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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2005;7(4):335-46.

Psychiatric aspects of organic sleep disorders.

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Sleep Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Geneva University Hospital, Belle-Idée, 2, Chemin du Petit-Bel-Air, CH 1204-Chêne-Bourg, Switzerland.


In recent years, a number of studies have attempted to characterize psychological disturbances related to various sleep disorders. The objective of this type of research is to investigate the possibility that psychopathology may represent an etiological factor, a complication, and/or a target for treatment. In addition, disordered sleep can present itself in a complex and atypical fashion in which the primary sleep-related component may not be immediately apparent. This article reviews the evidence for a relationship between organic sleep disorders and psychiatric morbidity. Generally, it can be concluded that organic sleep disorders have a profound negative impact on most domains of health-related quality of life. Results for the sleep disorders that have been studied (narcolepsy idiopathic hypersomnia, sleep apnea/hypopnea syndrome, restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, and circadian sleep disorders) show strong evidence for an association with mood disorders. After treatment, depression scores may or may not improve to the level of population norms, suggesting that this relationship is more complex than one of mere cause and effect.

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