The number of children being diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, has been steadily increasing, with some sources reporting as much as 20 percent of teen boys being diagnosed. Not all hyperactivity is ADHD. In fact, the symptoms of sleep apnea could easily be misdiagnosed as hyperactivity.

Insomnia and sleep apnea in children can cause the following symptoms:

  • Lack of focus
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to listen or follow directions
  • Acting agitated
  • Acting excitable
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Inability to stay still, play quietly or wait for turn

If your child has been exhibiting the symptoms of ADHD, talk to your doctor, even if you haven’t noticed your child snoring or waking throughout the night. A sleep study can rule out the possibility of sleep related problems, or help pin point problems, such as sleep apnea, that can have long-term effects on your child’s health. Often, once the underlying sleep issue is treated, behavior improves exponentially, negating the need for behavior modifying medications.

By Ramie A Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT