Parental insomnia link to teen suicide

June 13, 2008 at 10:55 PM
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BALTIMORE, June 13 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say teenage children of insomniac parents are more likely than others to suffer from depression, anxiety and suicidal behavior.

The University of Pittsburgh study found the children whose parents had insomnia were more than twice as likely to have insomnia themselves, use hypnotics -- drugs induce sleep -- and complain of sleepiness than teens whose parents were insomnia free.

"These results suggest that a history of chronic insomnia in parents is not only associated with elevated risk for insomnia, but also with elevated risks for a wide range of mental health problems, substance use and suicidal behavior in adolescent offspring," study leader Dr. Xianchen Liu said in a statement. "Family sleep interventions may be important to enhance sleep quality and decrease risks for sleep disturbance, psychopathology and suicidal behavior in adolescents."

Further studies are warranted to examine how and the extent to which genetic and environmental factors interact in determining sleep disturbances and psychopathology among adolescents, Liu said.

Insomnia is a classification of sleep disorders in which a person has trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early.

The findings were presented at the 22nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Baltimore.

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