Amid ADHD Spike, Doctors Urge Closer Look at Sleep Issues
January 24, 2018 - UT Southwestern
Amid a steady rise in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD, debate is brewing whether the condition may be a sleep disorder.
At a recent Paris scientific conference, scientists in psychiatry discussed evidence supporting the theory that sleep and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are intertwined. However, some experts caution that more proof is needed to make the association and that many new cases involve children whose sleep disorders cause behaviors that mimic ADHD.
“If adults don’t get enough sleep, they’ll appear sleepy,” says Dr. Syed Naqvi, a pediatric sleep expert at UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. “Children don’t do that. They show ADHD-like behavior instead – hyperactive or inattentive.”
Dr. Naqvi says he sees plenty of ADHD-diagnosed children whose behavior only improves after better sleep quality and duration. Occasionally, he has found that ADHD medications are the root of the sleep issues.
Dr. Preston Wiles, an ADHD expert with the O’Donnell Brain Institute, acknowledges that the increasing number of children taking these medications is “concerning.” He says the trend is fueled in large part by a lack of qualified clinicians who can accurately diagnose ADHD and understand child behavior.
“Pills can be a poor substitute for taking the time to truly understand what is going on with behavior,” Dr. Wiles says.
Dr. Naqvi offers a few tips to help parents determine whether sleep disturbances are affecting their child’s behavior:
- Watch for signs of breathing issues, such as snoring or short intervals of halted breathing, and get an evaluation by a sleep expert.
- Measure the duration of nighttime sleep the child is getting and monitor any sleepiness during the daytime.
- Monitor school performance and seek help if it doesn’t improve after starting ADHD medications.
Did you enjoy this story?
If you would like to receive an email when new stories like this one are posted to our website, please complete the form below.
We won't share your information, and you can unsubscribe any time.
Other Recommended Stories
Children’s Cancer Fund Raises $1.2 Million at “Sweet 30th Anniversary Gala” Dallas Cowboys quarterback greats Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, along with other celebrities, lit up the runway with 22 children, raising funds to cure pediatric cancer Over 1,200 guests, including 85 pediatric ...
OP Live Dallas, a premier esports event, will be held Sept. 22-23, 2018 at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas. The money raised during the event will be donated to Extra LifeTM, a division of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®, which supports local children’s hospitals including Children’s Health. ...
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has awarded more than $6.1 million to Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) for cancer research and prevention. Several CRI researchers including CRI’s Director, Dr. Sean Morrison, Dr. Ralph ...