Q: My Son’s Anxiety Keeps Him Awake at Night
Difficulties falling and staying asleep are common among children with ADHD. Add anxiety on top of that, and lack of sleep may become a serious medical concern very quickly. Here, learn how to help your anxious child and his restless mind.
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Q: “My son is 11, and has trouble falling asleep and then staying asleep. He has generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, and learning disabilities. He takes melatonin to fall asleep and guanfacine to stay asleep. We limit electronics at night and we read every night. His bedroom is literally right across from ours, and when his anxiety is bad, he sleeps under his mattress, on his floor, and has duct taped the door shut. I have real concerns for his safety. He will seem fine at bed, then in the morning I see he’s stayed up for hours. Lack of sleep exacerbates his other issues. He also wets the bed frequently. He’s in therapy, but all she has said was take everything out of his room and let him sleep on the floor. We have used diffusers, fans, white noise, and a night light. I’m at a loss to help this kid sleep.”
A: “If this behavior is all anxiety based, then your son needs someone who can help him understand and talk to his anxious thoughts. To relieve his anxiety, what you need is…”
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Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.