Traditional epilepsy treatments can sometimes have side effects such as dizziness, fatigue, and upset stomach. These side effects rarely develop into anything worse, but they can be extremely uncomfortable.
Some traditional seizure medications may become less effective over time. Your doctor will probably try several treatments to find the one that works best for you.
The hormone melatonin has shown some positive signs in preventing seizures. Learn more about it, and speak with your doctor before you start taking it.
Epilepsy is a disorder in which you have recurring seizures. The symptoms of epilepsy range from having a blank stare to total unconsciousness. You must have two seizures with no obvious cause before you can be diagnosed with epilepsy.
Epileptic seizures are identified as either focal or generalized. Focal seizures start in one part of your brain and can spread to other parts of your brain. Generalized seizures involve all parts of your brain.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, doctors can’t identify the cause of epileptic seizures in nearly half of the people who have them. In the other half, seizures have occasionally been linked to:
- head injuries
- some infectious diseases
- Alzheimer’s disease
- brain tumors
Epileptic seizures can leave you at risk for harm when performing common activities. This can cause other dangerous complications.
For instance, you can lose control of your car if you have a seizure while driving. You can drown if you have a seizure while swimming. You can also injure your skull or other bones if you fall during a seizure.
Epilepsy can cause issues for both a mother and child during pregnancy. It has also been linked to anxiety, depression, and other emotional health issues.
Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in your brain. It’s also available in a synthetic form as a supplement. This supplement is commonly used as a complementary treatment for various ailments, such as insomnia and anxiety.
Melatonin helps regulate your body’s internal body clock. It plays a very important role in telling your body when it’s time to fall asleep and when it’s time to wake up.
Your body produces more melatonin at night or whenever you’re in a dark environment. Less of the hormone is produced in brightly lit environments or during the day.
Melatonin supplements can help bring back an appropriate sleep cycle. You can take the synthetic form of the hormone to help your body adjust from jet lag, work schedule changes, and sleep problems.
Although it’s less common, the hormone can be used as an complementary treatment for:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Melatonin levels fluctuate if you have epilepsy. At rest, people with epilepsy have melatonin levels that are lower than average.
Melatonin levels dramatically increase after seizures, according to the
Clinical tests have looked at how melatonin supplements affect seizures, and the results have been mixed.
Melatonin can be useful for children who have trouble falling asleep. It can also help children with epilepsy, ADHD, autism, and other conditions that cause sleep problems in children. Talk to your child’s doctor before giving your child any dose of melatonin.
Melatonin supplements are neither regulated nor approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating epilepsy or sleep difficulties. Because of this, doctors often recommend that you give your child the lowest dose possible.
Most children only need 0.5 to 3 milligrams. In addition to melatonin, a bedtime routine can also help treat sleep problems caused by epilepsy.
Melatonin supplements can cause negative side effects. These include:
- mild anxiety
- temporary feelings of depression
Taking too much melatonin can make these effects worse.
Research on melatonin as a treatment for epilepsy is mixed. Melatonin may improve your physical and social well-being and sleep.
Further study is needed to test melatonin as a treatment for epileptic seizures.
Talk with your doctor about trying melatonin as a treatment. It’s very important not to take medication without your doctor’s approval. Mixing melatonin with other epilepsy medications can be dangerous.
Take melatonin for your epilepsy with care, and establish a regular sleep routine to help your body produce more melatonin.