Is Your ADHD Diagnosis Connected to Sleep Apnea?
Do you or a loved one suffer from ADHD? Millions of children and adults in the United States are affected by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), with diagnoses dramatically increasing over the past decade. This disorder is characterized by symptoms like impulsivity, difficulty concentrating, trouble retaining new information, and irritability.
However, many of these same symptoms are also experienced by individuals who suffer from sleep apnea. The similarities beg the question: Are you or a loved one experiencing ADHD symptoms worsened by or resulting from untreated sleep apnea? It’s true, sleep apnea can result in many symptoms that are often attributed to ADHD.
Since sleep problems are so common in people who suffer from ADHD, you owe it to yourself to confirm whether sleep apnea is contributing to trouble paying attention. For many patients, treating their previously undiagnosed sleep apnea can significantly lessen difficulties with concentrating, memory, and mood.
Symptoms Shared by ADHD & Sleep Apnea
ADHD and sleep apnea can both display a number of symptoms that impact your life in several different ways. Some symptoms shared by both disorders include:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Inconsistent Moods
Because of their similar signs, an ADHD diagnosis can sometimes be given without considering sleep apnea. A misdiagnosis can lead to unproductive treatments, overmedication and disillusion with the therapy process.
The Promise of Certainty
By undergoing a sleep study with the guidance of a sleep specialist, most patients can establish whether or not they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We can then prescribe effective treatment options like CPAP and oral appliances. These solutions can reliably boost airflow through the night, giving you the rejuvenating, quality sleep your body needs.
Whether treatment reduces or eliminates ADHD symptoms, your health will be better supported by your increased oxygen intake during rest. Plus, you and your doctor will have more clarity when making decisions about continued ADHD treatment.
For many patients, treatment for sleep apnea can significantly reduce ADHD symptoms and make managing the condition less of a day-to-day struggle. Some patients may even discover their ADHD was misdiagnosed altogether.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sleep apnea cause ADHD symptoms?
Studies show that children who experience symptoms of sleep apnea tend to display hyperactive behaviors, such as having trouble sitting still and paying attention. These behavioral issues are similar to those found in children with ADHD, which is why sleep apnea is so commonly misdiagnosed in children.
Both children and adults suffering from sleep deprivation may display symptoms similar to those associated with ADHD, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they struggle with the behavioral disorder.
How do I tell if my child has ADHD or sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea in children is often misdiagnosed as ADHD due to their similar symptoms. The American Sleep Association states that nearly 25 percent of children in the United States have been misdiagnosed with ADHD. Some common symptoms of sleep apnea in children include:
- Behavioral problems
- Frequent bedwetting
- Night sweating
- Difficulty paying attention
Do adults and children with ADHD and sleep apnea receive the same sleep apnea treatment?
A patient’s sleep apnea treatment will depend on their individual needs. Studies show that adults and children struggling with sleep apnea may benefit from different treatments. For children, research suggests that removing their tonsils may help alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea.
However, both children and adults with sleep apnea have benefitted from treatment with a CPAP machine or oral appliance. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about the right treatment for their sleep apnea symptoms, or schedule an appointment with Dr. Lawrence at our McKinney office.
Don’t Wait to Find Relief
Whether your symptoms stem from ADHD, sleep apnea, or a combination of the two, you shouldn’t have to struggle with uncertainty. By undergoing a sleep study, you can find out if sleep apnea is affecting your condition and take informed steps to treat your unique case. Appropriate therapy can then alleviate symptoms of ADHD while also supporting your overall health.
Let Dr. Lawrence help guide you to clarity by connecting you with a sleep specialist for an overnight or at-home sleep study. If you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, he’ll help you find a treatment solution that works for your individual needs. Contact us today by calling (972) 542-9129 to find support for your mental and bodily health.