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14 Questions about Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits Claims 

When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about when it comes to filing VA Disability Claims.









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KennyJ

Can Sleep Apnea Be Secondary To Depression

Question

I have an 80% overall rating and 70 % for Depression.

I have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Can this be secondary to Depression and is it hard to prove. I have put in for TDIU so should I just wait on filing for Sleep apnea.

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11 answers to this question

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There's a lot of information on the internet that supports depression as a secondary effect of sleep apnea, but I can't find much the other way around. Is it possible you had the apnea before you first realized you suffered from depression?

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If it were me, and it's not, obviously.......I'd go ahead and file for the sleep apnea, so's you can establish the "effective date". Otherwise, you're scruing yerself out of some money.

And, yes, it can be a result of depression.

I suffer from Bi-polar Disorder ( and that could be, BTW, where your "depression" is coming from ) and sometimes I've got what they call "combination", where you will have some of the effects of the mania and some of the effects of the depression. Soooo, I'll be so depressed that I can't sleep, then, when I do manage to fall asleep, the mania kicks in, and, bingo, I'm awake for hours, then the depression flares up and I can't sleep for worrying about ________, and I finally get so exhausted that I fall asleep and the mania kicks in and I'm swinging from the chandelier.................and.......well, you get the picture.

Had a period in my life where I wanted to be "normal", like everybody else.

So, I did some serious "self-medicating". Me and Old Jack, my buddy from Lynchburg, TN, we go to know each other purty good..................

Then I grew up and realized that all you "normal" folks are just as screwed up as me.....sometimes more so.

:)

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There's a lot of information on the internet that supports depression as a secondary effect of sleep apnea, but I can't find much the other way around. Is it possible you had the apnea before you first realized you suffered from depression?

Follow up on this 2003 study:

"Contact: Michelle Brandt

mbrandt@stanford.edu

Stanford University Medical Center

Sleep apnea, depression linked in Stanford study

STANFORD, Calif. - People with depression are five times more likely to have a breathing-related sleep disorder than non-depressed people, according to a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The study is the first to show a link between depression and sleep apnea along with its related disorders."

Ralph

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Sleep Apnea can be caused by depression, but in order for the VA to award service-connection, you're going to need your doctor to write an IMO stating your sleep apnea is caused by your depression. The doctor must also give their rational as to why they have come to that conclusion. For the most part VA will not simply award service-connection just because there is medical litrature out there in general that support something.

Vike 17

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Further some of the medications prescribed for depression can cause sleep apnea. I'd get an outside opinion on this one thoigh. The VA would probably be reluctant to admit to it.

Bob Smith

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I'm no expert.... far from one.. but in this case show me...

I just don't see how depression (a mental disorder) causes sleep apnea (a breathing disorder)

I AM NOT SAYING IT DOES NOT ! I just don't see it. I can understand how sleep apnea could cause depression. I think this subject came up before.

I myself have a sleep study coming up because I have asthma with COPD, and don't sleep well. I guess it is time for me to do some serious research. The internet should have some good information. If I find anything that ties sleep apnea as secondary to depression I will post it.

I mentioned the Stanford depression - apnea tie-in earlier in this forum, which is supposedly the first study to show that depression causes 5 times more sleep apnea than normal.

The best way I've found to use these scientific studies is to ask the physician writing the opinion to add the study to his opinion - as in "My opinion is further backed by the XXXXXXXX study published in YYYYYYYY"

This changes the citation from just an internet article into part of a medical opinion. Much stronger.

Ralph

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