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Sleep Issues and ADHD

Nocturnal Room Destruction

My son (now 9) was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 5 years old.  For years we had no issues with sleep at all then when he turned 7 we started seeing that he was getting up early and having difficulty falling asleep.  About 6 months ago it got really bad with him getting out of his room and into the prize box and pantry. He started sneaking things into his room and ruining things in his room.  Everything but his mattress and clothes were out of his room.  I thought things were going better lately since we started using Melatonin Ultra and took him off of all of the nighttime medication.  He started wetting the bed again when he does sleep which his doctor believes is because he is getting into REM longer. However, now he is peeling the paint off the wall and breaking his hangers.  I hate that he has nothing in his room and is like a prisoner.  We have to search his room at night and he has a door alarm.  Does anyone have some ideas of what I could give him to do that would not be destructive at night or how to improve this situation at all?  Anything would be helpful.  I just want be able to have him feel like a kid not someone locked up!


This is a tough one. Here are my thoughts:

First, if you are concerned about him “feeling like a prisoner,” make the room cozy and help him make it feel like his own. If he doesn’t have any ownership of it, he won’t care how he treats it.It sounds like the more you take away, the more destructive he gets.  His destruction could be retaliation for the fact that his room was stripped of everything. Yes, he might destroy things, but he might not if he is part of the process to make it homey and truly his room. 

Second, he needs help sleeping through the night. It sounds like melatonin isn’t working. Talk to his doctor about more options.

I would seek some therapy for his behavior too. It’s so helpful to have a neutral 3rd party to leave emotions aside and get to the trigger of the behavior to make change.

This behavior could be the beginning of ODD, although I would pursue other avenues for relief before considering ODD, especially if this behavior is only at night and/or only in his room.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, and Mom to Pre-Teen Boy w/ ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jul 08, 2015 at 1:55pm

He does see a therapist once and week so we are good there. I am a therapist myself and do not believe he has ODD at all due to how much empathy this kid has and he really wants to behave. As for sleep I am out of ideas because we have tried trazadone, mirtizpine(sp?), doxapin, and melatonin. The melatonin helps the most. I like the cozy idea and am going to talk to him about what he would like to do there. If there is anything else with the sleep I would appreciate it as I am out of ideas. We are also going to begin family therapy this week.

Posted by sugarplum17 on Jul 08, 2015 at 11:16pm

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