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Independent expert answers
on psychiatry and psychology

Human Growth and Development in ADHD Children

Abstract: Human growth and development in ADHD children receiving treatment with psychostimulants.

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Human Growth and Development in ADHD Children

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Jul 2008.

Do psychostimulants affect the human growth and development?

Answer:

No.

The personal development of ADHD children is usually somewhat delayed. This includes a different growth pattern. The neurotransmitter Dopamine plays an important role in the regulation of the growth hormones and prolactine. Recommended doses of stimulants do not influence the hormone levels, but due to loss of appetite a slight delay of weight gain could occur.

The optimal medication dose should be adapted on a regular schedule at least every 6 months. Very often older children need lower stimulant doses.

Usually children with ADHD will reach normal height and weight in late puberty, sometimes 1 or 2 years later than their classmates. Only a very small number of children will remain a little bit smaller than expected. This will not be caused by the medication but could be a result of additional hormonal disturbances.

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