The Connection between RLS and ADHD

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) may cause you to feel uncomfortable and anxious which prevents you from getting quality sleep. Recent studies have found the connections between Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) and Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

What is RLS?

RLS is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. This is a disorder that causes a desire to move around your legs or restlessness in the legs.  It is considered a sleep disorder because it often happens while you are at rest or trying to sleep. The sensations experienced by those with RLS differ from person to person. It ranges from vague descriptions to more detailed feelings including:

  • Itching
  • Electric shocks
  • Aching or throbbing
  • Creeping or crawling

These sensations may be relieved by running, walking, or jiggling the legs. Conversely, RLS can make it hard to relax or sleep, or sit still during plane rides, meetings, classes, and other forms of travel.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a psychological health condition that may cause above-normal levels of impulsive behaviors. People with this condition may also have trouble sitting still for long periods or have trouble focusing their attention on a particular task. Children and adults can have ADHD. Some of the more common symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Interrupting people while they’re talking
  • Having difficulty sitting still
  • Being easily distracted
  • Being forgetful about completing tasks
  • Having trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks

The cause of this condition is not yet clear, but research shows that dopamine could be a factor. Dopamine is a substance in the brain that helps move signals from one nerve to another. It has a role in triggering emotional responses and movements.  


Certain studies have shown that enormous sums of people with RLS also experience symptoms of ADHD. These people also have a high likelihood of having both conditions. According to one study, 39% of subjects with RLS tested possibly have ADHD, and 21% tested highly likely to have the condition. Moreover, 21% were verified against controls with ADHD and those with RLS have experienced a higher rate of anxiety than their counterparts. This indicates a connection between those with Attention-Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, anxiety, as well as Restless Leg Syndrome.

On the other hand, vein issues may have a great impact on the severity of the Restless Leg Syndrome and for the treatment of several vein problems that can relieve symptoms and help those with RLS to find relief.

Treatment Options

The treatment options depend largely on the needs of an individual. If you are seeking treatment for Restless Leg Syndrome, your doctor will work with you by assessing your symptoms and recommend a treatment that may help with your symptoms. Some of the treatments may include:

  • Ambulatory phlebectomy
  • Compression therapy
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
  • Foam Sclerotherapy

Receiving treatment for ADHD or anxiety at the same time also helps with the symptoms you experience because of RLS. Your doctor can give you advice and help you move forward with several treatments until you find one that works for you.

Leave a Reply