ADHD and Sleep Disorders

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • It has long been believed that ADHD and sleep disorders were somehow connected.



    ADHD (Attention-Deficit hyperactivity Disorder) Eileen Bailey, Health Central's ADHD expert, tells us: "ADHD is a medical diagnosis. There is, however, no definitive medical test to prove or disprove whether ADHD is present." Eileen also says that there are several other medical conditions that share symptoms with ADHD, among them sleep disorders.


    Yet another cause for concern has shown up in recent research. According to an article in Science Daily, results of the study indicate that: "adolescents with a childhood diagnosis of ADHD were more likely to have current sleep problems and sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep terrors, nightmares, bruxism and snoring." To add to the difficulty of diagnosis, many primary sleep disorders have symptoms similar to what is found in ADHD and often the two overlap.

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    According to researchers, any child diagnosed with ADHD could be in for problems with sleep disorders later in life, from snoring to insomnia to night terrors. It is possible that, by treating the sleep disorder, the symptoms of ADHD may be improved.


    However, we should also look at methods of treating ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.) tells us there are three ways to treat ADHD:


    • MEDICATION - including stimulants including ritalin and adderall, and non-stimulants, including Strattera.
    • BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION - such as positive reinforcement for desired behavior, and consequences for inappropriate behavior.

    Children should be screened for sleep disorders and these problems controlled as much as possible before ADHD treatment begins. This could prevent the combination of sleep disorders and ADHD escalating into greater problems, such as abuse of stimulants and psychiatric disorders.

Published On: May 20, 2009