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My 8-Year-Old's Sleep Disorder Involving Anxiety - ADD Related????

by Erica
(Brussels, Belgium)

Recently, my 8 year old daughter confided that she had woken up in the middle of the night, with all these numbers "whizzing" around in her head, and feeling so anxious that she burst into tears. To calm herself down, she got out of bed, and went into her small bathroom as she feels more secure in smaller spaces. This is the first time that she has mentioned such an event. Though it upsets me, I'm somewhat reassured that she found a way of calming herself down and was able to fall back asleep without the intervention of me or her step father.

Last night, my new husband and I (not my daughter's biological father) had a large discussion about what had happened in order to see if we could find a solution. During our discussion, she mentioned a second incident that had happened a couple of weeks previously, and involved her being in bed, not yet asleep (I think) with a friend of her biological father's downstairs having dinner. She said that she had suddenly gotten the impression that there were a lot of people in the house, and this stressed her out enormously.

When we asked her what may have led to these two incidences, she raised two issues that upset her, but may have not directly contributed to these incidences. It is possible she just needed to talk about them. The first thing she mentioned was being accused unfairly and punished for a wrong that she never committed, ie. being accused for pushing somebody when she did it by mistake. The second thing she mentioned was being allowed to watch movies at her father's that scared her. I thought that this would most likely contribute to any sleep disorders. Moreover, one of the suggestions she made that would help her feel more reassured would be having a door/ curtain between the room where she sleeps and her play room, as she sometimes hears small noises and has the impression that somebody is in the room. We plan on putting up a curtain to see if this makes a difference, and also to show her that we are taking her concerns seriously.

What primarily concerns me is that her father suffers from ADD, and I would just like to ensure that the above-mentioned incident is not a potential sympton of ADD. If so, then I will certainly take her to a specialist.

Thank you for any help that you can provide in better understanding the situation, and how it should be dealt with.

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