Health & Medical Mental Health

What Every Parent of an ADHD Child Should Know - The Side Effects of Stimulants

Have you heard the controversy around the side effects of stimulants? It's important enough to spend some time investigating.
Living with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD can be tough.
Teachers, parents, friends, and siblings can become frustrated with the child's inability to sit still and concentrate.
ADHD can be detrimental to a child's schoolwork and friendships, and, to a conscientious caregiver, it may seem like the best solution to ADHD is one that can take care of the symptoms the most quickly - prescription psychostimulants.
But what are the side effects of stimulants? Recent studies have uncovered loads of problems with psychostimulants, of which the following are just a sample:
  • Psychostimulants can cause appetite suppression, which can lead to severe weight loss, especially in younger children.
  • One of the side effects of stimulants is growth suppression.
    Many children who have taken stimulants for extended periods of time are under-weight and under-height for their age group.
  • Stimulants can cause severe headaches.
  • Stimulants are addictive, so the child's intake of the medicine must be carefully monitored; also, children coming off of a psychostimulant can experience withdrawal symptoms.
  • These drugs can cause heart problems ranging from high blood pressure to angina.
  • Psychostimulants can cause rebounds, in which the symptoms of ADHD come back even stronger than before the child was taking a stimulant, or violent mood swings.
  • Psychostimulants can cause sleeping problems, which can affect a child's academic performance and social life.
These problems with psychostimulants are just a few items from a long, long list of the possible side effects of stimulants that are often prescribed to ADHD children.
The scariest part is that scientists and doctors don't even know what stimulants will do to a child's mental and physical development over a long span of time, since research hasn't been conducted on adults who were on stimulants as children.
Also, some of these side effects - rebounds, mood swings, sleeping problems, etc.
- are indistinguishable from the symptoms of ADHD itself.
What you may not know is that there are alternative, natural ways to treat ADHD.
These therapies, which can include such measures as behavior counseling, time management, dietary changes, and homeopathic remedies, are not the overnight cures that psychostimulants can seem to be, but they have no long-term or short-term side effects and are extremely save, and very effective.
These non-drug treatments for ADHD are also widely available and are usually much more affordable than traditional ADHD drugs.
So if you're living with a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, make sure you know what you're getting into before you begin trying any kind of therapy, whether it is based on drugs or not.
As you make decisions with and for your child, be sure you understand all the side effects of stimulants your doctor might want to prescribe, and don't be afraid to fight for the right to help your child alleviate his symptoms with gentler and more natural therapies.

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