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Drug Addiction

Melatonin Addiction: Is It Addictive & What To Do If You Struggle With An Addiction

Melatonin is a popular supplement taken by people who struggle to regulate their sleep schedules. Melatonin is also a naturally occurring chemical in the body that helps regulate various bodily functions. It is a very important hormone and serves our bodies in many ways.

Melatonin is crucial in controlling our body’s natural sleep patterns and may play a role in women’s menstrual cycles. Melatonin occurs in the brain as a way to trigger the body to begin shutting down at the end of the day. However, synthesized melatonin can also be taken as a supplement to help encourage the body to relax before bed.

Taking synthesized melatonin is a great way to turn the body from a state of alertness to a place where it can decompress and fall asleep. Artificial or synthesized melatonin helps guide you to sleep quicker and can prevent users from waking up during the night. Melatonin helps ease a person’s sleep and keep them asleep longer.

Many people find melatonin helpful for occasional insomnia or other sleep problems such as stress or jet lag. Melatonin is easily accessible and can be found at drug stores or vitamin supplement shops. You do not need a prescription to get melatonin.

However, because melatonin is naturally occurring in the body, people who take synthesized melatonin often think it has no risks or dangers. Therefore, it is important to know risks associated with melatonin usage.

The risks of melatonin usage are not comparable to those of other drugs such as cocaine or opioids, but it is important to understand the risk of consuming this supplement to stay safe. 

Please continue reading to learn more about melatonin, including how using too much melatonin can be harmful, how excessive melatonin consumption can cause other types of addiction, and what to do if you find yourself addicted to melatonin or other sleeping drugs.

Is Melatonin Addictive? How Using Too Much Melatonin May Do More Harm Than Good

The main issue with melatonin is the idea that it’s completely natural and completely safe. 

Many consumers think it is safe to take all the time because melatonin occurs naturally in the body. However, it is important to know that just because it is a naturally occurring hormone in the body does not mean that it is safe to take as a supplement all the time.

While there are no explicit reports of supplemental melatonin being highly addictive or having a high potential for addiction, it can become something that you rely on too much. It can also have other effects on your body that may be harmful or troubling.

Melatonin does not cause any withdrawal symptoms or show any signs of dependence. This means that you can take melatonin for an extended period and stop at any moment Without feeling symptoms of withdrawal or detoxification.

There are sleeping medications that can cause symptoms of withdrawal or cause dependence, but melatonin is not one of those. In addition, melatonin does not cause a sleep hangover which is when you wake up feeling groggy and disoriented after using melatonin to sleep.

You cannot build up a tolerance to melatonin. This means that the same dosage of melatonin taken every day will not build up in the body, and you won’t need a higher dosage over time to experience the same effect.

Because there are no withdrawal effects, no possibility of detoxification, and no tolerance to melatonin, many people believe it is extremely safe. And while melatonin is extremely safe to take, it can cause other issues in the body and be a gateway toward more extreme sleeping drugs. 

So, while it is incredibly unlikely that you can become addicted to melatonin, it is important to know that there is a possibility of becoming reliant on it or addicted in extreme cases. People who suffer from substance use disorders or have a history of family members with substance use disorders should be careful when they take the supplement.

Melatonin is not as regulated as other types of sleeping medications, which makes it a supplement without lots of research for studying conducted to test its addictive quality. Many people agree that more research needs to be done to see the long-term effects of melatonin and to discover whether or not supplemental melatonin is addictive or not.

How Overusing Melatonin May Lead To An Addiction To Another Sleeping Pill

Taking too much melatonin can be a dangerous decision. Not only is it unsafe to take a dosage of a supplement or medication that is higher than the recommended dose, but it can be a pathway toward more harmful sleeping drugs.

When taking melatonin, taking the proper dose indicated by your doctor or the supplement bottle is crucial. This is because melatonin is a naturally occurring chemical in the body. Your body will produce melatonin for different purposes at different times of the day, usually producing more melatonin once the sun goes down.

Because your body is constantly producing melatonin for different purposes and sleep, taking too much melatonin can override your system with this hormone, resulting in various side effects and issues.

Taking the lowest possible dose of melatonin is important to prevent the onset of craving stronger drugs.

If someone takes excessive melatonin to fall asleep, they may switch to more potent drugs like sleeping pills. Switching from a naturally occurring hormone supplement such as melatonin to a sedative sleeping pill can be very dangerous.

Some people will continue taking the same melatonin dosage when they take a stronger tranquilizer or sedative, which can be incredibly dangerous and result in serious bodily harm.

Switching from melatonin to sleeping pills signifies that the individual taking supplements and drugs may need help. Melatonin is meant for occasional insomnia, jet lag, or times of stress where you find it hard to unwind. It is not a long-term solution for restlessness.

Consuming sleeping pills without a prescription is dangerous, as they are meant for long-term usage and are highly regulated by doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, sleeping pills are much more intense in their effects, which can result in addiction.

The most common sleeping pills you can get with a prescription are benzodiazepines and Z drugs, also known by their brand names Ambien and Lunesta. Sleeping pills of this kind are much more dangerous than taking supplemental melatonin.

Many people experience side effects from sleeping pills, such as the following side effects.

 

  • Sleep hangovers
  • Trouble balancing
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • In addition, using sleeping pills can cause other disorders like parasomnias and other abnormal sleeping behaviors. 

Sleeping pills pose a much higher risk for addiction than melatonin supplements do because they are not naturally occurring chemicals in the body. So even though taking synthesized melatonin poses a slight risk of throwing your body out of alignment hormonally, that risk is nothing compared to the damage that can be done from abusing sleeping pills.

The potential for addiction to sleeping pills starts fairly high. Many people will begin to become dependent on sleeping pills to be able to relax or fall asleep.

That means any night when you cannot consume a sleeping pill, you will struggle to sleep and may even experience symptoms of withdrawal or detoxification. If you take sleeping pills to treat insomnia, stopping the medication can cause insomnia to come back even worse than before the drugs.

Using sleep aids, in general, is a dangerous way to try to relax and fall asleep. Even though melatonin itself is not a hazardous substance, it can pull people towards stronger and more dangerous substances.

These substances can cause addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and dependence in people  struggling to find a sustainable way to sleep. In addition, melatonin and narcotic sleeping pills can cause issues with the body’s natural cycles, making an individual feel like their body is out of alignment. 

Struggling With An Addiction To Sleeping Pills Or Overusing Melatonin?: Here’s How You Can Get The Help You Need

Overusing melatonin or struggling with an addiction to sleeping pills can be a difficult thing to overcome. Dealing with addiction or misusing any type of substance is a battle that needs to be fought with tenacity and strength. However, it is hard to do that when your life feels out of control due to substance misuse or abuse.

 If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to sleeping pills or overusing melatonin supplements, you must get the help you need. There many ways to treat addiction, but the best is to go to a treatment facility.

 At a treatment facility like Ocean Recovery, professional staff can help guide you through your addiction or substance abuse disorder so that you can emerge on the other side feeling like you have control of your life again. 

Sources:

Ocean Recovery has sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our Editorial Policy.

Sources: 

  1. Hopp DC, Shurtleff D. Melatonin: What You Need To Know. NCCIH. Published July 2022. Accessed August 9, 2022. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know
  2. Cleveland Clinic. Sleeping Pills: Types, Side Effects & Treatment. Cleveland Clinic. Published April 27, 2021. Accessed August 9, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/15308-sleeping-pills
  3. Cleveland Clinic. Parasomnias: Causes, Symptoms, Types & Management. Cleveland Clinic. Published April 29, 2021. Accessed August 9, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12133-parasomnias–disruptive-sleep-disorders
Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Infinite RecoveryAscendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed August 9, 2022