According to US-based doctor Vatsal Thakkar, children diagnosed with ADHD could simply be sleep deprived.
This medical opinion, alongside reports that ADHD in children is linked to obesity in adulthood, means that the disorder will continue to be an issue that doctors try to better understand to ensure treatment and management is accurate.
The clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine has suggested that up to one third of children, not to mention the one quarter of adults also diagnosed with ADHD, have sleeping problems that facilitate the hyperactive behavior of the disorder.
Furthermore, Thakkar believes that — due to the similarities between sleep deprivation and ADHD such as lack of focus, aggression and forgetfulness — the symptoms could cause confusion in accurate diagnosis of the symptoms, especially if Thakkar’s remarks about poor understanding of sleep deprivation is added into the equation.
The assistant professor continued along that line of reasoning by saying that, although there are many genuine cases of ADHD, there are also cases which are nothing more than sleep disorders in disguise; this obviously puts many people on edge when you take into consideration the enormous increase of prescriptions for the ADHD drug, Ritalin.
In addition to this, there is also new evidence that has shown that many ADHD children suffer from breathing problems when they sleep, which means that their delta sleep is affected greatly; this deep, rejuvenating section of our sleep patterns, that normally occurs 30 – 50 minutes after we fall sleep, is needed for proper growth and development.
Therefore, children who miss out or have this section of their sleep disturbed, are undoubtedly more likely to have similar symptoms to ADHD; quite simply, it could be more about resolving sleeping issues than it could be about treating the attention deficit disorder.
Furthermore, with sleep deprivation apparently causing weight gain, it would seem that there is an obvious and reoccurring pattern with the attention disorder, sleep, and weight.
With the news of the close relationship that ADHD and sleep deprivation share, it seems likely that more studies will aim to uncover just how common misdiagnosis is in children expected to have to disorder.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]