Will ADHD Medications Stunt Kids’ Growth? Recent Study Says No.
ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, is one of the most common childhood disorders in the West. In India, it may be common, but it’s not yet recognised. A child with ADHD in India is often termed as distracted or in hyperactive (in Hindi ‘Chanchal’). There’s seldom any need felt to see a doctor for such hyperactivity or the lack of focus. According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the ADHD Symptoms include difficulty paying attention or staying focused on one task, overactivity and impulsive behavior.
The level of recognition of ADHD may be different in India and the West, but the health concerns towards any drugs or medications to treat ADHD, are present among Indian parents as well. One of the most common perceptions regarding Stimulant medications used to treat Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children — such as Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta — is that they will stunt the Child’s growth and final height as an adult.
A new study researchers at Dr. Slavica Katusic, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. , says that, such perceptions may not be true, and according to the Lead Researcher,
“Stimulant medication did not affect children’s final height as adults.
Although such studies must be taken with a pinch of salt; the study researchers claim it as one of the most extensive studies, in scale and duration of study (spanning 26 years), and can be seen as authentic. The study followed a group of people with ADHD who were taking stimulant medications and compared them with a group with ADHD who were not taking medication and also a group that didn’t have ADHD. These individuals were followed from childhood to adulthood; and the researchers compared the height when they were children and when they were grown up. Approximately 70 percent of those with ADHD who completed the study had taken stimulant medication for more than three months. The researchers found that there was no difference in adult height between those who took ADHD drugs and those who didn’t. In addition, neither childhood ADHD itself nor stimulant medication was associated with shorter stature as adults.
In addition, no connection was seen between the amount of time a child took stimulant drugs and adult height, the study authors found.
Not to make the parents and doctors too casual with their adoption of stimulant drugs for treating ADHD, the researchers emphasize that more research is needed to confirm their finding. And if the ADHD symptoms are impeding the Child’s school and social functioning; then the Doctor always knows the Best.
The Researchers also said this finding should be reassuring to parents who may be reluctant to allow their children to use these drugs because of the potential risk of stunting their child’s growth.
The report was published online Sept. 1 in the journal Pediatrics.
What is ADHD : And the Role played by stimulant drugs?
As said earlier, the ADHD Symptoms include difficulty paying attention or staying focused on one task, overactivity and impulsive behavior (such as doing some act , totally unexpected for that moment).
Historically and to the present day, many well known figures such as Albert Einstein, Richard Branson, Jim Carey , Will Smith, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise etc. are reported to have ADHD. And although Stimulant medications are a mainstay of ADHD treatment, parents are a divided lot, even in the West. Some see no harm in using stimulant medication on an overactive child, to improve his shool and social functioning; while another group of parents such as the mother of Tom Cruise, chose Scientology lifestyle to stimulant drugs for calming, focusing effect on her son.
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