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  • Writer's pictureDavid S Klein, MD

Melatonin for Children may reduce risk of Self-Harm and Suicide


Adolescent Suicide risk
Adolescents are at increasing risk of self-harm

Dealing with the increase in adolescent depression and suicide


In recent years, there has been a concerning increase in adolescent depression and suicide rates, drawing attention from researchers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers worldwide. This alarming trend reflects a complex interplay of various factors, including societal changes, increased academic pressure, the pervasive influence of social media, and the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors have converged to create a perfect storm of mental health challenges for today's adolescents.


The COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer of complexity to this issue. Lockdowns, social distancing measures, and remote learning have disrupted the routines and social connections that are crucial for adolescent well-being. Many adolescents have reported feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression as a result of the isolation and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic.


Addressing this concerning increase in adolescent depression and suicide requires a multifaceted approach. Reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health care and fostering open conversations about mental health can help create a more supportive environment for adolescents to seek help and find hope in difficult times.



school schedules and stress can induce depression
Loss of Sleep Can Result in Depression


The relationship between sleep and depression is a well-established and intricate one.


Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining mental health, and disturbances in sleep patterns often accompany the onset and exacerbation of depressive symptoms. Individuals with depression frequently experience sleep disturbances such as insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or early morning awakenings, or hypersomnia, which involves excessive daytime sleepiness and prolonged sleep durations. These disruptions can further exacerbate the depressive symptoms, creating a vicious cycle where depression leads to poor sleep, and poor sleep worsens depression.


Research has shown that sleep and depression are interconnected at a neurobiological level. The regulation of mood and emotions involves intricate neurotransmitter systems, including serotonin and norepinephrine, which also play a role in the regulation of sleep. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can disrupt both mood and sleep patterns, contributing to the development or persistence of depression.


Addressing sleep disturbances is an essential component of treating and managing depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and other sleep-focused interventions can help individuals with depression improve their sleep quality and, in turn, alleviate some of their depressive symptoms.


Conversely, effective treatment of depression can lead to improvements in sleep, as individuals often report better sleep when their mood stabilizes. Recognizing and addressing the intricate connection between sleep and depression is vital in providing comprehensive care for individuals struggling with these conditions.


Improving sleep habits, include turning off all cell phones and computers, lower the temperature of the room to 70 degrees or lower and darken the room as much as possible. The addition of a sleep aid, such as Melatonin, may assist in regulating sleep cycles.


Melatonin may be safely used in this population


Dosages of Melatonin for this population may be as little as 1 mg, but the dosage increases as the child grows. By adolescence, the effective dosage may range from 5 mg to as much as 15 mg. Always use the lowest effective dosage.



For more information, please use the link, below, to a marvelous article on this important topic.


 

From the National Library of Medicine:


Melatonin use and the risk of self-harm and unintentional injuries in youths with and without psychiatric disorders: Leone M, Kuja-Halkola R,  Lagerberg T, et al:  J Child Psychol Psychiatry (2023): Jul;64(7):1027-1036


Link to the above article:




 









David S. Klein, MD, FACA, FACPM

1917 Boothe Circle

Longwood, Florida 32750

Tel: 407-679-3337

Fax: 407-678-7246

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