Attention Deficit Disorder and Bed Wetting

by Shelly Morris

Has your child been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)?   It is very possible that the deep sleep disorder that bedwetters, sleepwalkers and those experiencing night terrors inherit, may be the cause.

Bedwetting is caused by a genetic and inherited deep-sleep disorder, which causes a bedwetter to sleep, for most of the night, in the deepest stage of sleep, known as Stage 4.  Stage 4, in the sleep cycle, is the deepest stage, during which, the oxygen levels are lower than they are during any other stage of sleep. When someone is deprived of proper amounts of oxygen, for long periods of time at night, it will have negative affects on both the body and the BRAIN.

Symptoms often mirror those of ADD/ADHD, (the inability to focus, comprehend reading assignments and finish tasks.  Daydreaming, fatigue and forgetfulness are common, as is being easily distracted.  We often see the “Class Clown Syndrome” and distractibility).  When the sleep disorder is changed, the bed wetting will end as will the ADD/ADHD symptoms unless the patient really does have ADD/ADHD in which case, our experience has shown, that the symptoms improve.

The most widely used criteria to diagnose ADD/ADHD, (the American Psychiatric Association’s ‘DSM IV’), doesn’t look at sleep disorders. Research does suggest, however, that out of 1822 cases, 48% of those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, had or still do experience bed wetting.

VERY TELLING STATISTIC…There are 3 times more male bedwetters than female, and 3 times more males diagnosed with ADD/ADHD than females.

Prematurely labeling children as ADD/ADHD and prescribing a drug may be quick, easy and inexpensive, but may not be the responsible thing to do. Most ADD/ADHD labeled children are medicated by doctors on a teacher’s recommendation. A study in the “Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine” reports pediatricians and child psychiatrists are turning more and more to prescription drugs to treat their young patients. The study says, “Little research exists to indicate whether drugs are being prescribed responsibly or whether they are over-prescribed, in part because health insurers are reluctant to pay for non-medication treatments.” Since the overlap of symptoms for ADD/ADHD and enuresis is so extensive, any child manifesting those symptoms should, in the initial ADD/ADHD testing situation, be examined regarding bedwetting. While it is certainly possible that a child may be suffering from both disorders, the likelihood of such a duel diagnosis is low. The immediate use of medication to treat the ADD-like symptoms therefore may not address the real issue, the deep sleep disorder itself. In addition, if the enuretic were to outgrow the bedwetting, the underlying sleep disorder remains active, frequently continuing to produce the symptoms.

At the Enuresis Treatment Clinic, it has been our experience, over the years, that addressing the bedwetting is often the most productive method to providing relief of both the sleep disorder and the ADD/ADHD symptoms. Remember, symptoms almost always disappear when the bedwetting and the sleep disorder are addressed and ended. If the symptoms persist after successful treatment of the bedwetting, possible ADD/ADHD should be further examined and treated accordingly.

Our success rate in correcting the deep-sleep pattern and ending the bedwetting is 95%. It has been our experience that many, if not all of the symptoms associated with ADD/ADHD, disappear with the reconditioning of this disorder.