When you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s important to find a sleep apnea treatment that you will actually use. If you don’t use your treatment, you will continue to be at risk for the dangers of sleep apnea.

Because CPAP compliance rates can be low, it’s important to consider whether you are a good match for CPAP before you start treatment. A new clinical review shows that some aspects of personality can reduce compliance with CPAP. This can help you steer away from CPAP if it’s not a good fit and get an alternative treatment that might be easier for you to use.

man sleeping on his back with CPAP mask on

Personalities That Have a Hard Time with CPAP

This study is a large meta-analysis of 13 studies conducted between 2000 and 2016. These studies looked at a diverse array of personality characteristics to determine which traits led to lower compliance with CPAP.

They found that type D personalities were the most associated with poor CPAP compliance. Type D personalities are characterized by two primary traits. First, they have a tendency to experience negative emotions. They also have significant social inhibitions: they are less able to express themselves socially, and more likely to fear rejection.

Other reasons why people may not comply with CPAP as well include hypochondriasis, distrust of authority, and a tendency toward denial. Hypochondriasis causes people to be extra focused on symptoms, which can make them very aware of the side effects of CPAP, and, therefore, less likely to keep using their CPAP. People with distrust of authority are more likely to doubt the efficacy of CPAP or the significance of their condition. People with a tendency toward denial or avoidance of negative information are more likely to believe that their sleep apnea is not a serious condition and doesn’t need serious treatment.

People are also less likely to comply with CPAP if they were coerced into seeking treatment than if they decided on their own to get treated.

Oral Appliances Can Help

Oral appliances can help many people who just can’t comply with CPAP. Because it’s an easier treatment overall and has higher overall compliance rates, even personalities with lower compliance rates are still more likely to get good treatment with oral appliances.

With fewer side effects, there is less for hypochondriacs to latch onto as an excuse to stop treatment. Even those who are skeptical of authority or in denial of their condition may see an oral appliance as a more reasonable treatment alternative. Less intrusive with fewer side effects and nuisances, it’s just easier to comply with oral appliances.

And people who see CPAP as the recommendation from authority figures (whether doctors or people who brought them in for treatment) often see an oral appliance as a counterculture alternative, something they can choose for themselves.

If personality traits are making it hard for you or a loved one to comply with CPAP, perhaps an oral appliance will be a better fit. To learn whether an oral appliance can help you, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.