Kids Cooped up inside during COVID-19, when Misbehaving isn’t ADHD

kids cooped up during covid 19

kids cooped up during covid 19San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, children and teens across the nation will utilize distance learning. Parents have found themselves playing the role of both parent and teacher for the time being. It’s not uncommon for kids that are cooped up inside all day to become hyper and misbehave, but in some cases, these behaviors lead parents to assume that their child has ADHD. But, did you know that many kids are misdiagnosed as having a behavior disorder when the issue actually relates to something else?

A study conducted by Michigan State University that was published in the Journal of Health Economics showed at least 20 percent of the 4.5 million American children diagnosed with ADHD did not actually suffer from the disorder. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that ADHD is both the most frequently diagnosed, and most commonly misdiagnosed, behavioral disorder for kids in the U.S. This is a problem because many ADHD symptoms are similar to those of sleep-breathing disorders. Today on the blog, Glen Park Dental is sharing what could be the real cause behind your child’s behavior and inability to focus.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep-breathing disorder that occurs when the airway is obstructed, making it difficult to breathe or disrupts airflow while asleep. Sleep apnea usually manifests because the throat muscles relax and block the airway, causing a collapse of soft tissue. In children, sleep apnea commonly occurs because of enlarged adenoids or tonsils, or because of poorly developed jaws that don’t leave enough room in the mouth to accommodate the tongue, which results in open mouth posture. At Glen Park Dental, our San Francisco sleep apnea dentists can consult with you regarding your child’s condition, and refer you to a physician that can screen your child for sleep-breathing disorders.

Sleep Apnea is more common among children than you might think

A common misconception is that sleep apnea primarily affects overweight adults. While weight and age are risk factors of sleep apnea, sleep-breathing disorders can affect people of any age. Estimates show that up to 4% of all children in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. This disorder also has been linked to other serious issues, including childhood obesity and behavioral disorders such as ADHD. Unfortunately, many doctors simply put a Band-Aid over a child’s behavioral issues by prescribing medication, instead of getting to the root of the problem – the airway obstruction.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea in Children

Snoring is the major warning sign of sleep apnea, but children with obstructive sleep apnea don’t always snore. Instead, your child may have difficulty staying asleep or wake up multiple times a night. Here are common symptoms of sleep apnea in children.

Many of these symptoms also relate to ADHD-like behaviors

  • Pauses during breathing
  • Snorting, coughing or choking
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Bedwetting
  • Night terrors
  • Restless sleep
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Poor performance in school
  • Issues paying attention or learning
  • Excessive weight gain or being underweight
  • Social problems
  • Temper tantrums

Is it Sleep Apnea or ADHD?

Sleep apnea and ADHD show common symptoms, and many physicians are not trained to identify or treat airway disorders. An ADHD diagnosis only requires a clinical interview with a child. If the child is determined to have ADHD, medication such as amphetamines and stimulants are typically the course of treatment. If you believe that your child may have ADHD, or if they have already received a diagnosis, consider a consultation with Glen Park Dental.

Sleep Apnea Screenings in San Francisco

At Glen Park Dental, we understand that you want the best for your child, especially when it comes to their health. During the coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably going to spend more time with your child as you help them with their distance learning experience. If you notice your child exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors, consider contacting Glen Park Dental for a pediatric sleep apnea screening referral. Call our office at (415) 585-1500 to schedule a consultation. Technology allows us to utilize telehealth capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic to speak with patients about their dental care needs.

Glen Park Dental provides sleep apnea dentistry for patients in the areas of San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, California.