One of the things so many of us have been saying is that SLEEP issues (ranging from sleep apnea to narcolepsy or even just staying up a little too late) can contribute to or even cause psychiatric symptoms that are getting diagnosed as many kinds of "mental illness" ranging from Depression and ADHD to Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia!
At least even the U.S. mainstream newspapers are starting to warn people that many of these increasingly numerous "ADHD" (and Depression) diagnoses we and our children are getting may actually be manifestations of SLEEP-related issues.
Our local newspaper recently had an article titled "Sleep Disorders Might Spur ADHD Diagnoses." In fact, according to the research (see Attention Problems May Be Sleep-Related in the New York Times) even missing out on a mere 30 minutes per night of needed sleep can result in "ADHD" symptoms. The problems can stem from simply staying up a tad too late or having enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils.
This is NOT ADHD!!! It is not getting enough good quality sleep! Still, these children, based on behavioral "symptoms" get diagnosed with ADHD and treated with stimulants, which can then create a vicious cycle. After all, the diagnosis of "ADHD" is NOT based on underlying pathology, but rather, on symptoms.
Dr. Karen Bonuk, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York (see video below about Sleep-disordered breathing) says,
"It's incredible that we don't screen for sleep problems the way we screen for vision and hearing."Back at the beginning of 2011 (see Children's Sleep Disorders Can Go Undiagnosed) Dr. Lewis Kass, MD warned:
Research began trickling in the late 1990s that demonstrated a clear link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and neurocognitive deficits. Research shows that 15 to 65 percent of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) have underlying sleep disorders. Among the most common causes of sleep problems in children are obstructive sleep apnea, asthma, restless legs syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux or narcolepsy.And it isn't just "mental" illness symptoms that sleep issues can create. Missing out on quality sleep even increases risk of diabetes, which in turn increases risk of a host of related problems! (See: Beyond drowsy, too little sleep ups diabetes risk.)
Readers of my book It's Not Mental already know this. They know how unbelievable it was that nobody even thought to suggest a sleep study for my little girl until we got a new GP when she was sixteen years old, and yet her sleep issues had begun in infancy! They also know how doctors insisted even her symptoms of a sleep disorder called "Kleine Levin Syndrome" must be "Depression" and had us raise an antidepressant medication. Depression was not the ILLNESS.
And... How bad can these symptoms get?
Listen here! Audio: Child Hears Voices and Has Tactile, Pain Hallucinations.
Note that when those psychotic symptoms (in the audio) occurred, the child was on a stimulant for a supposed "ADHD" she did not really have. What is even more disturbing is the use (and abuse) of these stimulants become self-perpetuating since adults think they are no big deal since, after all, "they are given to children, so they MUST be safe, right?"
Suggested Books: (CLICK HERE)
Here are some important related links:
- Abnormal Sleep as a Cause of Mental Symptoms
- Sleep: Timing of Melatonin, Light, Dark, and Use of Other Aids
- Sleep: A Critical Yet Under-addressed Component of Health
- Too Often, Doctors Overlook Narcolepsy (Off-site Link) by Jane E. Brody March 5, 2012
- Some Known Medical causes of 'Mental' Symptoms
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) symptoms
- From a Doctor's Perspective - About "It's Not Mental"
- Kleine Levin Syndrome Foundation (Off-Site Link)
Last Updated: 21 April 2012