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Fighting Faux ADHD

Irritability, easily distracted in class and loss of focus are hallmark signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

While medication helps many kids with ADHD, some doctors are prescribing a change in bedtime routine, and it's working for kids with so-called "faux ADHD."

Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and her colleagues at the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology have been treating ADHD cases for decades.

They found getting kids into bed, and then making them stay in their bed all night long, was a major problem for parents.

"This was a real mini-disaster in the house every evening," she says.

Doctors assessed the families, and gave parents tailored techniques on how to enforce regular bedtimes and keep kids from crawling into bed with them in the middle of the night.

It alleviated those mini-disasters and daytime ADHD symptoms for many kids.

Experts say this gives children a level of self-confidence they can't get any other way.

"When children are able to control staying in their room all night and self-soothe, then they are able to control themselves during the day," explains Donaldson-Pressman.

Other doctors say it makes sense, and can help moms and dads, too.

"If parents are better able to manage kids' sleep behaviors, they're better able to manage other behaviors also," says the Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Kate Eshleman.

Making daytime and nighttime a little easier for the whole family.

Experts say if improved bedtime rituals don't help symptoms, it may be true ADHD, and a neurological assessment is warranted.


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