Teens and Sleep Aid Abuse

The never-ending cycle of choices and decisions you make as a parent can feel overwhelming at times. One theme we tend to stick with as parents is doing the best we can in any given situation at any given point in time. For some of us, when we see our child suffering and unable to cope with whatever ails them, we want to fix the problem any way we can. 

For those of us who have children who are prone to anxiety or sleep disorders, we may have come to the decision to decide on medication therapies with insight and discussion with their doctor. Whether this was the first choice or the very last option you went with, you thought you were doing the right thing at the time, given the circumstances.

That’s why it can be a hard pill to swallow when you read the statistics about teens and sleep aid or anxiety medication abuse. The University of Michigan School of Nursing conducted a study across Detroit including nearly 3,000 pre-teens and teens. Of the total participants, 9% were found to have a prescription for either anxiety or sleep medication. What the study found was shocking. 

The teens who were given prescription medications were 12 times more likely than those without prescriptions to abuse the medications, including abuse of prescriptions that were not their own. 

All the medications commonly given for these disorders are controlled substances, including the sleep medications Restoril, Lunesta, and Ambien, as well as anxiety relief from Klonopin, Ativan, or Xanax. These medications are known to be addictive and can be highly harmful when or if misused. Other risks include overdose than can become fatal if mixed with alcohol or other narcotics.

Parents with teens who have been prescribed any medications should always weigh the decisions with their doctors, their teens, and anyone else who helps in the decision-making process. Always keep a close eye on teens who do need these medications and watch for signs of misuse or abuse. If anything seems off or you notice changes in your teen, speak with their doctor or a professional qualified to give medical advice if you need it. 

N.D. “Teens Prescribed Anxiety, Sleep Medications Prone to Abuse Them Later”. (Website). June 2015

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