Melatonin and Depression: What’s the Relationship?

September 17, 2021
Melatonin Depression


Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep patterns. It can be taken in supplement form or produced by the pineal gland in your brain if you have melatonin deficiency. Depression is also caused by melatonin deficiency, so there’s a melatonin depression relationship, but what exactly does it mean?


What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is known as the ‘hormone of darkness’ because melatonin production is inhibited by light. As melatonin is a natural antioxidant, melatonin may prevent damage to brain cells that result from chronic oxidative stress

Melatonin regulates serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitter systems, which are involved in mood regulation. Melatonin also helps normalize diurnal cortisol levels. Therefore, there is a melatonin depression relationship.

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Melatonin Supplements: What Do I Need to Know?

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that participates in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. It also has antidepressant action.

In depressed patients, melatonin levels are much lower compared to healthy people. This seems evident, especially in those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Melatonin exerts its antidepressant effects by modulating serotonergic and dopaminergic activity. Again, this shows there is a melatonin depression nexus.

In recent years melatonin supplements have been suggested as being helpful for people who have insomnia, depression, mood disorders, alzheimer’s disease, parkinson’s disease, ADHD, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and other sleep-wake rhythm disturbances. It is also an antioxidant that could be effective in treating and protecting against many of the symptoms associated with aging.

Some people have suggested melatonin may be effective for these conditions by itself, while others have suggested melatonin works by increasing the effectiveness of the antidepressant medication. So, patients need to respect the melatonin depression dynamics by taking appropriate medicine.

The melatonin depression debate doesn’t end there. There is a school of thought that melatonin has not been proven as an effective treatment of depression. This group insists that it should only be used as adjuvant therapy to the standard antidepressant treatments. Even if melatonin seems to be effective, it is still uncertain whether melatonin could play a primary role in treating depression.


Conditions Treated by Melatonin


What Is the Effect of Melatonin on the Body?

The melatonin depression question also extends to its effects on the body. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm by causing drowsiness. It is considered to have antidepressant properties, suggesting that it may be somehow involved in mood regulation.

It has been suggested that abnormalities in melatonin secretion are involved in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). Melatonin depression can also be linked, as abnormally low melatonin levels have been found in patients with major depression after light exposure at night.

Melatonin also seems to help normalize diurnal cortisol levels and modulates neurotransmitter systems involved in mood regulation, such as serotonin and dopamine.

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Melatonin Side Effects

A common melatonin side effect is drowsiness, while it induces sleep. However, some people can become overly sleepy or even fall asleep during everyday activities. Other melatonin side effects may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Decreased libido
  • Nightmares or vision changes
  • Changes in mood and cognitive function
  • Disruption of circadian rhythms (the sleep-wake cycle)
  • Interference with memory consolidation during sleep

When taking melatonin, it’s essential to take the correct dosage to avoid any melatonin overdose symptoms. Tolerance to the medication is a common melatonin depression problem.

If you become tolerant, you’ll need higher doses of melatonin for it to have the same effectiveness as before tolerance developed. The only way to avoid this issue is by taking melatonin regularly rather than irregularly.

It’s also important to talk with your doctor if melatonin is taken for an extended period. Long-term melatonin use may cause withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. Further, discuss the melatonin depression debate with your doctor. They will advise on the appropriate medicine.


Drugs that Interact with Melatonin


Can Melatonin Help with Depression Symptoms?

Scientists also think there is a melatonin depression interlinkage. Researchers believe that melatonin helps regulate depression by stabilizing circadian rhythms that can be thrown off due to stress, anxiety, or exposure to light. Therefore, in answering can melatonin cause depression, the answer is negative. It actually helps people with depression to get some sleep.


The Effect of Melatonin on Depression

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm. People who have depression often have lower melatonin, which can increase depressive symptoms. Normal melatonin levels on their own cannot correct depressive symptoms.

Therefore, in addressing the melatonin depression question, the melatonin supplements alone cannot affect depression; they only induce sleep. So, to answer the question, can I combine melatonin with other depression treatments? The answer would be in the affirmative.


Can Melatonin Make Depression Worse?

The melatonin depression link also depends on the age of the patient. In many cases, melatonin supplements are taken because melatonin levels decline with age, from exposure to light at night from artificial lighting and sometimes from illness. Although melatonin is sold over the counter, it should only be used under a doctor’s supervision because it has potential side effects and interactions with other drugs or supplements.

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Melatonin causes minimal interactions with other drugs, but it’s still important to talk to your doctor about your medical history before using it. If you still have concerns about the effects of melatonin on depression, reach us for further elaboration and guidelines. We offer specialized services, including weight loss treatment, anxiety and depression treatment, ADD/ADHD treatment, and many more.

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