Sleep apnea is a debilitating disorder that can leave you feeling tired, spacey, and unmotivated. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) shares many of these symptoms, resulting in frequent misdiagnoses. To further confuse issues, up to 75% of ADHD patients also suffer from sleeping issues.
The relationship between these conditions is complex and it isn’t always easy to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms, but undergoing a sleep study is the best way to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Sleep apnea and ADHD share several symptoms, including:
There are also a few symptoms that these conditions don’t share, which can help with providing a proper diagnosis. For example, ADHD is known to cause hyperactivity, impulsivity, and disorganization, while sleep apnea leads to persistent fatigue and lack of motivation.
If some of your symptoms fit ADHD but others don’t, we recommend receiving a sleep study to clear up any doubts about your condition.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes the muscles at the back of your throat to relax and block your airway, constantly interrupting your breathing while you sleep. This process wakes you up every time your flow of oxygen cuts off, preventing you from getting quality rest and depleting your energy on a daily basis.
Since they share so many symptoms, sleep apnea is sometimes misdiagnosed as ADHD. For example, Dr. Lauri Blesch and scientist Sarah Breese documented the experience of a young man who was diagnosed with ADHD in 2013. After five months of taking medication, he complained that his symptoms still persisted and was referred to a sleep specialist.
After a thorough evaluation, the specialist determined he actually suffered from sleep apnea, and the diagnosis was confirmed by a second specialist. If he had taken the sleep study initially, he would’ve enjoyed relief from his symptoms much sooner and avoided wasting money on the wrong treatment.
The most common treatment prescribed for sleep apnea is typically a CPAP machine. Standing for continuous positive airway pressure, this device pumps pressurized air through a small mask that you wear overnight, allowing you to breathe without interruption.
Though CPAP is highly effective when it’s used properly, many patients complain that it’s loud and uncomfortable. As a result, long-term compliance rates are low, which means a large percentage of CPAP users aren’t getting the treatment they need.
That’s why we offer oral appliances as a comfortable and convenient alternative. Also known as a mandibular adjustment device (MAD), these mouthguards subtly move your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open as you sleep.
MAD’s offer several unique benefits, including:
If you suspect that you may have been misdiagnosed with ADHD, or if you want to learn more about sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Bell. He’ll be happy to answer all your questions and make sure you get the treatment you need.
Contact our practice in Hallam today and schedule your initial consultation.
450 W Market St
Hallam, PA 17406
Monday: 8AM – 5PM
Tuesday: 8AM – 5PM
Wednesday: 10AM - 7PM
Thursday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM