Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator


March 14th, 2014

Recent studies show a striking rise in the prescription of sleeping pills for children by pediatricians and child psychiatrists.  These doctors worry about the effects of disrupted sleep on children and mostly prescribe for this reason.  This is alarming to me and many others in the field.   Medications have side effects, and some could even lead to a habit forming situation.  In general, I rarely prescribe a sleeping agent for children and teens.  The few times that I do consider it necessary is when:

•    The situation continues moderately to severely despite all other remedies.

•    It is caused by another medication, which is necessary.

•    It is part of a mental disorder, and the treatment does not affect the insomnia.

Most sleeping problems pass.  As I mentioned in my earlier blogs, you need to try sleep hygiene techniques first.  They almost always work!  Other things that work include parent counseling and various behavioral interventions.   Oh, and remember that too much technology, over-scheduling, and caffeine could all play a part.   I can’t stress enough that medication should always be the last resort.

Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.

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