CPAP May Reduce Nightmares in Vets Suffering PTSD and Sleep Apnea

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects many veterans returning from recent and previous wars. This condition can completely disrupt one’s life, affecting relationships and even the ability to perform daily tasks.

Symptoms vary and may fluctuate over time. But some common symptoms include flashbacks of the traumatic event, avoidance of similar situations, emotional arousal, detachment, impulsivity, personality/behavioral changes and nightmares.

But a new study finds that the occurrence of nightmares could be reduced in vets who undergo continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. This is a machine where a tube connected to a motor blows air into a mask, which fits over the person’s mouth and nose. It works by keeping the airway from getting blocked or collapsing.

CPAP is already used to treat those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a disorder that causes a disruption in breathing. Both of these conditions can affect vets, disrupting a good night’s rest. After conducting this sleep study on vets with both conditions, the number of nightmares dropped with CPAP treatment.

Although nightmares are a common symptom of PTSD, it is believed that OSA can actually trigger them. The VA has said that about one out of every five vets has OSA, possibly a result of exposure to dust, sand and smoke.

PTSD can be debilitating, affecting one’s quality of life. Coupling that with OSA can increase the chance of disabling physical and emotional health problems. For help filing an initial claim or appealing one that has been denied, don’t hesitate to seek legal help from an attorney at the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group