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Kids With ADHD: Could They Simply Be Tired?

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Kids With ADHD: Could They Simply Be Tired?

by Julie Ryan Evans

boy nappingIn what could potentially be good news for some of the children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a doctor claims to have a cure -- more sleep. Dr. Vatsal Thakkar believes that more than a third of children have been misdiagnosed with ADHD when what they're really suffering from is sleep deprivation.

I'm sure there are plenty of parents who have been through countless doctors, medications, and other treatments with their children who will bristle at this assertion. However, he's not saying that ADHD isn't a real thing for some people, he just believe that "a substantial proportion of cases are really sleep disorders in disguise."  Interesting.

His theory makes a sense too. Thakkar, who's a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine, told the Daily Mail that the symptoms of both (hyperactivity, difficulty focusing, aggression, and forgetfulness) are quite similar -- especially in children. Another doctor, Dr. Neil Stanley, agreed with the theory and told the paper that as ADHD diagnoses have risen, kids have gotten less sleep. He said kids today get at least one less hour of sleep than they did 100 years ago. Others studies have also made a link between sleep disorders and ADHD

Additionally, Thakkar says that it may be easier for doctors to hand out an ADHD diagnosis than to tell parents their kids need better sleep habits.

For some children it may be a diagnosis of convenience. Yet by misdiagnosing sleep-deprived patients as having ADHD, we are not only doing a disservice to those who really have ADHD but may be treating thousands of patients with poor sleep with medications designed to control or modify daytime behavior.

I don't doubt that ADHD is a very real and chronic condition for some children that no amount of sleep will cure, but if you could cure your child's symptoms with better sleep habits, wouldn't you want to? The CDC estimates that 3-7 percent of school-age children have ADHD. Between 2003 and 2007, the rate of reported cases in children ages 4-17 increased 22 percent. And with one of the prominent treatments for it  being drugs like Ritalin -- that have side effects -- some more z's sounds like a much better option. Hopefully there will be more research into this area soon.

Do you think your child's ADHD really could be sleep deprivation?

by on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:13 AM
Replies (11-20):
wickedfiress
by Kellie on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:44 AM
I didn't get a feeling the article as saying ADHD is not real, but that many children are *misdiagnosed* with it.... As my child has been. People also like to throw out Autism for my son and he doesn't have that either.

What he does have is a childhood seizure disorder that causes him to wander, to yell out, (these are his auras) and to gaze off into space for a few moments at a time (this is an absence seizure).

This same disorder often causes sleep disturbances and if he doesn't get a good night's rest because he had a seizure while sleeping, he has the symptoms listed that would have people telling me he has ADHD.


Quoting celticwych:

 Uhhhhh ROFL I find this hysterically funny.  Unless you walk in the shoes of someone who has ADHD or you are the parent of someone who has ADHD......you can come up with all the excuses in the world and you will still have no idea.  My now 28 year old daughter who has ADHD along with other diagnoses described ADHD as having headphones on with death metal music blasting in your ears ALL THE TIME, 24 hours a day.  You cant concentrate, you cant focus.  You cant think or accomplish any tasks because you cant focus, the music is to loud. Its easier to just tune it all out. The music, the people trying to tell you things and life in general.   Sleep deprivation was NOT her problem. ADHD is. 

garnet83
by Member on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:44 AM

 I am aware of what ADHD is and is not. However, certain behaviors are the result of the disorder.


Quoting dtm1491:

ADHD is not a behavioral disorder.

Quoting garnet83:

I believe there is a lot of merit to this. I believe there are children with ADHD, but I've always thought it to be overly diagnosed. Also, after proctoring EOG's in the local schools this year and seeing all of them fall into deep, drooling, snoring sleep as they finished their tests, I was convinced children are not getting adequate sleep. They weren't napping. They were snoozing. They were out cold. Teachers had to walk around and individually wake up the kids. With my own children (4 and 5), they were going to bed around 9-9:15. They didn't seem sleepy at all at that time either. But they started getting restless during the day and getting in trouble in preschool. I moved their bedtime to 8-8:30. Their behavior improved immediately.



 

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:48 AM
1 mom liked this
My youngest had a sleep study - we actually thought he was having seizures. No issues with him. I had a sleep study also. We already knew I don't sleep. The sleep study results said I don't sleep. Thanks, money well spent. Neither one of us had apnea.

Quoting SuperChicken:

Do the do a sleep disorder study when diagnosing ADHD?   Many sleep disorders are not readily apparent - i.e. a child can seem to be sleeping but never really going into deep sleep so they still wake exhausted. 

terpmama
by Silver Member on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:53 AM


The study is not saying ALL ADHD is sleep issues but that the RISE in kids DIAGNOSED MAY ACTUALLY have a sleep issue that is presenting like ADHD. No one is discounting or saying ADHD isn't a true disorder but that maybe instead of instantly medicating for ADHD a sleep study should be done to rule that out. 

Quoting celticwych:

 Uhhhhh ROFL I find this hysterically funny.  Unless you walk in the shoes of someone who has ADHD or you are the parent of someone who has ADHD......you can come up with all the excuses in the world and you will still have no idea.  My now 28 year old daughter who has ADHD along with other diagnoses described ADHD as having headphones on with death metal music blasting in your ears ALL THE TIME, 24 hours a day.  You cant concentrate, you cant focus.  You cant think or accomplish any tasks because you cant focus, the music is to loud. Its easier to just tune it all out. The music, the people trying to tell you things and life in general.   Sleep deprivation was NOT her problem. ADHD is. 



LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Jun. 21, 2013 at 9:55 AM
We thought my son was havin "stare off" seizures as well, which is why we had a sleep study done. Nope, no seizures.

Quoting wickedfiress:

I didn't get a feeling the article as saying ADHD is not real, but that many children are *misdiagnosed* with it.... As my child has been. People also like to throw out Autism for my son and he doesn't have that either.



What he does have is a childhood seizure disorder that causes him to wander, to yell out, (these are his auras) and to gaze off into space for a few moments at a time (this is an absence seizure).



This same disorder often causes sleep disturbances and if he doesn't get a good night's rest because he had a seizure while sleeping, he has the symptoms listed that would have people telling me he has ADHD.





Quoting celticwych:

 Uhhhhh ROFL I find this hysterically funny.  Unless you walk in the shoes of someone who has ADHD or you are the parent of someone who has ADHD......you can come up with all the excuses in the world and you will still have no idea.  My now 28 year old daughter who has ADHD along with other diagnoses described ADHD as having headphones on with death metal music blasting in your ears ALL THE TIME, 24 hours a day.  You cant concentrate, you cant focus.  You cant think or accomplish any tasks because you cant focus, the music is to loud. Its easier to just tune it all out. The music, the people trying to tell you things and life in general.   Sleep deprivation was NOT her problem. ADHD is. 

SuperChicken
by on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Those were handy results, lol.   


Quoting LauraKW:

My youngest had a sleep study - we actually thought he was having seizures. No issues with him. I had a sleep study also. We already knew I don't sleep. The sleep study results said I don't sleep. Thanks, money well spent. Neither one of us had apnea.

Quoting SuperChicken:

Do the do a sleep disorder study when diagnosing ADHD?   Many sleep disorders are not readily apparent - i.e. a child can seem to be sleeping but never really going into deep sleep so they still wake exhausted. 


 

jehosoba84
by Jenn on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM

It's interesting to me, cause dd was diagnosed with it and she's the one who sleeps the most out of my 3 kids. (she's the oldest, btw) 

Maybe I should let her sleep in during the summer. lol

wickedfiress
by Kellie on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:03 AM
My son is definitely having seizures. :(


Quoting LauraKW:

We thought my son was havin "stare off" seizures as well, which is why we had a sleep study done. Nope, no seizures.



Quoting wickedfiress:

I didn't get a feeling the article as saying ADHD is not real, but that many children are *misdiagnosed* with it.... As my child has been. People also like to throw out Autism for my son and he doesn't have that either.





What he does have is a childhood seizure disorder that causes him to wander, to yell out, (these are his auras) and to gaze off into space for a few moments at a time (this is an absence seizure).





This same disorder often causes sleep disturbances and if he doesn't get a good night's rest because he had a seizure while sleeping, he has the symptoms listed that would have people telling me he has ADHD.








Quoting celticwych:

 Uhhhhh ROFL I find this hysterically funny.  Unless you walk in the shoes of someone who has ADHD or you are the parent of someone who has ADHD......you can come up with all the excuses in the world and you will still have no idea.  My now 28 year old daughter who has ADHD along with other diagnoses described ADHD as having headphones on with death metal music blasting in your ears ALL THE TIME, 24 hours a day.  You cant concentrate, you cant focus.  You cant think or accomplish any tasks because you cant focus, the music is to loud. Its easier to just tune it all out. The music, the people trying to tell you things and life in general.   Sleep deprivation was NOT her problem. ADHD is. 

celticwych
by Member on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

 I absolutely agree that ADHD can be a "blanket diagnosis" for all kinds of issues with kids.  I was simply putting my experience out there.  My daughter and myself (I put her first because I only have to deal with the BS if I chose too, she deals with it daily because she lives it) dealt with years of hearing how she needs more sleep, she is spoiled, she just doesnt want to listen, she is lazy, she has no drive etc etc etc.......so, I tend to take articles like this a little defensive because of lazy doctors, doctors who dont care, doctors that dont listen, doctors that have no drive use ADHD as a blanket diagnosis.  Those kids and adults with sleep issues and other issues are out of luck if they dont get a second opinon and the kids and adults out there with ADHD arent take seriously.  Mental illness of any kind is very hard to diagnose and its even harder with children.  Its easier to dope kids  up to keep them quiet and to make the general population more comfortable. 

Its hard enough for a teacher to try and teach over crowded classrooms, then add a kid or two with "issues" its an impossible challenge.  Its not fair to those kids without issues. Give them an ADHD diagnosis, dope them up so they are manageable and its easy peasy for everyone concerned, expect the kid who has been misdiagnosed.   Bahhh Im rambling now. This subject is near and dear to my heart. 

Quoting terpmama:

 

The study is not saying ALL ADHD is sleep issues but that the RISE in kids DIAGNOSED MAY ACTUALLY have a sleep issue that is presenting like ADHD. No one is discounting or saying ADHD isn't a true disorder but that maybe instead of instantly medicating for ADHD a sleep study should be done to rule that out. 

Quoting celticwych:

 Uhhhhh ROFL I find this hysterically funny.  Unless you walk in the shoes of someone who has ADHD or you are the parent of someone who has ADHD......you can come up with all the excuses in the world and you will still have no idea.  My now 28 year old daughter who has ADHD along with other diagnoses described ADHD as having headphones on with death metal music blasting in your ears ALL THE TIME, 24 hours a day.  You cant concentrate, you cant focus.  You cant think or accomplish any tasks because you cant focus, the music is to loud. Its easier to just tune it all out. The music, the people trying to tell you things and life in general.   Sleep deprivation was NOT her problem. ADHD is. 

 

 

 

SilverSterling
by MrsSilverusSnape on Jun. 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

That Happened with my soon to be 11yr we did the sleep study for the same reason come to find out it was a Medication she was taking at the time causing it.. Since it was new it was the lowest dose out there.. Once we stopped they got better.. She still does it time to time but not nearly as bad as she use too..

Quoting LauraKW:

We thought my son was havin "stare off" seizures as well, which is why we had a sleep study done. Nope, no seizures.

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