Get the Care You Deserve
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, please contact Dr. Garceau as soon as possible at 860-254-6189. She’s an advanced sleep dentist who will ensure that you get the proper diagnosis and treatment for your unique situation.
The Common Threat of Misdiagnosing Sleep Apnea as ADHD
Out of the estimated 36 million Americans—adults and children—with ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), between one half and three fourths also suffer from a sleep disorder. Sadly, ADHD is often misdiagnosed, and when we pair it with sleep apnea, it escalates the symptoms and issues. The relationship between these two disorders is not straightforward—that’s why it’s vital to conduct a sleep study to get the correct diagnosis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of ADHD are as follows:
- Hot temper
- Poor planning
- Issues focusing
- Mood swings
- Trouble coping with stress
Unfortunately, the symptoms of sleep apnea are uncannily similar—restlessness, irritability, learning and behavioral issues, and more. For this reason, it’s not surprising that some doctors initially misdiagnose the two conditions.
If you’re experiencing some of the symptoms of ADHD but not all of them, we encourage you to reach out to Dr. Garceau. She can help you take the necessary steps toward a sleep study, and ultimately a better night’s rest.
Don’t Leave It to Chance—Get a Sleep Study
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) happens when the muscles in the throat collapse during sleep—this causes the airway to close and breathing to stop. When your body stops breathing, you’ll wake up. According to WebMD, some patients with mild sleep apnea can experience 5 to 15 episodes a night, while a patient with severe sleep apnea might wake 30 or more times. Each time you wake, you’re sacrificing energy and much-needed sleep.
In a 2013 study, researchers followed a young, healthy man who was struggling with the symptoms of ADHD. He was diagnosed with ADHD and given medication. After 6-months, he didn’t see any relief of his symptoms, so he returned to his doctor, who referred him to a sleep specialist like Dr. Garceau. They conducted a sleep study and found that he never had ADHD but was instead suffering from sleep apnea the entire time.
Treatment with Oral Appliance or CPAP
If we assess the airway and find that an obstruction is the cause of your sleep apnea, you may benefit from one of our sleep apnea treatments. All of our treatments restore airflow to your lungs and work to keep the airway open while you sleep. Typically, we’ll select the appropriate treatment based on the severity of your condition.
Some of our patients suffer from both ADHD and OSA. In these situations, sleep apnea can provoke the symptoms of ADHD, making them harder to control.
For your convenience, our team is waiting by to answer any questions you have relating to sleep apnea and ADHD. Give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garceau today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does ADHD cause sleep apnea?
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, as many as 25% of children diagnosed with ADHD may have symptoms of sleep apnea and their daytime impairments may be due to chronic sleep disturbances.
Researchers are unsure of what causes the link between sleep apnea and ADHD, but what’s important is that you seek help. If your child has symptoms of ADHD or sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with Dr. Garceau by calling our office at (860) 254-6189 and we’ll help you get to the bottom of it.
Does lack of sleep make ADHD worse?
Whether it’s because of the medication or the disorder itself, lack of sleep can make ADHD symptoms worse. Difficulty sleeping can cause children with ADHD to become more hyperactive. Undergoing a sleep study can help determine if you would benefit from sleep apnea treatment so you can put an end to restless nights.