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Addressing sleep disorders in children can help prevent the possible onset of anxiety and depression

December 12, 2013
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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new study has shown that curing insomnia for people suffering with depression can double their chance of a full recovery. Over half of adults with depression also suffer from insomnia – which can be treated with talk therapy, rather than drugs.

An article on the New York Times website emphasizes that if studies continue to show proof that the effects of the insomnia treatment are true, this could be the most significant advancement in the treatment of depression since Prozac was introduced in 1987.

According to sleep expert Dr. Michael Gelb, a Clinical Professor in the Department of Oral Medicine and Pathology at the NYU College of Dentistry, Division of Basic Science, sleep disorders are also linked to anxiety and depression in children. In a long-term study of 11,000 children aged 6 months to 7 years, children with sleep-disordered breathing were 20-60% more likely to have neurobehavioral disorders like depression. By age 7, those with sleep-disordered breathing were 40-100% more likely to have such problems.

Gelb, who is a founding Executive Board member of the American Association of Physiological Medicine and Dentistry, also says that in adults, refractory depression is linked to sleep disordered breathing including apnea because apnea fragments sleep and lowers oxygen, causing excessive daytime sleepiness, poor memory, lack of performance at work and in the bedroom, as well as depression and anxiety.

With treatment of the sleep disordered breathing depression can lift and performance and focus improves, he says.