Children are being given psychiatric drugs to help them sleep

A survey of nearly 1300 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 drugs to “help” them sleep. [Read the full article here.]

The sleep medications prescribed ranged all over the drug spectrum, including sedating medications for Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), antidepressants like trazodone, and antipsychotics. Apparently, use of psychiatric drugs for insomnia symptoms in children is a common clinical practice.

Why is this bad? Take, for example, trazodone (brand name Desyrel), an antidepressant. In 2004 the FDA ordered pharmaceutical companies to add a “black box” warning to all antidepressants because the drugs could cause suicidal thoughts and actions in children and teenagers. Guess what some of the other potential side effects of trazodone are? That’s right, insomnia and nightmares.

[Editorial Comment] When I couldn’t sleep as a child, I recall being read a bedtime story. Guess what I do now? I get up and read for a while.

There are no less than 13 sleep related disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV):

291.8  Alcohol-Induced Sleep Disorder
292.89  Substance-Induced Sleep Disorder (Amphetamine, Caffeine, etc.)
307.45  Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder
307.46  Sleep Terror Disorder
307.46  Sleepwalking Disorder
307.47  Dyssomnia (sleep disturbance)
307.47  Nightmare Disorder
307.47  Parasomnia (sleep disturbance)
780.52  Sleep Disorder Due to [General Medical Condition], Insomnia Type
780.54  Sleep Disorder Due to [General Medical Condition], Hypersomnia Type
780.59  Sleep Disorder Due to [General Medical Condition], Parasomnia
780.59  Sleep Disorder Due to [General Medical Condition], Mixed Type
780.59  Breathing-Related Sleep Disorder

Psychiatrists fraudulently diagnose insomnia as a “mental illness” for which they can prescribe harmful and addictive drugs to children. Let others know how bad this is. Get the Facts. Fight Back.

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