Sleep Apnea or ADHD and support resources

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2012
Sleep Apnea or ADHD and support resources
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 5:44pm


Shortly after being diagnosed with ADHD we finally met with my son's psychiatrist who before really encouraging meds, wanted to rule out sleep apnea as this condition along with two primary other conditions, can mimic ADHD. My son just turned 5 last month so he's on the younger side for being diagnosed. I appreciate his doctor's thoroughness.  He completed an overnight sleep study which was traumatic for him and understandably so for a young patient - enough wiring to network a small company! But, results came back and he is on the low end of the scale for sleep apnea. The sleep doctor did state that even a minor case of s. apnea can have significant impact on behavior.  Next steps include another study w/ cpap machine to see if there are behavior improvements. Would like to know if anyone has had this experience.  We are addressing it now as ADHD (he's hyper, very impulsive, defiant, etc. to the 10th degree!). 

Which brings me to my next question - we are now seeing a psychologist since he's not on meds and he's going to start going regularly to play therapy.   With this new development we are waiting to pursue anything further with regards to medication.  His Kinder teacher says that he definitely has a hard time staying focused and he's high energy but he tries very hard - he's very eager to please.

We don't have a CHADD chapter locally although the National conference is coming to SF and I just may go - I live nearby and could use all of the support I can get. While parenting classes are great - we've been there done that in the beginning - I feel like we are really good parents! I don't need skill building necessarly although always open to ideas, thoughts, etc. - I just want to share, commisserate and connect with other parents in our same situation.  Where have you found a support network? Have you started your own? There are days that I feel very isolated with a child with these needs plus a two year old, exhausted working full time and my husband doesn't get home from work until much later so dealing with the chaos that ensues after we get home is making me crazy! :smileyhappy: Sorry for the rant..

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 4:35pm
I've gotten a lot of support online, especially from friends I've made on the forums who are going through the same with their kids as I am with mine. I'm sure you are excellent parents, we all are! I don't think people that have "normal" children truly understand what it's like to parent a child with special needs.

If you are looking for a playgroup type of support, you could ask at your pediatrician's office. They might know of some parents that are looking for the same type of support. You could also ask at your school, I'm sure there are other boys that are similar in behavior to your son.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-01-2012
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 3:59pm

Thanks Melissa - the school is a great idea! I actually did ask our pediatrician as well as the psychologist and both just referred me to a group parenting class.  There is an organization in a neighboring town that supposedly connects parents but I haven't called yet as they are 45 minutes away - but think I will get in touch soon.


Thank you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2012
Sat, 10-20-2012 - 11:03am

I understand and feel your sentiments. But, you know we also have to understand the shortcomings of our children and be there for them to the best of our abilities and unwavering understanding. However, scientific research has found out that Music Therapy can help children improve classroom learning, develop self-discipline and exhibit pleasant behavior. It won't hurt if you will try it at home. Sometimes, the more practical approach is a better solution to our problems.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 06-08-2013 - 11:09pm

Personally, I am starting to think that ADHD IS a sleep disorder. 

"May 29, 2013 — Sleep consolidates emotional memories in healthy children but not in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to research published May 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Alexander Prehn-Kristensen and colleagues from University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein. The study suggests these deficits in sleep-related emotional processing may exacerbate emotional problems experienced in the daytime by children with ADHD.

For the study, healthy adults, healthy children and children with ADHD were shown pictures that had emotional relevance, such as a scary animal, or neutral pictures showing an umbrella or lamp. Participants were shown pictures in the evening, their brain activity was monitored as they slept, and recollections were tested the following morning. The researchers found that during sleep, regions of the brain thought to support consolidation of emotional memories were most active in healthy children, less so in healthy adults and least active in children with ADHD.

The study states, "While several studies reported a benefit from sleep with respect to emotional memory in healthy individuals, our results showed for the first time that healthy children outperform healthy adults." However, the authors add that this may be, in part, attributable to the child-oriented pictures used as stimuli.

Their results support the idea that frontal brain activity is critically to the consolidation of emotional memory in sleep, and this brain region is also implicated in the emotional symptoms seen in children suffering from ADHD. The authors add that further studies are needed to confirm whether this function of sleep in forming emotional memories develops with time in adults with ADHD, or whether the dysfunction persists in ADHD sufferers of all ages."