is about: Mental Health Awareness. Let’s look back to October 2013 when Brandon Marshall walked out onto the field wearing neon green cleats while playing with the Chicago Bears. When this happened it might have been the first time mental health awareness was in the limelight (no pun intended). The color for mental health is green, which is why Marshall wore the color on the field. However, he was fined by the NFL for wearing green instead of pink and was fined $10,500.

Marshall has been very public about his diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. After being fined by the NFL, Marshall went on to donate the same amount of money he was fined to a mental health organization. Even with the fine, it gave Marshall the opportunity to raise further awareness for mental health and we hope to continue to do the same throughout the month of May.

Sleep Apnea Affects Mental Health

We face numerous struggles, both privately and publicly. And patients with sleep apnea aren’t just stuck dealing with its physical effects. Sleep apnea can also cause complications with:

People with sleep apnea are more likely to experience depression than people without it. Disturbances in sleep can affect mental health and the stress of having it is enough to send some people into depression. However, sleep apnea is particularly likely to interfere with mental health because of the reduced oxygen supply to the brain at night, which can alter brain functioning and increase a person’s likelihood of developing depression.

Additionally, sleep apnea affects people while they’re sleeping, which can be particularly jarring. Some people have to wear special masks connected to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines to ensure that they breathe normally throughout the night and the threat of breathing problems can cause severe anxiety. In turn, this anxiety may make sleep problems worse and sleep deprivation will continue to contribute to both depression and anxiety.

Many problems associated with sleep apnea are interconnected—even stress throughout the day can make sleep apnea worse at night. With the availability of oral appliance therapy and other treatment options, we can help you find relief from sleep apnea and mental conditions as well.

So, for the month of May and beyond, let’s continue to raise awareness for mental health, as well as sleep apnea. Contact Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information on sleep apnea and mental health awareness.