Millions of children and adults struggle with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a condition marked by problems with concentration, impulse control, organization, and memory. It can be a frustrating and difficult condition, stigmatizing and often isolating for those who suffer from it.
But what if some of those who've been diagnosed with ADHD are, in fact, suffering from another disorder altogether -- a sleep disorder? That's the provocative and important question posed in this commentary by a practicing psychiatrist with extensive experience treating patients with ADHD. Dr. Vatsal Thakkar, who is also a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, makes a powerful argument for the need to consider sleep problems as a possible cause when evaluating patients for ADHD.
As Dr. Thakkar points out, many of the symptoms of ADHD are very often similar to symptoms of insufficient and disordered sleep for both children and adults. In children, the symptoms of ADHD and sleep deprivation can be indistinguishable. A diagnosis of ADHD in children frequently comes about after a child exhibits some or all of behavioral symptoms such as these:
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