Question for those who use GABA, 5-htp, melatonin, with a young child/toddler - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 11-07-2011, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our Drs have hit their wits end with my almost 18 month old and her sleep dysfunction.  After antihistimines they tried stronger meds, and ti does not even touch her.  We have tried melatonin alone without luck.  It helps her go to sleep but then 20 min later the party starts.  Our team of physicians, OT, etc that work with her have now suggested an SSRI.  She is 1 yr old.  I just cannot get on board.  Our nutritionist of all people called me off the record and said to research some combo of GABA, 5-htp, and melatonin.  How do I start figuring out how to dose that, if it is safe for her age (although I cannot imagine it is more harmful that atarax, benedryl, periactin, condine, etc, they have tried)?  Also, what is the best source for getting there free of additives?  My DD is currently no foods....her only source of nutrition is a prescription amino acid formula, due to her GI condition.  So any med or supplement has to be carefully trialed.  She can't just add in things that are normally helpful for various conditions.  But I am really thinking I want to try this route before anything else. 

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#2 of 14 Old 11-08-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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I've never used them but have heard some positive things around the special needs circles.  Maybe a naturpathic doctor could help?


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#3 of 14 Old 11-10-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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just out of my own desperation, i stumbled over melatonin.  its not a cure, nor do i recommend it in place of any doctoring.  i use the 1 mg dose, and give her 1/4 for daytime anxiety and petit seizures, and if the oc behaviors and such are not being contained by her vitamins, nutrition or mozart :)....... for bedtime, i give her 1/2 mg as she is prone lately to nocturnal grand seizures.  this is the least amount of harm i can do, as the meds the doctor prescribed were in my opinion, for my situation, too strong for her, and made her dopey and listless.  she is very ver y autistic, nonverbal, 6 years old, as big as an 11 year old, and developmentally delayed at the approx 1.5 year old level.  the melatonin for right now, the last few months, is doing the same job for sunny rose as the pharmaceuticals did, and nothing beats a chemical free diet, a calm household centered around her needs, and lots of good organic balanced nutrition.  but check first with your pediatrician, and a nutrition or wholistic doc first.  i cannot speak for the way these things work for anyone else.  just for us here :)

 

a side note:  antihistamines, even benadryl, act like speed on this child.  use half doses when you need to for allergies etc, but they dont do well for sleep :)

 

NOTE:  i use 1/4 mg, but not just once, i actually schedule it thru the day, about every 4 hours, as she does well with a consistent balanced low level.  she gets a 1/2 mg at bedtime.  i tried a higher dose for bed, but it only made her sleep hard for two hours, then wake up abruptly.  so, back to low consistent dosing.  no two kids or autistic kids are alike, so you really have to "wing it" a bit.  

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#4 of 14 Old 11-10-2011, 10:53 PM
 
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I started giving my son melatonin when he was about 2-2.5 yrs old sometimes for sleep.  He's autistic.  My ped thought it was okay, and we gave about 1-2 mgs at most once in a while.  It really helped.  He's 6 now and takes 2.5-5 mgs per night as prescribed by the triple board certified developmental behaviorial pediatrician he sees.  I think a higher dose of melatonin is quite safe for most folks hence her prescribing it as such.  5 HTP might be something to be a bit more cautious with, esp for a young toddler. 

 

If it helps any, there are loads of forms of melatonin available..You can crush the tablets b/t two teaspoons or use the liquid (I think Source Naturals has a nice liquid). 

 

We also used to use chamomile tea and/or valerian tea and Rescue Remedy (Bach rescue remedy, a homeopathic, that's probably very safe to use for your dd w/her GI problems). Extra magnesium and calcium are also reported to help with sleep. 

 

When ds was first dx'd at 4 yrs, we talked about SSRI's.  We held off for about 6-12 mos.  We finally gave in last year.  It was/is a miracle.  HUGE improvements on Zoloft.  It's not for everyone, it doesn't work for everyone, and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable w/my 18 mos old on it, BUT having trouble sleeping and functioning due to anxiety, etc, actually can impair learning and development.  It was well worth trying it out when we finally decided on it.  Just something to think about down the road...

 

DS now takes the Zoloft, melatonin, some vitamins, has a pitch black room w/a sound machine and mini fan blowing in his face....and it's all okay.  If it makes you feel better, my cousin's boy never slept a wink w/o sleeping pills until a few years ago (he's SEVERELY autistic and unlikely to ever live alone).  He's now about 12-13 and puts himself to bed every night.  Have hope.  I know it's really, really tough right now.

 

HUGS

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#5 of 14 Old 11-11-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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I'm not very knowledgable about the supplements you reference, but a couple of thoughts... When ds was taking a med of a similar name, I remember reading that Gaba can not be processed orally to effect the gaba levels in the brain, so its effectiveness is in question.   Hope you get some sleep.

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#6 of 14 Old 11-11-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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We used melatonin with my son for a period of time around 1.5 to 2.5 years old.  He was a pretty big kid...30 some pounds.  His neurologist suggested using I think .5 mg but after doing a lot of research, and after him waking up puking the first night we tried it, we decided to try a much smaller dose.  I bought the liquid Source Naturals which is 1mg per ml and would give him 1/10th of a mg.  It worked, and worked pretty quickly.  20 minutes or so.  Some nights I would only give him 1/20th.  I got the little droppers from a friend who is a nurse and another friend who is a pharmacist.  Every pharmacy carries them but sometimes they don't like to hand them out.

 

I would try to start with a small dose and see what happens before even starting with a half or 1 mg tab.  I was shocked that such a small amount would work.  Melatonin might be "natural" but it is not without risk.  It has been a long time since I've researched, but check out google-scholar and you will be able to find evidence for a small amount working well with many kids and sometimes working actually better than larger doses. 

 

One of the things also that helped us stop relying on melatonin was cutting out naps at 24 months.  Addressing DS's food allergies and intolerences helped a little too. Another idea is a weighted blanket if she has any sort of sensory issues.  good luck.  Sleep deprivation definitely is rough. 

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#7 of 14 Old 11-12-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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i guess i should also mention that my 6 yr old is 50+ inches tall, wears a size 2.5 shoe, size 10 clothing, and weighs 74 pounds.  and she has huge BONES.  so, dosage is different for her than for a smaller child.

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#8 of 14 Old 11-12-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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Rescue Remedy sleep Remedy, valerian tea, catnip tea, chammomile tea, lavender oil arometherapy, a bedtime routine that is not in any way swayed, dim lighting and hushed voices beginning an hour before bed......this is what has helped us with 2 very spirited children who seem to not need sleep AT ALL. Oh, and a very strict diet when it comes to preservatives, artificial clrs, etc.... Melatnin helps a couple of my sons but actually makes sleep issues worse in myself and two of my sons. (It helps me sleep deep for a short time but I get awful nightmares and am WIDE awake a few hours later. :( My 8 yr old and 4 yr old have the same problem with it.

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#9 of 14 Old 11-16-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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What is her GI condition?  I was thinking that another issue that has caused wake issues with my children have been when their gut flora was not normal.  It was usually when they had candida (yeast) overgrowth.  So a thought would be giving a good probiotic powder with several good bacteria strains.

 

I have used GABA, 5HTP and Melatonin with my children.  Definitely start off using the melatonin in small doses, such as 1mg.  I can't comment abut GABA and 5HTP for sleep for I used it for my son's erratic behavior.  It seemed to 'calm' him and keep him emotionally regulated.  I can't remember the doses.

 

You could also look at giving magnesium.  It helps with calming.  If you can't give orally, you could look at giving epson salt baths.

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#10 of 14 Old 11-30-2011, 08:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buttercup View Post

What is her GI condition?  I was thinking that another issue that has caused wake issues with my children have been when their gut flora was not normal.  It was usually when they had candida (yeast) overgrowth.  So a thought would be giving a good probiotic powder with several good bacteria strains.

 

I have used GABA, 5HTP and Melatonin with my children.  Definitely start off using the melatonin in small doses, such as 1mg.  I can't comment abut GABA and 5HTP for sleep for I used it for my son's erratic behavior.  It seemed to 'calm' him and keep him emotionally regulated.  I can't remember the doses.

 

You could also look at giving magnesium.  It helps with calming.  If you can't give orally, you could look at giving epson salt baths.


She has eosinophilic esophagitis....it is auto-immune in nature.  Her immune system sees the proteins (partial or otherwise) in foods as pathogens and sends white blood cells (eosinophils) to attack. This causes extensive damage to her GI tract, chronic vomiting, severe stomach, throat and chest pain, bowel issues, leg pain, and other spin off issues (sensory problems, developmental delays due to her first year spend being held and screaming, etc)....so part of the problem is that we can't just give her meds, homeopathic or otherwise, because even many things like tea leaves, rescue remedy, most probiotics, etc, contain small amounts of trace protein that make her ill.  She eats no food and lives on a prescription amino acid powdered formula that is broken down to the smallest form.  And since it isn't something like a gut health issue, leaky gut, IgE allergy, or traditional food sensitivity, all the "normal" fixes for these things that I would try make it worse vs better.  Since it is auto-immune in nature, it is a toughy. 

 

We are going in for another scope next week and will see what things look like inside.  If there is some damage, then likely we will just be blaming that and trying to fix that as the cause.  If she gets a clear scope, we will try and figure out what to do next.  Other than jump off the nearest cliff. :)

 

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#11 of 14 Old 08-15-2012, 02:16 PM
 
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i know this is an old thread, but this might help a bit for anyone. this is for me, not a child. insomnia for over 2 years and have a 2 year old and 4.5 year old. dealt with insomnia since the little one was born, b/c husband was deployed. once he came home dr. put me on ambien and suggested melatonin together. ambien was 10mg. i used a pill cutter and cut them into 4ths. so i had plenty.

finally ran out and new dr would only give me 5 whole pills. and said take them once every 3 days. it sucked. i have finally gone the all natural route with everything but food. i take bentonite clay daily, i make my own blue vervain sleeping geo caps, as well as valerian root.

i have ordered 5-htp, to take once i talk to doctor about getting off my RX for effexor, and am going to try herbs for my seasonal allergies. am currently on allergy shots and they dont work. and am going in for allergy scratch test next week. so cant take any antihistimine. which includes herbs. and RX's.

melatonin alone makes me fall asleep, im up 2 hours later. then stay awake for hours, just in time to fall asleep while my 2 kids get up for the day. it is NOT working anymore. i cant keep going like this.


so next week i will be starting 5htp, gaba, blue vervain, valerian root, to help me to sleep through the night.
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#12 of 14 Old 08-15-2012, 05:59 PM
 
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I have used Gaba myself and given it to my child.  It is calming and soothing.  Ashwaganda is an indian herb that elevates gaba levels.  It is calming and aids sleep.  We have used that as well.  We have also used valerian, nettle, oat and dandielion....all calming herbs, and interestingly they are also anti inflammatory as is GABA.  I will also echo another poster to use magnesium.  It is a muscle relaxant, buffers acids out of the body, anti inflammatory, calming (also makes you regular!!) and you can get that as well as Gaba in a pure form.  If you do not have a compounding pharmacy near you, find one on-line that will create a batch of GABA or magnesium with no other additives or preservatives.  Most on the market usually have magnesium stearate or other fillers and if you want to avoid additives, a compounding pharmacy makes medicines and vitamins to order and to specification...most helpful to kids with allergies!

 

What helped us get the most sleep over the years was magnesium about an hour before bedtime.  Don't be afraid to give 3 to 4 times the recommended dietary dose.  There is a lot of belief in alternative circles that the recommended dietary does is way too low.  If your child is also on formula (elemental or otherwise) the calcium to magnesium ratio is almost always way too low so your child is probably deficient as well. 

 

I hope you get some sleep!
 

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#13 of 14 Old 08-15-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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In case anyone else didn't notice the OP's thread is old! Hopefully something worked out. OP, if you see this I'd love an update!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gina Kilby View Post

i know this is an old thread, but this might help a bit for anyone. this is for me, not a child. insomnia for over 2 years and have a 2 year old and 4.5 year old. dealt with insomnia since the little one was born, b/c husband was deployed. once he came home dr. put me on ambien and suggested melatonin together. ambien was 10mg. i used a pill cutter and cut them into 4ths. so i had plenty.
finally ran out and new dr would only give me 5 whole pills. and said take them once every 3 days. it sucked. i have finally gone the all natural route with everything but food. i take bentonite clay daily, i make my own blue vervain sleeping geo caps, as well as valerian root.
i have ordered 5-htp, to take once i talk to doctor about getting off my RX for effexor, and am going to try herbs for my seasonal allergies. am currently on allergy shots and they dont work. and am going in for allergy scratch test next week. so cant take any antihistimine. which includes herbs. and RX's.
melatonin alone makes me fall asleep, im up 2 hours later. then stay awake for hours, just in time to fall asleep while my 2 kids get up for the day. it is NOT working anymore. i cant keep going like this.
so next week i will be starting 5htp, gaba, blue vervain, valerian root, to help me to sleep through the night.

Are you doing Effexor for an anxiety condition or depression? I have suggestions for anxiety that I would try first. For depression it's reasonable to try the 5-HTP. But do be careful. I think you will have to come down off the Effexor because the two in your system could over-load serotonin which is very dangerous. 5-HTP works the same way. Is the vervain amd valerian helping with the sleep for you? Melatonin doesn't help my mom sleep either. But since it does put you to sleep but you don't stay asleep I would mention that they do have extended release and the lowest effective dose is important so that you don't get an rebound effect. Melatonin isn't ideal for everyone.

For anyone else reading we've done a very small dose (.25 to .5 mg) of melatonin for my son since he was 3.5..he's 8.5 now. The doctor (genetics) recommended it. I have read conflicting stuff about GABA not crossing the blood brain barrier. I would consider 5-HTP as equivalent to an SSRI if I were considering it. That doesn't mean it isn't the right choice.

Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys! 

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#14 of 14 Old 08-16-2012, 06:04 AM
 
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SB - They tried giving me SSRI's and SRNI's for anxiety - it was terrible!  I have a rare disease which makes those drugs nearly impossible for me to take.  I finally put my foot down with my shrink at the time (who I've since fired because he refused to read the research I'd provide and would fight with me constantly) and told him I don't have depression, I have anxiety.  I have 10x the normal amount of histamine in my body - including my brain which is a known cause for anxiety.  I need anxiety medication - not an anti-depressant.  I had already tried the all natural route and all it did was give me terrible agada.  I now take the lowest available dose of buspar (a very old anxiety med but one that works well w/people who have my disease) and I take a half.  Although it's not considered to be a therapeutic dose (according to the former shrink), it's enough to keep me from wanting to jump out of my skin 24/7.


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