Children and Adults Are Equally at Risk
Between half and three-fourths of adults and children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also suffer from a sleep disorder. Unfortunately, ADHD is often misdiagnosed, and it can cause severe issues when paired with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can make you tired, unmotivated, and detached, which are all symptoms of ADHD as well. The relationship between the two conditions is not always straightforward — it’s quite complicated. You can get a better understanding of your condition by completing a sleep study.
Symptoms Shared Between ADHD & Sleep Apnea
According to WebMD, symptoms of ADHD include:
- Lack of focus
- Easily distracted
The symptoms of sleep apnea cause similar symptoms, which is the main reason why it’s often misdiagnosed as ADHD. The symptoms that the conditions share include irritability, lack of focus, and a depletion of energy.
While patients’ experiences with both conditions vary, if you notice any of these symptoms in yourself, we advise that you conduct a sleep study to provide your doctors with a comprehensive understanding of your health. Dr. Dani can help set up a sleep study at your local sleep laboratory. They may also offer an at-home sleep test for your convenience.
Misdiagnoses Happen: Understand Your Health with a Sleep Study
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, causing the airway to collapse and breathing to stop. The condition disrupts the flow of oxygen and results in you waking up. When this happens, you deprive your body of precious sleep and energy.
In 2013, Dr. Lauri Blesch and scientist Sarah Breese followed a young, healthy man who said that he slept for at least eight hours each night, yet was still tired and couldn’t focus during the day.
Doctors told him he had ADHD, and he was prescribed medication. However, five months later, the patient returned, still complaining of being tired. The patient was sent to a sleep specialist, where they conducted a sleep study. The results proved that the young man suffered from sleep apnea instead of ADHD.
Initial misdiagnosis can occur since the symptoms are so similar. The easiest way to get ahead of your condition is to conduct a sleep study. Your physician can review the results and prescribe you treatment.
Use a CPAP or CPAP Alternative to Help
If an obstructed passageway provokes your symptoms, you may benefit from a CPAP or CPAP alternative, such as an oral appliance. These treatments will help restore the flow of oxygen to your lungs by keeping your airway open as you sleep. The type of treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms and your need for comfort. Oral appliances are often preferred to CPAP by patients with mild to moderate OSA because they are less restrictive and more natural to use while sleeping.
Some of our patients suffer from both sleep apnea and ADHD. In these cases, sleep apnea can worsen the symptoms of ADHD — this is a situation where CPAP is the ideal solution.
If you’re interested in learning more about sleep apnea, ADHD, sleep studies, or anything else we talked about, contact our office at 847-268-3439. A member of our team will answer any questions you have and can schedule a consultation with Dr. Dani to further assist you.