Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Font Size

Kicking Up a Storm? It Could Be ADHD


Because children with ADHD often have RLS and a related problem called periodic limb movements of sleep, the researchers questioned whether adults with RLS might also have ADHD that had gone unrecognized.

"The leg discomfort from RLS could cause people to be more hyperactive and distractible, and being tired could cause people to be more inattentive," Wagner says.

"We often miss the diagnosis in children since the symptoms are so benign, or parents think they are related to growing pains, or the children don't know what it means," says Wagner.

Wagner and colleagues speculate that RLS and ADHD could be genetically linked, which might explain why they appear together frequently, or that the leg discomfort from RLS and associated sleep disruption could cause ADHD-like symptoms.

Another theory holds that both ADHD and RLS may be caused by a shortage in the brain of dopamine, a chemical messenger that is partly responsible for the control of movement; lack of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain is a major hallmark of Parkinson's disease.

In studies of children with ADHD who do not respond well to the standard therapy with Ritalin and are treated instead with drugs that enhance dopamine production and transport in the brain, Walker and colleagues found that the therapy also appeared to improve symptoms of RLS.

The researchers say that adults with ADHD and RLS may have improvement of symptoms with drugs that enhance dopamine use in the brain. Although in patients with Parkinson's disease such drugs can cause jerky or uncontrolled movements, their primary side effect in people with ADHD tend to be nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, or fainting.

"People from the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard University have estimated that only about 30% of the people have ADHD by itself," says Michael E. Finkel, MD, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Naples, Fla., who commented on the RLS/ADHD study for WebMD.

"Those who have the ADHD 'complex' have other disorders which can be recognized and treated," he says, so the more a doctor knows about a patient's medical history, the better positioned he is to treat that patient.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Post it notes
Symptoms and treatments.
Close up of eye
What's zapping your focus?
man driving car
How to manage your impulses.
contemplating woman
Learn to stop procrastinating.
concentration killers
Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications

boy eating egg
smiling man
ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
Adult man lying awake in bed