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Sleep and Mental Health: A Diagnosis in Disguise

Sleep and ADHD.  What do they have in common?  Mothers, fathers, children and now doctors, take note.  The root of all health lies in the ABCs of ZZZS.


After reading the front page of the Sunday Review Section of the NY Times,  April 28,

("Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit," by Dr. V.Thakkar)  my only comment is that this is a, "rock your bedtime" piece.

Dr. Thakkar brings to light with a brilliant nuance how ADHD can often be misdiagnosed amongst adults and children who suffer from underlying sleep difficulties.

 

The reason this piece has such far reaching importance is because it addresses sleep disturbance than can exist at the underbelly of many of the problems people face.

It highlights the profundity that sleep has in our lives both emotionally and physically.

 

As mental health professionals we can apply his piece to many arenas.

It alerts clinicians to look at sleep as part of any complete evaluation.

In a time when children, adolescents and adults are moving at such a rapid pace in their lives, with illuminated screens front and center, sleep has for many taken a back seat.

 

People are chronically sleep deprived, and as we know, sleep deprivation alters our mood.

What else it alters may be profound.

Adolescents who spend large amounts of time on computers have a higher incidence of depression.

Young children who fight with their parents at bedtime and can’t get unplugged can’t wind down to go into a deep slumber.

Adults who work and distract themselves with social networking devices skip bedtime.

Falling asleep stimulated by external thoughts and distractions moves us to lose touch with internal experiences.

Sleep disturbance has many faces and can often be disguised or overlooked.

 

In essence if you skip bedtime no matter what age, and, you never successfully complete a sleep cycle, what’s bothering you or what’s wrong with your mind may be simpler than anyone thinks.