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David Baxter

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Snoring Examined To Treat Anxiety, Depression

Many people suffer from symptoms of depression and anxiety. Now doctors are treating those symptoms by examining a person's snoring.

In the case of Ashley Keenan, her snoring tipped off a sleep expert that she was having a hard time breathing while she was asleep, NBC 4 reported.

Experts call it obstructive sleep apnea. It occurs when a person stops breathing several times a night and, as a result, they never fall into a deep sleep, NBC 4 reported.

"The quality of (Ashley's) sleep was compromised because she wasn't breathing a good part of the time," said sleep expert Dr. Judith Owens.

So instead of the antidepressants and stimulants a psychologist has prescribed for her, sleep experts came up with something else: a CPAP machine.

It works like a reverse vacuum, blowing air through the nose and opening up a person's airway, NBC 4 reported.

Keenan said that before the CPAP machine, getting up before school was a major chore.

"(I was) falling behind in my classes and just feeling really tired," she said. "You know, not getting up until 10 in the morning on school days, which was really affecting my performance."

Although the antidepressants helped her depression, the stimulants didn't improve her fatigue like the machine has.

"My depression symptoms started to go away, but I was still really tired and having a hard time paying attention in class," Keenan said.

Owens said the machine allowed Keenan to come off the prescribed medications, and get the rest that improved her fatigue.

"No medication," Owens said. "In fact, she was able to come off the psychiatric medications and the depressant medications."

Now, two years later, Keenan said she's the stellar student she once was.

"I went from barely making it out of high school to having a 3.6 GPA," she said.
 

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