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

rriers to their use." Owens adds, "Despite the high frequency of use and the wide range of medications chosen, practitioners also expressed a number of significant concerns about the appropriateness of sleep medication in general for children."

The respondents to the survey indicated that over 75 percent of the patients in their practices were children or adolescents and they saw an average of 70 children per month, the majority of whom were age 6 or older. The percentage of patients who were identified with insomnia was substantial and also increased with age. Overall, the results suggest that among children receiving psychiatric care, more than 20 percent of preschoolers and almost one-third of school-aged children and adolescents are affected by insomnia.

The researchers report that past studies have found that behavioral treatments such as relaxation techniques, sleep restriction and cognitive behavioral therapy are effective for childhood insomnia, and multiple studies conducted in the United States and abroad indicate that sleep disturbances are one of the primary indications for psychotropic medication in children. This is true despite the fact that little data exists about the safety and effectiveness of pharmacotherapy for the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disturbances in children and adolescents. In addition, there are currently no medications specifically approved for use as hypnotics in children under the age of 18. Lead author Owens says, "Yet treatment of insomnia symptoms with both over-the-counter and prescription medication is a common clinical practice, particularly for children and adolescents with special needs and co-morbid psychiatric disorders."

The authors point out that virtually all psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders in children including depression, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders can be associated with delayed sleep onset and sleep disruption and, as a result, with significant daytime sle
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Contact: Nancy Cawley Jean
njean@lifespan.org
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert  

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