This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — The world of health and medicine can be confusing to many parents. But Nurse Suzy is here to help clarify some of the issues that are important to you and your family.
This week's question deals the use of melatonin supplements to help treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
I have been researching the use of melatonin for children who have ADHD, as children with ADHD or autism tend to have difficulties falling asleep because their bodies do not always produce the correct amount of melatonin at night. ...I have read that melatonin can be helpful for children who suffer with this disorder since it is not a "sleeping pill," but rather a natural source that the body produces. What is your outlook on the use of melatonin in children for ADHD? Answer:
The use of melatonin is a good solution for some; for others it's just another herbal concoction. You need to make sure all options for your children are explored before moving forward with quick fixes.If a melatonin supplement works for your child, I would suggest you monitor it closely. You need to be careful with herbal medications or natural minerals because there is no controlled regulation for doses or strengths. This means every new bottle bought cannot be assured it is of the same concentration you currently are using. Side effects from this can be very dangerous, and for some people melatonin could have an opposite effect on the user.
The bigger issue for me is that I believe we have become a quick-fix society. I think sleep is a problem for adults as well children because our minds never shut down. We are all over stimulated with life.
One drawback to giving medications of any kind to children is they may begin to feel the need for a quick solution to normal problems, and we take away their ability to solve and work through problems without medication.
I have seen many children and parents want medication, herbs, diets, acupuncture, surgery, etc., to fix their life. We need to remember that many of the problems we have are simply a normal part of life. We should learn more how to address our personal anxieties, habits and wants with self-worth solutions; not by finding our self worth through other avenues.
It is OK to be sad, it is Ok to be worried, and it is OK to not sleep soundly every night. It is OK to age and it is OK to feel out of control at times. When these things start controlling your life, that is when you should seek professional help.
If you have a question for Nurse Suzy, send her an email at email@example.com.
Suzanne Carlile, "Nurse Suzy," has been a nurse since 1982. Her main focus of nursing is Critical Care areas and Nursing Education. She holds a master's degree in nursing, is a Certified Emergency Nurse, and a member of NNSDO Intermountain West Chapter.