According to a new Dutch study, oral appliances are just as effective at treating the psychological effects of sleep apnea as CPAP.

Psychological Effects Common in Sleep Apnea

Older man by a window suffering from depressionPsychological effects are one of the common negative consequences of sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea are more likely to report many different psychological symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Somatization
  • Stress disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Dementia

Sleep apnea impairs the body’s ability to regulate important neurotransmitters that control emotional states. Not getting enough sleep can put a person at risk for major disturbances that put your mental health at risk. Treating sleep apnea has been shown to help with these as well as other sleep apnea symptoms, but no one had previously compared the effectiveness of different types of sleep apnea treatments.

A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study

In this study, researchers attempted to determine whether oral appliances and sleep apnea were equally effective on psychological symptoms by taking 64 patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea and randomly assigning them to one of three treatments: an oral appliance, CPAP, or a CPAP placebo. Initially, all sleep apnea sufferers reported elevated levels of psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, somatization, agoraphobia, and more. However, over the course of the study, six months, the psychological problems diminished for all three groups, without significant differences between the groups.

Researchers concluded that this meant oral appliances were as effective in this treatment as CPAP, but that the placebo effect might very well play the largest role.

Although we might argue against the very high effectiveness of placebos in this study,  this confirms our experience that oral appliances are highly effective for most people with sleep apnea. If you are looking for an effective alternative to CPAP treatment, oral appliances can help. Please call 402-493-4175 today for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.