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January 2, 2008 at 10:47 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

ADHD Drugs Affect Developing Brain Tissue

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

If your child is suffering from ADHD, you might be afraid that they'll fall behind their classmates or get into more trouble at school. Perhaps this is already happening. It's true that children with ADHD have a disadvantage in the classroom: they have trouble paying attention, staying focused, and controlling both their emotions and their impulses. Another thing that you should probably be concerned with is putting your child on a prescription medication that could alter their brain chemistry and bodily function in severe and unpleasant ways.

Side Effects You Might Not Be Aware Of!

Drugs that treat ADHD are stimulants. They work by stimulating the central nervous system. Other commonly known stimulants include cocaine and amphetamine. Keep that in mind when you think about putting your children on these medications.

Ritalin is one of the most popular drugs on the market for the pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD. A study at Weill Cornell Medical college used this drug to alter brain chemistry, increase nervousness, and decrease appetite in rats. Ritalin's most common side effects are an inability to fall or remain asleep and excessive nervousness.Other side effects include a faster heart beat, changes in pulse, twitching, and high blood pressure.

When administering these types of stimulants to your child, it's important to monitor them closely. An overdose is possible, and drugs like Adderall can have side effects as severe as sudden death, heart attack and stroke. These drugs can also produce a drug dependency: your child can become addicted to these stimulants. When attempting to wean off of these types of drugs, depression has been noted as a common symptom of withdrawal. Also, there have been several reported cases of death which were allegedly caused by drugs for ADHD. In some cases, the deaths have been suicides, as some drugs (particularly Concerta and Strattera) can change the way your child thinks or feels.

Alternative Treatments

If your child is hyperactive, don't simply hand them over to a therapist and start medicating them. ADHD is commonly over-diagnosed, and it's possible that your child doesn't have the condition at all, and, therefore, doesn't require medication.

If your child definitely does have ADHD, you may be able to manage the symptoms by other, safer methods. Consider consulting with a nutritionist to change your child's diet and taking your child to a therapist to talk about behavioral issues. Additionally, there are natural supplements on the market, which, while not prescription drugs, have only natural ingredients, making them safe.

Your health and the health of your child is important. Research what you're getting into and make an informed, practical decision.

Photo Credit: Liz Henry

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