Providence, R.I. — In a study published in theAmerican Journal of Family Therapy, lead researcher Dr. Robert M. Pressman announces for the first time a direct link between bedtime routines and behavior that mimics ADHD in children.
The findings propose that of the over 5 million children who are now being treated with ADHD medication, a majority may be suffering from Faux-ADHD, a disorder linked to irregular bedtimes and bed sharing, and does not require medication.
The study conducted by researchers at the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology and the Rhode Island College Department of Special Education suggests that simple adjustments to bedtime habits, rather than medication, can eliminate ADHD-like behavior, such as poor attention and hyperactivity.
Although only 5-9 percent of children have ADHD, according to the study, 33 percent of children surveyed were recommended ADHD medication. Unlike ADHD, Faux-ADHD is up to eight times more responsive to changes in bedtime routines.
Additional key study findings included:
Children who did not sleep in their own beds ...
- Had ADHD-like behaviors seven times more frequently than children who always slept in their own bed.
- Hit, pushed, or kicked their parents 13 times more frequently than children who always slept in their own bed.
Children who did not have a regular bedtime ...
- Had ADHD-like behaviors eight times more frequently than children who had a regular bedtime.
- Hit, pushed or kicked their parents 10 times more frequently than children who had a regular bedtime.
The study consisted of 704 parents of children, ages 2-13, who were being seen in pediatricians' offices. Selection of offices was made by cluster sampling in Providence, RI, resulting in 14 data collection sites. Data was collected by a questionnaire constructed to assess 14 categorical responses. The chi-square test was used to analyze categorical pairs.
"Pediatricians, therapists, and parents need to reassess the questions asked when diagnosing ADHD," said Dr. Pressman. "Bedtime habits must be reviewed at intake and bedtime problems explored before ADHD medication is considered."
Dr. Pressman, co-founder of GoodParentGoodChild, a comprehensive parenting resource, has written several books on the topic, including Good Nights Now. More information about these materials and the study may be found at www.GoodParentGoodChild.org.