An ADHD diagnosis might not be ADHD at all. Instead, it might offer a clue that your child suffers from severe sleep deprivation. This is because ADHD symptoms and sleep deprivation side effects mirror each other exactly.
Melody’s son Kian wasn’t getting enough sleep due to disordered breathing. However, no one knew about this. His family and community were focused on his behavior problems; he was impulsive, hyperactive, and threw out of control tantrums. While other children grew out of these kinds of issues, Kian’s behavior worsened as he reached second grade.
Searching for a solution, Melody read everything she could about ADHD. Everything came together when she read an article in the Washington Post about the connection between ADHD, sleep deprivation, and mouth breathing. When Kian’s dentist noticed signs of mouth breathing, Melody knew she had found the root of behavior problems. It was not ADHD, it was disordered sleep.
Mouthbreathing is a major red flag when it comes to sleep. Children should be breathing through their noses at night. Mouthbreathing causes a host of problems, including overbite, speech problems, misaligned teeth, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulty focusing because they do not take in sufficient oxygen, making it impossible to get a good night’s sleep.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="628"] Via Huff Post[/caption]
In one study, 70% of children diagnosed with ADHD’s symptoms disappeared completely when their sleep problems were resolved. It appears that those children didn’t have ADHD at all, but treatable sleep disorders.
Unfortunately, many children diagnosed with ADHD are medicated using stimulants. A stimulant will successfully mask ADHD symptoms, but if the core issue is sleep deprivation, this isn’t fixing the problem at all. The behavior may be fixed, but the brain isn’t getting sufficient rest, so it’s not performing optimally. This means memory and learning centers don’t work to their full potential, and the child may suffer from side effects such as anxiety, nervousness, appetite loss, and depression.
This is a good reason to invest in helping your child develop healthy sleep routines early on in their lives. And upon receiving an ADHD diagnosis, it would be wise to look carefully for any signs of sleep disorders. You may be able to solve the problems effectively if you find the root cause.