CPAP Addiction

by Dee
(Cornwall, Ontario Canada)

I have been told by a friend that people can get addicted to the CPAP and have to use oxygen all the time and to avoid the CPAP at all costs.

Is this true?


It's true that some CPAP users experience the "feeling" of CPAP addiction.

This addiction is expressed as a difficulty of falling asleep without the CPAP. You can call it psychological dependence if you want, because there are psychological reasons for this "problem".

We already know that having a successful CPAP is not easy and straightforward. There are a lot of CPAP mask problems that may appear, such as:
However, some persons can fall asleep so much better with a CPAP machine, that the difference from before and after CPAP therapy is amazing. In fact, the benefits of sleeping with a breathing machine is amazing.

For these persons, CPAP addiction consists of knowing and feeling the difference between sleep and good sleep. If they nap without the mask, it is not a restful sleep and they feel it.

Not using a CPAP wrecks your cardiovascular system (leading to atrial fibrilation and other problems), among other systems. Even just for naps.

The fear of dying in sleep is another incentive for using a CPAP every time you sleep. Using the machine can make you feel relaxed and willing to sleep much easier.

In other words, when you feel the CPAP addiction, the body somehow psychologically knows the apnea episodes will occur when trying to go to sleep without the breathing machine. It's like your body fights going to sleep because of all the stress it would go through.

Bottom line... You can call it CPAP addiction, psychological dependence, or whatever. But if you have sleep apnea, you need CPAP to sleep, just like you need a pillow and a blanket.

Can you sleep without a pillow and blanket? Yes, but it will be difficult, because is so much better with them. You are hooked with your pillow.

Personally, I don't think there is such thing as a CPAP addiction. As an analogy, people need glasses to see. When they take their glasses off, their vision isn't blurry because they have become addicted to their glasses. Their vision is blurry because their eyes are physically not ideal.

You need a CPAP because your throat anatomy and physiology is not ideal (don't worry, many of us are imperfect). Using a CPAP does not make it worse.

I don't think we get addicted to CPAP. I just think we sleep so much better with them we don't want to go without.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for CPAP Addiction

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Jun 10, 2016
CPAP- Can't Sleep Without It
by: Kyle

I've been a CPAP user for over 5 years now. It may not be a medically defined addiction, but the 3 nights I have been without it have been miserable. I have very narrow sinuses.

Before CPAP most of my breathing was done by mouth. I had to train myself to breath through my nose only. It is very difficult for me to breath through my mouth now.

Without my CPAP machine forceing air into my nasal sinuses, I don't sleep. It would be the closest thing to addiction I have experienced in my 51 years of living.

May 14, 2016
by: David Arntz

I liked your coment that the body avoids going to sleep without it to avoid the stress I would go through. This is a good statement which I can identify with. I feel 1000% better since using these machines, and I'm pretty sure it has prolonged my health and life.

Feb 16, 2016
My friend died
by: Anonymous

I just had a friend who took only a nap without his CPAP & he died. He was only in his 50's. I am wondering if becoming so conditioned to wearing this product makes one totally dependent on it so the individual forgets how to "breathe" on their own without it!

It was a devastating loss! Maybe in the future they will have a pill you take to keep airways unobstructed and oxygen flowing freely!
Until then CPAP is important for those with Sleep Apnea, but maybe side effects should also be investigated!

Jan 13, 2016
no longer on nightime supplimentl O2
by: Mike

It has been 5 years, and many sleep studies, but when I first was prescribed my Bi-Pap, I was also was prescribed supplemental O2 at night only. My pre machine breathing was so bad my oxygen levels dropped off and it was warranted. Since My BI Pap, I no longer need the supplemental oxygen (since I breathe all night now)

I even nap with my bi-pap, I was concerned about an addiction, but as it was stated about wearing glasses, it is the same correction to a flawed system.

Oct 06, 2015
I was wondering if I was addicted
by: Annas

I was wondering if I was addicted, even for a nap I just cant fall asleep, lately I was traveling in a new motorhome and was stuck a couple of night not using it.

I was zombie like for two days, my hubby stop to buy a inverter and bypass it on the coach battery, the next day I was able to drive also.

Life without a cpap is just not the same. I am dead sleepy if I don't sleep with it, its why I thought I was addicted.

When I place my cpap on I dose off fast , and my cpap mask is very small just goes on my nose and on top of my head.

May 27, 2015
c-ap addiction
by: Anonymous

c-pap is really helpful......i was starting to get pissed off with people and irrational due to lack of sleep and air...i now have 10 x more energy and am starting to feel more calm and relaxed...its true you start to want to use the machine because you feel better....but it also happens that the machine gets kicked under the bed when the right company arrives....

Aug 08, 2014
Addiction - yes
by: Anonymous

The definition of addiction is "the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity." You most certainly can get addicted. After 2yrs of use, I have trouble breathing when going to sleep without it. If I nap without it, I wake up with a worse headache and general crappy feeling (like a hangover). I am much healthier with my CPAP addiction than without it. I don't believe anyone ever needed oxygen after prolonged use...that seems illogical.

Jun 02, 2014
by: subhalaxmi

I'm CPAP dependent. For7 years I sleep with the machine before that I lost 10 years of my life (Prime time)fighting for sleep at night and in the day time fighting for notto sleep. So I got a new life with this.Even if some one says addiction it is his/her problem. Only thing when I go for pleasure trip I just don't like to carry it to explain all the people at the Air ports about my problem . I carry mild sleeping pills those help me a bit.I just want to know is there any problem if I go without it for 10-15 days a year? I'm 57 years and high B.P patient.

May 28, 2014
Auto CPAP ( Felt High )
by: Terry Harrington

Greetings all

When I first started using my CPAP the first morning when I woke up after 9 hours, I felt as though I was HIGH and felt dizzy and off balance
( frightening ):) but now I don't get that anymore ( I hope ) is this what usually happens to people who start using it?

Jan 10, 2012
just wondering
by: Anonymous

I read your all comments and did have same sides too and another thing I wanted to know was did it make you have back pain side effects?

Sep 12, 2011
CPAP Addiction?
by: Anonymous

CPAP addiction? CPAP does not introduce drugs to your system, so it cannot be truly addicting. If it were psychologicall addicting, then just sleeping with the machine turned on would satisfy the addiction as well as actually using it. Oxygen? Introducing excess oxygen into your system can be damaging. People with serious breathing conditions have to use supplemental oxygen, but it is supplemental.

Where did the writer of the question get his/her information?

Sep 10, 2011
by: Anonymous

I have recently been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and received my CPAP yesterday. After using my CPAP machine for just 1 night I feel like an entirely new person today. I slept the whole night through without getting up several times and without tossing and turning. If this is an addiction so be it. I feel rested for the first time in years.

Sep 01, 2011
by: Curmujeon

The 'oxygen' word in the original indicates that some who might say this may be misinformed. Most CPAP users are not on oxygen anymore than everybody else. They are just breathing regular air that is pressurized to keep the airways from obstructing. We are all addicted to oxygen. Without it we die.

Aug 25, 2011
Great Answer
by: Kath Hope

Great answer there Remy. Addiction is not the correct word to use at all. The 'need' to feel well and alert everyday feeds us with the 'common sense' to wear our CPAPs everyday. If we don't want to feel ill we eat food and drink liquids, which doesn't equate to addiction either.

Aug 24, 2011
by: shylakay

Amen brother.. well said.

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