New Member
my 16 yr old difficult child 2 has been having a tough time with sleeplessness (hard to fall asleep and stay asleep) for some weeks now, coinciding with starting Abilify and going off Effexor. She seems to be tolerating the Abilify now that she has reached a dose of 10 mg., but she can't fall asleep and she is completely run down and sick with either mono or some other viral thing.

Her psychiatric doctor wrote an Rx for Lorazepam as a sleep aide. Anyone know about this drug? I wasn't home when he called back so I didn't get a chance to ask him why he chose this drug, I guess I was expecting something like Ambien.

My son suffered from sleep problems when he was on Zoloft and Risperadal so they gave him Seroquel to help him get to sleep but we discontinued it because he seemed to be too groggy (the Risperadal was enough to knock him out at night after a while).


New Member
Hi ellen,
My son's psychiatrist prescribed him ativan (.5mg) to use on an occasional basis if his behaviors get too out of control, since it's not something he takes on a daily basis, I've not noticed him becoming sleepy on the medication. To help him sleep he's taking Trazodone, which is non addictive, the ativan is addictive.
Now for me, I'm supposed to take ativan (.5mg) twice a day for anxiety, it does make me tired. For sleep they have me on Ristoril.
Sorry I can't be of more help, but am sure others know more about the various medications.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
My understanding (I could be wrong) is that ativan can be addictive. I take ativan 3x daily for ongoing stress & know that I will have to titrate off it when the time comes.

It's fairly short acting (for me); it helps me fall asleep - doesn't keep me there.

kt & husband use seroquel for sleep; kt has been on trazadone in the past for sleep as well.

Good luck to your difficult child in getting a good night's sleep. It can be a challenge!


New Member
At the moment she's got mono and won't be in school for a while, so I'm not worried about her having to get up at a certain time. Thanks for the head's up about the addictiveness of Ativan.

I'm going to try melatonin first. Do you have a recommendation for how much she should take? She's full-grown woman size at age 16?


Crazy Cat Lady
I use Ativan on a daily basis as its the o nly thing found to control anxiety in my case. My psychiatrist and I are well aware of the addictive qualities of this medication when used daily.

Its like a lot of other things; you have to weigh the good vs. the bad and make your decisions.


New Member
I think 3 mg is the standard dose of melatonin for an adult. It does help my son get to sleep.

Another OTC to consider is Valerian. It is supposed to help with anxiety and I think it helps me fall asleep better than melatonin.

hearts and roses

Mind Reader
My difficult child takes ativan for her panic attacks. It does make her sleepy, depending on how much she takes and when. Mostly, it helps to calm her nerves and settle down if she's particularly shaky.

My easy child takes 5mg of Ambien for help sleeping occasionally. And I take xanax to help me fall asleep. I don't have a problem sleeping once I can get all my thoughts settled and the xanax helps with that.

We've used melatonin for difficult child and sleep issues and it's helped a lot.


New Member
Do you think Valerian in the form of an herbal tea (tisane) would help? Or is it better in the form of a liquid extract or capsule?

She has had sleep problems for a while now which I believed were mostly what other teenagers go through (my 14 yr old son is just starting to have this problem) when their circadian rhythms are upset by puberty. She also doesn't get any regualr form of exercise, which can mean tossing and turning when you really want to sleep. She just can't shut off her mind. Same thing with school: she attends a therapeutic day school and when she can focus on school she's fine, but on days when the depressive intrusive thoughts are too strong, she can't concentrate and it's torture for her.


New Member
Been one week since she titrated up to 10 mg on Abilify (recently tapered off Effexor). Main side effect seems to be an acute anxiety about her personal safety when she's riding in a car or truck! Never had this before. When she's riding as a passenger (she doesn't drive yet but has had a few lessons with her dad that went less than swimmingly - she ended up on one guy's lawn) in my minivan, she's uncomfortable and feels like we're going to crash. In her dad's GMC pickup it's even worse, she feels like she's going to slide aroudn and go through the windshield. Her dad is an ultra cautious, careful driver who has never had an accident (used to drive a limo). Even iwth a seatbelt she feels unconstrained. She had to cut short a shopping trip with dad, one of her favorite activities, so she could come home, and I had to help her breathe through a panic attack.

Time Occupational Therapist (OT) call the doctor and tell him get her off this stuff? Or ride it out. I"m so confused.


Well-Known Member
I'd call. I don't really see much benefit in waiting. In our family we have had good results with Melatonin although difficult child now
takes Trazodone as needed. The Ativan has a quick calming effect
for difficult child and for me. He does not take it more than three times a month while I take it at bedtime fairly often. It is my understanding that it can be addictive also. Good luck to you.
It sure is a pain and a worry trying to get medications right, isn't it?