Monday, December 24, 2007

Attention-Deficit Disorder or Lack of Sleep?

Attention-Deficit Disorder or Lack of Sleep?

Attention-Deficit Disorder or Lack of Sleep?

CDH Sleep Medicine Director Says Sleep Disorders at Root of Many Childhood and Adolescent Behaviors

Winfield, Ill., March 9, 2007—The impact of sleep deprivation in children and teenagers is an eye-opener, mimicking conditions ranging from attention-deficit disorder to adolescent depression to drunk driving.

Children who have trouble staying on task—distractible, fidgety, constantly moving—are often diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but may have actually have a sleep disorder, says Anna Ivanenko, MD, pediatric sleep medicine director at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield.

“Studies have shown a clear link between sleep dysfunction, which causes excessive daytime sleepiness, and behavioral, mood and performance deficits,” says Dr. Ivanenko, who reported her findings recently at the second annual “Sleep and Learning” Seminar for DuPage County educators, sponsored by Central DuPage Hospital.

Children with sleep apnea, for instance, have a restless sleep, characterized by loud snoring, respiratory pauses and troubled breathing, sweating. Not surprisingly, they have trouble waking up in the morning, are sleepy during the day, and exhibit a wide range of behaviors usually associated with ADHD: hyperactivity, poor impulse control, aggressiveness, attention span problems, social withdrawal and learning problems, according to Dr. Ivanenko.

“Treating a child who has a sleep disorder and allowing him to get a good night’s sleep will frequently eliminate ADHD symptoms and the need for ADHD medication,” says Dr. Ivanenko.

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