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Our children aren't sleeping and we're medicating them
Date:7/26/2010

PROVIDENCE, RI A new survey of child psychiatrists indicates that insomnia is a major problem among children in mental health treatment and at least a quarter of these patients are given sleep medication. The results of the survey, conducted by Judith Owens, MD, a sleep expert with Hasbro Children's Hospital, and colleagues, suggests that management of insomnia in this population is a common practice, although the clinical approach varies widely. The study is published in the August 2010 edition of Sleep Medicine.

Nearly 1,300 members of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry completed a survey to examine the clinical practice patterns regarding non-prescription and prescription medication for insomnia by child and adolescent psychiatrists. Based on their responses, Owens and her fellow researchers determined insomnia is a significant clinical issue among nearly one-third of the psychiatrists' school-aged and adolescent patients.

To address the issue, an overwhelming 96 percent of the clinicians recommended at least one prescription medication in a typical month and 88 percent recommended an over-the-counter medication. The sleep medications prescribed ranged from antihistamines to sedating medications for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), such as alpha agonists (clonidine), to antidepressants like trazodone. They also included medications from a number of other categories, such as antipsychotics and anticonvulsants, depending on the psychiatric or behavioral diagnosis of the child.

Owens, who is also an associate professor at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University comments, "The most important rationale for the use of sleep medication among child psychiatrists is to manage the effects of sleep disruption on daytime functioning. It is important to note, however, that concerns about side effects and the lack of evidence regarding their effectiveness were cited as significant ba
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Contact: Nancy Cawley Jean
njean@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert  

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