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What causes excessive sleepiness when diagnosed with depression?

Answered by
Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe


Practicing since :2014

Answered : 2243 Questions

Posted on Thu, 22 Dec 2016 in Mental Health
Question: I am totally perplexed by my symptoms. I'll try to do the most accurate job I can describing. I have always had a tendency to oversleep, since childhood, but in the last three years it has become increasingly excessive. Lately, I have had to quit my job because I've been too tired to get up in the morning. I can sleep up to twenty hours a day. When I sleep a whole lot like this, I do feel refreshed for a while when I wake up. When I am up, although I do feel refreshed, I almost always feel like staying in bed. Small activities, like taking a shower, exhaust me.

I do have pre-existing conditions: major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and acid reflux. (I also have irritable bowel, but I do not require medication for that.) I take prilosec over-the-counter for the acid reflux. For the major depressive disorder and ocd, I take generic forms of luvox, wellbutrin, and abilify prescribed to me by a licensed psychologist. Regarding this excessive sleeping, I do not feel "depressed." I easily recognize depression symptoms in myself from having combated it for years. I actually feel like my self-esteem is very high right now, I am enjoying life (when I'm awake), and I have a positive outlook.

My father had sleep apnea, but he didn't require a cpap machine. (He died at age 52 of XXXXXXX Gehrig's Disease.)

I have been tested for Multiple Schlerosis and I have had numerous bloodwork panels, as well as checking for signs of stroke. I have no idea if this is related or not, but about four months ago out of the blue I completely lost control of my body while at work for an undisclosed amount of time (I don't remember and no one was with me at the time). I banged my head on the back of the chair and the room was whirling. No seizure activity was detected at the hospital, and a diagnosis was never arrived upon.

I really feel like I am an intelligent person who has a lot to offer in the world. I don't think I am simply being "lazy." I know the fact I have mental illness issues does cause some people to believe I am somehow an inferior person, but I do not believe that at all. I am really proud of myself and my accomplishments and I really want to get to the bottom of this.
Answered by Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe 9 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
Hello, and thanks for your question.

This might be primary hypersomnia, a sleep disorder. You could consider trying a stimulant medication like Ritalin or Provigil. I would also be concerned about undertreated neurovegetative symptoms of major depression (even without depressed mood). But Ritalin or Provigil could also help with these. I'd ask your doctor about trying one.

Please remember to rate and close this answer thread when you are finished and satisfied.

In the future, for continuity of care, I encourage you to contact me directly at my private web address below. After you ask a direct question, it would be my pleasure to be your dedicated personal physician on this website. My name is Dr. Sheppe, and I am an XXXXXXX doctor working in New York City at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, ranked #1 for Psychiatry in the United States ( For a personalized comprehensive evaluation, treatment recommendations, and individual therapy, ask me at HealthCareMagic at this private web address:
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. REMY KOSHY

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