Obstructive sleep apnea and severe mental illness: evolution and consequences

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2012 Oct;14(5):503-10. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0307-6.


Sleep complaints are commonly encountered in psychiatric clinics. Underlying medical disorders or sleep disorders need to be identified and treated to optimize treatment of the mental illness. Excessive daytime sleepiness, which is the main symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), overlaps with those of many severe mental illnesses. Medication side effects or the disorder itself maybe account for daytime sleepiness but comorbid OSA is a possibility that should not be overlooked. The diagnosis of OSA is straightforward but treatment compliance is problematic in psychiatric patients. This article summarizes studies concerning comorbid OSA in patients with severe mental illness and includes suggestions for future investigations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / epidemiology