The Effects of Sleep Apnea on My Schizoaffective Disorder

July 11, 2012 Dan Hoeweler

Recently, I had suffered a relapse into a deep depression that I had difficulty recovering from. Though the medicine kept the majority of psychosis at bay, I was nevertheless crippled and left in a state of disarray. A medication increase by my psychiatrist had only quelled my most severe symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. What was different about this episode however, is that it was partially instigated by a lack of sleep from an unknowingly broken CPAP machine.

During my depressive and sleepless state, I had photographed myself. After proper sleep treatment a couple weeks later, I took a second photo to show the severe effects a sleep disorder can have on the mind and body.

From experience, I am weary of the effects my sleep disorder can have on my mental health, so I immediately acquired a new machine and the results were stunning; within two weeks time, my depression had lifted.

Severe Sleep Apnea, Depression, Psychosis: A Real Balancing Act

I am a believer in the idea that the mind and body are extensions of each other. If you have both physical and mental health issues like I do, make certain to take both seriously as they can sometimes effect each other. I have had many depressive and psychotic episodes throughout the years and I sometimes question how many fewer I would have if I were able to sleep. Sleep apnea is a common ailment but severe cases such as mine, at a young age, are rare.

Sleep apnea occurs from a blockage of the windpipes during sleep, causing a person to repeatedly wake during the night. In my case, this can occur hundreds of times throughout the night creating a devastating lack of sleep. It is easy to understand how such a condition could, likewise, effect my mood and thought processes agitating an already serious second ailment.

Psychosis and depression may be more painful than sleep apnea, but all of them can be very debilitating conditions unless properly treated. Treating multiple conditions such as these is a real balancing act and can only be accomplished through quality medical attention and an informed patient. I urge anyone in similar circumstances to educate themselves and carefully monitor their conditions with their doctors.

APA Reference
Hoeweler, D. (2012, July 11). The Effects of Sleep Apnea on My Schizoaffective Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 22 from

Author: Dan Hoeweler

Rob J. Blevins
February, 16 2019 at 7:06 am

Im schizoaffective and the lack of urgency that the doctors treated this with is frightening. I have had intense problems with insomnia as far back as four years ago and after only recently being diagnosed with sleep apnea i am still unable to try a cpap for the first time. Im having unmanageable symptoms of psychosis agitation and anxiety and i await another doctor visit on Monday, but it is a battle as to whether I'm going to need to be in a mental hospital before I finally get a cpap. I wish the medical community would treat sleep apnea with more urgency and not take weeks for results especially when it is an emergency for the mentally ill.

February, 16 2019 at 2:32 pm

Dear Rob,
Thank you for your comment. I am sorry you are having trouble right now. I hope you are working with a psychiatrist about your symptoms of psychosis agitation and anxiety. I also hope you get your cpap soon. Take care, Elizabeth

May, 12 2018 at 11:08 am

I think my boyfriend may have this disorder. He also thinks he’s living in the matrix. He has all sorts of delusions and most recently put his cpap machine away because he suddenly believes he doesn’t need it. He snores all night.
He’s irritable and hyper at times with almost a pretend kind of giddy happy which switches off with mood swings and anxiety.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t think he would take medication, he doesn’t believe anything is wrong.

May, 22 2018 at 10:41 am

You could try taking him to a psychiatrist or therapist. Maybe hearing from a professional that something is wrong would convince him.

Olivia Ryan
April, 9 2013 at 10:05 am

I have had similar medical issues. I have depressive type schizoaffective disorder and was recently diagnosed-- yesterday with severe sleep apnea. I wake up 65 times an hour. This has been going on for 7 plus years. I had to wait until I had insurance that would pay for my sleep study. I will get my CPAP machine tomorrow, and am looking forward to sanity and better health.

Kyra Marie
August, 6 2012 at 3:05 pm

My brother was so brilliant, educated and spiritual that I told him maybe everything he was seeing and experiencing was another dimension that he could see but we/others could not. It was so hard for me to wrap my mind around the most rational, logical and intelligent person I ever met fall prey to such delusions and hallucinations. He was such a sensitive and Godly soul that I really thought it was possible that there may have been a supernatural component to his illness. There's still a part of me that considers that a possibility but the widespread commonality of the delusions seems to mitigate that possibility in my mind. Traumatic brain injury and tumors also can create the same kind of symptoms as mental illness which seems to point to a physiological cause. I'm always fascinated with movies where there's an alternate explanation for what the world deems "mental illness." There's almost always a creative, fantastical and/or supernatural reality and they're not really "crazy". While I love psychological dramas as a genre and believing in God and the eternal, it's hard not to consider the supernatural possibility, I often get frustrated and angry with these kinds of films. It's nearly impossible to get a mentally ill person to see they are mentally ill and need help/medication. They, too, often prefer science fiction genres which only feed right into their fantasies and delusions. A Beautiful Mind was the best antithesis to this trend in psychological movies. My brother saw that movie and told me he would NEVER watch it again and that nothing terrified him more than that movie. He also said he felt like he lived in the Matrix and I know The Truman Show really messed with him too. So I've come around to think these kinds of movies can be quite damaging to those struggling with mental illness and are either on the precipise or already over the edge of psychosis.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dan Hoeweler
December, 8 2012 at 7:15 am

I recently saw the Manchurian candidate, and afterwards I started to get strange ideas in my head. I understand why he wouldn't want to watch such a movie, as it might spur his symptoms. It is difficult to realize you are sick without medication, because the illness itself, makes it impossible to rationalize properly. This is one of the biggest problems with Schizophrenia. That it attacks your insight. Thank You.

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