Is it Sleep Apnea or ADHD?

Misdiagnosing Sleep Apnea with ADHD

Attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, is an increasing condition that affects over 11 million American adults. This has to do with a person's hyperactivity, inattentiveness, or impulsivity. However, ADHD is commonly misdiagnosed and is likely to be sleep apnea instead. 

Nearly 75% of children and adults with ADHD also suffer from sleep problems. Sleep apnea and ADHD have similar symptoms including fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation, and struggling to sleep through the night. 

Diagnosing either disorder can be complicated and not always direct. Dr. Rice recommends having a sleep study done to get the correct diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

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Symptoms of ADHD & Sleep Apnea

It’s important to identify symptoms of ADHD with sleep apnea to receive an accurate picture of your condition. There are a number of signs that someone may have ADHD, which may include:

  • Lack of focus
  • Irritability 
  • Forgetfulness
  • Impulsivity 
  • Fatigue 
  • Disorganization

These symptoms may also overlap with those of sleep apnea, which is why it’s often left untreated or misdiagnosed.

Does Your Child Have ADHD?

Over two-thirds of children and counting have been diagnosed with ADHD because of its misrecognition. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, as many as 25% of children with ADHD actually have sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea symptoms found in children with ADHD include:

  • Sleepwalking
  • Bedwetting
  • Night sweats
  • Mouth-breathing
  • Poor attention span
  • Behavioral issues

If you recognize these symptoms in your child, it’s critical to seek a sleep study from a sleep pediatrician to ensure your child is receiving proper treatment.


Seeking Treatment with Dr. Rice

Sleep apnea and ADHD have shared symptoms which is why they’re often misdiagnosed in both children and adults. Dr. Rice recommends partaking in a sleep study to get a proper diagnosis before proceeding with treatment.

Our team at Middle Tennessee Dental Sleep Specialists can evaluate your sleep apnea and determine the best treatment option for you. If you have any questions, give us a call at 615-373-4488 to speak to one of our sleep specialists. 

Practice Update Regarding COVID-19

To combat the spread of COVID-19, our office will only be offering virtual consultations to help evaluate the condition of your sleep apnea and discuss treatment options.


Please submit your information here for a call back from our team. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 615-373-4488 and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.


We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we look forward to providing you with the highest quality care once we are able to return to our normal hours.


Thank you!


Kellye N. Rice

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