Sleep problems are common with childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Parenthood and sleep don’t mix, and if you have a young child with ADHD, you’re probably getting even less sleep than other parents. Sleep problems with childhood ADHD are common and the sleep problems come in many forms (ADHD and Sleep Disorders). The methods we use to get our children to sleep come in many forms as well.
Sleep Problems - Parenting Child with Mental Illness
Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA
Hiya fellow parents. I share a lot about self-care here. What to do and why it is so important to practice good self-care. But, I don't always follow my own advice. And when I don't, everything seems to backfire for me. It happened last week with Bob's school attendance.
I don't know about your neck of the woods, but mine is literally blossoming with signs of Spring. Trees are budding, flowers are blooming--we even dug the lawn mower out of hiding yesterday. With the return of Daylight Savings Time and April 1 less than a week away, I'm holding my breath and crossing my fingers, wondering--Will Bob's psychiatric symptoms get worse in the next few months, or do we have them well enough under control?
Yesterday morning, Bob said something I've never heard him say before: "I need to see my doctor." (He was referring to his psychiatrist.) I asked why, and his answer was clear: "Because I can't sleep." I felt awful for him, he looked almost near tears. He's not the only one. Every morning, as we inch closer to Spring, I find it more difficult to get to sleep (and stay asleep), and more difficult to awake and rise in the morning (What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]?).
When your child has a psychiatric illness, your plate fills rather quickly--psychiatrist appointments, therapist appointments, IEP meetings, trips to the pharmacy and the never-ending juggling of prescription medications. But there are other things crowding the china--things like medication side effects--we may have no idea how to handle, even if we feel we've "mastered" all there is to know about our child's diagnosis. Children with mental illness experience myriad side effects that create even more problems for them and their parents; one in particular has hit us the hardest. In our house, the most persistent medication side effect is bedwetting. And it's driving us all crazy.
About a week and a half ago, my son, Bob--who has bipolar disorder and ADHD--was prescribed Loxapine by his psychiatrist. Loxapine was added to his medications in an effort to counter his recent depression symptoms, as well as a concurrent onset of overwhelming paranoia, fear of being alone, nightmares, and sleepwalking.
All this talk about sleep is making me wonder--will I ever get any, myself? The recent discussions about sleep disorders and mental illness are unusually timely--I'd been planning to do this week's post on sleep problems, because we are definitely experiencing them at our house.