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Melatonin for Anxiety - How Well Does It Really Work?

Does using melatonin for anxiety help to reduce the symptoms?

melatonin for anxietyMelatonin is a hormone that the body produces naturally. It is mainly used to treat insomnia and sleep disorders in both adults and children.

Owners of pets have used melatonin to treat separation anxiety for dogs and cats.

It is also used to reduce fear reactions such as noise phobias in cats.

One major advantage of using melatonin is that it has few side effects and no risk of addiction or withdrawal problems when the dose is missed or stopped. It is behaves like a mild sedative.

Read on to find out if there are research studies to support using melatonin for treating anxiety and panic attacks...

Research studies on the health benefits of melatonin for anxiety

There are many more research studies done on using melatonin for treating insomnia than for anxiety disorders or panic attacks.

Below is a research paper that reviewed all the published studies on the health benefits of melatonin in the area of treating anxiety disorders.

Efficacy and safety of melatonin as an anxiolytic and analgesic in the perioperative period: a qualitative systematic review of randomized trials. Yousaf F, Seet E, Venkatraghavan L, Abrishami A, Chung F.
Anesthesiology. 2010 Oct;113(4):968-76.

In this comprehensive review, the authors carefully looked at 10 studies. In nine of the ten studies, taking melatonin for anxiety reduction worked. These were patients that were to undergo surgery shortly.

They concluded that melatonin appeared to help cut down the feeling of anxiety in adults and commented that it could be a suitable choice to use.

Other studies do show that melatonin is effective for helping with jet lag and insomnia. Poor sleep worsens anxiety and in this respect, melatonin can ensure a more restful sleep.

Unfortunately there are no published studies that looked at using melatonin for panic attacks. It may work or it may not. Considering that melatonin is safe to use, it can be tried with little risk.

Dose to Use

The common melatonin dose is 3 to 5 mg taken several hours before bedtime.

Typical dosage ranges from 0.3 mg to 5 mg. Higher doses have been used as well under proper medical supervision.

When used as premedication prior to surgery, the adult dose is 0.05 mg/kg (0.05 mg/2.2 lbs) taken sublingually (under the tongue).

See Benefits of Melatonin for a full review.

Bottom Line?

Melatonin appears to work for treating surgery-induced anxiety.

However, it is unknown whether melatonin could be used regularly multiple times a day to treat chronic anxiety. There is no research data to show if it works or not.

Because melatonin is a natural hormone that the body produces and that it appears to be reasonably safe, some people might want to give it a try and see if it makes any difference.

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References for Melatonin for Anxiety

Revised: August 26, 2019

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